After seven years in the penalty box, gold is finally starting to come alive, and the Armageddon crowd is absolutely loving it. Maybe after ten years of rising, stocks are finally expensive on a relative basis?
These are the guys who are perennially predicting the collapse of the dollar, the default of the US government, hyperinflation, and the end of the world.
Better to keep all your assets in gold and silver, store at least a year’s worth of canned food, and keep your untraceable guns well-oiled and supplied with ammo, preferably in high capacity magazines.
If you followed their advice, you lost your shirt.
I have broken many of these wayward acolytes of their money-losing habits. But not all of them. There seems to be an endless supply emanating from the hinterlands.
The “Oracle of Omaha” Warren Buffet often goes to great lengths to explain why he despises the yellow metal.
The sage doesn’t really care about the gold, whatever the price. He sees it primarily as a bet on fear. I imagine he feels the same about Bitcoin, the modern tulips of our age.
If investors are more afraid in a year than they are today, then you make money on gold. If they aren’t, then you lose money.
The only problem now is that fear ain’t working.
If you took all the gold in the world, it would form a cube 67 feet on a side, worth $5 trillion. For that same amount of money, you could own other assets with far greater productive earning power, including:
*All the farmland in the US, about 1 billion acres, which is worth $2.5 trillion.
*Four Apple’s (AAPL), the second largest capitalized company in the world at $1.2 trillion.
Instead of producing any income or dividends, gold just sits there and shines, making you feel like King Midas.
I don’t know. With the stock market at an all-time high, and oil trading at $56/barrel, a bet on fear looks pretty good to me right now.
I’m still sticking with my long-term forecast of the old inflation adjusted high of $2,300/ounce.
It is just a matter of time before emerging market central bank buying pushes it up there. And who knows? Fear might make a comeback too.
The recent appointment of my old acquaintance, Judy Shelton, to the Fed places a monetary policy once considered impossible solidly on the table. For your see, Judy has long advocated that the US return to the gold standard.
If the American economy moves into the next recession with interest rates already near zero, the markets will take the rates for all interest-bearing securities well into negative numbers. This has already happened in Japan and Germany.
At that point, our central bank’s primary tool for stimulating US businesses will become utterly useless, ineffective, and impotent.
What else is in the tool bag?
How about large-scale purchases of Gold (GLD)?
You are probably as shocked as I am with this possibility. But there is a rock-solid logic to the plan. As solid as the vault at Fort Knox.
The idea is to create asset price inflation that will spread to the rest of the economy. It already did this with great success from 2009-2014 with quantitative easing, whereby almost every class of debt securities were Hoovered up by the government.
“QE on steroids”, to be implemented only after overnight rates go negative, would involve large scale purchases of not only gold, but stocks, government bonds, and exchange-traded funds as well.
If you think I’ve been smoking California’s largest cash export (it’s not the raisins), you would be in error. I should point out that the Japanese government is already pursuing QE to this extent, at least in terms of equity type investments and ETFs and already owns a substantial part of the Japanese stock market.
And, as the history buff that I am, I can tell you that it has been done in the US as well, with tremendous results.
If you thought that president Obama had it rough when he came into office in 2009 with the Great Recession on, it was nothing compared to what Franklin Delano Roosevelt inherited.
The country was in its fourth year of the Great Depression. US GDP had cratered by 43%, consumer prices crashed by 24%, the unemployment rate was 25%, and stock prices vaporized by 90%. Mass starvation loomed.
Drastic measures were called for.
FDR issued Executive Order 6102 banning private ownership of gold, ordering them to sell their holdings to the US Treasury at a lowly $20.67 an ounce.
He then urged congress to pass the Gold Reserve Act of 1934, which instantly revalued the government’s holdings at $35.00, an increase of 69.32%. These and other measures caused the value of America’s gold holdings to leap from $4 to $12 billion. That’s a lot of money in 1934 dollars, about $208 billion in today’s money.
Since the US was still on the gold standard back then, this triggered an instant dollar devaluation of more than 50%. The high gold price sucked in massive amounts of the yellow metal from abroad creating, you guessed it, inflation.
The government then borrowed massively against this artificially created wealth to fund the landscape altering infrastructure projects of the New Deal.
During the following three years, the GDP skyrocketed by 48%, inflation eked out a 2% gain, the unemployment rate dropped to 18%, and stocks jumped by 80%. Happy days were here again.
Monetary conditions are remarkably similar today to the those that prevailed during the last government gold buying binge.
There has been a de facto currency war underway since 2009. The Fed started when it launched QE, and Japan, Europe, and China have followed. Blue-collar unemployment and underpayment is at a decades high. The need for a national infrastructure program is overwhelming.
However, in the 21st century version of such a gold policy, it is highly unlikely that we would see another gold ownership ban.
Instead, the Fed would most likely move into the physical gold market, sitting on the bid for years, much like it recently did in the Treasury bond market for five years. Gold prices would increase by a multiple of current levels.
It would then borrow against its new gold holdings, plus the 4,176 metric tonnes worth $200 billion at today’s market prices already sitting in Fort Knox, to fund a multi trillion-dollar infrastructure-spending program.
