Gold, silver, pgms – all catching fire

My initial articles on sharpspixley.com/metalsdaily.com this month look at the current strength in precious metals.  Click on the titles to read in full:

GOLD APPROACHES $1,550 AGAIN, SILVER $20, PLATINUM $1,000 –ALL STILL MOVING UP!

From being the forgotten asset segment, precious metals have caught fire in the past month and a half and ,look like they have further to run, while equities are looking vulnerable

PLATINUM COMING LATE TO THE PRECIOUS METALS PARTY

In the past week the platinum price has started to play catch-up with the other precious metals and rose around 9%. We suspect it will shortly hit $1,000 but still has a long way to go to top the current palladium or gold price.

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“This is the real move in gold and silver… it’s going to be multiyear.”

Interview by Mike Gleason of Money Metals Exchange with David Morgan

Precious Metals Soar on Falling Yields, Global Currency Turmoil

Mike Gleason: It is my privilege now to welcome back our good friend David Morgan of The Morgan Report. David, it’s always good to have you on and appreciate you joining us today. How are you, sir?

David Morgan: Mike, I’m doing all right and it’s good to be with you.

Mike Gleason: Well, David, I know we don’t have a whole lot of time today, but I’m really glad we’re able to speak to you this week because we’re finally seeing some real fireworks here in the metals lately. And I wanted to get your comments.

I should mention that we’re talking here on Thursday morning and we’ve got gold hovering around $1,500 and silver right at about $17. They both popped above those respective key levels yesterday, Wednesday. So first off, what do you make of this move, David? What’s driving it? And the bigger question, will it be sustained?

David Morgan: Well, what’s driving it is something that no one’s really, really talking about. This is my opinion. Of course, you’re asking for my opinion. A lot is the financial press, “Well, It’s all about this trade war with China and the trade war is getting worse. And there’s going to be more sanctions coming in,” and on and on and on. And that may have something to do with it.

But first of all, the underlying fundamental is financial uncertainty. That’s number one. But beyond that, it’s really something going on in the physical market that no one’s really writing about and I don’t know enough about the state other than it’s got to be part of it. The reason I say that is that the paper paradigm is very clear on how the markets move in the futures markets with trading this paper back and forth for contracts to buy and sell silver. And all they really do is set the paper price.

And of course the metals price goes along with that. I’m not trying to discount that very much. What I’m trying to state is that the paper markets dominate the price over and over again. And every now and again you’ll get in a situation like this where something’s going on, where something needs to be fulfilled and accomplished, and it hasn’t been settled out yet.

So for an example, let’s say there’s some bank that’s demanding a physical settlement in gold and they haven’t received it yet. Once that’s accomplished, you may, and most likely, see the market cool off and go more into some type of trading range where you’re more apt to be able to look at the paper trades, more of what we call levels that we’re used to seeing.

So, I think there’s something out there. Whether that’s occurring with silver or not, I doubt it, right now based on the fact that silver has been lagging gold so much. And there’s a couple of gaps in the charts that will probably be filled, one, you haven’t missed this move at all. If you bought yesterday at maybe the high, I don’t know yet, and it goes down and let’s say silver makes it all the way back down into the, I don’t know, $15.50 range or something, you haven’t missed much. Yeah, you wouldn’t want to buy and see a loss right away. But what I’m trying to state is this, I’m convinced, is the real move. It’s going to be multi-year. And silver and gold, at the end of three, four years from now are going to be substantially higher than they are today.

Mike Gleason: Certainly strong comments. You’re always take a very level-headed approach and have not been just pumping sunshine over these last several years every time we get a rally. So, that’s definitely something that we should all take note of.

Now, silver, you mentioned this, silver does seem to be underperforming a little bit vis-a-vis gold. And now we’ve seen the gold-silver ratio come down from, I think I saw it 93 to one, maybe about there, within the last few months. It’s about 88 to one right now. So, silver has gained somewhat but maybe not quite like you would expect given a big bull move and given that silver should vastly outperform gold in a bull market. So is this seeming lack of out performance from silver a cause for concern?

David Morgan: Somewhat still it is. First of all, I like to see, I mean 80 to 1 at a minimum. And even there that’s an extreme.

When I started the previous website – my website, I think everyone knows is TheMorganReport.com – I rebranded that for years now because I want everyone to be aware that I cover all the resource sector, lithium, rare-earths, et cetera, and not just silver.

But back in the older days with Silver-Investor.com, when I started that website, the ratio was 80 to one, and that was an extreme. And if you would have asked me, even, I don’t know, three years ago, a couple years ago, “Will you see the gold-silver ratio above 80 to one?” I would’ve said, “No. I really, really doubt it” and I’m wrong. It’s got to about 93, 4, 5, somewhere in that range.

So, to really be convinced that, and first of all, I’m convinced that we’re in a new bull market, to be convinced that things are, let’s say, going to show both metals really outperform many other sectors, the equity markets, the bond market, the real estate market, everything else, and take the dominating lead as this currency crisis continues, I want to see silver below a 70-to-one ratio. That would be ultimate confirmation for me, Mike that okay, we’re well on our way, and we’re not. We’re at 88.

Silver has some work to do. Silver is, in my view, much more difficult to analyze than gold, but it can make these moves rather drastically and quickly as gold is doing. Of course, silver’s done pretty good job here of late picking up some momentum and moving from the doldrums into the 17, which is still dirt cheap.

I mean, if you take an AISC, all-in sustaining cost, for some of the major silver producers, they’ll tell you they’re at $15 but they don’t tell you is what their taxes are. So if you add those in, a lot of them are right at basically where we’re at, in other words $17. They’re just break even.

And for any company, what they’re making dresses or corn chips or cola, you want as wide a margin as you can get commensurate with what the market’s willing to pay for your product. And in the case of silver, these companies are still struggling at these levels. So, silver’s got a long ways to go, as does gold, for the margins to be large enough for these companies to breathe easy and have a viable business and be able to have a cashflow that allows them to go out and explore further or retain assets or whatever. So, I see a lot of upside but I’m also anxious for silver to kind of show its wings and fly, and that type of thing.

Mike Gleason: Gold has risen to levels last seen in 2013 when it broke down. But silver obviously is nowhere near those levels, which was say the mid-20s at about that point. What is it going to take for silver to get back above that say into the $20 plus range and what are some of the key resistance points you’re watching for silver between here and there and then beyond?

David Morgan: Okay. Well for, yeah, it does take more interest in the metals all together. Obviously there’s a lot of interests coming in, but it’s mostly institutional. It’s not your retail (investors) at this time. I talk to many dealers such as yourself, Mike. And what I found out was a little bit surprising. A lot of this trading is going through, as I said, institutions which means futures trading and ETFs and a lot of the retail investors are saying, you know what gold’s back to where I bought it, I bought it at this $1,450. It’s there, I’m selling it back. So a lot of the retail investors aren’t believing this rally is for real. And what they’re doing is basically getting their money back. Not all of them of course, but so there’s a lot of work to be done on the silver side. There is lots of areas of resistance on this.

Pulling up a chart as we’re speaking, Mike, because I anticipated this. So there’s huge resistance at $17, which is where we’re at right now as we speak. Will it get through that? Yes. Eventually it will. Will it instantly? I doubt it. I think it’ll come back and fill the gap. And I’m going to do an update for my paid members here, show them where a good entry point is. If they have stopped, if they want to get into this market or add to their positions, whatever. Normally I do that all through equities. I use the futures as a proxy for the overall market. Doesn’t mean you should do futures. In fact, a dissuade anybody from using the futures market. It’s just, that’s where the price is set. So it’s easier to analyze, and I can show them on the chart when silver gets to this level, that’s a good time to start buying your top tier or your favorite junior or whatever you’re going to do.

So, $17… $17 to $17.25 is a pretty big area of resistance. After that, it floats up to a really $19-20 pretty easily. So once we work through that level, Mike, you’ll probably see an acceleration of silver from, I’m going to say $17.50 up to $19.50 I expect it to go to that level fairly quickly. It won’t be like two trading days, but it may probably won’t take very long. Silver could surprise anybody, even me as far as how it reacts. It doesn’t seem to ever do what you expect it to do. But regardless it will outperform and we do need to see a higher level. Once again, over the $20 level, I think the psychology will change and people will say, “It’s silver, not so bad.” Now, they won’t touch at $15. I know you guys sell silver at all levels and every day and there’s always purchases.

But, mark my words, you check the volume and activity at your business. How many people are calling in and buying silver or when it gets silver when it gets over $20, what it’s doing now, and I’m sure you’ll be selling more at that level. People just love to buy the metals at a higher price. When I’m pounding the table saying “This is it.”

Because most people don’t want to put up with, the time, the patience that’s required, if you bought silver at $14 at the end of 2015. Watched it rally all the way up to $21. I was convinced at that time where the bull mark was back in tact. And in a way it is, I mean if you look at gold from that perspective, that’s where it bottomed and has had high or lows all the way up. Silver’s chart doesn’t look like that. Silver bottoms at the same time as gold, which is December, 2015. and it has not made high or lows all the way up. And we’ve basically stayed flat to about $15.75 and then it broke down from there and it got down as low as the 14s. So still higher than it was in December, 2015 but a messy chart, let’s say.

Mike Gleason: Yeah, there’s certainly some big, big levels above us and yeah, I agree. I think when we see silver, get that two handle again. I think that’s when a lot of people are going recognize that okay, it’s time to start moving and the smart people will do it before then.

Again, thanks David for fitting us in. I know we had a tight window here and it’s been great to have you on. But as we wrap up though, I want to give you a chance to fill our audience in on any of the other markets that you’re looking at here.

