The deflationary wave intensifies

Little darling, I feel that ice is slowly melting
Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been clear
Here comes the sun, here comes the sun
And I say it’s all right
     –George Harrison, The Beatles, Here Comes the Sun

Most people have probably heard by now that world crude oil prices are in a dramatic plunge. In the futures market, the price is down 47% since June, from $107.68 per barrel to $57.49. The scuttlebut is that prices in the cash market are even lower as desperate countries and companies get what prices they can.

And it isn’t just crude oil prices that are crashing. Think stuff that China used for its “economic miracle,” like the price of iron ore (used in making steel), which has been cut in half since 2013.

But this current wave of deflation has taken on a new intensity. ZeroHedge summarized the most recent week quite well in Crude Carnage Contagion: Biggest Stock Bloodbath In 3 Years, Credit Crashes [my explanatory remarks in brackets]:

WTI’s [oil] 2nd worst week in over 3 years (down 10 of last 11 weeks)
Dow’s [stocks] worst worst week in 3 years
Financials [stocks] worst week in 2 months
Materials [stocks] worst week since Sept 2011
VIX’s Biggest week since Sept 2011 [VIX is a fear index, it rises when people are afraid]
Gold’s best week in 6 months [Gold is real money, solidified sunlight 🙂 ]
Silver’s last 2 weeks are best in 6 months [Silver is also real money!]
HY Credit’s worst 2 weeks since May 2012 [HY = High Yield (aka junk) bonds]
IG Credit’s worst week in 2 months [IG= Investment Grade bonds]
10Y Yield’s best week since June 2012 [10Y = US 10 year note]
US Oil Rig Count worst week in 2 years [Rigs are for drilling/fracking]
The USDollar’s worst week since July 2013
USDJPY’s worst week since June 2013 (USDJPY = US$ priced in Japanese Yen]
Portugal Bonds worst week since July 2011
Greek stocks worst week since 1987

So, why the intensifying deflation? Because, as has been explained here on several occasions, the world is groaning under an increasingly fierce debt load. The central banks have printed up $11 trillion in new money in the last 5 years to try to fend off deflation. Why? Because when debt loads get too large, some people and companies can’t pay back their loans, so they default, and the money they owe disappears. If they are companies, their employees lose their jobs. So their households spend less. Putting pressure on more businesses because of lost sales. Leading to more layoffs and more defaults. It’s a vicious cycle, an economy in reverse, and economy that is deflating. Remember, because all of the money in the system is debt, the economy must always grow to pay the interest on that debt. If the economy stops growing, the interest can’t be paid, defaults arise, and the deflationary cycle ensues. People tend to associate deflation with falling prices, but the falling prices are the result of deflation, not its cause.

So the central banks tried to ease the debt load by lowering interest rates to zero or lower. But one of the results was that all that cheap money financed all kinds of projects that would never have been created without this almost-free money because they weren’t very good ideas to begin with, such as the stories we’ve all heard about China having 3,000 companies all basically in the same business–how can they all make money? They can’t. Such overcapacity makes life tough for all of the companies, which all have to lower their prices, which start laying off employees, which can’t pay back their debts, etc. etc. as explained above. So this lowering of rates might seem to work for a short time, but when it’s carried on for years, it’s deflationary!

The second thing the central banks did was create this new $11 trillion to buy more debt! So they are trying to fight a problem of too much debt by creating more debt! Historians will marvel at the lack of logic by an entire academic profession. The reason for this pervasive illogic is that academic economists have for years purged from their ranks anyone who brought up the topic of gold as real money, ridiculing and marginalizing them. So they banished logic from their own ranks.

But let’s get back to the big deal of the last several weeks, the crash in oil prices. Cool, you might say, I’ll be able to pay less when I fill up my car with gas. True. But it might be wise to consider why oil prices are crashing:

     World Oil Demand Outlook Cut Again; Sub-$60 Price Seen Holding

Any hope that global demand would provide a floor for oil’s freefall was dashed as the leading energy forecaster cut its outlook for the fourth time in five months and crude extended its tumble.

Frankly, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of one of these international organizations like the International Energy Agency cutting their forecast four times in five months. So what’s happening is collapsing demand for oil.

Several recent financial statistics that measure changes in the economy are reporting levels of decline “last seen in 2009.” Recall that in 2009, a lot of people thought the world economy was not just staring into the abyss, but was about to fall in.

     PPI Slides, Misses Estimates, After Finished Goods Prices Tumble Most Since July 2009

     Short-Term Inflation Expectations Have Crashed To 5 Year Lows (In The US)

Now how does this relate to yet another “miracle” discovered by the pom-pom and short-skirt-bedecked economic and political cheerleaders, the “US shale miracle”? This is the miracle by which the US will allegedly frack its way to energy independence.

For the last three years, the US shale drillers have been borrowing $1.50 for every $1.00 in oil and gas that they pull from the ground. And that was with oil prices above $100 per barrel. The industry as a whole expected to get to breakeven–instead of losing money hand over fist, which is what they have been doing with oil just above $100–with oil above $120 per barrel. But now the price is under $60, which is less than half of the price needed for them to break even. (Chris Martenson’s group has done a great, clear video on this if you want the details.)

All told since early 2010, these energy producers have borrowed at least $550 billion. Remember that the size of the sub-prime mortgage problem was around $1.1 trillion, and the collapse of that sub-prime mortgage market nearly took down the whole system. These oil frackers have borrowed over a half trillion just since 2010 and now it looks like a lot of that borrowing will not get repaid, that is, they will default.

Now that $550 billion was a lot of spending for purchasing equipment and creating jobs to use that gear. It turns out that 1/3 of business capital spending in the US in recent years has been for energy exploration and production. And some estimate that 90% of new jobs created in the US in the last five years are related to energy production.

But now suddenly, no one wants to lend the frackers cheap money to create more overcapacity in the shale patch (because the lenders know there is a good chance they will never get paid back.) So now there will be a huge drop in equipment purchases and lots of job layoffs, leading to, you guessed it, more deflation!

If you don’t think this will happen, check this headline:

     Exclusive: New U.S. oil and gas well November permits tumble nearly 40 percent

Plunging oil prices sparked a drop of almost 40 percent in new well permits issued across the United States in November, in a sudden pause in the growth of the U.S. shale oil and gas boom that started around 2007.

Data provided exclusively to Reuters on Tuesday by industry data firm Drilling Info Inc showed 4,520 new well permits were approved last month, down from 7,227 in October.

So, the “US shale miracle” will be proven to be another fable, along with the US energy independence it was supposed to engender. It was fueled by a supply of ultra-cheap money that has now dried up. One aspect of fracked wells is that they lose 70% of their production capacity in two years, and 80% to 90% in three years. So to keep more oil flowing, these fracking companies have had to borrow more and more money to drill more and more wells. As described above, it wasn’t a very good business model and would not have existed were it not for the cheap money being provided to Wall St by the central banks.

So while you may be able to buy cheaper gas for your car, the US economy is likley to take a serious hit relating to jobs and business spending from the oil collapse.

And the US is supposed to be the bright spot in the world economy. Japan is in recession yet again. The Eurozone perennially flirts with recession, and is being dragged down by the US-led sanctions against Russia, which itself has fallen back into recession. China claims to still be growing, but the hard evidence of the falling prices mentioned above, falling real estate prices, and stalling growth in the use of electricity in China argues otherwise. From Deutsche Bank:

…the global financial system is still extremely fragile and not sustainable…2015 will be the 9th year of highly unconventional central bank policy and…we’re no nearer to finding a sustainable solution…
–Deutsche Bank

But not to worry: Uber, the emerging ride sharing service, is said to be valued at $40 billion. (Those must be some rides!)  And Jessica Alba’s new diaper-cleaning service company is apparently valued at $1 billion!