Heaven knows we need it. Millions of blue-collar jobs would be created and inflation would come back from the dead.
Yes, this all sounds like a fantasy. But negative interest rates were considered an impossibility only years ago.
The Fed’s move on gold would be only one aspect of a multi-faceted package of desperate last ditch measures to extend economic growth into the future which I outlined in a previous research piece (click here for “What Happens When QE Fails” .
That’s assuming that the gold is still there. Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin says he saw the gold himself during an inspection that took place of the last solar eclipse over Fort Knox in 2018. The door to the vault at Fort Knox had not been opened since September 23, 1974. But then Steve Mnuchin says a lot of things. Persistent urban legends and Internet rumors claim that the vault is actually empty or filled with fake steel bars painted gold.
The Next QE?
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/john-thomas-03.jpg400400MHFTRhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngMHFTR2019-07-30 01:02:192019-11-21 15:39:52The Secret Fed Plan to Buy Gold
Gold has become the ugly duckling during this bull market for stocks and bonds. However, that is not going to last.
Gold will eventually come back in fashion and when it does, how high could it really go?
The question begs your rapt attention as the possibility of Britain leaving the EC has suddenly unleashed a plethora of new positive fundamentals for the yellow metal.
It turns out that gold is THE deflationary asset to own. Who knew?
I was an unmitigated bear on the price of gold after it peaked in 2011. In recent years, the world has been obsessed with yields, chasing them down to historic levels across all asset classes.
But now that much of the world already has or is about to have negative interest rates, a bizarre new kind of mathematics applies to gold ownership.
Gold’s problem used to be that it yielded absolutely nothing, cost you money to store, and carried hefty transactions costs. That asset class didn’t fit anywhere in a yield-obsessed universe.
Now we have a horse of a different color.
Europeans wishing to put money in a bank have to pay for the privilege to do so. Place €1 million on deposit on an overnight account, and you will have only 996,000 Euros in a year. You just lost 40 basis points on your -0.40% negative interest rate.
With gold, you still earn zero, an extravagant return in this upside down world. All of a sudden, zero is a win.
For the first time in human history, that gives you a 40 basis point yield advantage over Euros. Similar numbers now apply to Japanese yen deposits as well.
As a result, the numbers are so compelling that it has sparked a new gold fever among hedge funds and European and Japanese individuals alike.
Websites purveying investment grade coins and bars crashed multiple times last week, due to overwhelming demand (I occasionally have the same problem). Some retailers have run out of stock.
And last week, the fever went pandemic as silver rocketed 14.28%, and others like Platinum (PPLT) and Palladium (PALL) were also frenetically bid.
So I’ll take this opportunity to review a short history of the gold market (GLD) for the young and the uninformed.
Since it peaked in the summer of 2011, the barbarous relic was beaten like the proverbial red-headed stepchild, dragging silver (SLV) down with it. It faced a perfect storm.
Gold was traditionally sought after as an inflation hedge. But with economic growth weak, wages stagnant, and much work still being outsourced abroad, deflation became rampant.
The biggest buyers of gold in the world, the Indians, have seen their purchasing power drop by half, thanks to the collapse of the rupee against the US dollar. The government increased taxes on gold in order to staunch precious capital outflows.
You could also blame the China slowdown for declining interest in the yellow metal which is now in its fifth year of falling economic growth.
Chart gold against the Shanghai index and the similarity is striking until negative interest rates became widespread in 2016.
The brief bid gold caught in 2015 over war fears in Syria, Ukraine, and then Iraq was worth an impressive $160 rise.
That is when the diplomats got involved and hostilities were at least delayed causing gold to roll over like the Bismarck.
In the meantime, the gold supply/demand balance was changing dramatically.
While no one was looking, the average price of gold production soared from $5 in 1920 to $1,300 today. Over the last 100 years, the price of producing gold has risen four times faster than the underlying metal.
It’s almost as if the gold mining industry is the only one in the world which sees real inflation since costs soared at a 15% annual rate for the past five years.
This is a function of what I call “peak gold.” They’re not making it anymore. Miners are increasingly being driven to higher risk, more expensive parts of the world to find the stuff.
You know those tires on heavy dump trucks? They now cost $200,000 each, and buyers face a three-year waiting list to buy one.
Barrack Gold (ABX) didn’t try to mine gold at 15,000 feet in the Andes, where freezing water is a major problem, because they like the fresh air.
What this means is that when the spot price of gold fell below the cost of production, miners will simply shout down their most marginal facilities, drying up supply. That has recently been happening on a large scale.
Barrick Gold, a client of the Mad Hedge Fund Trader, can still operate as older mines carry costs that go all the way down to $600 an ounce.
No one is going to want to supply the sparkly stuff at a loss. That should prevent gold from falling dramatically.
I am constantly barraged with emails from gold bugs whom passionately argue that their beloved metal is trading at a tiny fraction of its true value and that the barbaric relic is really worth $5,000, $10,000, or even $50,000 an ounce (GLD).