David Morgan: Sure. Always looking at the equity market and of course the bonds are the key and the currency markets – we looking at everything really. I think the stock market is showing some wear. It’s been a bull market for quite some time. It’s overvalued by any metric you want to use. I’m looking at that and see it get rolled over further. And then bond market of course is the key because this is the debt markets that everything depends on and how much faith there is in that is going to determine the future of the financial system. So, those are key currencies. As I’ve said many times you can see gold and the dollar go up. Dollar’s making new highs. Gold’s making a six year high. And I said “Watch.” And of course here we are. There’s a reason for that. So, I think that’s about it.

I just close out, I got this email. “I’m a young guy, I have a high conviction, precious metal is the best place to be in the next three to five years. I’m in need of guidance of how to build a long-term precious metals portfolio. I want to fund this as soon as possible. I know you’re not a financial adviser, but you offer services that will help me start a precious metal portfolio. I continue to monitor the market on an ongoing basis with your analysis, can you help me?” And that’s almost precisely what I do. So, I will get with this gentleman and kind of reaffirm what he’s already asking. Can you help me? Yeah, that’s what our business is. So anyway, if you want to learn more, just go TheMorganReport.com put in a first name and an email address, be happy to put you on our free list. And you can determine from there, if you want to go further.

Mike Gleason: There’s probably no better time to get in and get on board with services like The Morgan Report, and the great commentary that David and his team put out there. And, and just see what’s going happen and what they have to say about these markets as we could be entering this new bull phase. I mean, you heard David say it, he’s convinced we’re in a new bull market and this is going to be an exciting time and the time that precious metals investors have been waiting for, for a number of years. So definitely urge people to take advantage of that and go to TheMorganReport.com it’s truly great stuff. You have just heard what David was talking about. A great approach to all these markets and lots and lots of experience over the years. He’s seen everything.

Well good stuff David. Always appreciate it. Thanks so much. I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer and I can’t wait for our next conversation, take care.

David Morgan: Thanks so much Mike. It’s great to be back with you.

Low or negative interest rates drive gold to new interim highs as Central Banks continue to buy

With Yields Sinking Everywhere, Gold Just Hit New All-Time Highs…

By Frank Holmes – CEO and Chief Investment Officer U.S. Global Investors

With Yields Sinking Everywhere, Gold Just Hit New All-Time Highs…

“It is no longer absurd to think that the nominal yield on U.S. Treasury securities could go negative,” Joachim Fels, PIMCO’s global economic advisor, warned investors last week. “Whenever the world economy next goes into hibernation, U.S. Treasuries—which many investors view as the ultimate ‘safe haven’ apart from gold—may be no exception to the negative yield phenomenon.”

Fels seems not to be the only investor with this idea, judging by the increased demand for gold.

The price of the yellow metal had its best week in nearly two months as the total value of negative-yielding debt around the world touched a new record of $15 trillion. With the nominal yield on the 10-year Treasury having fallen below 2 percent—and just shy of 0 percent on an inflation-adjusted basis—gold surged above $1,500 an ounce in U.S. dollars (USD) for the first time since September 2013.

It also hit historic all-time highs when priced in a number of other world currencies, including the British pound, Russian ruble and Indian rupee. Last week, the central bank of India, along with those in New Zealand and Thailand, surprised markets by cutting rates more than expected, adding to fears that an economic slowdown is imminent.

On Wednesday, gold’s performance for 2019 caught up with and surpassed that of the stock market.

gold is now beating the market year-to-date
click to enlarge

Analysts at Goldman Sachs now say that $1,500 is only the beginning, and that we could see $1,600-an-ounce gold within the next six months.

“If growth worries persist, possibly due to a trade war escalation, gold could go even higher, driven by a larger ETF gold allocation from portfolio managers who still continue to under-own gold,” Goldman analyst Sabine Schels said in a note to investors last week. “Gold ETFs have recently built momentum almost as strong as in 2016, and we believe that can be maintained in the short-term.”

Indeed, gold ETFs attracted $2.6 billion of net global inflows in July alone, raising their collective holdings to 2,600 tonnes—a level unseen since March 2013, according to the World Gold Council (WGC).

A $1.2 Trillion Hit to the World Economy

For further insight on global trade, Goldman no longer believes a resolution to the U.S.-China trade war will occur before the 2020 presidential election. On Friday, in fact, President Donald Trump told reporters that “we are not ready to make a deal” with China, “but we’ll see what happens.”

Should the trade war continue to escalate, it could cost the world economy “dearly,” according to Bloomberg. New modeling by Bloomberg analysts shows that global GDP would be 0.6 percent lower by 2021, amounting to a whopping $1.2 trillion hit, if markets slumped as a result of a full blown trade war.

Currency Wars Are Pushing Up the Price of Gold

Again, it’s not just USD-priced gold that’s done well in recent days. The precious metal blew past new all-time highs in a number of currencies on top of those I already mentioned. They also included currencies in major gold-producing economies such as Australia, Canada and South Africa. Australia’s dollar traded at its lowest level against the USD since the financial crisis a decade ago.

gold has hit all-time highs in multiple currencies
click to enlarge

One of our favorite ways to play this appreciation is with Russia gold stocks, particularly Moscow-based Polyus, which was up nearly 55 percent in the 12 months through August 8. Its peers, Polymetal (up 51 percent) and Highland Gold (75 percent), have also been winners in a strong gold-price environment.

Russian gold stocks have made giant moves
click to enlarge

“Polyus is undoubtedly a growth company,” according to equity research firm Wood & Company. Analysts there note Polyus’ lower-than-average production cost of only $348 an ounce last year and attractive valuation of 6.8 times price-to-earnings (P/E). “It offers a decent yield more long-term growth than any other stock in Russian metals and mining, and we believe the sanction risks are small,” Wood analysts write. The producer’s dividend yield is expected to average between 5 percent and 6 percent this year, well above its peers.

Beijing Wants Even More Gold in Its Reserves

In other currency war news, China added to its official gold holdings for the eighth straight month in July. Its central bank increased holdings as much as 10 tons, after raising it 84 tons in June. Total holdings now stand at 62.26 million ounces, as the world’s second largest economy expands its efforts to diversify away from the USD.

China added to its gold reserves for eighth straight month
click to enlarge

As I explained earlier last week, China allowed its currency, the renminbi, to weaken past 7.0 versus the USD, a level not seen since 2008. This was just the latest development in the country’s trade spat with the U.S. that’s nearing its 18th month.

Doctor Copper Hits a Two-Year Low on Growth Concerns

Fears of slower growth may be beneficial for the price of gold right now, but they’re taking a toll on copper, often seen as a barometer for the global economy. The red metal is widely used in, well, anything that needs to conduct an electrical charge, and when a slowdown in industrial demand is expected, prices struggle.

Take a look below. Copper has more or less followed the global manufacturing purchasing manager’s index (PMI) down over the past year and a half. Factories across the globe contracted for the third straight month in July.

copper price falls to a two-year low on weaker manufacturing demand
click to enlarge

As the Wall Street Journal puts it, the slide “threatens to limit investment in new mines, a trend that industry analysts and executives say could lead in coming years to sizable shortages of the material critical to manufacturing and renewable-energy projects.”

The price of copper slid as low as $2.53 per pound on last Monday, a 52-week low and nearly 25 percent down from its recent high of $3.30 from last June.

An economic gauge of heavy copper-using manufacturers indicated contraction in July. The Global Copper Users PMI fell from 50.0 in June to 48.6 last month, the weakest result in five months, according to IHS Markit.

“Companies noted that raised trade tensions played a part in reducing production, as new export orders fell at a sharper rate,” said IHS Markit economist David Owen, who added that weakness in the European auto sector also played a role in declining copper demand.

Gold stars aligning; China reserves and demand and trade war escalation impact

Four recent articles wRitten by me and published on the Sharps Pixley website.  To read the articles in full click on the titles

Gold: The Stars are all Aligning – Again

The latest issue of Grant Williams’ Things that make you go hmmm.. newsletter point to market performance parallels with that ahead of the Great Depression and other major recessions as well as other factors seen as positive for gold

Chinese 2019 gold demand still slipping but don’t panic

Latest gold withdrawal figures for July from China’s Shanghai Gold Exchange suggest that Chinese gold demand continues to falter this year, but any shortfall in demand is being counterbalanced by gains elsewhere.

China says it added 10 tonnes to gold reserves in July

The Chinese Central Bank reports adding just short of 10 tonnes of gold to reserves in July while overall Central Bank purchases remain elevated and gold ETF holdings rise.

U.S./China trade war escalation drives gold to $1,500

The apparent escalation of trade tensions between the world’s two biggest economies, the U.S. and China, has given a huge boost to the gold price which is hovering close to the US$1,500 level.

 

Gold’s bounce, disappointing silver, China gold reserves and demand, Silver Top 20, gold bullish amid headwinds

As regular readers of lawrieongold will know, nowadays I am primarily publishing my articles on the Sharps Pixley /Metals Daily’s websites rather than here on this site.  Links to my most recent articles follow:

GOLD BOUNCES BACK BUT SILVER STILL DISAPPOINTS – FOR NOW

13 Jul 2019 – Comments from Fed chairman Jerome Powell confirming the likelihood of a rate cut at this month’s FOMC meeting have given the gold price a bit of a boost, but silver continues to disappoint, But for how long?

CHINA CONTINUES TO ADD TO ITS GOLD RESERVES – BUT AT LOWER RATE M/M

09 Jul 2019 – The Chinese Central Bank has announced it added 10.26 tonnes of gold to its forex reserves in June – a lower level than the prior two months’ additions. Total global Central Bank accumulations are already up 73% this year according to the WGC.