     No Bubble At All: Jessica Alba’s Diaper-Delivery Startup Is Valued At $1 Billion, Prepares For IPO

So I guess everyone will get rich (again, like in the year 2000) from internet startups?

Historically, deflation is rather unkind to stock prices. World stock markets are currently being floated by the free money from the central banks, but how long can that last? And this deflationary trend has supports beyond the overload of debt, such as the end of several cycles, including the the 26,000 year precession of the equinoxes, which tends to really clear the decks on this planet.

Now, will this deflation crash the price of gold? Not at all likely. Historically, gold increases in purchasing power during both inflationary and deflationary periods; these are periods during which people start to think that governments are losing control, so people opt for real money over government-issued scrip. Gold loses purchasing power when people think everything is, to put it technically, hunky-dory, and that their government is doing a great job. Most people don’t see it that way during bouts of deflation. Intelligent observers are still stacking real coins:

     Sales Of Silver American Eagles Rise To Record High For Second Consecutive Year

and likely hanging onto their hats to get ready for a very wild ride. Because sometimes, in reaction to deflation, governments really ramp up the money printing presses, and people lose all confidence in government money, which is known as hyper-inflation.

Whatever it is that’s coming, it’s good to know that our bank regulators will be well protected:

     Why Is The US Treasury Quietly Ordering “Surival Kits” For US Bankers?

The Department of Treasury is spending $200,000 on survival kits for all of its employees who oversee the federal banking system, according to a new solicitation. As FreeBeacon reports, survival kits will be delivered to every major bank in the United States and includes a solar blanket, food bar, water-purification tablets, and dust mask (among other things). The question, obviously, is just what do they know that the rest of us don’t?

Saturday morning cartoons

(But) look at these sexagenarian dogs! Their dog-teeth get sharper at every moment. The hairs drop from the fur of an old dog; (but) see these old (human) dogs clad in satin! See how their passionate desire and greed for women and gold, like the progeny of dogs, is increasing continually! Such a life as this, which is Hell’s stock-in-trade, is a shambles for the butchers (executioners) of (the Divine) Wrath; (Yet) when people say to him, “May your life be long!” he is delighted and opens his mouth in laughter.
He thinks a curse like this is a benediction: he never uncloses his (inward) eye or raises his head once (from the slumber of heedlessness). If he had seen (even as much as) a hair’s tip of the future state, he would have said to him (who wished him long life), “May thy life be like this!”
–Rumi, The Mathnawi, Book VI, circa 1270 A.D.

The cartoons at the link below should be required viewing (and understanding!) in school, especially any history or economics class. These cartoons are all from 100 years ago or more. They clearly describe the cementing into law–pending at the time– of the rigged banking, currency, and stock markets that financially enslave almost everyone on the planet to the endless hunger for humongo-profits of the few. They show that at least a some people understood the game then. Sadly, few understand the game even now. How do we get this understanding to everyone so that we can end this vicious travesty? How do we bring in the logic and compassion that clearly show the primitive and self-defeating nature of systematically-enshrined greed? Continue reading

Currency Balloons

Given the state of most media reporting, it’s sometimes tough to know whether to laugh or cry. Here’s a story from last week about a surge in gold bullion purchasing in Germany in August and September:

     German Bullion Dealers Report Major Increase in Sales

Christian Brenner, Chief Executive of Philoro Edelmetalle GmbH: “Already in August we noticed an increase on orders compared to the previous months, but September… September beats it all. From a German viewpoint it’s the strongest month of 2014.”. At their head office in Austria they also register an “overproportional high level” of revenue.

At the end of the article, there is a stumbling attempt to explain the recent surge with no mention of its real reason. Here’s a chart of the Euro showing it losing over 7% of its “value” in August and September, in the context of a 10% loss since May:
Euro2014107

It would seem clear that at least some people in Germany and Austria noticed that someone was letting the air out of their Euros and decided to convert to real money.

It was the same for the Japanese in August and September, but much worse overall since the Japanese government has been hellbent on devaluing the Yen for two years. Here’s a chart showing the loss in “value” of the yen of more than 31% in the last three years:

Yen20141007Since these losses in “value” are measured against the biggest balloon of them all, the US Dollar, this is the source of what you may have been hearing lately about the “strong Dollar”! In other words, the “strong Dollar” is simply the result of other major governments succeeding in intentionally letting air out of the balloons known as their currencies.

They are doing this in an attempt to create inflation! Unlike regular people, who like it when prices drop and they can get good deals, governments, being the largest debtors on the planet, want inflation so that their debts can be repaid in cheaper and cheaper currency as time passes. In case you haven’t noticed, that’s a form of grand theft: I’ll borrow money from you today, and pay it back with cheaper money later.

Well so what, you might say. If they are all doing that, what’s the big deal? Continue reading

A major change, Part 2

Continuing, following Part 1, with the idea that an energetic pressure has been lifted from the Entrenched Elites and their minions, allowing them to better recognize reality and to speak more freely:

If you think that you can escape the clutches of the money confiscators plotting their bank bail-ins by having your money in a US-based money market fund, think again. The SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission)–founded to protect people from the wolves of Wall St but which now protects the wolves–sees the crises rolling toward us and has just ruled that money market funds can suspend withdrawals or place high fees on those withdrawals “during times of market stress.”

     The “Gates” Are Closing: SEC Votes Through Money Market Reform

Some think this attempt to prevent runs on money market funds will actually create such runs since, as more people become aware of such rules, their first reaction during “market stress,” also known as a panic, will be to withdraw their money before the exit gates are closed. Others think they are trying to scare people out of money market funds and into stocks to further enhance the “wealth effect” which allegedly makes people spend more when they feel good because they see the stock market rising as a signal that “everything is OK.” Either way, and as usual these days, this isn’t good for regular people. The government regulators see these runs on the horizon and will try to “protect the system” by controlling what people can do with what is supposed to be their own money.

And if you think you can escape the money confiscation vice by being in bond mutual funds, the Fed sees the potential for runs on these funds, so you’ll soon be out of luck there as well. According to the Financial Times:

Federal Reserve officials have discussed imposing exit fees on bond funds to avert a potential run by investors, underlining regulators’ concern about the vulnerability of the $10tn corporate bond market…

Exit fees would seek to discourage retail investors from withdrawing funds, thereby making their claims less liquid and making a fire sale of the assets more unlikely.

Wonder how long it will take before they put exit gates on stock market mutual funds. And then, at some point, the whole stock market. For our own good, of course. To save the system. For national security. All please now rise for a rendition of God Save the Queen.

Next, the so-called BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa), home to 3 billion of our fellow inhabitants of Earth, announced that they have had enough of being treated as poor relations on the world economic stage, and enough of broken promises from EUUSUK (European Union, US, and UK), and have formed their own alternative to the IMF (International Monetary Fund) called the New Development Bank. From the joint statement by these five major countries:

“We remain disappointed and seriously concerned with the current non-implementation of the 2010 International Monetary Fund (IMF) reforms, which negatively impacts on the IMF’s legitimacy, credibility and effectiveness. The IMF reform process is based on high-level commitments, which already strengthened the Fund’s resources and must also lead to the modernization of its governance structure so as to better reflect the increasing weight of EMDCs in the world economy.”

