Author Archives: Keith Weiner

     

 

 

Gold vs Other Assets

The prices of the metals went up +$15 and +$0.23. We will be brief this week, as Keith just got off a 17-hour flight from Perth to London.

Stocks continue their march upwards. And hence the gold price seems stalled—or is it? It may seem like gold goes up, when stocks go down and vice versa. That’s been the recent pattern. Why should people own money without return, when stocks are where the action is?

 

Gold-SPX ratio: in long-term gold bull markets, this ratio will trend higher. It has recently made a secondary, higher low, but not yet a higher high – which will be required to confirm a new bull market trend. In the short term, gold and stocks can be positively correlated, but in the long term they are antagonists (a rising gold price denotes rising demand for money, which usually coincides with falling demand for “risk assets” such as stocks). [PT]

 

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Too Much Excitement?

The prices of the metals fell last week, with that of gold -$9 and silver -$0.32. Of course, it was a week of stock market exuberance. Why would anyone want to own money, or seek safety when the Fed can seemingly push interest down / assets up indefinitely? As the old TV ad for Lotto proclaimed “you gotta be in it, to win it!”

 

“Stablecoin” Tether is used as a dollar stand-in on cryptocurrency exchanges that offer no fiat currency pairs. There has been a lot of speculation about the extent to which Tether is actually backed by US dollars. Despite these rumors and a recent admission by the company managing Tether that is is actually not fully backed with USD, it continues to be popular. It should be noted that BTC has a market cap of USD 224 billion and daily trading volume of USD 25 billion. [PT]

 

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Investments vs. Money

Last week the price of gold went up another $11, but the price of silver dropped 4 cents. The gold-silver ratio hit another new high, up another point, though down from Tuesday’s high water mark.

This obviously was not the week that wage-earners increased their money holdings or that institutions expressed a preference for the bargain of silver.

 

Prosperity is just around the corner… and so is the trade deal. [PT]

 

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Buyers of Gold vs. Buyers of Silver

Wow! What a week for dollar! It dropped a whole milligram from 23.2 to 22.2mg gold. The dollar is now at its lowest level in years, and on the verge of breaking down.

 

Silver, the precious metal of the common man [PT]

 

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Silver Price Driven by Reservation Demand

The price of gold went up a buck last week, but the price of silver dropped back 13 cents. And the gold-silver ratio marches further upwards.

Keith spoke at a conference this week, about how to analyze the fundamentals of supply and demand in gold and silver. He talked about the basis of course.

 

Silver coins – silver prices are partly influenced by an industrial demand component, but the fact that they move most of the time with the price of gold indicates that the main price driver remains reservation demand by investors. [PT]

 

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Lira Comeback?

The price of gold jumped 35 bucks last week, and that of silver 48 cents. The dollar is now down to 23 milligrams of gold.

Keith is on the road this week, so we will just comment on one thing. If Italy is serious about moving back to the lira, that will make the euro less sound (to say nothing of the lira). That will drive people mostly to the dollar, but also to gold.

 

Italian deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini (as the leader of the Lega party he is actually the most powerful politician in Italy, despite not being prime minister). In the course of an escalating dispute with the European Commission over the country’s budget deficit and debt, he threatened that Italy would consider introducing a parallel currency in the form of so-called “mini-BOTs” – non-interest bearing Italian treasury notes which the Italian state would print and accept in payment. Not quite a return to the lira yet, as mini-BOTs would actually be denominated in euro, but they would certainly represent a lira-in-waiting. The people who have come up with the idea apparently believe that such a scheme would be in compliance with EU/ euro zone regulations. We are not so sure about that, but ultimately Brussels would not really be able to do much about it. No-one seems to be taking the threat seriously at the moment, but if the Italian government were to go through with it, it would undoubtedly undermine the euro. [PT]

 

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Is Silver Still Useful as a Monetary Metal?

The price of gold jumped a whole twenty bucks last week. We imagine that the marginal gold bug is relieved to be rid of his gold, in this opportunity afforded by the highest price since early April. OK, all kidding aside, the price of silver went up a penny.