WORLD TOP 20 SILVER PRODUCERS AND METAL’S PRICE PROSPECTS

09 Jul 2019 – Even though it saw a 3% production decline for silver last year,but still reckons on a supply surplus, UK precious metals consultancy is marginally bullish on the metals price prospects in H2. Top 20 silver producers tabulated.

2019 H1 China gold demand lowest for five years

08 Jul 2019 – June gold withdrawal figures out of the SGE show that the downturn in Chinese gold demand is still slipping compared with the previous 2 years – and hugely below that seen in the record 2015 year

Gold price faces some headwinds but prospects remains bullish

07 Jul 2019 – Gold and silver prices were brought back sharply following the Independence Day holiday in the U.S. closing the week below $1,400 and $15 respectively, but we anticipate the latest setbacks to be shortlived.

Some thoughts on silver’s poor performance vis-a-vis gold.

What is puzzling in the precious metals space is the underperformance of silver in comparison with gold during the latter’s very sharp recent price rise. Historically silver tends to outperform gold percentage wise when the latter is rising sharply.  This time around, so far, this has not been the case,  Silver guru Ted Butler puts this down to continued price manipulation on the U.S. COMEX Futures Exchange – see: http://silverseek.com/commentary/stranger-fiction-17678 for his latest outspoken commentary on this subject, and who he sees as the main culprits.

Meanwhile appended below is Stefan Gleason’s latest commentary from Money Metals Exchange, where he predicts a potentially explosive rise in the silver price should gold continue its upwards path.  Gleason heads up a precious metals trading business in the U.S. so he does have an interest in higher prices, but his views on the current silver situation are echoed by many perhaps more impartial observers too:

Will Silver Soon Follow Gold’s Lead?

Gold Price (June 21, 2019)

To be sure, there is also the possibility of some retracing and back-testing this summer before the $1,400 level is conquered for good.

The fall and winter periods are typically more conducive to big precious metals rallies.

Seasonality, however, isn’t a dependable trading tool. Some technical analysts (who will go unnamed here) wrongly turned bearish on gold and gold stocks after they put in a disappointing early spring performance and were thought to be headed straight into the summer doldrums.

Instead, the summer solstice arrived with gold’s chart displaying a powerfully bullish long-term setup.

The one glaring problem with the current setup in precious metals markets: silver hasn’t yet confirmed gold’s breakout.

Silver Price (June 21, 2019)

Silver needs to break above $15.50, then $16.00 (the last intermediate cycle high) in order to establish a bullish trend on par with gold’s.

The white metal’s lagging price performance in recent months has resulted in it trading at its biggest discount to gold in three decades.

Hardy silver bugs are excited at this rare opportunity to buy more ounces on the cheap. Others are understandably concerned that silver isn’t showing any leadership during rallies in the metals sector.

Silver, being a smaller and naturally more volatile market than gold, is supposed to amplify gold’s moves on both the upside and downside. So why is silver instead acting like an anemic version of gold?

Lots of reasons can be proffered – from record central bank buying of gold, to silver’s reliance on industrial demand, to low (official) inflation, to market manipulation.

It probably comes down largely to investor psychology. When precious metals markets have been out of the “mainstream” news cycle for years – trumped by a rising stock market and the rise of digital currencies – the general public won’t be interested in precious metals.

The super-rich and large institutional investors who are more apt to take contrarian positions in overlooked assets generally prefer gold over silver because it is more convenient for them to accumulate in large quantities.

We are still in the stealth phase of a precious metals bull market. When we enter the public participation phase – and demand for physical bullion increases – we have no doubt that silver will shine.

Sharps Pixley back on line and Gold, GLD and Palladium article updates

After a couple of days where the Sharps Pixley site went offline following an attempted hack, I can report that it is now up and running again and my future articles will find a home there rather than here.  However I will continue to publish articles of interest here as well as occasional links to articles on Sharps Pixley.

Meanwhile I did publish a couple of articles here when the Sharps Pixley site was down – and I have now reposted them on Sharps Pixley with some minor updates.  Links to the updated versions may be accessed by clicking on the links below:

LAWRIE WILLIAMS: UPDATE: GLD TURNAROUND VERY POSITIVE FOR GOLD

06 Jun 2019 – There have been some positive inflows into GLD, the world’s largest gold ETF, since the Memorial Day holiday after around a month or so of almost-continual withdrawals. This represents an important change in sentiment towards gold.

LAWRIE WILLIAMS: UPDATED: GOLD PRICE BACK AHEAD OF PALLADIUM AGAIN

04 Jun 2019 – A rising gold price and a falling palladium one have seen gold regain its crown as the highest priced principal precious metal. Both metals do seem to have a fair amount going for them but, for now, the sentiment appears to be with gold..

Gold powers through $1,300, but will it stay the course?

This article was posted to Sharps Pixley yesterday but the site is down so I am copying it here

Gold has made several attempts to consolidate above $US1,300 so far this year, but has so far always been brought back down through concerted activity in the U.S. futures markets.  This past Friday, and today, gold has driven up through the $1,300 level again and has seen good strength in Asian and European markets, but will it survive the U.S. markets when they open today?  In other words will this time be different?

The trigger on this occasion for the uplift in the gold price has been President Trump’s announced intention to weaponise further trade tariff impositions – this time on Mexico to try and force the latter to put a stop to illegal immigration into the U.S.   The problem with this is that the U.S. President seems to think the carrot and stick approach to international diplomacy (rather more stick than carrot) will work as well as it may do in business.  But the difference here is that other sovereign nations may just dig in their heels and resist such policies to their fullest extent.  National pride is at stake here.  Governments are not subject to shareholder needs – indeed they may be subject to electoral dismissals, but these are much longer term scenarios and an aggressive approach like that of the U.S. President can have a counter-productive effect in uniting the affected populace against what they see as unwarranted foreign intimidation.

Sanctions and tariffs seldom work.  The imposition of sanctions on Russia for example, which have now been in place in some form or other for around five years now, if anything have seen the latter nation go from strength to strength and have done nothing to dampen President Putin’s popularity.  He is seen by the Russian people as instrumental in ‘Making Russia Great Again’ – or MRGA – even outdoing, in effect, President Trump’s MAGA clarion call.  Arguably Russia is now a much stronger player on the global stage than it was before U.S. sanctions were implemented.  Counter measures by Russia and an ever increasing political and financial relationship with China may well be more damaging to U.S. global interests than a rather more laissez faire attitude may have been.

Likewise the imposition of swingeing trade tariffs on Chinese goods and the strictures on Chinese tech giant Huawei may end up being counter-productive.  It much depends who out of Presidents Trump and Xi blinks first – but the U.S. President, who claims a deep understanding of China – must be aware that ‘saving face’ is probably a far more important part of Chinese culture than it is of Western political expediency.  While on the face of things the far higher level of Chinese exports to the U.S. dwarfs the latter’s exports to China suggests that the U.S. would be the winner in a trade war, the differing political and economic cultures of the two protagonists suggest that China may be in a far stronger position than the U.S. is counting on!

Be all this as it may, the intransigence of the U.S. President, his propensity to announce significant policy changes on twitter and his perhaps less than honest recollections/interpretations of some of his past utterances could well have the unintended consequence of precipitating a stock market collapse and the triggering of a global recession.  We could even be heading for some kind of superpower shooting war – there are enough global flashpoints for this to happen very quickly.  American military technology may yet not be sufficiently dominant to ensure U.S. victory if such a war springs up.

All the above may be in investors’ minds at the moment.  Equities markets are, to say the least, nervous.  They look to have risen too far too fast, way beyond normally justifiable levels.  Many big players may well have had their profits prospects seriously damaged by the seemingly ever-escalating trade wars.  In the U.S. the all important FAANG stocks which have been instrumental in driving the market upwards look increasingly vulnerable to the U.S./China trade war and the hugely important U.S. auto manufacturing sector to the potential trade dispute with Mexico.

So what does all this mean for gold and the other precious metals?  Gold, in theory at least, thrives on uncertainty.  We are already beginning to see inflows into the gold ETFs which had been seeing liquidations for much of April and the first half of May which suggests the big money is taking notice – not before time.  The pgms would probably suffer in a recession – particularly palladium and rhodium which are hugely dependent on the petrol (gasoline) driven auto market.  Silver may well benefit, despite its strong industrial usage.  The gold:silver ratio has been at close to 90 and will probably come down in a rising gold price scenario suggesting that percentage gains in silver may exceed those of gold.  But silver is not known for nothing as ‘the devil’s metal’ because of its unpredictability so it may be better to play safe and stick with gold as your market crash/recession insurance.  The omens look positive for gold but we shall see whether the U.S. market agrees!

Is Palladium Price Action Forerunner for Gold and Silver?

by: Clint Siegner*

The precious metals sector has just one standout performer this year, and that is palladium. Lately the market for that metal has become more than just hot. Developments there could have implications for the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) and the rickety fractional reserve system of inventory underpinning all of the physical precious metals markets.

Craig Hemke of the TF Metals Report was  the podcast guest this past Friday. He has been watching the developments in palladium closely and gave an excellent summary of what’s involved.

Palladium prices went parabolic once before. The price went from under $400 per ounce to $1,100/oz from late 1999 to early 2001. Then, just as quickly, the price crashed back below $400.

Palladium’s move higher in recent months is reminiscent. It remains to be seen whether or not a price collapse will follow. Some of the underlying drivers are the same, some are not.