The old guard countries promised the Emerging Market countries, in 2004 and again in 2010, greater say in the governance of the IMF in exchange for greater monetary contributions from the BRICS; they took the money but never come through on their promises. For example, Belgium still has more votes at the IMF than Brazil despite the fact that Brazil’s economy is more than five times larger. And the IMF is strongly dominated by the US despite the fact that, according to the World Bank’s calculations, the Chinese economy will be the world’s largest by the end of 2014. That wasn’t “supposed” to happen till 2020 by US government calculations, but the USgov tends to use very strange calculators that have a button that says, “Make the US economy look better than it is,” and they press that button a lot. Anyway, the BRICS are backing their new bank with $50 billion up front, with another $50 billion promised as a contingency fund.

This presents an alternative for countries in financial distress. No longer is the IMF the only game in town. This is important since IMF “rescues” can often be summed up like this: “Oh, you’re in trouble with your bankers? Tell us absolutely everything about the finances of your country, your banking system, your companies, etc. and then we’ll loan you a bunch of new money that will first and foremost go to paying your international bankers, and be sure to spend some of the rest with the following US and European companies who will help you develop your natural resources and get you a price that will be very fair for those companies. And since you will now have even more debt than before, you’ll have to implement austerity measures that will further impoverish your citizens. Sign here or default on your debts and lose all access to the international capital markets.”

As a side note, this New Development Bank is yet another whack to the US Dollar’s status as the world reserve currency.

If Portugal weren’t in the EU, they could probably take advantage of the New Development Bank for their next bailout. The Euro-pols have been parading Portugal as a country bailout success because their economy is expected to expand a meager 0.9% this year. That’s despite the unmentioned fact that said economy will be 16% smaller than it was in 2009. But all that won’t matter now that Portugal’s largest banking group, Espirito Santo, is going down the tubes, and a second bank, Rio Forte, is filing for bankruptcy. And going along with the theme of this post, Portugal’s President Cavaco Silva actually said publicly what politicians never say: that this is going to hurt the economy:

“If some citizens, some investors suffer significant losses (from the Espirito Santo group), they may delay investment decisions, or some of them may find themselves in very big difficulties,” Cavaco Silva said in comments during a visit to South Korea, which were aired on local television. “We cannot ignore that there will be some impact on the real economy.”

Previously, politicians have always claimed any problem is “well-contained,” a tempest in a teapot, nothing to worry about. Perhaps the President is being savvy in trying to distance himself from the Espirito Santo group. Now that everyone knows the banking group is in trouble, there’s little point in hiding the dirty laundry any longer from some misplaced fear that truth about a country’s largest bank will “hurt the economy”. The authorities have detained the man who was that groups’s CEO until his resignation a month ago:

     Banco Espirito Santo CEO, Who Quit Last Month, Detained In Money Laundering Probe

I guess the phrase honest bank executive can be firmly placed in the list of oxymorons along with crash landing, even odds, and good grief.

This points rather nicely (or nastily, depending on one’s point of view) back to the IMF. In its continuing frank admission that countries will never be able to pay back a lot of the money they’ve borrowed, the IMF published another of what Martin Armstrong accurately calls “partial default options” for countries, that is, they are telling countries, “don’t default on all of your debt, here are some ways to not-pay your debts, but in smaller chunks so as to be less noticeable and alarming.” Some of the “options” they have previously discussed:

Financial repression: This is described on the IMF website as:

Financial repression occurs when governments implement policies to channel to themselves funds that in a deregulated market environment would go elsewhere. Policies include directed lending to the government by captive domestic audiences (such as pension funds or domestic banks), explicit or implicit caps on interest rates, regulation of cross-border capital movements, and (generally) a tighter connection between government and banks.

This option has already been chosen and activated by the US, the European Union, Japan, the UK, and so forth. This is where governments print money to buy bonds to drive interest rates to near-zero or, in the case of the European Central Bank, negative. This saves the government huge amounts in interest expenses. Instead of paying 5% or 6% interest, a reasonable estimate of the historical average for government debt, they now pay almost nothing. This steals money from savers, pension funds, insurance companies, etc., who get little or no interest on their savings/investments, but it allows national governments to temporarily maintain the appearance of solvency, to keep their power and their empires and, for government’s upper management, to continue to live like royalty.

The IMF website goes on to say:

In the current policy discussion, financial repression issues come under the broad umbrella of “macroprudential regulation”…

Well how do you like that: the new Chairwoman of the US Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen, used the phrase macroprudential regulation repeatedly last week in testimony to Congress and in her press conference. She is telling everyone with ears to hear that she will go further down the road of financial repression during the next phase of the crisis. See the quote above that includes “directed lending to the government by captive domestic audiences,…regulation of cross-border capital movements.” In other words, like they did in Cyprus, if they say so, then your money will have to stay in the country. And it may get lent to the government whether you like it or not. If you think these people won’t pull such stunts when they decide it’s a matter of national security (which equates in their minds with them remaining in power), then you need to study them more carefully. And admittedly this one is semi-coded, but they are informing you up-front that they will take such measures.

What else has the IMF recommended?

Wealth Tax: From this IMF paper:

The sharp deterioration of the public finances in many countries has revived interest in a “capital levy”— a one-off tax on private wealth—as an exceptional measure to restore debt sustainability. The appeal is that such a tax, if it is implemented before avoidance is possible and there is a belief that it will never be repeated, does not distort behavior (and may be seen by some as fair).

Folks, if you need to, “distort your behavior”!!! In other words, they have gone on record saying that this tactic only works if they give no advance warning. So that IMF paper is the advance warning. If they pull this tactic, and I think desperate countries will, it will be just as it happened in Cyprus, their test bed: You go to sleep Friday with X dollars in your account, and when you check your balance on Monday, some of it is gone! In the case of Cyprus, a lot of it was gone for some people. And for what? To save a failing bank. So “distort your behavior” ahead of time and get your savings out of their way. Any account balance you can call up on a screen is in their way.

The IMF also calculated just how high they thought each country could raise its income tax rates and not crash their economy. For some countries, the rates were a lot higher than they are now. And of course they recommended higher property tax rates because it’s very difficult for people to hide their houses or move them to another country, so property owners are sitting ducks.

So what is the IMF’s recent addition to this list?

Duration extension: For this one, they came up with the name “re-profiling.” Which means I’m wrong that maybe they now they think they can really call a spade and spade: they still feel the need to make up BS names for the tricks they pull on people. Still, I think the last couple of months have shown a striking increase in honesty from these folks. Anyway, what’s this re-profiling?

This would be the ability to extend the duration of debt at will. Sounds esoteric, but it’s really rather simple. Most government borrowing is very short term, say 30 days to 90 days: The government says, “Lend me some money, I’ll pay you back, plus a little bit of interest, in 30 days.” These short-term debt instruments end up in money market funds, corporate treasuries, etc. Most people treat their money market fund like cash, that is, they write checks from it, pay bills from it, etc. But this tactic would allow the government to say: that 30-day Treasury Bill is now a 5-year Bond, that is, we’re not going to pay the principal back in 30 days, we’re going to pay it back in 5 years. And we’ll give you the same miniscule interest rate we have been paying on that 30-day bill, namely something like 0.01%. So then lots of people who thought they had ready access to their cash? They would find out their “cash” was now tied up for years. This would enable the government to put off its own bills till way off in the future, giving them free reign to continue ordering caviar and champagne for their free red-carpet junkets around the world.

In my view, the best thing about all this is they are telling people up front what they plan to do. I hope regular readers have already taken the appropriate measures to protect themselves from these tactics, but if you haven’t, it still isn’t too late.

