In his weekly market review, Frank Holmes of the USFunds.com nicely summarizes for gold investors this week’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the gold market. The price of the yellow metal went lower after two consecutive weeks of gains. Gold closed the week at $1,324.10, up $5.41 per ounce (0.41%). The NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index went 1.00% higher on the week. This was the gold investors review of past week.
We found out this week the extent that gold is sought in the East. For the first time since 1980, Switzerland released monthly gold trade data, providing a more transparent picture of physical gold flows. In January alone, the Swiss report showed an incredible 80 percent of gold shipments went to Asia. Switzerland plays a key role in the gold market because it is home to many big gold refiners, so its report confirms what we’ve been saying about gold’s move out of the West to the strong hands of the East.
So even though the gold price fell in 2013, the smart money tuned into this flow of physical gold that was moving into the East. Meanwhile, naysayers were distracted by the Fear Trade’s selling out of gold ETFs.
“Gold flooding onto the market as a result [of large-scale ETF selling] was used to feed the voracious appetite for physical metal among consumers in India, China and numerous Asian and Middle Eastern markets,” says the World Gold Council in its latest report. You can see in the chart that gold demand reached record levels in the jewelry, bar and coin areas of the market last year. In fact, there was a 21 percent increase in demand from consumers, which was in contrast to the outflows from gold ETFs, per the WGC.
Gold Market Strengths
Gold rose to a 15-week high as U.S. retail sales and housing starts slumped at the same time as Chinese manufacturing data fell to its lowest level in seven months. In addition, the political unrest in Ukraine and Thailand boosted gold’s haven premium. On a more positive note, gold demand in Japan jumped threefold in 2013 as investors sought refuge from Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s campaign to stoke inflation. India’s gold demand remained buoyant in 2013, rising 13 percent from 2012 despite the government introducing several restrictions to curb imports. Lastly, JP Morgan raised its outlook on gold, saying prices are likely to hit $1,450 by the end of the year as fundamentals have turned bullish.
A recent report from the Swiss Customs Administration shows the European nation shipped more than 80 percent of its gold and silver bullion to Asia last month. The main destinations were Hong Kong, India and Singapore, while the main sources of gold imports were the U.K and the U.S. Despite the recent price recovery in gold, the demand from physical buyers in Asia continues to drive a wave of gold finding its way from weak hands into strong hands.
Gold Market Weaknesses
The two “most accurate” gold forecasters are holding on to their bearish forecasts for 2014 even after the metal posted its best start to a year since 1983, according to a Bloomberg report. The report cites analysts at Societe General and Westpac Banking as the best forecasters over the past two years; however, what the report fails to convey is the fact that these analysts are permanently bearish on gold, and the 15-month recent downtrend favored their forecasts. Now that the fundamentals have changed and the downtrend has been broken, it would be wise to appraise these forecasts.
Gold Market Opportunities
UBS boosted its forecast for gold in 2014 citing a change in investors’ attitude toward the yellow metal. According to the bank’s analysts, over the past year gold was either the favorite asset to short or was ignored completely. Recent developments suggest that this is no longer the case and momentum is turning, the analysts added. Moreover, BCA Research published data showing gold mining shares were down more than 40 percent over the past year. As shown in the chart below, each decline of more than 40 percent since 1980 has given way to at least a tradable rally.
Will the Sectors that Lagged in January Outperform the Rest of 2014?
India, which lost its crown to China last year as the top gold consumer, is likely to cut its import tax on gold before the end of February to 6 or 8 percent from the current 10 percent. The government initiative comes as pressure on the country’s current account deficit has scaled down, with recent data showing it has fallen by nearly 50 percent.
Gold Market Threats
Despite an apparent lack of inflationary pressure in the U.S., and ongoing disinflationary trends in the eurozone, the continuous commodities index, which tracks commodity baskets, has risen sharply. Many agricultural commodities have strengthened following poor conditions in several geographies, and energy prices have increased following colder than usual winter weather. These increases may appear transitory, but the index shows a very strong correlation with inflation readings and, as such, we could see month-over-month inflation readings turn positive over the next couple months.
The Province of Quebec is seeking to preserve head offices in the province, even if that means thwarting bids. On the back of the recent bid for Osisko Mining, Quebec will move to enact legislation that shields businesses from takeovers by allowing the province to purchase stakes in the ownership of homegrown companies. The measures are aimed at preserving head-office jobs that help generate the C$5 billion in economic activity.
Although the current strike in the platinum industry is broader than previous events, the metal price reaction has been relatively muted so far. The strike was preannounced, giving the industry time to prepare, but should the current stalemate continue, some tightness could start to develop.
As we noted two weeks ago in Entire Precious Metals Complex At Major Resistance, precious metals and miners are all simultaneously at a rarely seen juncture on the price charts. The situation has evolved meantime and it feels like an enormous pressure cooker. In this update, we show the latest charts at the close of the week (February 21st). It appears that gold and silver are right above their important 200 day moving average, while platinum and palladium are at a major technical resistance ready to trend (break out or break down).
The gold chart has improved in the last two weeks. The important 200 day moving average was taken out earlier this week. From a technical point of view, the 200 day MA is important as lots of automated traders and speculators use this as a decision point. If this trend continues, one can expect a next major resistance near $1450, the point where is broke down last April.
Silver was lagging when we wrote our previous update. Meantime, the chart has improved considerably, as it broke out of a major resistance line and its right above its 200 day moving average. If this trend continues, one can expect a next major resistance near $25, the point where is broke down last April.