Russia May Not Save the Palladium Markets This Time

Today, as in 2001, Russia is the world’s largest producer of the metal. Mines there contribute about 40% of the world supply.

The shortage 17 years ago was driven by demand. Automobile and truck manufacturers began using more of the metal in catalytic converters. It was a lower cost alternative to platinum.

When the market ran into shortage, Russians, under President Boris Yeltsin, rode to the rescue. They were willing and able to bring more physical metal to market.

The added supply turned the market around just in the nick of time. The LBMA and bullion banks got away with selling way more paper palladium than they could actually deliver.

Today, palladium inventory is once again in short supply. This time around, however, the paper sellers in London and in the COMEX may find themselves at the mercy of Vladimir Putin.

Russian relations aren’t what they were in 2001. Palladium users may not get the same rescue as before, assuming Russian miners have stockpiles to deliver.

The bullion banks’ problem is starting to look serious.

System Failure

For one thing, the lease rates for palladium have gone berserk. Bullion bankers and other short sellers often lease metal to hand over to counterparties standing for delivery on a contract. Until very recently, they could get that metal for less than one percent cost. Last week, that rate spiked to 22%.

That is extraordinarily expensive, and it reflects the scarcity of physical palladium. The only reason a banker might pay such a rate is because he is over the barrel and has zero options outside of defaulting on his obligation.

Severe Shortages Lead to High Lease Rates, Backwardation

In conjunction with the surge in lease rates, the palladium market has moved into backwardation. It costs significantly more to buy metal on contracts offering delivery in the near future than it does to buy contracts with a longer maturation.

Normally the opposite is true when it comes to the precious metals. Investors buying a contract normally pay a premium to have the certainty of a fixed price today for metal to be delivered sometime well down the road.

Investors are paying big premiums (about $100/oz currently) to get contacts with offering metal for delivery now. The near-term price reflects a concern over whether promises to deliver palladium months from now can even be met.

Is the Palladium Situation a Dress Rehearsal for Gold & Silver?

Gold and silver bugs have long expected the bullion bankers will eventually put themselves in this kind of bind with the monetary metals. They have sold contracts representing something on the order of 100 ounces for every ounce of actual gold or silver sitting in exchange vaults.

That much leverage is bound to end in catastrophe, someday. All it will take is a collapse in confidence – the suspicion that paper will not and cannot be convertible for actual metal.

A failure to deliver in the relatively tiny palladium market could be the “canary in the coal mine” – a warning to investors in other precious metals. If there is a failure to deliver in LBMA palladium, it could shake confidence in the much larger markets for gold and silver.

The developing shortage in the silver market suggests that silver could be the next

Holmes: It’s Time for Contrarians to Get Bullish on Gold

By Frank Holmes – CEO and Chief Investment Adviser U.S. Global investors

It’s Time for Contrarians to Get Bullish on Gold

Gold can’t seem to catch a break. The yellow metal normally acts as a safe haven in times of political and economic strife, but in the face of Turkey’s lira meltdown, investors have taken cover instead in the U.S. dollar. On Monday, the stronger greenback pushed gold to end below $1,200 an ounce for the first time since January 2017.

The lira fell to its lowest level ever recorded against the dollar Monday, mainly in response to President Donald Trump’s call to sanction and double steel and aluminum tariffs on Turkey. This sent gold priced in Turkey’s currency to all-time highs. If you recall, we saw the same thing happen recently in Venezuela, where inflation is expected to hit 1 million percent by the end of the year.

Turkish lira down more than 45% for the year
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Turkey’s faith in gold was on full display this week as President Recep Erdogan urged his fellow Turks to convert their gold and hard currencies into lira in an effort to prop up the country’s hammered currency. The same strategy was used in December 2016, a month after Trump’s election sent the lira tumbling against the dollar.

The Love Trade Is Strong in Turkey

As I’ve discussed before, Turkey has a long and rich history with gold. Home to the world’s very first gold coins more than 2,500 years ago, Turkey still stands as one of the largest buyers of the yellow metal. In the June quarter, the Eurasian country was the fourth largest consumer of gold jewelry, following India, China and the U.S. Twelve and a half metric tons were purchased in the three-month period, up 13 percent from the same time a year ago.

Along with Russia and Kazakhstan, Turkey also continues to add to its official gold holdings. Its central bank’s net purchases in the first half of the year totaled 38.1 metric tons, up 82 percent from the same six-month period in 2017, according to the World Gold Council (WGC). This made it the second highest buyer, after Russia.

Time to Get Contrarian

Gold investors might be discouraged by its performance this year, compounded by news that hedge funds are shorting the metal in record numbers. A lot of this has to do with the fact that, so far this year, gold has had a very high negative correlation to the U.S. dollar—more precisely, a negative 0.95 correlation coefficient, according to gold research firm Murenbeeld & Co. What this means is that gold prices have been moving in nearly the exact opposite direction as the greenback.

I think it’s important to point out that, despite a stronger dollar, gold is still up for the 36-month period—and climbing even higher over the long term. The dollar has only recently broken even, whereas gold has continued to hit higher lows since its phenomenal breakout in December 2015.

despite a stronger u.s. dollar, gold is still up for 36-month period
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The dollar could be ready to peak, with the potential for even higher gold prices. The metal is currently down two standard deviations over the past 60 trading days, so the math is currently in our favor for gold to rally.

Gold: Lessons from Venezuela

Frank Holmes, CEO and Chief Investment Officer of U.S. Global Investors, talks us through the cautionary tale of Venezuelan hyperinflation and how holding some gold  could have mitigated the financial disaster which has affected that country’s population.

Wait Until You See the Price of Gold in Venezuela Right Now

Paper Money eventually returns to its intrinsic value zero

Last month in Venezuela’s capital city of Caracas, a cup of coffee would have set you back 2 million bolivars. That’s up from only 2,300 bolivars 12 months ago, meaning the price of a cup of joe has jumped nearly 87,000 percent, according to Bloomberg’s Café Con Leche Index. And you thought Starbucks was expensive.

But that was July. Prices in Venezuela are doubling roughly every 18 days. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) now projects inflation to hit an astronomical 1 million percent by the end of this year. This puts the beleaguered Latin American country on the same slippery path as Zimbabwe a decade ago and Germany in the 1920s, when a wheelbarrow full of marks was barely enough to get you a loaf of bread.

Venezuela’s socialist president Nicolas Maduro—who only this past weekend survived an assassination attempt involving several explosive-laden drones—announced recently that the country plans to rein in hyperinflation by lopping off five zeroes from its currency. If you recall, Zimbabwe similarly tried to combat soaring prices of its own by issuing a cartoonish $100 trillion banknote—which in 2009 was still not enough to buy a bus ticket in the capital of Harare.

Without structural governmental reforms, a new bolivar is just as unlikely to steady Venezuela’s skyrocketing inflation or remedy its crumbling economy.

Gold Could Save Your Life

So where does this put gold? At some point, hyperinflation gets so ludicrously out of control that discussing exchange rates becomes pointless. But as of July 30, an ounce of the yellow metal would have gone for 211 million bolivars—an increase of more than 3.1 million percent from just the beginning of the year.

Gold priced in Venezuela Bolivars
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My point in bringing this up is to reinforce the importance of gold’s Fear Trade, which says that demand for the yellow metal rises when inflation threatens to destroy a nation’s currency—as it’s doing right now in Venezuela. A Venezuelan family that had the prudence to store some of its wealth in gold would be in a much better position today to survive or escape President Maduro’s corrupt, far-left regime.

In extreme cases like this, gold could literally help save lives.

Such was the case following the fall of Saigon in 1975. If not for gold, many South Vietnamese families might not have managed to escape the country. A seat on one of the thousands of fleeing boats reportedly went for eight or 10 taels of gold per adult, four or five taels per child. (A tael is slightly more than an ounce.) Gold was their passport. Thanks to the precious metal, tens of thousands of Vietnamese “boat people,” as they’re now known, were able to start new lives in the U.S., Canada, Australia and other developed countries.

Venezuela’s Once Prosperous Economy Destroyed by Corruption and Mismanagement

But back to Venezuela. Amid the corruption and mismanagement, the only thing helping the country pay its bills right now is gold. Two years ago, it had the world’s 16th largest gold reserves. Today it stands at number 26 as it’s sold off more than half its holdings since 2010. While countries such as China and Russia continue to add to their holdings, Venezuela has been the world’s largest seller of goldfor the past two years.

Venezuela began liquidating its gold after oil prices declined
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It’s hard to remember now, but as recently as 2001, Venezuela was the most prosperous country in all of South America. Like Zimbabwe, the OPEC nation is rich in natural resources, home to the world’s largest oil reserves and what’s believed to be the fourth largest gold mine. Oil exports account for virtually all of its export revenue.

In 2016, Venezuela was the third largest exporter of crude to the U.S. following Canada and Saudi Arabia, but with output in freefall, this is changing rapidly. For the first time ever in February, Colombia sold more crude oil to the U.S. than its eastern neighbor did. And in June, Venezuela’s state-owned oil and gas company, Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), informed at least eight foreign clients that it would be unable to meet supply commitments. According to GlobalData, production is on track to fall to only 1 million barrels per day by 2019, down from 3 million a day in 2011, meaning the petrostate might soon have nothing left to deliver.

President Maduro now has the ignoble distinction of reigning over an economic recession that rivals the very worst in modern history. Last month, the IMF forecast that the country’s real gross domestic product (GDP) would fall 18 percent this year—the third straight year of double-digit declines.

Venezuelas recession among the worst in recent history
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A mass exodus of young, working-age Venezuelans, many of them college-educated, is unlikely to help. Estimates of the number of people who have fled the country in the past two years alone range from 1.7 million to as high as 4 million.