I am remembering a scene in the movie Body Heat where a hardened white-collar criminal chides William Hurt for being someone who won’t “do whatever it takes.” Be assured that when the next inevitable phase of this ongoing financial and political crisis hits, those in power will “do whatever it takes” to stay there.

In the longer term, their efforts will fail. But there’s some road to travel before we get to that longer term. From recent events, it’s fairly clear that part of that road involves war. So far, the biggest downside I can see to this lifting of pressure from the Elites and their minions is that they seem to think they can do and say just about anything they want in terms of threatening, and in some cases attacking, other countries. I’ll take up this topic soon in an update on the War Cycle.

A major change, Part 1

A significant change has taken place. A pressure seems to have been lifted from members of the so-called Elites. This can be seen by two effects:

1. Some of these System Controllers are taking a look around and are none too pleased with what they see.

2.  Some of them realize they can now speak more freely.

Here are some examples. The first is a set of quotes from the Chief Investment Officer of Allianz, by some metrics Europe’s largest insurer, and the third largest insurance company in the world:

The fundamental problems are not solved and everybody knows it.

Let’s hear that again:

The fundamental problems are not solved and everybody knows it.

Wow, for the last five years, one had to peruse surly blogs to hear that truth, but this is from Maximilian Zimmerer, the guy in charge of the assets for one of the 20 largest corporations in the world. He also stated that the “euro crisis is not over.” With that latter quote, he just told us that all those Euro-pols running around saying the “euro crisis is over” and “Europe has been fixed” are very mistaken and/or very full of it.

Next, someone let the Wall St Journal know that the US Federal Reserve has been railing about extreme problems at Germany’s top bank, Deutsche Bank:

In a letter to Deutsche Bank executives last December, a senior official with the New York Fed wrote that financial reports produced by some of the bank’s U.S. arms “are of low quality, inaccurate and unreliable.”

It said examiners found “material errors and poor data integrity”…The shortcomings amount to a “systemic breakdown” and “expose the firm to significant operational risk…”

So what’s the US central bank doing castigating Germany’s largest commercial bank? DB has large US operations; we showed here that half of the Fed’s money printing went to European banks, so DB probably has a lot of that cash, that is, from the Fed’s point of view, they had to bail out DB before, they don’t want to have to do it again; and, drumroll please, DB has the largest exposure to derivatives of any bank in the world. Again, what are derivatives? They are highly leveraged bets on every imaginable financial price movement. Here’s what ZeroHedge says about DB and derivatives:

Recall that as we have shown for two years in a row, Deutsche has a total derivative exposure that amounts to €55 trillion or just about $75 trillion. That’s a trillion with a T, and is about 100 times greater than the €522 billion in deposits the bank has. It is also 5x greater than the GDP of Europe and more or less the same as the GDP of… the world.

And here is that text in chart format:

So that’s Germany’s total economy in green on the left; Europe’s economy in blue in the center; and Deutsche Bank’s derivative bets in red on the right. So when it becomes clear that DB has a serious problem, it will be way too big for Germany to handle; probably way to big for Europe to handle; and possibly way too big for anyone to handle, that is, it could be game over, system down, everyone start from scratch. What the US Fed is saying is that DB’s recordkeeping and reporting is so bad that it results in “significant operational risk.” We likely won’t know till after DB goes down the tubes whether this was error or intentional obfuscation on their part. My guess is it’s probably a lot of both: their business is so huge, they have little understanding of many of its parts, some of which likely have twenty-something rogue traders putting on huge derivative bets; and they have plenty to hide.

Next, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) has overtly questioned the sanity of just about all central banks and just about everyone participating in the financial markets. So why should anyone care? Perhaps you’ve been blessed during this lifetime and have never heard of the BIS. It is the organization that was described as follows on Bloomberg:

It was especially useful to the Nazis.

Though headed by an American during World War II, the BIS adhered to a priestly neutrality…in order to continue dealing with all sides in the conflict. Unfortunately, this put the institution squarely in the position of abetting Nazi terror.

The BIS accepted plundered gold and made it possible for Germany to acquire desperately needed war materiel. It even permitted Germany, once it had invaded Czechoslovakia, to confiscate that nation’s gold reserves.

I can just hear you saying: “Oh that BIS.” Anyway, from such disgusting beginnings, the BIS has continued its traditions and thereby has risen to be the central bank above all other central banks, that is, if you are the head of a major central bank in the world, you get a seat at the table at the BIS. Here it is, what some call the Tower of Basel, such a friendly-looking nuclear plant cooling tower place:

I’m told that if you’ve got a war to finance or a lot of drug money to launder, the BIS is your one-stop-shopping place. But I digress. In this article:

     BIS Slams “Market Euphoria”, Finds “Puzzling Disconnect” Between Economy And Market

you can find the Financial Times summary of the latest BIS Annual Report:

The Bank for International Settlements has warned that “euphoric” financial markets have become detached from the reality of a lingering post-crisis malaise, as it called for governments to ditch policies that risk stoking unsustainable asset booms.

While the global economy is struggling to escape the shadow of the crisis of 2007-09, capital markets are “extraordinarily buoyant”, the Basel-based bank said, in part because of the ultra-low-rate monetary policy being pursued around the world…calling for policy makers to halt the steady rise in debt burdens around the world and embark on reforms to boost productivity.

In its annual report, the BIS also warned of the risks brewing in emerging markets, setting out early warning indicators of possible banking crises in a number of jurisdictions, including most notably China.

So there you have it, the ultimate insider organization saying what the surly blogs have been saying for years: stock and bond markets are wildly detached from economic reality, central banks are keeping interest rates too low and printing too much money, expect banks to fail all over the world, especially in places like China, etc.

Next, speaking of bank failures, the EU, US, and UK (I think an appropriate pronounceable acronym for this particular axis of evil is EUUSUK) have decided to “show us their feelings” about bank bailouts and have come clean about their attempt to get all countries to go along with their scheme to replace bank bailouts with bail-ins, through which, if you have money in a bank that fails, they are going to steal a bunch of your money to save the bank, like they did in the test case, Cyprus:

     Bank Of England Leads Push For Deposit Confiscation – Japan, China, Russia Against Bail-Ins

They are pushing all major countries to go along with this plan for an obvious reason: Let’s say you are a global corporation or a gazillionaire and can place your money in whatever countries you choose. Why would you keep your money in countries where you could lose a lot of money in a bail-in? You wouldn’t be such a fool, of course, you’d move that money to safer countries, or into safer forms such as gold. However, the EUUSUK axis is being brutally honest here about their intent. Perhaps people living within the axis will be helped by the reluctance of the Asians and Russians to go along with this draconian plan to continue saving reckless banks by theft from regular people; but I doubt it.

Let’s call it a day and save more of this new-found realism and truth-telling for Part 2.

 

 

A brief comment on the metals

This is strictly an opinion piece, I will not try to prove my case with links, charts, and so forth. An attempt to prove the case would be seriously lengthy, a project for which I don’t currently have the time and which I doubt most would want to read.

There is a very bright golden light on the horizon for precious metal prices, but that light is on the horizon (let’s say the first half of August), not right here. In other words, I think prices will drop first before they start rising in a serious way. I see four separate price, time, and trend patterns that include an expectation that price falls first before it takes off to the upside in a big way. And these patterns are supported by the seasonal pattern for gold which shows prices typically falling in the Summer and then turning up sometime in August.

So for anyone who has savings to deploy in the metals, the setup is ideal: you should get lower prices over the next couple of months for your buying, with an expectation that your buying will be followed by the start of a major price rally, that is, the prices available over the next several weeks should be quite a bargain.