The picture in platinum and palladium is different than gold and silver. However, from a chart point of view both metals are ready to trend. The only question is in which direction. The charts show how platinum and palladium have moving towards a major resistance line and tested it three times. As a general rule of thumb, that is a condition for a trending move. Both metals are very close to retest the same resistance line. If (and that’s a big IF) they would be able to break out, it would be a very powerful sign of strength. The price levels to watch are $755 palladium and $1435 platinum.
Major bottoms in any market or sector usually produce big rebounds and big gains for those who are correctly positioned. For some, the initial strong gains create trepidation that the market will experience a big correction or revert back to the previous bear market (which created the foundation for the big rebound). I’ve noticed this trepidation over the past few days from subscribers and other advisors preaching caution or hedging their recent gains. This is all well and fine but the evidence as well as history suggest not to worry because the gains will continue unabated over the intermediate term.
I looked at history to identify the nature of corrections in gold stocks during cyclical bull markets within secular bull markets. I looked at the major bottoms during 1960-1980 (using the Barron’s Gold Mining Index) as well as the major bottoms during this bull market which began in 2000 (using the HUI Gold Bugs Index). Essentially I examine how long it took for gold stocks to encounter their first major correction (more than 21%) following a major bottom. The column Worst D refers to the market’s worst correction before the first major correction. I found that these initial corrections were limited to 15% to 21%. The first major correction averaged about 30% and occurred at least one year after the major bottom.
The HUI did correct 26% in November 2008 as it retested the October low. We left that out as it occurred instantly after the major bottom.
Look at what happened after the major bottoms of 1960, 1976, 2000 and 2008. If we take the median of those four rebounds then it equates to the market rebounding 251% over one year and nine months before incurring more than a 21% correction.
The only outlier is the 1969 bottom where the market corrected 35% in 1971 and then 23% in 1972 before the market exploded to the upside over the next two years. However, following the 1969 bottom the market did rebound 83% over one year and four months with no more than a 17% correction. It wasn’t that much of an outlier.
The lack of a big correction following a major bottom is quite common in all equity markets. Consider how the stock market performed following the 2002 and 2009 bottoms. From October 2002 to January 2004 (16 months) the Nasdaq rallied 93%. Its worst correction was 14%. Following the 2009 bottom, the Nasdaq rallied 99% in 13 months! Its worst correction was 8%.
History suggests that we need not worry about a major correction anytime soon. The HUI is currently up 30% in two months. If it’s up 200% in 17 months then it would be time to worry about a significant retracement. In the meantime, we don’t foresee any shift in the trend until the gold stocks reach the neckline resistance (GDX $30, GDXJ $51) discussed in our last editorial. From those levels we could get a 15% correction.
The chart below plots the average of the rebounds in the 1970s as well as the average of the rebounds in the past decade. The current rebound (blue) remains on track according to history.
After a major rebound its natural to want to be cautious and safe. Our emotions react to the recent past. That is why the herd is always too bullish at market tops and way too conservative at market bottoms. Moreover, advisors want to play it safe by hedging their opinions and bets. Everyone is worried subconsciously that the fledgling bull market isn’t real and may revert back to a bear market. In this instance, the hardest thing to do is be a raging bull and to buy something that you could have bought 50% cheaper a month or two months ago.
In this article we look at gold from different angles: the money supply, the physical gold market and technical gold indicators. Ten long term charts point to a healty condition in the gold market amid the price drop of 2013. We have always advocated to look at gold in a holistic way; the following charts offer a wide perspective. The charts were created and presented by Frank Holmes (USFunds.com) during the recent World Money Show.
In the first month of 2014, the M2 money supply, which is a measure of money supply that includes cash, savings and checking deposits, grew faster than the previous two years. In 2012, M2 grew 7.6 percent and in 2013, money supply rose 4.7 percent; at an annualized rate, January’s money supply growth “reached an annualized rate of increase of 8.75 percent,” according to Bloomberg’s Precious Metal Mining team. This may mean “the U.S. Federal Reserve is trying to resurrect inflation, thus increasing the appeal of gold, the supply of which can only increase about 1.5 percent to 2.5 percent annually,” says Bloomberg.
The first two charts show the historic correlation between the money supply and the price of gold. The global money supply has clearly driven gold prices, although 2013 was the year in which a significant disconnect occurred. The odds favor an upward revision of the gold price, re-establishing the long term correlation.
As Jim Rickards argues in his book, the price of gold would be well above $3,000 if there was some sort of tie between gold and the money supply. Jim Rickards still expects that the central banks will be forced by market forces to re-establish a tie with gold at some point in the future.
Physical gold market
2013 was the year of a massive liquidation in physical metal backing gold ETF’s. The following chart presents the exceptional outflow of gold out of primarily the GLD . The key question, in our opinion, is not the outlfow, but what happened with that gold. The most common answer is that it went East. Is this positive or negative for gold? We believe it’s extremely positive, because the metal is now in strong hands which will keep it for several years or decades. The key point in all this is that much less physical gold will be available once the Western investment demand will pick up again, leading to a potential shortage in the gold market.
The East loves gold. The explosive demand for gold in China is supported by an increase in incomes, a trend that is significantly different compared to the West. This trends favors the affordability of the yellow metal among the biggest gold consumer in the world.
