Could an infectious disease kill the monster that has been choking gold and silver prices for more than a year? On the heels of a lively Sprott Precious Metals Roundtable discussion, The Gold Report caught up with investor Eric Sprott to ask how a tragedy in Africa could impact the price of precious metals and mining stocks. We also spoke to his Executive Vice President of Corporate Development John Ciampaglia about a new way to gain exposure to gold.
The Gold Report: Deutsche Bank warned in a recent note that the Ebola virus could impact commodity markets, including gold and cocoa, as it spreads to producing countries in West Africa, particularly Ghana and Mali. In a recent article titled "Ebola, The Tipping Point," you mourned the unnecessary loss of life and predicted 5% less global production next year than this year. Could a lack of supply due to Ebola-related closures really cause the price of gold to rise?
Eric Sprott: There is already a shortage of gold and silver in the markets without a corresponding increase in the price. I wrote an open letter to the World Gold Council questioning its data on China. If you believe the Shanghai Gold Exchange data, China consumes more than 2,000 tons (2 Kt). In 2011, it consumed only about 1 Kt. In the last two years, China has bought an extra 1 Kt gold—25% of a 4 Kt market. If any country came in and bought 25% of the oil market, the wheat market or the orange juice market, the commodity price would not go down. Obviously, the physical gold market is not manifesting itself in the price changes.
I think Friday saw a power-shift from the central banks to the global private banks. I think the global banks served notice that the Central bank plan of 1) reining in the risk-taking of the TBTF banks and 2) stimulating growth in the real economy is now dead in the water. There is a new plan.
Frank O. Trotter, Executive Vice President - EverBank Total abject failure. Mad Max. Breakdown of society. Chaos. How’s that for an upbeat start?
Failure is a tough thing to talk about, particularly here in the US where it’s all about optimism. What’s the best? Who's the fastest? Where should I put my money for the highest return?
But examining failures can help us avoid mistakes. So let’s take a tour of a few currencies and money systems that fell apart. We’ll learn some principles of sound money and hopefully, have a little fun.
What Is Money? Even though we don’t think about it every day, we all know that money is a fiction. It is a medium of exchange – a token we pass back and forth instead of bartering, and a store of value that keeps score of our assets and debts. It is based on belief and faith—nothing more.
At times, money has been metals or tobacco or wampum. There are the famous Yap Island stones. At other times, like today, paper tokens with no intrinsic value stand in as money.
As we’ll see, people and societies have always experimented with money.
Policy makers deny its existence, yet investors still reckon that whenever stocks and other risk assets take a tumble, the authorities will be there with calming words or economic stimulus to ensure the losses are limited.
A put option gives investors the right to sell their asset at a set price so the theory goes that central banks will ultimately provide a floor for falling asset markets to ensure they don’t take economies down with them.
Last week as markets swooned again, it was St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard and Bank of England Chief Economist Andrew Haldane who did the trick. Bullard said the Fed should consider delaying the end of its bond-purchase program to halt a decline in inflation expectations, while Haldane said he’s less likely to vote for a U.K. rate increase than three months ago.
Michael Snyder is a self-proclaimed “truth-seeker” and financial writer who says there is no recovery on Main Street, and we are not going to get one—ever. Snyder contends, “We’ve had permanent damage to the U.S. economy. It’s kind of like going to the beach, and you build a sandcastle. The waves start coming in, and the sandcastle is not going to be destroyed by the first wave. Then, more waves will come in, and eventually the whole sandcastle will be wiped out. That’s kind of what’s happening to the U.S. economy. We’ve had waves of economic problems, and we have had permanent damage as a result. Our economy is not totally destroyed yet, but we have permanent damage. Now, new waves are on the way, which will cause more damage because of the long term trends.” Snyder goes on to explain, “None of the long term problems that have been plaguing our economy have been fixed. Instead, the Fed printed a bunch of money and pumped up the stock market. It made people feel good, but the underlying fundamentals are not getting any better.”