Their escape is no easy task, as numerous international airlines, citing rampant crime and a lack of electricity, have canceled all flights in and out of Caracas. The only U.S. carrier still operating in the country is American Airlines, which offers a single daily flight from the nation’s capital to Miami. Just two years ago, there were as many as 40 nonstop American flights, not to mention those of rival carriers, between the two cities—a sign of just how dramatic and swift Maduro’s mismanagement has been in crippling Venezuela’s once-robust economy.

The Diversification Benefits of Gold

The gold bears were on top last week, with the metal trading as low as $1,205 on Thursday. That’s the closest it’s come to dipping below $1,200 since February 2017. Friday’s lower-than-expected jobs report gave gold a modest boost, but it wasn’t enough to prevent a fourth straight week of price declines.

Gold delped stem the rout
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In times like this, it’s important to remember that, according to gold’s DNA of volatility, it’s a non-event for the metal to close up or down 1 percent at the end of each session, 2 percent for the 10-day trading period. And guess what? The S&P 500 Index has the same level of volatility.

Ten days ago, gold was trading just under $1,230 an ounce, or 0.6 percent more than today. The math is sound.

It’s also worth remembering that gold has traditionally had a low to negative correlation with other assets such as equities. This is why many investors over the years have used it as a portfolio diversifier.

Case in point: On June 26, Facebook suffered its worst single-day decline since the company went public in 2012. Its stock plunged 19 percent, erasing some $120 billion in market capitalization—the most ever in history for a single trading session.

Gold, meanwhile, held relatively steady, slipping only 0.62 percent.

Pelaez: Time to Position for a Decade-Long Bull Market in Natural Resources

Interview by Mike Gleason of www.moneymetals.com

Coming up we’ll hear a wonderfully fascinating interview with first time guest Samuel Palaez of Galileo Global Equity Advisors. Sam highlights what he views as a tremendous investment opportunity in commodities right now, and also talks about how the markets may be getting it wrong when it comes to the trade wars and the likely impact it will have on the U.S. economy, inflation and the dollar.

Samuel Pelaez

Mike Gleason: It is my privilege now to welcome in Samuel Pelaez, CIO and Portfolio Manager at Galileo Global Equity Advisors, a Canadian subsidiary of U.S. Global Investors. Sam manages Galileo’s Growth and Income fund as well as the Technology and Blockchain fund and also follows the natural resource and gold mining space quite closely. And it’s a real pleasure to have him on with us today.

Sam, thanks so much for the time and welcome.

Samuel Pelaez: Thanks, Mike. It’s a great pleasure to join you. I think this is the first time.

Mike Gleason: Yeah, absolutely. Excited to get a chance to talk to you finally. You’ve been talking about commodities being way undervalued. You published a chart back in the spring showing the value of the S&P GSCI Index of commodities companies relative to the broader S&P 500 Index. The ratio is near all-time lows. Since that chart was published in April not a great deal has changed, so talk about where we’re at here in commodities now and give us your thoughts on what the value proposition looks like today because they certainly have been laggards compared to the broader markets.

Samuel Pelaez: Yeah, absolutely. That’s my favorite all-time chart I think. I’m a big proponent of commodities and natural resource investing. Keep in mind, that chart goes over 60 years or so of markets. We’ve had cycles like this three times or this will be the third time. Twice in the past we’ve seen that sort of extreme rating where commodities are so undervalued relative to the broader market as measured by the S&P 500.

What that suggests is that we may be at a juncture here that provides an opportunity to invest in resources that we haven’t had for over 20 years. Last time this happened was coincidental with the NASDAQ 1990-2000 boom. That was the time when the commodities were as undervalued relative to the broader market. And what happened since was obviously the big industrialization of China commodities did very well for a decade up until 2008 and even a little bit further than that.

So, it was at least a decade of commodities out-performance relative to the market. And we’re in a similar predicament right now and that keeps me very excited. Now, if you think about short term especially since the spring, there’s been a lot of talk of the trade wars. Commodities have sunk most of them quite dramatically, especially those that are sort of core to development of China. I would call those short-term deviations in the bigger and broader context. I think this chart is a very powerful indicator for investments over the next decade.

That may not mean that today is the bottom or tomorrow, but as any responsible investor, I would suggest to start reallocating some of your broader market exposure towards commodities just on the back of what this chart is saying. Now, the short-term deviations that we’ve seen can be very material. Copper is over 20% drop from its highs. Same story with zinc. Gold has also under-performed quite dramatically. But in general, I believe we are approaching a situation with that under-performance is unsustainable.

Frank at U.S. Global put out a piece a couple of weeks ago that was actually very insightful. And it said, “Let science drive your investing.” It just shows how gold is two standard deviations below its mean. Copper is 3 1/2 standard deviations below its mean. And in statistical terms, that’s a very sort of powerful indicator for a rebound. Just to say in a little bit more plain language, what that suggests is, there’s a 95% probability that gold rebounds in the next 60 days. And in copper, it’s more like a 99% probability that it rebounds in the next 60 days.

So, maybe we’re just towards the tail end of this short-term trade war inflicted sort of under-performance. And then maybe we can start recapturing the uptrend that we’ve seen over the last year or year and a half that could, I hope, translate into a decade-long bull market for natural resources and commodities.

Mike Gleason: Of course, our focus here is on precious metals, you alluded to gold of course. They often trade like commodities. Particularly silver which has significant uses as an industrial metal. But gold and silver are also monetary metals. They can get more attention from investors looking to hedge against inflation or as a safe haven. Given that, what are your thoughts on where the precious metals might be headed? Do you think they will be pretty well correlated with commodities in the months ahead? Or, are you looking for them to perhaps behave differently, Sam?

Samuel Pelaez: The answer is yes. I expect them to perform very well. Gold is actually one of the more puzzling asset classes so far this year because it’s under-performed. With the whole trade war angle, China and the U.S. at odds. President Donald Trump being at odds with some of Canada, some of the U.S. allies including Canada. That should be a pretty good environment for gold. But what’s happened is the markets have interpreted the trade war as a positive economic impact to the U.S. and we’ve seen the U.S. dollar rise. And that’s generally negative for gold on the other hand.

That’s also been sort of turbocharged for lack of a better word, by the fact that the U.S. continues to raise rates at a much quicker speed than its peers in Europe or in Japan. The 10-year yield in Japan today is as close to zero as it gets. The euro is already at 3%. So that interest rate disparity has also helped the U.S. dollar be pretty strong year to date. I think that’s going to stall and I’ll tell you why.

Number one, inflation. Gasoline prices if you’ve been to the pump recently you’ve seen that from July 4th last year to July 4th this year, gasoline prices have on average risen about 50%. And that’s inflation. That measure is not captured by the inflation metrics that the markets use. But, it’s captured by the inflation that all consumers in the U.S. pay. So, inflation is creeping in so it’s going to be starting to chip away from that 3% 10-year yield that’s larger than that you can get in Japan and other places.

And the second one and perhaps more important is, I think gradually the markets are going to start turning and accepting the fact that the trade war angle could be detrimental to the U.S. We’ve seen General Motors come out with a profit warning. We’ve seen Alcoa come out and issue a profit warning on the back of the trade wars. And this is just the companies that have started reporting so let’s wait another couple of weeks where most of the S&P 500 reports and see how many times the chairman and CEOs of these companies actually comment on the trade war being a potentially negative impact to the U.S. economy and to corporate earnings.

And circling back to gold, that may take some of that very strong support that the U.S. dollar has had year to date, which conversely should be very positive for gold. If you correlate that to what I mentioned earlier about the charts that show gold being two standard deviations below its mean, then we’re in a predicament where over the next two or three months we may see a strong rally in gold prices.

Mike Gleason: Yeah, extremely well put. I agree that maybe the markets don’t quite have it right and there’s maybe a lot of pent-up inflation coming. Obviously, the U.S. economy has not really felt much of these trade wars and that may be coming. That’s very well summarized there.

Now, I’d like to switch gears a little bit and get your take on the overall health of the markets in general. Around here we wonder how “real” markets are these days. For starters, we have central banks here and around the world heavily involved in markets. Interest rates are centrally planned. And these days it is commonplace for central bankers to be buying corporate stocks and even bonds for that matter. Then there’s the mounting evidence of more underhanded activity. Bank traders colluding to rig prices in everything from metals to LIBOR and to cheat their clients. In recent years the advent of high-frequency trading has raised concerns that retail traders may not get a fair shake.

So, we have a pretty dim view when it comes to the honesty and fairness of markets. That said, we rely on exchanges such as the COMEX and want to believe they can still work. Give us your thoughts, Sam, on the integrity of markets since this is the first time we’ve had a chance to get your thoughts on the subject.

Samuel Pelaez: This is a subject that we discuss internally quite a bit. I do believe there is a fair amount of market manipulation. That’s a very strong statement to say, but there’s facts that support that, right? There’s multiple banks have been, for lack of better word just risk locked. LIBOR, the gold market rigging, FX. There’s factual evidence that some of the banks have been actively manipulating markets.

But that’s just one of the angles from it. I think a second angle which is not manipulation but just an effect of passive investing is ETFs continue to raise capital and ETFs, the majority of them, are market cap weighted so they only allocate money to the top of the market. And that creates a sort of self-fulfilling bias for certain stocks that become market darlings and they receive more dollars, so they out-perform so then they receive more dollars. And it becomes like a vicious circle of out-performance.

That’s because there’s a lot of academics who are very interested in the subject and are writing about it. I think the term they coined for this is the passive investment paradox because the more dollars that go passive, the less dollars that go active essentially. And we start getting into this complacent type of markets, which I think we started to see especially in the broader indices in the U.S. like the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ.