 

 

The gold-silver ratio keeps hitting new highs recently (this is actually a long-term trend, frequently interrupted by strong rallies of silver against gold). Is silver losing its usefulness as a monetary metal? [PT]

 

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The Money of the Free Market, not of Governments

Monday was Memorial Day holiday in America. Last week the price of gold rose 8 bucks, and silver 16 cents. With Keith traveling in Asia right now, this will be a brief report. But speaking of Asia, everyone seems to be talking about China’s (and other countries, such as Russia) accumulation of gold.

 

Accumulation of gold reserves over the past decade by various emerging market central banks (from the new Incrementum In Gold We Trust 2019 Report) [PT]

 

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The Seeds of the Next Bust Are Closer to Sprouting

The price of gold was up this week, by $10 and that of silver by ¢6. Something is brewing in the fundamentals that we haven’t seen since… last year. We will show a picture of this, below.

There are many problems with assuming a rising stock market means a growing economy. We’ve written many times about the much-greater growth of debt, i.e., borrowing to consume, which adds to GDP.

 

S&P 500 Index, monthly – the huge rally since 2009 was accompanied by the weakest economic recovery of the post-WW2 era. Evidently, the stock market does not necessarily reflect economic growth. Very often numerous other factors prove to be far more important drivers of stock prices. A pertinent example is Venezuela’s soaring stock market, which is up by 88,500% in the past year alone (this is not a typo). Meanwhile, the country’s economy is contracting since 2014, with the slump accelerating to a stunning -16.5% y/y in both 2017 and 2018. The S&P 500 Index is an island of sanity by comparison, at least superficially (the ceteris are of course not paribus). [PT]

 

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Coffee, Milk and Gold

Last week was holiday-shorted due to Good Friday (it’s not an official holiday in the US, but it is in the UK. And this week’s report is a day late due to Easter Monday). The price of gold dropped $15, but the price of silver rose ¢4. Perhaps silver traders got word that we are paying interest on silver, which gives people a reason to hold silver? J

 

A silver bar plus interest…  [PT]

 

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Is Silver Hard of Hearing?

The price of gold inched down, but the price of silver footed down (if we may be permitted a little humor that may not make sense to metric system people). For the gold-silver ratio to be this high, it means one of two things. It could be that speculators are avoiding the monetary metals and metal stackers are depressed. Or that something is going on in the economy, to drive demand for the metals in different directions.

 

As a rule the gold silver ratio acts as a proxy for credit spreads – this is attributable to the fact that silver prices are partly driven by the metal’s large industrial demand component (by contrast, the vast bulk of gold demand consists of monetary or investment demand; industrial and fabrication demand in the gold market are negligible by comparison). In the chart above we compare the gold-silver ratio to the IEF-JNK ratio, which serves as a proxy for corporate credit spreads (note: “unadjusted” means that only prices are compared, not total returns – interest payments received by holders of IEF and JNK are not included). An interesting divergence has emerged since the 2014-2016 oil patch mini-bust – while the gold-silver ratio is streaking to new highs, the IEF-JNK ratio has established a lower high in late 2018. We believe this is mainly due to the massive distortion of credit markets in the wake of the QE and ZIRP/NIRP policies pursued by the world’s largest central banks. One of these markets is wrong and it is a good bet that the market that has been manipulated by central bank interventions is the one that is giving a false signal. [PT]

 

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A Worrisome Trend

If you read gold analysis much, you will come across two ideas. One, inflation so-called (rising consumer prices) is not only running much higher than the official statistic, but is about to really start skyrocketing. Two, buy gold because gold will hedge it. That is, the price of gold will go up as fast, or faster, than the price of gold.

 

CPI monthly since 1914, annualized rate of change. In recent years CPI was relatively tame despite a vast increase in the money supply. However, relative prices in the economy were massively distorted as a result of the latter – and this is driving ever larger boom-bust cycles. [PT]

 

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