China’s investment and jewelry demand has exploded in the last two years. The lower the price of gold went, the higher the demand for the metal. The following chart present an interesting insight: the average grams of gold consumed per inhabitant. Simple math learns that additional 0.1 gram of gold per capita results in an additional 130 tonnes gold demand (which is 5% of the current gold year supply).
From a technical point of view, gold is extremely oversold. Any historic measure shows that the current situation is extreme. One of those measures is the gold oscillator, measuring year-on-year change. A correction to the mean is long overdue.
The successful retest of the June 2013 bottom is a very powerful technical signal.
A short squeeze could be an important technical driver to drive short term gold prices. The chart shows how the gold price tends to rise with extreme short positions by COMEX speculators (non-commercials).
What is tremendously powerful for gold stock investors is this chart: in the last 3 decades, there were only 3 times that gold stocks only saw a consecutive 3-year loss.
Short term price movements of silver should not be the leading driver for investors. Silver is volatile, that’s a commonly accepted fact. For instance, silver closed on February 13, 2014 at $21.42, while 50 days earlier, on December 26, 1913, it closed at $19.88, a 7.7% price increase in 50 calendar days. For some historical perspective, silver moved in 50 days from $27.88 (April 9, 2013) to $22.45 (May 29, 2013), a loss of nearly 20%. The key is to stay focused on the bigger picture, at least for investors. Looking to the silver price trend in the last 100 yearsprovides some guidance.
According to kitco.com, the average annual prices for gold and silver were:
Prices have dramatically increased for 100 years since 1913, the birth of the Federal Reserve – our inflation machine. Worse, since Nixon abandoned the partial gold backing for the dollar in 1971, the inflation machine has accelerated. Using Kitco’s average annual price data:
Since 1913 gold has increased 4.32% per year, compounded annually. Silver has increased 3.78% compounded annually.
Since 1971 gold has increased 8.80% per year, compounded annually. Silver has increased 7.00% compounded annually.
Since 2001 gold has increased 14.74% per year, compounded annually. Silver has increased 15.17% compounded annually.
In the big picture, gold and silver are increasing in price, along with the prices for crude oil, an average house, gasoline, food, and almost everything we need. Both gold and silver have accelerated their average price increases since 2001, the end of their 20 year bear market.
Official national debt was $2.92 Billion in 1913 and nearly $17,000 Billion in 2013. The compounded annual increase since 1913 has been 9.04% while the increase since 1971 has been 9.31%. National debt increases, on average, quite consistently. Given that consistent exponential increase in national debt, are you surprised that the prices for gold, silver, crude, gasoline, food and housing have also substantially increased, on average, every year?
The Big Picture
Silver gained 7.7% in 50 days. I think December marked a double bottom in the silver market, but we’ll know in a few months. Crashes and large rallies are likely to happen more often in this era of High Frequency Trading and “managed” markets.
The national debt has been increasing, remarkably consistently, for 100 years, for 42 years, and for 6 years. Until monetary systems, administrative policy, and congressional spending practices change (return to fiscal sanity)the national debt, along with most other prices, will continue to increase.
We don’t know if silver will continue its rally through next week or next month, but we can legitimately expect that silver prices, along with the national debt, will be substantially higher in 2015, 2016, and 2017!
Examine this graph of silver prices since 2000. Note the following:
Exponentially increasing prices
The support line was touched in December 2013.
There is a double bottom in June and December 2013.
There is an expanding “megaphone” pattern of prices.
Crazy and unlikely as it sounds, silver could spike to $100 in 2016 and not violate a 15 year “megaphone” pattern.
MACD (monthly) buy signal in 2008, sell signal in 2011, and probable current buy signal.
So the next time you hear from an analyst that silver is likely to remain under $25 for the next decade, or drop to $10, or whatever, remember 100 years of history, 100 years of price increases, and 100 years of official national debt exponentially increasing at 9% per year – compounded each and every year.
My belief is that 100 years of facts are much more relevant than opinions from various people who have a vested interest convincing people that silver and gold are dangerous investments. Examine silver cycles here: Silver: 4 Cycles in 12 Years.
James Turk, founder of precious metals accumulation pioneer GoldMoney, has over 40 years’ experience in international banking, finance, and investments. He began his career at the Chase Manhattan Bank and in 1983 was appointed manager of the commodity department of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority.
In his new book The Money Bubble: What to Do Before It Pops, James and coauthor John Rubino warn that history is about to repeat.Instead of addressing the causes of the 2008 financial crisis, the world’s governments have continued along the same path. Another—even bigger—crisis is coming, and this one, say the authors, will change everything.
One central tenet of your book is that the dollar’s international importance has peaked and is now declining. What will the implications be if the dollar loses its reserve status?
In a word, momentous. Although the dollar’s role in world trade has been declining in recent years while the euro and more recently the Chinese yuan have been gaining share, the dollar remains the world’s dominant currency. So crude oil and many other goods and services are priced in dollars. If goods and services begin being priced in other currencies, the demand for the dollar falls.
Supply and demand determine the value of everything, including money. So a declining demand for the dollar means its purchasing power will fall, assuming its supply remains unchanged. But a constant supply of dollars is an implausible assumption given that the Federal Reserve is constantly expanding the quantity of dollars through various forms of “money printing.” So as the dollar’s reserve status erodes, its purchasing power will decline too, adding to the inflationary pressures already building up within the system from the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing program that began after the 2008 financial collapse.