For those of you who bought your metals years back–hopefully at prices that are still well below where they are now–and who have no additional buying power, you’ll need to be patient here, but as implied above, a price drop dead ahead will be an elegant completion of major recognizable patterns (based on four entirely different types of calculations) that have an exceedingly high probability of being the end of this general price downmove that started in late 2011. These patterns all clearly indicate that the bull market in metals that started early in this century still has many years to run, and that the best upward price movement is definitely still ahead of us.

Of course this could all be wrong if some huge war breaks out, in which case prices could go up and never look back. But if things are allowed to work out with “only” the normal amount of accelerating instability that is the most important trend of our time, then these reliable price, time, and trend patterns are likely to complete as outlined above. In any case, no matter what, prices should turn up for good later in the Summer.

This post is an attempt to keep emotions out of the precious metals picture so that as many of us as possible own some when we will all truly need them down the road. (I am serious about the word need; my repeated posting about gold and silver has nothing to do with an “investment scheme” to get rich quick or with having the “right asset class in your diversified portfolio,” I am talking about what people will soon need.) As their propaganda on this topic and their dirty tricks clearly show, the Powers That Were want you to get emotional and make the mistake of avoiding or selling physical metals so that they can accumulate more metals for themselves at low prices. I’m hoping that everyone who reads Thundering Heard is well prepared to fend off, or even capitalize on, their tricks.

 

More on the stock market

I’m fairly sure that no one in the stock market cared much about my negative comments about stocks from three days ago:

83% of these new stock offerings over the last three months are money-losing companies…That almost equals the all-time record for such madness of 84% in the year 2000 during the internet/tech stock bubble.

But what about when David Einhorn, probably one of the five most successful hedge fund managers ever, says basically the same thing, which he did in a report issued today. Einhorn says he is selling short (that’s betting on a price decline, that is, Einhorn will make money as the prices of these stocks go down) a basket of overvalued tech stocks:

Our criteria for selecting stocks for the bubble basket is that we estimate there to be at least 90% downside for each stock…

So he thinks there is a good chance that the prices of these stocks will decline by 90% or more. Think that can’t happen? Einhorn again:

There is a huge gap between the bubble price and the point where disciplined growth investors (let alone value investors) become interested buyers. When the last internet bubble popped, Cisco (the best of the best bubble stocks) fell 89%, Amazon fell 93%, and the lower quality stocks fell even more.

For anyone interested, Einhorn’s full report is embedded in this article:

     David Einhorn: “We Are Witnessing Our Second Tech Bubble In 15 Years” – Full Letter

Here’s another perspective that should make anyone with money in stocks promptly head for the hills (that means sell!). In 2002, after tech stocks crashed, Scott McNealy, co-founder and CEO of Sun Microsystems, gave a famous interview in Business Week. Sun was one of the many tech sock darlings. They made and sold high-powered workstations favored by the scientific community, Wall St, oil and gas engineers, etc. At its peak, the market valued his company at 10 times company sales. Not profits (that’s what is left over after all expenses), but sales, the amount of money that comes in the door prior to all expenses such as salaries, rent, supplies, etc. McNealy described how absurd it was for the market to value his company at 10 times sales:

But two years ago we were selling at 10 times revenues when we were at $64. At 10 times revenues, to give you a 10-year payback, I have to pay you 100% of revenues for 10 straight years in dividends…That assumes I have zero cost of goods sold, which is very hard for a computer company. That assumes zero expenses, which is really hard with 39,000 employees. That assumes I pay no taxes, which is very hard. And that assumes you pay no taxes on your dividends, which is kind of illegal. And that assumes with zero R&D for the next 10 years, I can maintain the current revenue run rate. Now, having done that, would any of you like to buy my stock at $64? Do you realize how ridiculous those basic assumptions are?

Well, in mid-March of this year, there were forty companies valued at 10 times sales or higher. The list, compiled by Goldman Sachs, is at this link:

     America’s Most Overvalued Companies Are…

On average, these forty are valued at 15 times sales! To quote David Einhorn from his report: “After all, twice a silly price is not twice as silly; it’s still just silly.”

Silly is a direct result of money printing by central banks. The chart in the bottom panel below shows how, since the start of 2008, when the Federal Reserve was printing money (the color-shaded areas on the chart) stocks rose and rose and rose. Anytime they weren’t printing money, stocks fell promptly. So they keep printing. It doesn’t help regular folks, whose real incomes have been declining through this whole period, but it sure helps wealthy stock market investors:

Stocks_QEBespoke-032614

(Chart Source)

It’s very obvious that the sheep are getting set up for another shearing, just as they were in 2000 and again in 2007. When exactly will this shearing take place? I claim no expertise on that score. Can the stock market go higher still? Sure. Clearly it depends on how much money the Federal Reserve prints, how long traders believe in the effectiveness of that printing, and how big the many wars in the world get. But I can tell you for sure, when the shearing happens, “silly” will not be the word on the minds of investors.

I don’t like being shorn, so I have nothing to do with stocks these days. I don’t want my savings anywhere near a brokerage account for reasons described under Lie #6 here. So I don’t have to guess about when the next shearing will take place. If I did want to guess, I would closely follow the work of Jeremy Grantham since he has a multi-decade real-time excellent track record of predicting future returns from stocks. His firm publishes a quarterly newsletter at their web site and Grantham’s comments are followed at web sites like ZeroHedge and King World News. Here are some recent comments:

     Jeremy Grantham’s GMO: “The S&P Is Approximately 75% Overvalued; Its Fair Value Is 1100” 

      Grantham on stocks:

Grantham: We do think the market is going to go higher because the Fed hasn’t ended its game, and it won’t stop playing until we are in old-fashioned bubble territory and it bursts, which usually happens at two standard deviations from the market’s mean. That would take us to 2,350 on the S&P 500, or roughly 25% from where we are now.

Q: So are you putting your client’s money into the market?

Grantham: No. You asked me where the market is headed from here. But to invest our clients’ money on the basis of speculation being driven by the Fed’s misguided policies doesn’t seem like the best thing to do with our clients’ money.

We invest our clients’ money based on our seven-year prediction. And over the next seven years, we think the market will have negative returns. The next bust will be unlike any other, because the Fed and other centrals banks around the world have taken on all this leverage that was out there and put it on their balance sheets. We have never had this before. Assets are overpriced generally. They will be cheap again. That’s how we will pay for this. It’s going to be very painful for investors.

Grantham is a smart fellow and one of the few Wall St people who is honest about the food crisis brewing in the world and certainly one of the very few to quote Bob Marley. He wrote a detailed report on the topic, from the point of view of a numbers man, which he is:

     Welcome to Dystopia! Entering a long-term and politically dangerous food crisis

We are five years into a severe global food crisis that is very unlikely to go away. It will threaten poor countries with increased malnutrition and starvation and even collapse. Resource squabbles and waves of food-induced migration will threaten global stability and global growth. This threat is badly underestimated by almost everybody and all institutions with the possible exception of some military establishments.

As I’ve said before on other topics: be careful out there.

What’s up with the metals? Part 2

Someone asked me whether I “was still in favor of gold.” The answer is an unqualified Yes. One easy reason is that almost every country on the planet is trying to drive down the value of their paper currency. So if you live in the US, it looks like this, and this is based on the US Government’s statistics for price inflation and we all know that they have every reason to play games to make this number look a lot lower than it really is, so you can safely increase each of these number by 50%:

CPI_Since_2000

The first column, CPI, says plenty: That if you live in the US, since the year 2000, the purchasing power of your money, of your salary, has lost 39%. And this is during a period that they claim has had “low inflation”! And the US Federal Reserve is currently on record as saying they are trying to create more inflation. So when you own US Dollars, or items denominated in Dollars such as US stocks and bonds, or items in currencies pegged to the US Dollar, realize that this is only going to get worse. The same is true for the purchasing power of the other currencies.