Now, that may have started to crack. I think we can talk about it in a second. But before or after I complete the answer to this question, but we think ETFs have become a problem. They’ve hit that sort of like momentum and size where they’ve started to disrupt the natural flows of money in the markets. I agree completely with you about the LIBOR and FX manipulations.

But then lastly, and you did mention COMEX and I’m glad you did, because I don’t know if people are aware and I don’t think they are, when you buy a gold futures contract on the COMEX, it specifically states that you can redeem in kind. Meaning you can actually show up to COMEX and demand to be paid in physical gold. The problem is… and this number fluctuates… but there’s about 400 contracts for every ounce of gold. Meaning if just one out of 400 people show up to reclaim their gold in physical form, the COMEX vaults would be completely empty.

So, there’s this false perception that this paper contract from the COMEX actually represents one ounce of gold. It actually represents one four hundredths of an ounce of gold. And that in a way is a form of manipulation as well because it inflates the number of contacts. It inflates the liquidity of the sector. It inflates the supply of gold that realistically in physical form is not there.

These things worry us. They concern us. But, what we’re really focusing on in our investing is allocating capital to sustainable companies that have higher than average return invested capital. We are supporting businesses. We’re supporting management teams and we believe that the better ones will be able to surface amidst this market manipulation and still be darlings for a lot of investors.

Mike Gleason: Sam, among other responsibilities you manage the Galileo Technology and Blockchain Fund. Cryptocurrency has been a big topic in the precious metals space. Many people who look at gold as sound money have taken interest in Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies for some of the same reasons. We at Money Metals Exchange do significant business both selling metals and taking crypto in payment and vice versa, buying metal and making crypto payments. Do you think a cryptocurrency offers genuine potential for widespread adoption as money? What do you make of the comparison between Bitcoin and gold?

Samuel Pelaez: Let me turn the question around. I don’t believe that Bitcoin and gold are the same thing as has been purported by other market participants. I believe gold has a unique status and it’s had it for a long time and it has a lot to do with its physical properties. Gold is the only metal that you can store for decades and then come back to it and it looks exactly the same. It doesn’t rust. It’s essentially oxygen proof, rusting proof, among other things.

You cannot say that about Bitcoin or a paper wallet of Bitcoin or a physical wallet of Bitcoin. So, I’m not subscribing to that thesis that cryptocurrencies are a store of a value akin to what gold is. I do subscribe to the thesis that blockchain technology… and I think tokens are just one representation of blockchain technology… blockchain technology is transformational for multiple industries. The payment processing industry or the barter industry let’s call it, is obviously the most ripe industry for disruption from this kind of technology and that’s what Bitcoin has done and Ethereum in the field of crypto have done, is create a secondary market for transactions outside of the fiat world.

It’s much more efficient than gold at that because you can trade it instantaneously with people anywhere in the world which is something that you can’t really do with gold in its physical form. Now, what do I think about the technology going forward? I think it’s going to disrupt virtually every industry. And people probably heard it before. This is the internet all over again. We’re only starting to learn how deep this is going to get. And also, think about it from a consumer perspective. The internet came about very late. But, for decades now or least two or three decades, when you pay anything at the supermarket and show it to the cash register, that’s an Oracle machine with internet all through the back connected to a number of devices that make all of it possible. If you’re at Walmart, then it automatically connects to the suppliers and updates the inventories and the unit numbers so they can place orders.

The internet has been amongst us for a long time. And I think blockchain technology would be the same. Now, Bitcoin, Ethereum and the other ones we can see as consumers. But the real transformation I think is happening in the business to business world. We’re involved in a number of companies that are doing some incredible amount of work that will facilitate business to business. Not payment transfers but all sorts of technological processes that will completely disrupt the way things are being done right now.

What I’m trying to convey is that sense that this technology is not just limited to payment processing and money transfers. That’s just one of the sectors. There’s dozens and dozens of other sectors where these this technology will transform the way we do our business going forward.

Mike Gleason: Yeah, very interesting technology and that I think is the bigger story here: the blockchain technology much more than say, yeah, just Bitcoin as a cryptocurrency for instance. Well, as you know, we’ve had Frank Holmes on a number of times here on our podcast and he’s talked a lot about the gold royalty ETF, ticker symbol GOAU here in the U.S. and GOGO there in Canada. I know you played a big part in the research behind that. So talk about mining royalty space here, Sam, and why are you guys so excited it. And also, talk about the fund’s performance over the first year or two now.

Samuel Pelaez: Absolutely. We are big proponents of the royalty model. We think it’s a superior business model relative to the miners. They also fit one of the key characteristics in everything you look for which is return on invested capital. The return invested capital in the royalty companies is exceptional. I warn you though if you just calculate the ratio on Bloomberg or any other data source, the return capital may appear lower than it actually is.

And that is because these companies have spent so much money forward in projects that will generate cash flows in the future. But, if you take them on a project-by-project basis, any investment they did and what they’re deriving out of it, the returns are spectacular and they come at a very low risk. So when you sort of risk adjust then they’re even better than they are in absolute form. So, we’re big proponents of the model. We’ve been big supporters of the formation and the ongoing marketing of these companies. Frank was involved in the seeding of what became Wheaton Precious Metals which is the second largest royalty company out there right now.

So, what we decided to create was an ETF that offered investors that alpha generation that the royalty companies have offered us, over the full business cycle. We’ve noticed that many people only invest in gold when they think gold’s going up. We actually believe that everybody should have an allocation to gold throughout the business cycle because it has this diversification properties relative to the other components of your portfolio given to broader the market.

So, what product could we offer our investors in the market that would allow them to invest across the full business cycle and deride all the benefits of gold investing without some of the detriments? And we created this ETF that’s overweight the royalty companies because they offered that intrinsically and then after that it holds a number of gold producers that also have very high returns in invested capital and generally trade at a discount to their peers.

We believe that’s part of the magic sauce. There’s a few other factors that they’re clearly listed on the marketing materials, you could get those at the U.S. Global website or at the Galileo Funds website. And what we’ve been able to achieve and I want to make sure that this doesn’t sound promissory, it’s actually based on the one year of performance, is the data of the ETF to the upside as in how it moves to the upside relative to the gold sector is about one for one.

So when gold starts to go up, owning our product or owning any other product is about the same. It’s when the markets go down that our ETF goes down by a lesser amount than the competing products. And then when you bootstrap that difference over a long time, it creates a very big spread above performance. So far for the one year, our product beat the GDX by about 8%. That’s a pretty… I call it… a pretty impressive alpha generation. The fund also has a lower management fee and it has a lower standard deviation or pretty much every other risk metric is inferior.

So, we’re very confident that it will continue to do that. The back tests suggest that it can do over the full business cycle. And I encourage your listeners to go and have a look because we’re very proud of what we’ve created.

Mike Gleason: Yeah, you should be. It’s done very well and it’s exciting stuff and I love the model as well, you guys have done a great job putting that together and the research behind it. Well, as we begin to close here, Sam, any final comments? What will you be watching most closely in the months ahead? Maybe give us a final synopsis on commodities and metals as we wrap up.

Samuel Pelaez: I’ll give you anecdotal piece of evidence. I had some friends visit from Colombia, where I’m from originally. And the first thing they mentioned was, and they looked at all the cranes and they said, “Wow, there’s so much construction going on.” And I guess because we live in North America and we see it all the time, we don’t really recognize it every day. But, just think about all the wonderful things taking place in terms of… if you travel to New York often you’ve seen the big transformation that’s taking place at the airport at LaGuardia.

I’m sure in all your communities and your cities you’re going to see major projects being built. President Donald Trump has made a big focus of his presidency to roll out a major infrastructure plan. So, we’re going to need these commodities. It’s not like we achieved that peak moment of commodity demand. Commodity demand continues to go up every year. It’s almost like GDP growth. So we will need these commodities. And right now you have the opportunity to buy them at one of the cheapest relative valuations that you’ve had in the last 20 years. And if you’re like me, I wasn’t investing – I wasn’t old enough to be investing in the ’90s – this is the best entry into the resource market that’s ever been presented to me.

And because it only happens every 20 or 30 years, over the course of a professional life. You may only have one or two of this big macro cycles. So, I encourage listeners to follow that chart. We publish it very frequently every six or eight weeks as part of our marketing materials. I invite them to think seriously about reallocating some of the capital from the broader market. The S&P and NASDAQ have been a phenomenal investment over the last nearly decade, since 2009.

So, maybe it’s time to start rolling some of those profits and rolling some of that allocation from some of the sectors that have out-performed into the sectors that have under-performed. And I believe over the next decade you will be handsomely rewarded for that.

Mike Gleason: Very good way to wrap up, very well put. Really enjoyed the conversation today and appreciate you sharing your market insights with our audience. Before we let you go please tell people how they can learn more and how they can reach you and your firm if they’re so inclined.

Samuel Pelaez: Absolutely. The easiest way to reach is through our website GalileoFunds.ca. We’re based in Toronto, Canada. I do travel to the U.S. a lot to speak at conferences, I travel a lot with Frank at U.S. Global. You can find all of our contact information and our fund fact sheets on the website. You can also follow us with social media. We have a LinkedIn page. We have an Instagram account. We’re catching up to the times and finding all the new ways to reach the new demographics and to be out there for people to find us.

Mike Gleason: Well, good stuff. Thanks again, Sam. Keep up the good work. Continued success there and I hope we can speak with you again in the future. Take care.

Samuel Pelaez: Thank you, Mike. Bye, bye.