Most governments of the world are fighting a currency war, trying to devalue their currencies to gain a competitive advantage over one another. You predict that China will “win” this currency war (to the extent there is a winner). What is China doing right that other countries aren’t? How would the investment world change if China did “win”?
As you say, nobody really wins a currency war. All currencies are debased when the war ends. What’s important is what happens then. Countries reestablish their currency in a sound way, and that means rebuilding on a base of gold. So the winner of a currency war is the country that ends up with the most gold.
For the past decade, gold has been flowing to China—both newly mined gold as well as from existing stocks. But that flow from West to East has accelerated over the past year, and there are unofficial estimates that China now has the world’s third-largest gold reserve.
The implications for the investment world as well as the global monetary system are profound. Why should China use dollars to pay for its imports of crude oil from the Middle East? What if Saudi Arabia and other exporters are willing to price their product and get paid in Chinese yuan? Venezuela is already doing that, so it is not a far-fetched notion that other oil exporters will too. China is a huge importer of crude oil, and its energy needs are likely to grow. So it is becoming a dominant player in global oil trading as the US imports less oil because of the surge in its own domestic fossil fuel production.
Changes in the way oil is traded represent only one potential impact on the investment world, but it indicates what may lie ahead as the value of the dollar continues to erode and gold flows from West to East. So if China ends up with the most gold, it could emerge as the dominant player in global investments and markets. It already has become the dominant player in the market for physical gold.
You draw a distinction between “financial” and “tangible” assets, noting that we go through a recurring cycle where each falls in and out of favor. Where are we in that cycle? With US stocks at all-time highs and gold down over 30% since the summer of 2011, is it possible that the cycle is rolling over?
Our monetary system suffers recurring booms and busts because of the fractional reserve practice of banks, which allows them to create money “out of thin air,” as the saying goes. During booms—all of which are caused by too much money that banks have created by expanding credit—financial assets outperform, but they eventually become overvalued relative to tangible assets. The cycle then reverses. The fractional reserve system goes into reverse and credit contracts, causing a lot of promises made during the good times to be broken. Loans don’t get repaid, unnerving bankers and investors alike. So money flees out of financial assets and the counterparty risk these assets entail, and into the safety of tangible assets, until eventually tangible assets become overvalued, and the cycle reverses again.
So for example, the boom in financial assets that ended in 1967 led to a reversal in the cycle until tangible assets became overvalued in 1981. The cycle reversed again, and financial assets boomed until the popping of the dot-com bubble in 2000. We are still in the cycle favoring tangible assets, but there is no way to predict when it will end. We know it will end when tangible assets become overvalued, but as John and I explain in The Money Bubble, we are not even close to that moment yet.
You cite the “shrinking trust horizon” as one of the long-term factors that will drive gold higher. Can you explain?
Yes, this is an important point that we make. Our economy, and indeed, our society, is based on trust. We expect the bread we buy from a baker or the gasoline we buy for our car to be reliable. We expect our money on deposit in a bank to be safe. But if we find the baker is putting sawdust in our bread and governments are using depositor money to bail out banks, as happened in Cyprus last year, trust begins to erode.
An erosion of trust means that people are less willing to accept the counterparty risk that comes with financial assets, so the erosion of trust occurs during financial busts. People as a consequence move their wealth into tangible assets, be it investments in tangible things like farmland, oil wells, or mines, or in tangible forms of money, which of course means gold.
Obviously, gold has been in a painful slump since the summer of 2011. What near-term catalysts—let’s say in 2014—could wake it from its slumber?
We have to put 2013 into perspective, because portfolio management is a marathon, not a 100-meter sprint. Gold had risen 12 years in a row prior to last year’s price decline. And even after last year, gold has appreciated 13% per annum on average, making it one of the world’s best-performing asset classes since the current financial bust began with the popping of the dot-com bubble.
Looking to the year ahead, there are many potential catalysts, but it is impossible to predict which event will be the trigger. The derivatives time bomb? Failure of a big bank? The sovereign debt crisis returns to the boil? The Japanese yen collapses? It could be any of these or something we can’t even imagine. But one thing is certain: as long as central banks continue their present money-printing ways, the price of gold will rise over time to reflect the debasement of national currencies. The gold price might not jump to its fair value immediately because of government intervention, but it will rise eventually and inevitably.
So the most important thing to keep in mind is the money printing that pretty much every central bank around the world is doing. The central bankers have given it a fancy name—”quantitative easing.” But regardless of what it is called, it is still creating money out of thin air, which debases the currency that central bankers are supposed to be prudently managing to preserve the currency’s purchasing power.
Money printing does the exact opposite; it destroys purchasing power, and the gold price in terms of that currency rises as a consequence. The gold price is a barometer of how well—or perhaps more to the point, how poorly—central bankers are doing their job.
Governments have been debasing currencies since the Roman denarius. Why do you expect the consequences of this particular era of debasement to be so severe?
Yes, they have, and to use Rome as the example, its empire collapsed when the currency was debased. Worryingly, after the collapse of the Roman Empire, the world went into the so-called Dark Ages. Countries grow and prosper on sound money. They dissipate and eventually collapse when money becomes unsound. This pattern recurs throughout history.
Rome of course did not collapse overnight. The debasement of their currency cannot be precisely measured, but it lasted over 100 years. The important point we need to recognize is that the debasement of the dollar that began with the formation of the Federal Reserve in 1913 has now lasted over 100 years too. A penny in 1913 had the same purchasing power as a dollar has today, which, interestingly, is not too different from the rate at which Rome’s denarius was debased.