Russell: “In the early days of the US, the dollar was trusted. The reason it was trusted was that the dollar was backed by physical gold. Those were the days when the dollar was considered “good as gold.” The obvious reason was that a person could take his dollars into any bank, and exchange his dollars for gold.
This changed in 1933 when Americans were forbidden by law to own gold. As far as Americans were concerned, they were now dealing with paper and could no longer exchange their paper for gold.
So in 1933, Americans were no longer on the gold standard. But foreigners who were creditors of the US would settle their accounts in gold. If the US had a debt with a creditor, the creditor could settle his debt by calling in a quantity of gold.
This changed in 1971 when, in the face of an outpouring of US gold, President Nixon slammed the gold window shut. This took the US, both domestically and internationally, off the gold standard. The dollar was simply a piece of paper, comparable to Monopoly money. Following the US’ example, the rest of the world abandoned the gold standard.
Mysterious forces were trying their best, but they couldn’t keep the stock market from swooning Wednesday.
They failed in the morning, despite massive purchases of stock index futures contracts. Within minutes of the market’s opening, the Dow Jones industrial average was down 350 points. Later in the day — after a lot of shocking ebb and flow — the Dow bottomed out with a decline of 460 points.
It was only in the last hour of trading that the market saviors managed to trim the Dow loss to just 173 points. And they succeeded only after Janet Yellen’s private, upbeat remarks about the economy were leaked.
Welcome to a new kind of stock market — one that the average investor should refuse to be invested in. ...
"Democracy in a free market capitalistic society today only exists in the imaginations of sleep-walkers in the American Dream. The idea of honest, hard work being suitably rewarded has become a mind-numbing slogan that is now just beginning to wear off in the minds of some Americans.
While Americans were working and playing hard, our representational democracy has evolved into a political system that has been completely and utterly bought by the moneyed interests, and is now a protection racket for their accumulation of wealth and advantageous positions of power and influence. We live in a land where untaxed off-shored wealth is ignored, and the whole tax system has been customized to suit their personal needs.
We live in a fictitious land where multi-national corporations are legally given Frankenstein-like status as a red-blooded American, and their money has become their vocal chords. Politicians, while posturing that they are working for the people, are nothing but lobbyists for the rich, which most of them are, or assured to be upon leaving office to be rewarded with speaking fees, or think tank positions by their powerful benefactors.
Net speculative longs in gold increase for the first time since August 2014. There is a growing sense that the metalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s price has been beaten up too far. With the marginal cost of production close to US$1100/oz, miners are likely to cut back on production should the price fall any further, helping to constrain supply.
Kelly Smith writes: The U.S. Comex gold futures outperformed all the major asset classes this week, jumping 1.60% to end at $1,241.20 on Thursday. Gold prices have surged while the S&P 500 Index has dropped 2.26%, the Euro Stoxx 50 Index has plunged 3.87%, and the crude oil futures have dived 3.64% week-to-Thursday. The Dollar Index has lost 1.11% to finish at 84.955 on Thursday. The benchmark U.S. ten-year Treasury bond yield plunged to a low of 1.862% from 2.281% last Friday. The Merrill Lynch Treasury Bond options implied volatility index (MOVE Index) surged from 74.64% on Tuesday to 101.28% on Wednesday while the VIX Index jumped from 21.24% at the end of last week to 26.25% on Wednesday and 25.20% on Thursday. The Greek ten-year bond yield has surged almost 220bp this week to 8.641%.
The equipment maker is scheduled to report third-quarter earnings Thursday.
Caterpillar (NYSE:CAT), the world's largest maker of mining and construction equipment, said Wednesday that its worldwide dealer machinery sales dropped 10% for the three months ended in September.
The worst affected of its division was the resources segment, made up mainly by mining equipment, which sank by 28% compared to the same period last year. Construction sales for the period also fell, but only by 3%.