Mike Gleason: Well, that will do it for this week. Thanks again to Samuel Pelaez, CIO and Portfolio Manager at Galileo Global Equity Advisors. For more information visit www.GalileoFunds.ca.

All fall down? Is the predicted crash starting to hit?

Edited and updated article which first appeared on the Sharps Pixley websire earlier i n the week

As I switched on my computer this morning I was faced with a sea of red ink!  Equity prices were down across the board – in the U.S., Asia and Europe and no doubt elsewhere too. Most major stock indices were down by between 1 and 3% yesterday and in early trade today with the NASDAQ being particularly hard hit.  The markets are currently mostly moving on whether a trade and tariff war between the U.S. and China is imminent or not and prospects and views on this are mixed.  Tech stocks too, which have been responsible for much of the peaking of the markets earlier this year, have also been falling out of favour.

Bitcoin (BTC) was this morning stuttering down below the $8,000 level (it has since fallen to the low 7,000s) – around 60% off its high point achieved only a month and a half ago – and if Ethereum is a pointer, with it down at $450 as I write, the next leg down for BTC could well be to around $6,000.  (When Bitcoin and Ethereum were at their respective peaks early in the year BTC was trading at about 14x the Ethereum price.)

In the precious metals, gold, silver and the pgms were all down as well, although perhaps not by nearly as much in percentage terms as the equity markets.  The dollar Index was one of the few positives showing a tiny gain but it was still stuttering well below the 90 level and thus around 13% lower against other currencies than it was when President Trump came into office some 14 months ago.  Obviously a strong dollar is not part of ‘making America great again’.

So what has changed?  The U.S. Fed seems to be committed to raising interest rates perhaps at a faster rate than had previously been anticipated with higher rate targets for 2019 and 2020.  Wall Street may not be liking this prospect.  But perhaps it is the sudden recent downturn in the FAANG stocks (Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google), following Facebook’s problems, which is a primary cause of the falls in the Dow, S&P and NASDAQ (in particular). High flyer Tesla is also a significant contributor to the Wall Street sell-off and when Wall Street falls equities worldwide tend to follow its lead.

Is this the start of the equities crash many commentators have been predicting – and if so how will it affect gold and the other precious metals?  It’s probably too early to say, but after almost nine years of virtually uninterrupted rises in the equities indices we suspect something will have to give – indeed it may already have started.  We’ve already seen the bitcoin bubble burst and, as noted above, we feel the cryptos may yet have further to fall until the bottom is reached.  Are equities next?

What will have changed with the latest downturns is investor sentiment.  Equity increases look to no longer be the ‘sure thing’ that they were, buoyed up by the Fed’s Quantitative Easing policy which poured increased liquidity into the markets.  Now the Fed’s policy is in reverse with what many observers now refer to as Quantitative Tightening.  If history is anything to go by, equities markets may well suffer as a consequence of a rising interest rate path, at least initially.

Precious metals have moved up from their lows, but down again from their subsequent interim peaks, with gold reaching around the $1,355 mark which has proved to provide strong resistance on the upside.  It has since fallen back to the low $1,320s and is still looking vulnerable, with silver following a somewhat similar pattern.  The pgms seem to be treading a slightly different path as befits their industrial metal status.  The gold:silver ratio (GSR) remains above 81 which usually suggests silver is a better buy than gold – the late Ian McAvity used to say buy silver if ratio above 80, but buy gold if ratio 40 or below which has proved to be pretty wise advice over the years, although the 40 level hasn’t been seen since 2011 when it touched 33.7.  We’d probably suggest a range of buying silver with a GSR of 80 and above and gold with a GSR of 60 and below as being good advice under more recent price patterns and with more modest expectations!

Where are we now?  If I were an investor in U.S. equities or in bitcoin I’d be nervous and with global markets tending to follow Wall Street that nervousness would tend to extend to any major global markets.  Watch U.S./China trade negotiations and don’t necessarily trust either side to keep to any promises made to the other.  I would prefer gold and silver as safer investments than equities and see bitcoin as pure speculation with the potential to crash much further than it has already.  Precious metals may well see some falls but these are unlikely to be of the kind of magnitude which could befall equities so we’d continue with the theme of using gold, and perhaps silver, as wealth insurance.  They may not see major gains if equities collapse, but they shouldn’t see major falls either and, as in 2009 in the aftermath of the last big financial meltdown, they will probably recover far faster.

Gold hit lowest level ytd – will it recover?

March has been a pretty bleak month for investors in almost all asset classes.  Equity investment, which had been a such a sure thing for the past few years, has been wavering and stocks in general are well off their highs and looking vulnerable to further falls, bitcoin has seen its bubble burst and has halved in value – and we think there could be more pain yet to come for the past year’s speculative investment star, and even precious metals have come down with gold languishing at the time of writing at around $1.312 (spot gold had fallen to around $1,307 an ounce at one stage yesterday morning) and could well breach that on the downside this week although it has made a small recovery since.

The bond market is also weaker on the prospect of continuing Fed interest rate rises.

The only positive spot seems to be the U.S. dollar, but people have short memories.  The dollar index did see a small recovery to sit back above the 90 level  but has been under pressure again and it is still around 12% below the level it was when President Trump took office only 15 months ago.  While there now seems to be a consensus that the dollar could continue to see a short term rise, along with whatever decision the FOMC meeting next week makes on U.S. interest rates, there are still many commentators who feel that a rising dollar is not sustainable long term and that it could quickly start coming down again.  If so that is certainly gold positive – at least in dollar terms

As for gold and the other precious metals we have noted before that they are facing headwinds, but perhaps not insuperable ones.  Global demand – particularly in the Middle East and Asia in general – remains relatively positive and there is the distinct impression that global new mined gold production has at last peaked and may be beginning to turn down, albeit at a pretty marginal rate.

Some commentators sing the praises of silver as perhaps the best speculative bet, with a current gold:silver ratio of over 80.  They feel the ratio is too high and recent pricing history tells us it is likely to come down from this level thus enhancing the percentage growth prospects for silver over gold.

Of the other precious metals, although it has some adherents, platinum tends to follow the ups and downs in the gold price to an extent, while palladium, for the time being at least, looks to be in a better fundamental position due to a perceived production deficit and stronger industrial demand in the autocatalyst sector.

So gold could fall back further – much will depend on whether the FOMC meeting seems to be suggesting a further two, three or even four more rate hikes this year, although given that equity and bond markets are looking vulnerable to more than the generally expected two more rate increases this year, we suspect that discretion may prove to be the better part of valour in this respect.  Certainly if the Fed looks at the historical effects of a rising rate scenario, caution may well reign.  Under such circumstances gold could see something of a recovery back to the $1,350s by the mid-year – but don’t put your shirt on it!

The above article is a lightly edited version of an article posted a day earlier to the Sharps Pixley website

Lawrieongold: Gold/silver articles published on other sites

As readers of lawrieongold will know I also publish articles on other websites.  A couple of recent ones are linked below:

Metals Focus sees strength in Chinese gold demand in 2018

 

SGE gold withdrawals down in Feb but up YTD

Both the above articles were published on www.sharpspixley.com.

However, I also write occasional articles for U.S. site – www.usgoldbureau.com, but this site is blocked for access from outside North America unless one uses a browser, like Tor, which can be set to mimic access from other countries.  So for North American readers, or Tor users, a link to my latest article on this site follows:

Equities and Bitcoin Looking Vulnerable, Put Your Trust in Precious Metals

Mad rush into gold ahead when fiat currencies tank – Pento

Mike Gleason* of Money Metals Exchange interviews Michael Pento who is predicting an eventual crash in fiat currencies and a parallel take-off in precious metals.  As Mike says in his introduction, Coming up we’ll hear a tremendous interview with Michael Pento of Pento Portfolio Strategies. Michael shares his very troubling outlook for the 10-year Treasury note, the tipping point that will cause the destruction of confidence in the dollar and what this all means for gold prices.

Mike Gleason: It is my privilege now to welcome back Michael Pento, president and founder of Pento Portfolio Strategies, and author of the book The Coming Bond Market Collapse: How to Survive the Demise of the U.S. Debt Market.

Michael is a well-known money manager and a fantastic market commentator, and over the past few years has been a wonderful guest and one of our favorite interviews here on the Money Metals Podcast and we always enjoy getting his Austrian economist viewpoint.

Michael, welcome back and thanks for joining us again.

Michael Pento: What a great introduction. Thanks for having me back on, Mike.

Mike Gleason: Well, we often talk about bond yields with you, Michael, and I think that’s a good place to start today. You recently published an article where you made the case that 4% would be the floor when it comes to the 10-year note – not the ceiling, the floor, and you made some observations that now seem striking. The yield on that note averaged 4.6% in 2007, just the year before the 2008 financial crisis.

Today practically nobody remembers yields ever being that high… 10 years is a long time we suppose. Heck, it seems like investors have already forgotten the early February selloff in the equities market, so I guess we can’t be surprised that they can’t remember the situation a decade ago.

In any event, markets are not prepared, or priced for 4% yields on the 10-year. Talk a bit about why 4% is likely to be a minimum and why yields should probably be much higher than that.

Michael Pento: Let’s start with the fact that normally speaking throughout history, the 10-year note seems to run with nominal GDP growth, which is basically your real growth plus inflation. So, if we’re running around 2% inflation and we have growth at 2.5% around that, you would assume that the 10-year note should be historically speaking around 4.5% right now. But I can make a very cogent argument, Mike, that rates should be much, much higher because if you look back … as you mentioned the 2007 when that average interest rate was, again, 4.6% and nominal GDP was sort of around that same ballpark, the annual deficit was 1.1% of GDP.