After discussing how the government of Cyprus raided its citizens’ bank accounts in 2013, you suggest that it’s a near certainty that more countries will introduce capital controls and asset confiscations in the next few years. What form might those seizures take, and how can people protect their assets?
It is impossible to predict, of course, because central planners can be very creative in coming up with different forms of financial repression that prevent you from doing what you want with your money. In fact, look at the creativity they have already used.
For example, not only did bank depositors in Cyprus lose much of their money, much of what was left was given to them in the forms of shares of the banks they bailed out, forcing them to become shareholders. And the US has imposed a creative type of capital control that makes it nearly impossible for its citizens to open a bank account outside the US. Pension plans are the most vulnerable because they are easy to get at. Keep in mind that Argentina, Ireland, Spain, and Poland raided private pensions when those countries ran into financial trouble.
Protecting one’s assets in today’s environment is difficult. John and I have some suggestions in the book, such as global diversification and internationalizing oneself to become as flexible as possible.
You dedicated an entire chapter of your book to silver. Which do you think will appreciate more in the next year, gold or silver? How about in the next 10 years?
I think silver will do better for the foreseeable future. It is still very cheap compared to gold. As but one example to illustrate this point, even though gold underwent a big price correction last year, it is still trading above the record high it made in January 1980, which was the top of the bull run that began in the 1960s.
In contrast, not only has silver not yet broken above its January 1980 peak of $50 per ounce, it is still far from that price. So silver has a lot of catching up to do.
Silver is a good substitute for gold in that silver, too, can be viewed as money outside the banking system, which is an important objective to keep wealth liquid and safe today. But silver may not be for everyone, because it is volatile. This volatility can be measured with the gold/silver ratio, which is the number of ounces of silver needed to equal one ounce of gold. The ratio was 30 to 1 in 2011, and several months later jumped to 60 to 1.
So you can see how volatile silver is. But because I expect silver to do better than gold, I believe that the ratio will fall to 16 to 1 eventually, which is the same level it reached in January 1980. It is also the ratio that generally applied when national currencies used to be backed by precious metals.
Besides gold, what one secular trend would you be most comfortable betting a large portion of your nest egg on?
Own things, rather than promises. Avoid financial assets. Own tangible assets of all sorts, like farmland, timberland, oil wells, etc. Near-tangibles like the equities of companies that own tangible assets are okay too, but avoid the equities of banks, credit card companies, mortgage companies, and any other equities tied to financial assets.
What asset class are you most bearish on?
Without any doubt, it is government debt in particular and more generally, government promises. They have promised more than they can possibly deliver, so a lot of their promises are going to be broken before we see the end of this current bust that began in 2000. And that outcome of broken promises describes the huge task that we all face. There will be a day of reckoning. There always is when an economy and governments take on more debt than is prudent, and the world is far beyond that point.
So everyone needs to plan and prepare for that day of reckoning. We can’t predict when it is coming, but we know from monetary history that busts follow booms, and more to the point, that currencies collapse when governments make promises that they cannot possibly fulfill. Their central banks print the currency the government wants to spend until the currency eventually collapses, which is a key point of The Money Bubble. The world has lost sight of what money is.
What today is considered to be money is only a money substitute circulating in place of money. J.P. Morgan had it right when in testimony before the US Congress in 1912 he said: “Money is gold, nothing else.” Because we have lost sight of this wisdom, a “money bubble” has been created. And it will pop. Bubbles always do.
As James Turk said, “near-tangibles like the equities of companies that own tangible assets” (i.e., gold stocks) are good investments—and right now, they are dramatically undervalued. In a recent online video event titled “Upturn Millionaires,” eight influential investors including Doug Casey, Rick Rule, Frank Giustra, and Ross Beaty gathered to discuss the new realities in the gold stock sector—and why the odds of making huge gains are now extremely high. Click here to watch the event.
Today another piece fell into place in my Great Inflation scenario that I’m expecting for 2014.
Before I begin let me recap. My overarching driver for the Great Inflation scenario is that the dollar would have some kind of crisis, or semi-crisis late this year as it drops down into its major three year cycle low. All other stock and commodity movements will be driven by this impending currency crisis.
For stocks, I’m expecting a final bubble phase parabolic spike over the next 4-5 months, followed by a devastating crash as the parabola collapses in June or July.
For commodities, I’m expecting a stealth rally for another month to a month and a half, followed by a super spike inflationary phase in the latter half of the year as the dollar collapse reaches maximum intensity.
Today the dollar broke through its intermediate trend line confirming that an intermediate degree decline is now in progress.
Since this intermediate cycle topped on week two in a left translated manner, the odds are very high that the dollar is going to break below the October low before this intermediate cycle bottoms. I’m actually expecting another test of the megaphone topping pattern trend line before this intermediate cycle bottoms sometime in March or early April.
The real damage is yet to come later in the year though.
The next component is the stock market. The movement in stocks over the next 4-5 months is a very important component for the Great Inflation to unfold. Stocks must enter a final parabolic melt up, bubble phase during the first half of this year. The very mild intermediate cycle low that bottomed last week has set the stage for this scenario to begin. In only five days the NASDAQ 100 has already moved back to new highs. This confirms my expectation that we are going to see the NASDAQ test the all-time highs above 5000 before this cyclical bull market comes to an end.