They claim the move in the yellow metal we are seeing now is only the beginning of a 30-fold rise in prices similar to what we saw from 1972 to 1979 when it leaped from $32 to $950.
So when the chart below popped up in my inbox showing the gold backing of the US monetary base, I felt obligated to pass it on to you to illustrate one of the intellectual arguments these people are using.
To match the gain seen since the 1936 monetary value peak of $35 an ounce, when the money supply was collapsing during the Great Depression, and the double top in 1979 when gold futures first tickled $950, this precious metal has to increase in value by 800% from the recent $1,050 low. That would take our barbarous relic friend up to $8,400 an ounce.
To match the move from the $35/ounce, 1972 low to the $950/ounce, 1979 top in absolute dollar terms, we need to see another 27.14 times move to $28,497/ounce.
Have I gotten you interested yet?
I am long term bullish on gold, other precious metals, and virtually all commodities for that matter. But I am not that bullish. These figures make my own $2,300/ounce long-term prediction positively wimp-like by comparison.
The seven-year spike up in prices we saw in the seventies, which found me in a very long line in Johannesburg, South Africa to unload my own krugerands in 1979, was triggered by a number of one-off events that will never be repeated.
Some 40 years of unrequited demand was unleashed when Richard Nixon took the US off the gold standard and decriminalized private ownership in 1972. Inflation then peaked around 20%. Newly enriched sellers of oil had a strong historical affinity with gold.
South Africa, the world’s largest gold producer, was then a boycotted international pariah and teetering on the edge of disaster. We are nowhere near the same geopolitical neighborhood today, and hence, my more subdued forecast.
But then again, I could be wrong.
In the end, gold may have to wait for a return of inflation to resume its push to new highs. The previous bear market in gold lasted 18 years, from 1980 to 1998, so don’t hold your breath.
What should we look for? The surprise that your friends get out of the blue pay increase, the largest component of the inflation calculation.
This is happening now in technology, but nowhere else. When I visit open houses in my neighborhood in San Francisco, half the visitors are thirtysomethings wearing hoodies offering to pay cash.
It could be a long wait for real inflation, possibly into the mid-2020s, when shocking wage hikes spread elsewhere.
You may have noticed that I have been playing gold from the long side virtually every month since it bottomed in January. I’ll be back in there again given a good low risk, high return entry point.
You’ll be the first to know when that happens.
As for the many investment advisor readers who have stayed long gold all along to hedge their clients’ other risk assets, good for you.
You’re finally learning!
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/John-Thomas-Gold-e1455831491219.jpg297400Mad Hedge Fund Traderhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngMad Hedge Fund Trader2019-05-08 01:07:542019-05-07 21:01:47The Ultra Bull Argument for Gold
Longtime readers of this letter are well aware that I have been bullish on gold since August. However, this week, the barbarous relic really got the bit between its teeth and is now poised to break out to a new five year high.
All of a sudden, the sun, moon, and stars have aligned in favor of a new leg of the bull market for gold. We could even see a bitcoin-style melt up over the next 18 months to its previous all-time high of $1,927 an ounce.
Gold is not seeing this in isolation. With the primary focus of all financial markets now exploding US deficits, inflation plays everywhere have found new vigor. These would include, other precious metals, commodities, energy, and any security that shorts the bond market.
The really great news here is that your investment life has suddenly gotten very easy. We are probably only months into a megatrend that could last for another decade.
If you look carefully at the long-term charts you will see that gold has in fact been in a new bull market for three years now. But the rate of appreciation was at a snail’s pace, with the yellow metal averaging only 14% a year since then.
For a while, bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies were stealing gold’s thunder and sucking up gold’s volatility. Inflation, the traditional driver of gold prices, was nowhere to be seen.
It is no accident that the recent strength in gold has been matched with the decimation of Bitcoin, down 80% from its high. Investors are finally seeing the light of day.
Other factors have been assisting in gold’s resurgence. Chinese dumping of US treasury bonds is freeing up lots of cash in the middle Kingdom to buy gold.
The run-up to the Chinese New Year on February 16, when Chinese traditionally settle debts with gold coin purchases, has thrown some exploding firecrackers on the move.
The Europeans saw the inflation boogeyman before we did. Look at the chart below showing global gold ETF purchases, which helped market the 2015 bottom. Some 75% of global flows into gold ETF’s were for Europe based funds.
The buying has spread into the entire precious metals space. The Van Eck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) is off to the races. So is Newmont Mining (NEM), Canada’s largest miner and one of my long-time favorites. (NEM) by the way, is considering a takeover offer from Barrick Gold (GOLD).
Look to buy dips in gold whenever you get them. Remember those black swans? They are still out there in a holding pattern awaiting landing instructions.
When they finally return, you’ll be happy you have a nice position in gold to hedge your other risk positions.
All That Glitters
https://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/John-with-Gold-e1478998623625.jpg400400Arthur Henryhttps://www.madhedgefundtrader.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cropped-mad-hedge-logo-transparent-192x192_f9578834168ba24df3eb53916a12c882.pngArthur Henry2019-02-28 01:07:092019-07-09 04:06:23Gold is Breaking Out All Over