* * *

The post What’s up with the metals? Part 1 showed that some notable gold bears had turned bullish and that unprecedented demand for physical gold continued. Despite the strong demand, gold then had the bargain price of $1,237 per ounce, having just bounced up from $1,181 on the last day of 2013. Price went to $1,355 Monday and has pulled back to $1,338 today.

The strong demand for physical bullion, coins, and jewelry, documented in Part 1, has continued. Despite record-breaking demand in 2013, Chinese demand year-to-date is 51% higher than demand to this point in 2013. Mints around the world are working overtime:

     U.K. Royal Mint Runs Out of Sovereign Gold Coins on Demand

The U.K.’s Royal Mint, which traces its history back more than 1,000 years, ran out of 2014 Sovereign gold coins as prices near a six-month low led to “exceptional demand.”

     Gold Mint Runs Overtime in Race to Meet World Coin Demand

Austria’s mint is running 24 hours a day as global mints from the U.S. to Australia report climbing demand for gold coins…

Austria’s Muenze Oesterreich AG mint hired extra employees and added a third eight-hour shift to the day in a bid to keep up with demand. Purchases of bullion coins at Australia’s Perth Mint rose 20 percent this year through Jan. 20 from a year earlier. Sales by the U.S. Mint are set for the best month since April, when the metal plunged into a bear market.

Global mints are manufacturing as fast as they can…“The market is very busy,” Lang said. “We can’t meet the demand, even if we work overtime.

So, if demand for physical gold is so strong, how could there possibly be such a price drop as happened in 2013?  The answer is simple really. They have created a paper gold market that is hundreds of times larger than the physical gold market. By larger I mean in terms of the dollar value of trading in these two markets. People trade paper that has more or less of a connection with gold (sometimes none at all), and it is in these large markets that the price of gold is set. Most of the participants in these paper gold markets believe that they could, if they wished, convert these pieces of paper into physical gold, that the pieces of paper are claims on real gold. But in reality, only a tiny fraction of them could succeed in converting their claims into real metal. There just isn’t enough metal to go around.

If you think I exaggerate, check this chart, which I’ll explain below. It describes the action at the COMEX, the primary gold price-setting exchange in the US:

COMEX_OwnersPerOz

The key phrase on the chart is “Owners Per Ounce,” which for the COMEX is now at 111 owners per ounce of gold in the vault! That is, for each ounce of gold in the COMEX vaults (the blue line in the upper section of the chart), 111 contracts exist that allow the owners of those contracts to demand delivery of that single ounce of gold. We all understand that banks operate with only a little cash on hand for all the deposits they’ve taken, called a fractional reserve system. The COMEX is the same, worse actually: percentagewise, they keep a lot less gold around than the banks keep cash on hand.

(Please skip this paragraph if you already understand what 111 owners per ounce means!) Let me explain: The COMEX is a futures trading exchange where people trade gold and other commodities. Futures exchanges were created to be a meeting place between producers of a commodity and its end users. In January of any year, for example, a producer of wheat can agree to sell wheat in the future, in September, at a specified price to a cereal company. Both the wheat farmer and the cereal company know that they can make a reasonable profit on their operations if the farmer supplies, and the cereal maker takes delivery of, wheat at the pre-arranged price when that wheat is ready in September, so they make the deal. That’s called a futures contract. It promises both delivery and payment in the future at set price, and that’s great. But the futures exchanges are now dominated by big money speculators who have no intention of producing or taking delivery of anything. The chart above reflects this reality. The COMEX vault is supposed to have gold to back up the gold trading that takes place on that exchange. As you can see in the upper panel of the chart, back in 2006 they had over 5 million ounces backing up the contracts. Now that amount has fallen by 93% to only 370,000 ounces as more people realize that they better stop trading paper and get their hands on the real stuff.  Currently, for all the futures contracts to buy and sell gold on the exchange, they only have 1 ounce for every 111 contracts in existence. These contracts are paper gold, a huge synthetic supply of fake gold.  If everyone decided to make their claim for real gold (similar to a run on bank), only 1 ounce would be available for every 111 claims. Such an attempt would drive the price of physical gold into the stratosphere. On a typical day last week, 55,000 of these paper contracts traded hands. That represents 5,500,000 ounces of paper gold traded each day just at the COMEX. That trading sets the price for gold in the US. But it’s possible that no one demanded delivery of gold from the COMEX on that same day. So the trading that sets the price is really for cash, not for gold. And this paper trading involves a lot of borrowing, that is, leverage.  One can easily prove this crazy situation by contacting a futures broker and creating an account with $8,000 in that account. One could then buy or sell (they call it selling short) a futures contract for 100 ounces of gold. At today’s price of $1,338 per ounce, 100 ounces of gold is worth $133,800. So as far as COMEX is concerned, you are using your $8,000 gambling stake to control $133,800 worth of gold. And this “gold” can be sold, driving down the price. Seems crazy, but it’s literally true.

So if you or I can control 100 ounces for $8,000, imagine what JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs can control with the many billions of printed money they receive from the Federal Reserve, printed money that has not been lent out to boost the economy but is being used as collateral for trading. They can push markets in whatever direction they want. The same is true for central banks, but on an even greater scale: They have no limit on the amount of cash they can print up, so they can overwhelm any market anytime they wish.

The COMEX sets the price in the US. In London, it’s the LBMA (London Bullion Market Association) which is more than 7 times larger than the COMEX in terms of the dollar value of daily paper gold trading. The LBMA admitted a couple of years ago that, like the COMEX today, their leverage ratio was over 100 to 1. And the gold market in Switzerland is just as large as the LBMA, but it is run privately by the Swiss banks, so they publish no statistics. All told there are 40 futures exchanges in the world for trading paper gold.

Another form of paper gold is certificates for gold accounts with banks. Several of these banks have been caught charging people fees for storing gold when they are actually storing nothing at all. The banks figured they could quickly meet any claims for the gold, but when the claims came in, it took them weeks to procure the gold in the open market.

And there are stocks that hold gold, options on both those stocks and on the futures described above, gold leases, and swaps contracts. The latter are private contracts and they may actually dwarf all of the rest of the paper gold claims in terms of their stated dollar value (their “notional value,” as it is called) because the central banks, like the US Federal Reserve and the Bank for International Settlements, often use swaps for their trading. What, central banks trading gold? In September, the French Central Bank admitted:

We are still active in the gold market for our own account…meaning that we are in the market nearly on a daily basis.

In that same paper, the Bank of France said they owned 2,500 tons of physical gold and that they had no plans to sell it. So what are they trading daily? Paper gold, for profit.

Sometimes people go way too far with these contracts. People thought that Bear Stearns went bankrupt in 2008 because of the mortgage market. But the astute article What Really Happened to Bear Stearns by Ted Butler explains that it was actually bad trading in gold and silver that took them down: they had massive bets that the prices of gold and silver would go down, but instead the prices shot up by a lot over a few months instead. 