At that point the parabolic advance in the stock market will experience its initial collapse, and I expect the S&P will crash at least back to the 2000/2007 support zone at 1550. This is another critical component for the Great Inflation to unfold as it will cause Yellen to panic, reverse the taper, and probably initiate QE5 & 6. This won’t reflate the broken parabola but it will trigger a reaction rally before the collapse continues into a massive bear market that will bottom below 666 sometime in early to mid-2016.
QE 5 & 6 will be the final nail in the coffin for the dollar, and will trigger a full break of the megaphone top. I expect a move below the 2011 and 2008 bottoms before the dollar completes its final three year cycle low.
Commodity markets have already begun the stealth rally that I was looking for during the first half of this year. They successfully tested the 2012 three year cycle low and have now broken through the multiyear downtrend line. The Great Inflation has begun.
During this stealth rally I’m expecting gold to test the initial April breakdown at 1520 over the next 1-2 months.
That should push sentiment levels to bullish extremes from their current depressed levels, triggering an intermediate degree profit taking event into May or June as the stock market finishes its final parabolic blow off top.
As you can see silver sentiment is already recovering nicely and today’s move will likely push sentiment to levels next week requiring the metals to pull back and take a breather.
Over the next 4-5 months the easy money is going to be playing the final bubble phase in the stock market. Bubble tops don’t come around very often, but when they do traders can make an obscene amount of money in a short period of time.
Once the stock market bubble pops, and Yellen starts QE5 that’s the point at which the Great Inflation will begin in earnest, and I believe gold will probably rocket from an intermediate bottom of around 1350-1400 this summer, to test $2000 by the end of the year. This is the phase where the metals become the “easy trade”.
Over the next couple of months everything should generally rise together. But once the dollar puts in an intermediate bottom sometime in March or April, commodities and gold will move down into an intermediate correction as the stock market completes its final blow off top. After the stock market parabola collapses later this summer it will be time to put the pedal to the metal in the commodity markets, and especially the precious metal markets as the Great Inflation begins in earnest.
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Precious metals were under pressure last year, but investors continued to accumulate silver while gold had a record amount outflow selling.
We can see this by looking at the physically backed iShares Silver Trust SLV is up 25 million ounces Oct. 31, 2013 since January 2013. While physical holdings in the SPDR Gold Shares GLD shrunk by 28 million in 2013.
Investment demand for silver now accounts for 24% of overall demand, up from only 4% in 2003 after the introduction of ETFs as a liquid trading source. Additionally, silver investors typically include small investors, whereas large institutional investors have steered toward gold ETFs.
Unlike gold… silver is consumed by industrial and medical usage. Silver’s relative affordability and industrial usage is helping bolster silver demand.
Silver is used in consumer electronics like touch screens found in smart phones and tablets, medical equipment. As such, silver has proven virtually indispensable in almost all electronic devices.
According to the CPM Group., industrial demand should reach 838 million ounces, up about 3% year-over-year. It is important to know that silver’s global mining production shows a pathetic 2.8% during the past 10 years, which will not be enough to supply this new electronic age we live in.
So regardless of the state of the global economy, real demand for all of these electronics, demand in the 21st century might mean that silver’s industrial demand could grow at a faster rate than mine supply in the years to come.
If we look as what Asia is doing, demand continued to grow for physical metal. We can now add other nations, like Turkey or Argentina of silver and gold purchasers. If it weren’t for the fact that the Indian government has been trying to profit from its gold market with a 10% tax which has virtually stopped gold buying in India compared to what it was a couple years ago. I think gold would be trading much higher and teach the paper shorts a lesson or two regarding why gold and silver are not just commodities, but in fact are money.
In 2010 we saw India’s silver imports surge 235% over the previous year and 2010 was a huge year for silver. I feel as though the silver market is setting up for something even bigger this time around as the markets technical patterns combined with India’s 284% in silver imports last year will spark the next major rally in silver.
See the chart below for a visual of 2010 rally in silver.
Start of 2014 rally in silver?
The bull market in silver and gold during the 1970s took silver up 30 times and gold up over 20 times. If you were to compare the precious metals bull of the 70s with the recent bull market that began 12 years ago, we could see gold over 5,000 an ounce and silver at roughly 130.
During the metals peak in 1980 nearly everyone was trying to get some exposure to these investments. The 2011 highs do not look at all like the 1980 top, so I do not believe that we have seen the parabolic blow-off top often associated with the end of a commodity bull market.
The list of reasons to buy silver is long and diverse. Perhaps the most significant, is the need for the central banks to keep real interest rates below the rate of inflation. This is one the oldest tricks in the book to spark inflation.
Another reason I think silver should be owned is because of a possible short squeeze. The manipulation of silver is very controversial no doubt. What we do know is that the number of paper claims on physical metal has exploded over the course of the past four decades. This is probably the only fact worth focusing on and someday this will catch up with the price of silver and price could go ballistic.
Why Silver Should Rally Aggressively:
- China’s insatiable demand for the white metal continues growing
- India’s demand in 2013 more than doubled from the previous year and consumes 20% of all silver production.
- Silver’s global mining production shows a pathetic 2.8% during the past 10 years
- Yearly Consumption/Production ratio demonstrates acute deficits
- Unlike gold… silver is consumed by industrial and medical usage
- Chinese solar demand is expected to grow several hundred percent and silver is used and not easily recovered from this product.