Since the financial crisis, the government of the UK and the Bank of England have jumped through hoops and twirled around in extraordinary gyrations to bail out one of the largest financial centers in the world, the uniquely powerful and at once unaccountable speck of land, the City of London, an incorporated area within London known as the Square Mile; or rather bail out its financial institutions, its way of doing business, and its bonuses; and along the way, bail out banks further afield.
Done in the now classic way. Key ingredient: the Bank of England printed enormous amounts of money, repressed interest rates, and stirred up inflation, which hit 5% in 2011. But somebody had to pay for it: savers and workers. It demolished real wages and purchasing power of the people who make up the rest of the country.
Those who actually create value as opposed to chasing yield with nearly-free money will actually have some traction once the swamp of excess liquidity drains.
When those closest to the money spigots of the Federal Reserve can borrow billions for next to nothing, cash--laboriously saved from years of paychecks--is reduced to trash. What chance does a saver have in a bidding war for a house or other asset against a financier who can borrow essentially unlimited cash?
Answer: none. The saver can leverage his cash at best 4-to-1: a 20% down payment leverages a mortgage of 80% borrowed money. The financier can borrow as much he wants for next to nothing.
After cutting bullish Comex gold futures and options holdings for eight straight weeks, large speculators added to their net-long holdings. Large Speculators Add To Gold Bullish Positions For First Time Since Mid-August
By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com (Early Sunday Release)
Former Treasury Secretary Dr. Paul Craig Roberts says all U.S. financial policy revolves around propping up the dollar. Dr. Roberts contends, “I’ve always said the whole system is rigged. It’s a house of cards, and the weak spot is the dollar because they cannot print foreign currencies for which to buy dollars. So, if there is a worldwide run on the dollar, they lose control then. In the meantime, they have all these things they can do to counteract the direction of the markets, and I expect them to continue doing that.”
By Michael Pento of Pento Portfolio Strategies October 17 (King World News) - Despite Rally & Propaganda, Fed To Launch Historic QE-Infinity
It wasn’t too long ago that the stock market was busy celebrating a “great” September jobs report. There were 248k net new jobs created and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent. Janet Yellen, Ben Bernanke and the rest of Washington D.C.’s central planners deemed it a great time to take a Keynesian victory lap, basking in the delusion that they have now proved you actually can print and borrow your way to prosperity.
And because of their success, the Fed would be able to raise interest rates without any damage to the economy....
Author: Lawrence Williams Posted: Friday , 17 Oct 2014 LONDON (MINEWEB) -
One of the junior gold exploration sector’s big West African success stories is facing delays, probably fairly minor, due to logistical complications arising from Liberia’s Ebola epidemic. Speaking at a Canaccord Genuity resource event on Thursday, Aureus Mining’s CEO, David Reading, noted that although there had been no Ebola cases reported at the mine site, nor at the local village at the company’s New Liberty gold project, the disease epidemic, along with the rainy season, has affected equipment deliveries which may delay the guided start-up projection of initial gold production in Q1 2015 and steady state output by the end of the first half of the year.
Reading noted that Aureus has, similar to many West African companies, implemented strict Ebola protection protocols with enhanced security and more restricted access to operations...
Most of the world’s greatest mines started as a surface outcrop before turning into a big hole in the ground. Australia’s Deep Exploration Technologies Cooperative Research Centre, backed by miners like BHP Billiton , Barrick and Newcrest, is developing new techniques to find deposits visible only deep underground.
The premise is that mineral deposits are evenly scattered across the globe and miners have only found the ones with veins at or near the surface, says Neil Williams, retired chief of government research agency Geoscience Australia. Even the world’s deepest mines, like the 2-mile-deep Mponeng gold mine in South Africa, exploit structures that prospectors originally found with conventional methods. Those methods include everything from sophisticated gravity and radiation sensors to old-fashioned panning for gold, where prospectors work upstream until the flakes disappear, then look uphill for the source of the gold. ...