BearStearnsGold

The chart above is the price of gold from 2004-2008. Notice how the price was moving up strongly prior to the collapse of Bear Stearns. Guess who picked up all of the assets and trading positions of Bear Stearns as it went bankrupt. Why our “good friends” at the company implicated in, and fined for, manipulating just about every market around since then: JP Morgan. They picked up Bear’s assets for about 6 cents on the dollar. Notice the smashdown of the gold price as soon as Morgan was in charge. The price smashdown was even worse in silver. Here’s the chart from 2004-2008 for silver:

BearStearnsSilver

It sure makes one wonder whether JP Morgan was involved in both moving the price up to bankrupt Bear Stearns, and then smashing it down once they had taken over Bear and inherited all those bets that the prices of gold and silver would drop.

Getting back to our discussion. All of these contracts taken together are called derivatives because they derive their value from the underlying value of gold. Guess who owns most of them now:

     Market Cornered: JPMorgan Owns Over 60% Notional Of All Gold Derivatives

What? Isn’t it illegal to corner a market? Don’t the regulators come down hard on anyone trying to corner a market? Yes, but as long as it isn’t gold or silver. JP Morgan is allowed to corner gold and silver because it serves the interests of those who still want the US Dollar to dominate the world so that the US can continue to exercise its “exorbitant privilege” of printing paper to trade for the real goods of other countries. So if someone like Morgan and the central banks weren’t suppressing the prices of gold and silver, it would make the Dollar and the other paper currencies look bad, and those in charge won’t allow that.

To show you how off base these government people and economists are, when Nixon took the world off of what remained of the gold standard in 1971, his chief economist was the “great” Milton Friedman. Friedman told Nixon and others that gold was deriving its value from the US Dollar, not the other way around, and that as soon as Nixon severed the link between gold and the Dollar, that the price of gold would actually fall quite a lot. He was entirely wrong, as government economists so often are, as gold never looked back again at its then-current price of $35 per ounce.

These government types have always hated gold for one reason: it inhibits their ability to wage war. We’ve covered it before: governments started going off the very-successful gold and silver standards in order to fight World War 1. That war would have been over in a few months, but that wasn’t good enough for the warmongers, they had to kill off millions of people over four years to serve their greed.

We’ll talk more about governments and gold later, including their failed attempts to suppress gold in the past, in Part 3. But you know that comment above about the gold price going into the stratosphere when people with all these paper contracts rush to convert them to physical gold? That will happen. It’s inevitable, as more and more people lose confidence in governments, banks, and the blizzard of paper claims they have created. That COMEX chart above–where it shows that the physical gold backing up the paper trading is down by 93%–says that the process is already well underway. Best to get your gold and silver before all those folks with the paper contracts try to get some because, at that point, it will be tough to find real gold at any price.

What’s up with the metals? Part 1

First, a digression right off the bat: let me say that I hope everyone who is interested in the precious metals is doing their own research on this topic so that they can make truly informed decisions, especially since I am not a registered financial advisor of any type, these are just my views of the world. One of the best ways I know to become informed on the metals is to get the free e-mails issued by GATA, the Gold AntiTrust Action Committee. You can sign up for their e-mails here. They send out links daily pointing to the best articles about gold and related topics from across the web. OK, end of digression.

*  *  *

Since I was wrong last Spring about when gold would make its next move up, let’s look at the views of three very capable market commentators who were correctly bearish on the gold price during 2013, that is, they thought that the price would drop. They were right, and perhaps their analytical work will continue being right. So let’s look at what they are saying now, and throw in the opinion of the head of the largest gold refinery in Switzerland as well.

Tom DeMark

The first analyst is Tom DeMark. Tom has been a trading advisor to the big institutions for decades. It’s rare for him to give his advice in advance to us commoners, though in his defense, he has published many of his techniques for those who wish to spend the time to learn them.

What DeMark said on December 16, 2013 about the metals is in the last minute of the short interview at this link. He said:

We’re looking for a huge move in gold next year, beginning next year. We think the bottom will occur with the tax loss selling this year.

So what he is saying is that, as soon as those who want to take trading losses on their gold positions for tax purposes (to balance off other gains they had) finish that activity, then price will begin that “huge move” up that his firm is expecting. His price projection, for a long time, for the downside in the gold price had been $1180. In the interview, he said they had revised that to somewhere between $1155 and $1180. The price went down to $1181.40 on the last day of 2013, the last possible day for tax loss selling for the 2013 tax year. That’s probably plenty good for meeting his price target, but we’d have to be institutional clients of DeMark to know whether he now thinks price might still move down to $1155. In any case, by DeMark’s famous work, the price low is already behind us or will be here very soon. There will be evidence below that JP Morgan may have been following DeMark’s advice precisely.

William Kaye

The second fellow who was right about the gold price dropping in 2013 is veteran money manager and former Goldman Sachs employee, William Kaye. Kaye repeatedly gave interviews in 2013 on King World News where he would point out movements of physical gold in the markets that indicated the next phase of price manipulation down by the Fed and the big banks would happen promptly. And it would unfold as he predicted. In this December 31, 2013 interview, Kaye said he thought the gold price could be manipulated down one more time in January, followed by a large, fast move up for the gold price to somewhere between $2,000 and $2,500 in 2014:

My guess is we are now looking at mid-to-late January of 2014 as a probable and absolute bottom, after which it is going to be difficult for sidelined investors to gain a position because gold and silver will then move very, very quickly in the other direction.  That is why most people are going to miss this move…

While all of the Western media is filled with anti-gold stories, China continues to buy virtually all of the available physical gold at these levels, and will continue to do so on any further price declines.  Also, the flow of gold into India has continued because of increased smuggling.  But none of the smuggled gold is being reported in the official import numbers.

One of the primary reasons this gold flowing into India is not being reported is because the politicians themselves control the smuggling rings.  The reason India has such a large current account deficit and a loss of confidence in the Indian currency is because of the bad government policies.  The people of India see this and so they seek refuge, as they always have throughout history, in gold…

As you know, Eric, I have extremely good sources and contacts in India because we’ve done business there for years. If our sources are correct, this year the gold imports into India are very close to 1,200 tons, which is a staggering figure.

On top of that, we have the Chinese importing a mind-boggling 2,200 tons of gold for 2013. That figure actually totals the entire global mine supply for all of 2013 outside of China…

You also have to remember that we have enormous demand from other countries around the world such as Russia, Brazil, just to name two…

Regardless, 2014 is going to be an extremely good year for the precious metals.  I believe we could easily see new highs in nominal terms in both gold and silver.  We may see $2,000 to $2,500 in gold, and $50 to $60 in silver, maybe even higher.  The bottom line is that 2014 will be the year that the cartel gets broken.

Martin Armstrong

Our third commentator is Martin Armstrong. The guy has done some of the best financial cycles work in modern history. As examples, due to his real estate cycle work for the US, he was telling clients–in the 1990’s to give them ample time to act–to be out of all US real estate investments by February, 2007; that real estate prices would then fall from 2007 into 2012, then rise into 2015 in a snapback rally that would sucker a lot of people back into real estate, and then fall again through 2033. (Yes, real estate folks, you read that right, a 26 year bear market in real estate that started in 2007.) A summary of that work published in 2009 is here, and a look at the chart from the first page tells the story very well:

ArmstrongRealEstate

To say that this was good advice, at least so far, would be quite an understatement. Also in the 1990’s, he told his clients that interest rates/mortgage rates would fall till January 2013 and then start an inexorable rise for many years to come. He was only off by six months, interest rates went to their lowest level in mid-2012 and have been generally rising since.

So the guy is very smart. But I don’t have a link to his site on the Thundering Heard home page because it is nearly unbearable to read him daily. Anyone else’s views on anything, he calls those opinions, and pelts them with ridicule and insults if they disagree with his own opinions, which he claims are not opinions, but actual facts.  His cycles work is fabulous, his knowledge of history is formidable, but when he strays from those, as he often does, you have to put your boots on and wade through it. That’s a worthwhile exercise, but you have been warned.