- Investment demand for silver up 20% and will go ballistic…once the present consolidation ends
- Currency Devaluation Contagion will soon engulf the world, thus fueling all precious metals higher
- Mexico is considering making Silver the national currency…rather than the fiat peso
- Arizona and Utah legalized the use Gold & Silver As Currency and South Carolina & Colorado are going down this road
- A growing number of states are seeking shiny new currencies made of silver and gold
- Sales of US Minted Silver coins are at all-time record highs despite the recent correction in bullion value
- Silver and gold are both a commodity and financial assets
- Low interest rates in western nations bolster inflation
The Sterling Opportunities in Silver…
Silver and Gold Bull Market Comparisons and Forecast
Philadelphia Gold and Silver Index
The Philadelphia Gold and Silver Index is an index of 16 precious metal mining companies that are traded on the Philadelphia Stock Exchange. The index is represented by the symbol “XAU”, which may be a source of some confusion as this symbol is also used under the ISO 4217 currency standard to denote one troy ounce of gold. The Philadelphia Gold and Silver Index and the NYSE Arca Gold BUGS Index (NYSE MKT: HUI) are the two most watched gold indices on the market.
Large Silver Stock – Pan America Silver Corp.
There are many ways to play the next silver bull market. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Trading the large silver companies can provide great exposure along with dividends but often the larger stocks will not provide the most upside potential.
Typically the smaller the company the higher the potential gain but keep in mind risk increases as well.
Smaller Silver Stocks
Silver Miners ETF – The Basket of Silver Stocks
The SIL silver miners ETF holds a basket of silver stocks which vary in size. This is a great way to get the best of both worlds in terms of owning all sizes of silver stocks within one investment.
Because of the large and small ownership of volatile silver stocks you can see the potential return is higher than just owning a larger silver stock.
Silver Investment Conclusion:
In reality we have no idea what the central planners will do in the year ahead. All we can do is follow the price, trends and fundamental data in hopes to profit from the precious metals market.
No matter how you cut it, price will be volatile the market will do everything it can to buck us off the next bull market. While I like to actively trade rallies and pullbacks within the market, it is critical to always hold a core position with the longer underlying bull market. Try to remember the long term.
Now that the gold and silver bull market is starting again I will be covering them much closer along with the occasional stock here and there as opportunities present themselves which I feel comfortable putting my own money into. So I plan to share my trading portfolio with subscribers of my precious metals newsletter at www.TheGoldAndOilGuy.com
Gold had another remarkably strong day. The yellow metal closed at $1282 (€939.46) at the London PM fix. It traded higher in the the New York session and closed at $1290,98.
We wrote yesterday in Entire Precious Metals Complex At Major Resistance that the $1250 to $1260 level for gold is critical. It is important for the metal not to breach that price, in order to turn the daily chart bullish. With today’s solid move higher, chances are growing that this move higher is a sustainable rally and the beginnings of a new upleg.
The performance of the gold price is surprising as the general consensus was that gold would break down in the light of US Fed tapering. The opposite seems to be true. Since the taper started on 19 December 2013, gold has been the best performing financial asset, with a gain of 3.75%. Evidence is provided in the following chart (courtesy Bloomberg and Zerohedge).
As Zerohedge notes, gold has risen 6 of the last 7 days, breaking back over $1,275. Silver is on a 7-day win streak holding above $20 for the last 3 days.
For the first time ever, the majority of Americans are scared of their own federal government. A Pew Research poll found that 53% of Americans think the government threatens their personal rights and freedoms.
Americans aren’t wild about the government’s currency either. Instead of holding dollars and other financial assets, investors are storing wealth in art, wine, and antique cars. The Economist reported in November, “This buying binge… is growing distrust of financial assets.”
But while the big money is setting art market records and pumping up high-end real estate prices, the distrust-in-government script has not pushed the suspicious into the barbarous relic. The lowly dollar has soared versus gold since September 2011.
Every central banker on earth has sworn an oath to Keynesian money creation, yet the yellow metal has retraced nearly $700 from its $1,895 high. The only limits to fiat money creation are the imagination of central bankers and the willingness of commercial bankers to lend. That being the case, the main culprit for gold’s lackluster performance over the past two years is something else, Tocqueville Asset Management Portfolio Manager and Senior Managing Director John Hathaway explained in his brilliant report “Let’s Get Physical.
Hathaway points out that the wind is clearly in the face of gold production. It currently costs as much or more to produce an ounce than you can sell it for. Mining gold is expensive; gone are the days of fishing large nuggets from California or Alaska streams. Millions of tonnes of ore must be moved and processed for just tiny bits of metal, and few large deposits have been found in recent years.
“Production post-2015 seems set to decline and perhaps sharply,” says Hathaway.
Satoshi Nakamoto created a kind of digital gold in 2009 that, too, is limited in supply. No more than 21 million bitcoins will be “mined,” and there are currently fewer than 12 million in existence. Satoshi made the cyber version of gold easy to mine in the early going. But like the gold mining business, mining bitcoins becomes ever more difficult. Today, you need a souped-up supercomputer to solve the equations that verify bitcoin transactions—which is the process that creates the cyber currency.
The value of this cyber-dollar alternative has exploded versus the government’s currency, rising from less than $25 per bitcoin in May 2011 to nearly $1,000 recently. One reason is surely its portability. Business is conducted globally today, in contrast to the ancient world where most everyone lived their lives inside a 25-mile radius. Thus, carrying bitcoins weightlessly in your phone is preferable to hauling around Krugerrands.