Anyway, Armstrong is our third analyst who was bearish on gold all year, to the point where he called anyone advising buying gold during 2013 to be a fool, criminal, and worse. But all year, he has expected a Directional Change (his capitalization) for gold in this month of January, 2014.

So with DeMark, Kaye, and Armstrong, you have three very capable analysts who think this price downmove is over, or will be in over in this month of January. If I were a person with savings denominated in fiat currency, I would be jumping all over this opportunity. But of course, people need to make their own decisions. As mentioned above, getting the free e-mails from GATA is a great place to start. And no, they don’t sell your e-mail address to others.

So what does the head of the largest Swiss gold refinery have to say about all this?

     Alex Stanczyk: Physical Supply Never Been Tighter

I’ll let the article speak for itself:

Refineries in Switzerland are still working 24 hours a day to cast bars for China, sometimes having difficulties sourcing the gold…

We met with the managing director of the largest refinery in Switzerland and spend about two hours talking to him…Now, this gentleman we were talking to probably has a better idea of physical gold flow than anybody else globally. He sees what is coming from the mines, he sees what is coming from the UK, and all over the world, as well as where its going. He indicated the price didn’t make sense because he has got so much fabrication demand. They put on three shifts, they’re working 24 hours a day, and originally he thought that would wind down at some point. Well, they’ve been doing it all year. Every time he thinks its going to slow down, he gets more orders, more orders, more orders. They have expanded the plant to where it almost doubles their capacity. 70% of their kilobar fabrication is going to China, at apace of 10 tons a week. That’s from one refinery, now remember there are 4 of these big ones [refineries] in Switzerland.

…At this Swiss refinery there have been several times this year on which they were unable to source gold, this shocked me. They’re bringing in good delivery bars, scrap and dore from the mines, basically all they can get their hands on. This gentleman has been in the business for 37 years, he was there during the last bull market in the late seventies. I asked him when was the last time this has happened, that he was unable to source gold, he said never. And I clarified it, I asked: let me make sure if I understand what you’re saying to me, in the last 37 years you’ve worked in the gold industry this has never happened? He said: this has never happened.

When do think the price is going to rise?

“I’m not comfortable to put a time on this. What I do know is that we are on the threshold of a situation that has never occurred before. A squeeze is imminent, it could take 3 months or 6 months, but all I know is that it’s coming, and I know that with 100% certainty.”

What Stanczyk is talking about is shown on the next chart, which has only been updated through the end of October. Hong Kong has imported more gold from Switzerland in 2013 than in all prior years combined!

HK-Swiss-gold-trade-10-2013

(Chart source: China Mainland Gold Import Accelerating )

Here’s a way to look at the overall Chinese gold imports from Hong Kong:

Gold_HK_to_China_2011_2012_2013

(Chart source: China Imports More Gold Via HK In 2013 Than 2011 & 2012 Combined)

And here is a chart of total Chinese imports from Hong Kong by month since Autumn 2011. And this chart doesn’t show imports from other sources or China’s own mine production, which is now the largest of all countries and which is keeping six large refineries busy in China. There have been reports (blatant lies is what they are) in the Western media that Chinese gold imports have been falling. Does this look like falling to you? Each of those numbers are tons.

China Gold Imports to October 2013 Gross

(Chart source: China October Gold Imports Surge To Second Highest Ever)

Despite strong government disincentives to buying gold in India, as we heard from Kaye above, the flow of gold can’t be stopped. Here’s a typical story:

     Smugglers smile as NRI carriers bring gold into country legally

It was evident last week when almost every passenger on a flight from Dubai to Calicut was found carrying 1kg (2.2 pounds) of gold…

This strong buying is a worldwide story:

     Scarcity of Gold in Mexico

Including Canada, Australia, and the US, as reported here by the Wall Street Journal:

Sales of gold coins are booming even as the metal’s price is falling…at mints and coin shops around the world, gold continued flying off the shelves…

Sales of Gold Maple Leaf coins by the Royal Canadian Mint surged 82.5% to 876,000 ounces in the first three quarters of 2013 from the same period of 2012. The Perth Mint, Australia’s national coin and bar producer, saw sales rise 41% to 754,635 ounces last year, while the U.S. Mint sold 14% more American Eagle gold coins than it did in 2012, along with a record amount of silver coin.

Even JP Morgan, big sellers of their own horde of physical gold earlier, which helped to drive prices lower, has been rebuilding their cache, perhaps guided by Tom DeMark’s work, or perhaps to simply be the manipulating elephant that they have been caught being in so many other markets:

     JPM’s Quiet Scramble To Refill Its Gold Vault

JPM Eligible

In Part 2, we’ll talk about how it is possible to have extraordinary worldwide demand for physical gold and still have a falling price.

JFK and the Federal Reserve

It turns out that the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination is the 100th anniversary of the birth of the Federal Reserve at a secret meeting at Jekyll Island, Georgia, USA. Coincidence? Perhaps. But perhaps someone was trying to send a very specific message about who is in charge.

Here’s a quote about Jekyll Island:

The New York Times later noted, on May 3, 1931, in commenting on the death of George F. Baker, one of J.P. Morgan’s closest associates, that “Jekyll Island Club has lost one of its most distinguished members. One-sixth of the total wealth of the world was represented by the members of the Jekyll Island Club.” Membership was by inheritance only.

The Federal Reserve was created on Jekyll Island in complete secrecy by, who else, representatives of the big NY and European banking families. It gave the Federal Reserve the power to create the nation’s currency. This was unconstitutional then and now since the US Constitution delegated that power solely to Congress and that section of the Constitution has never been amended.

It turns out that JFK used Executive Order 11110 in an attempt to return the power to create US money to the US Treasury. He correctly saw that the US debt was building; that this would be bad for the country; that US money should be created directly by the Treasury and backed by gold and/or silver, not loaned into existence by the Federal Reserve, causing the US to have to pay interest on every dollar created. And there is absolutely no good reason for that “loaning into existence”, except from the point of view of those who do the loaning, namely the banks, who make astronomical profits from this process, saddling the US and its citizens with ever-increasing debt from which there is no escape.

As this chart shows, the US Consumer Price Index was remarkably steady until the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. It has been on an explosive upward path ever since, leading most people alive today to believe that inflation and price increases are normal. They are not!

inflationhere20131122

Here is a quote about JFK in the book Crossfire:

Another overlooked aspect of Kennedy’s attempt to reform American society involves money. Kennedy apparently reasoned that by returning to the constitution, which states that only Congress shall coin and regulate money, the soaring national debt could be reduced by not paying interest to the bankers of the Federal Reserve System, who print paper money then loan it to the government at interest. He moved in this area on June 4, 1963, by signing Executive Order 11110 which called for the issuance of $4,292,893,815 in United States Notes through the U.S. Treasury rather than the traditional Federal Reserve System. That same day, Kennedy signed a bill changing the backing of one and two dollar bills from silver to gold, adding strength to the weakened U.S. currency.

Here is a well-written account of the activities at Jekyll Island that created the Federal Reserve. It is the source of the NY times quote above.

And here is an account of JFK’s Executive Order. It is the source of the quote above about Kennedy’s attempt to change this situation.

And on the question about coincidence, another US President issued currency directly, with no interest due to anyone; Abraham Lincoln was also assassinated while in office.

I salute Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy, warriors for our freedom.