No Paper Bitcoins
But while being the portable new kid on the currency block may account for some of Bitcoin’s popularity, it doesn’t explain why Bitcoin has soared while gold has declined at the same time.
Hathaway puts his finger on the difference between the price action of the ancient versus the modern. “The Bitcoin-gold incongruity is explained by the fact that financial engineers have not yet discovered a way to collateralize bitcoins for leveraged trades,” he writes. “There is (as yet) no Bitcoin futures exchange, no Bitcoin derivatives, no Bitcoin hypothecation or rehypothecation.”
So, anyone wanting to speculate in Bitcoin has to actually buy some of the very limited supply of the cyber currency, which pushes up its price.
In contrast, the shinier but less-than-cyber currency, gold, has a mature and extensive financial infrastructure that inflates its supply—on paper—exponentially. The man from Tocqueville quotes gold expert Jeff Christian of the CPM Group who wrote in 2000 that “an ounce of gold is now involved in half a dozen transactions.” And while “the physical volume has not changed, the turnover has multiplied.”
The general process begins when a gold producer mines and processes the gold. Then the refiners sell it to bullion banks, primarily in London. Some is sold to jewelers and mints.
“The physical gold that remains in London as unallocated bars is the foundation for leveraged paper-gold trades. This chain of events is perfectly ordinary and in keeping with time-honored custom,” explains Hathaway.
He estimates the equivalent of 9,000 metric tons of gold is traded daily, while only 2,800 metric tons is mined annually.
Gold is loaned, leased, hypothecated, and rehypothecated, over and over. That’s the reason, for instance, why it will take so much time for the Germans to repatriate their 700 tonnes of gold currently stored in New York and Paris. While a couple of planes could haul the entire stash to Germany in no time, only 37 tonnes have been delivered a year after the request. The 700 tonnes are scheduled to be delivered by 2020. However, it appears there is not enough free and unencumbered physical gold to meet even that generous schedule. The Germans have been told they can come look at their gold, they just can’t have it yet.
Leveraging Up in London
The City of London provides a loose regulatory environment for the mega-banks to leverage up. Jon Corzine used London rules to rehypothecate customer deposits for MF Global to make a $6.2 billion Eurozone repo bet. MF’s customer agreements allowed for such a thing.
After MF’s collapse, Christopher Elias wrote in Thomson Reuters, “Like Wall Street cocaine, leveraging amplifies the ups and downs of an investment; increasing the returns but also amplifying the costs. With MF Global’s leverage reaching 40 to 1 by the time of its collapse, it didn’t need a Eurozone default to trigger its downfall—all it needed was for these amplified costs to outstrip its asset base.”
Hathaway’s work makes a solid case that the gold market is every bit as leveraged as MF Global, that it’s a mountain of paper transactions teetering on a comparatively tiny bit of physical gold.
“Unlike the physical gold market,” writes Hathaway, “which is not amenable to absorbing large capital flows, the paper market, through nearly infinite rehypothecation, is ideal for hyperactive trading activity, especially in conjunction with related bets on FX, equity indices, and interest rates.”
This hyper-leveraging is reminiscent of America’s housing debt boom of the last decade. Wall Street securitization cleared the way for mortgages to be bought, sold, and transferred electronically. As long as home prices were rising and homeowners were making payments, everything was copasetic. However, once buyers quit paying, the scramble to determine which lenders encumbered which homes led to market chaos. In many states, the backlog of foreclosures still has not cleared.
The failure of a handful of counterparties in the paper-gold market would be many times worse. In many cases, five to ten or more lenders claim ownership of the same physical gold. Gold markets would seize up for months, if not years, during bankruptcy proceedings, effectively removing millions of ounces from the market. It would take the mining industry decades to replace that supply.
Further, Hathaway believes that increased regulation “could lead, among other things, to tighter standards for collateral, rules on rehypothecation, etc. This could well lead to a scramble for physical.” And if regulators don’t tighten up these arrangements, the ETFs, LBMA, and Comex may do it themselves for the sake of customer trust.
What Hathaway calls the “murky pool” of unallocated London gold has supported paper-gold trading way beyond the amount of physical gold available. This pool is drying up and is setting up the mother of all short squeezes.
In that scenario, people with gold ETFs and other paper claims to gold will be devastated, warns Hathaway. They’ll receive “polite and apologetic letters from intermediaries offering to settle in cash at prices well below the physical market.”
It won’t be inflation that drives up the gold price but the unwinding of massive amounts of leverage.
Americans are right to fear their government, but they should fear their financial system as well. Governments have always rendered their paper currencies worthless. Paper entitling you to gold may give you more comfort than fiat dollars.
However, in a panic, paper gold won’t cut it. You’ll want to hold the real thing.
There’s one form of paper gold, though, you should take a closer look at right now: junior mining stocks. These are the small-cap companies exploring for new gold deposits, and the ones that make great discoveries are historically being richly rewarded… as are their shareholders.
However, even the best junior mining companies—those with top managements, proven world-class gold deposits, and cash in the bank—have been dragged down with the overall gold market and are now on sale at cheaper-than-dirt prices. Watch eight investment gurus and resource pros tell you how to become an “Upturn Millionaire” taking advantage of this anomaly in the market—click here.