But going into fiscal 2019… sounds far away, not maybe that far away, but it sounds further away than really what it is. It begins in October of this year. Our annual amount of red ink will be $1.2 trillion. That is the Treasury’s annual deficit, but you have to add to that to the fact that the central bank of the United States will be selling… and I say selling, because what they don’t buy the Treasury must issue to the public, $600 billion less of Treasury Bonds. So, that’s $1.8 trillion deficit. That has never before happened in the history of mankind, a $1.8 trillion deficit, which happens to be 8.6% of our phony GDP if we don’t go into a recession.

If we go into a recession anytime in the near future, and I don’t think the business cycle has been outlawed, then we’re talking about $3 trillion annual deficits. Let’s just take the 1.8 which is 8.6% of GDP. Why would the 10-year note not go to at least 4.5% where nominal GDP is? It would probably go much higher, especially even the fact that back in 2007 we had $5.1 trillion dollars of publicly traded debt, but not we have $15 trillion dollars of publicly traded debt. So over above the fact that the Fed’s balance sheet went from $700 billion to $4.5 trillion; it’s $4.4 trillion right now.

But you still have $4.5 trillion that they hold, but guess what? There’s an extra … what’s that, $11 trillion of publicly traded debt that has to be absorbed by private bond holders? So deficits are exploding. The amount of publicly traded debt has exploded. And there isn’t any reason, and there isn’t any rationale. Central banks are getting out of the bond buying business so there isn’t any cohesion, rationale, for rates not to not only normalize but be much higher than they were normally.

Let’s just say they normalize… 4.6%, 4.5%, maybe higher than that. By the way, let me just add this quickly Mike, the average interest rate going on a 10-year note going back since 1969 is over 7%. So, the interest rate on the 10-year right now is 2.88%. It is going to not only go up much higher, but it’s going to rise dramatically, probably towards the end of this year as the ECB, European Central Bank gets out of their QE. They’ll be ending QE by the end of this year.

So then you’ll have only the Bank of Japan in the bond buying business. So, yields are going up … and I’ll let you in after this one more comment … if the yield on a 10-year note goes from 2.8 … and don’t forget … it was 1.4. Now it’s 2.88 or 2.9, it’s going to go to 4.5 very quickly in my opinion. Probably by the end of this year, unless we have a recession and a stock market collapse.

Where do you think junk bonds will be? The average yield on junk bonds is 5%… a little bit over 5%. So, junk bond yields are going to spike. That means that prices are going to plummet. And my god, you’re talking about a complete blow-up of the income market across the spectrum, especially in the riskiest part of it. Just like subprime mortgages. So buckle your seat belts, the low-volatility regime is dead and gone.

Mike Gleason: The housing market is a very big part of the economy and that’s tied to the 10-year and it’s likely to get crushed. And honestly that’s just the most direct example, but honestly there is so much in our financial world, as you just alluded to, that’s dictated by that treasury note. So, if people are ever wondering why you talk so much about these bond rates it’s because it’s so vitally important, isn’t it Michael?

Michael Pento: Absolutely. You have not only junk bonds, you’ve got collateralized bonds, you’ve got collateralized loan obligations, leverage loans, private equity deals … you have the risk-free rate of return, sovereign debt, taken to 1.4% and that was in the summer of 2016. So, let’s just say, that if I’m correct, it goes to 4.4%. So, the 10-year note goes from 1.4 to 4.4 just at 300 basis point increase in yields leads to a 24% plunge in your principle.

So, if you lose a quarter of your net worth that you have in bonds in the risk-free treasury, imagine what your loss will be in leverage loans, COOs, junk bonds, muni bonds, equities, real estate, REITS, I mean you could go on and on. Everything is based off of that risk-free rate of return, which by the way, if hedge fund’s rate was 0% for almost 9 years, and a German bund into 0.7%, it was negative for many years, people in corporations in Europe were floating debt with a negative yield, so you had the biggest bond bubble in history that’s slamming into the hugest gargantuan increase in debt in history. And when those things meet, it’s an awful deadly cocktail.

So, like I said, buckle your seat belts because this is going to be one hell of a year coming up. It already has been and it’s only going to intensify.

Mike Gleason: Now with that said, there are some that argue that the Fed will not let yields move that high, they simply cannot. Officials there know well what will happen to growth and to the federal budget if rates should rise so do you think the Fed will intervene and can they continue to keep rates capped indefinitely?

Michael Pento: Well if you listen to the new Fed chair Jerome Powell, testifying yesterday saying he’s so ebullient and upbeat about the stock market and the economy. I don’t know what he’s looking at, I mean we had two quarters in a row at 3%, now the 4th quarter came in at 2.5%.

If you listen to the Atlanta Fed, they started Q1 at 4.5% now it’s down to 2.6%. So I don’t know where the excitement is about GDP. I don’t know where it’s coming from. You mentioned housing, if you look at pending home sales it’s 4.7% down. It was announced this morning. All the other data on all prices is heading south, including existing home sales and new home sales. And that’s only when we had a slight uptick in interest rates.

People talk about how beneficial the tax cuts are, but they forgot about the other side of the equation which is rising rates. Rising debt service costs are erasing any and all benefits that’s coming from the tax plan. So, what we’re seeing now in the economy is a sugar high, an adrenalin shot. But going towards the end of this year I fully expect the economy to fall out of bed.

And Jerome Powell who is still upbeat on the stock market and the economy, he’s going to have to change his tune. But what happens when you change your tune, is the Fed is going to have to admit, Mike, that they had the mistake. In other words, their 9 year experiment in Quantitative Easings, and huge increase in the size of the balance sheet, failed to rescue the economy. And instead of being able to ever normalize interest rates … this is why this watershed epiphany is going to be so hard for the Fed to admit … they’re going to have to admit that all of their manipulations failed to provide viable and sustainable economic growth.

And then they’re going to have to change course, because as you said, if interest rates rise and rise they must, and we’re paying all this extra interest on this debt. And they’ll say well, we have to cap interest rates from rising, this is a watershed epiphany that they’re very much loathe to admit. Because if you change your tune at 5.25% on a Fed funds rate as they did in 2008, that’s one thing. But if you change your tune when interest rates on the Fed funds rate … the effect on Fed funds rate is 1.4% as it is today … that’s a totally different story. You’re not only going to have to take back your 150 basis points of rate hikes, but then you have to go right back into QE, you have to admit that you can never drain your balance sheet, you have to admit that interest rates can never normalize.

Do you know what that would do to the currency? Do you know what that would do to the price of precious metals? Do you know what that would do to the fate of the stock market and the state of the treasury? So, all these things are going to be loath to admit but they will have to come back into QE as the stock market and the economy plunges. And then it’s game over. I think the faith in fiat currencies goes away and it’s going to end very quickly, and it’s probably going to start by the end of this year.

Mike Gleason: Yeah it’s certainly a hyper-inflationary type of scenario could play out there if all that comes to pass for sure. I was recently watching an interview you did with legendary investor Jim Rodgers, which was really great and very fascinating by the way, and you guys were talking about ETFs and the dangers that those funds may pose the next time equity investors rush for the exits.

You made some really great points. Now back in 2008 the markets were crushed by derivatives – securities so complex that lots of people who were on them didn’t understand what was in them or how they might perform. These days the markets may be at risk from exchange traded funds which are designed to make investing simple.

Please explain why you were so concerned about ETFs and their increasing dominance in the markets, and how a sell-off could be made much worse by the fact that so many people are invested in these things.

Michael Pento: Well you look at what happened with inverse volatility trade. I’m sure you guys are aware of what happened there. So, people were lulled to sleep in the stock market, believing that the only direction that stocks can go is up. Because there was no other alternative. You take yields to 0%, leave them there for 9 years, and of course people are going to go out, way out, along the risk curve.

So, people were actually saying to themselves after a while, hey, why don’t I just short volatility? Well the problem is, when everybody shorts volatility, is that when volatility spikes by 100%, inverse vol goes to zero. And that wiped out billions of dollars of net worth, pretty much in hours. And it’s not exactly the same thing, but that same concept is now in play with the ETF’s spectrum. So, 9 years, 0% interest rates, everybody went into passive ETF funds, by the way Mike, a lot of these funds own very much the same securities. So, Amazon, Facebook, Netflix, Google, Apple, these are all contained in various weightings in all of these passive ETFs. Or much of them.

So what happens is you have passive ETFs ownership, which has gone off the charts, as well as a huge surge, a gargantuan increase, in passive ETFs that are leveraged to the bond market. So you have ETFs that own bonds, that are long bonds, ETFs that are long, high-yield junk, ETFs that are long the same securities. And when everybody hits the exit door at once, as they did with these inverse volatility trades, they will blow up.

So you try to redeem the ETFs. The ETFs in turn have to redeem the underlying securities, which in turn causes the ETF’s value to fall, so it’s a vicious cycle, a downward spiral. And that’s what I’m afraid is going to happen. Because you have globe investors to sleep by 9 years of inculcation that yields can only go down and prices on bonds and equities can only go up. And when that changes, and it could change violently as yields start to rise, then you’re going to have this implosion in pretty much everything … you had bubble in everything, you’re going to have an implosion in everything.

That’s the real danger. I’m not a Cassandra. I was way out in front of the spectrum of all these perma-bulls in 2007 and in the year 2000, I warned about the housing market in 2005 and 2006. So, I have a history of identifying these problems. I have said for the last few years that you cannot construct a healthy, viable economy by taking interest rates to 0 and leaving them there for years.

And also increasing a massive amount of debt… $230 trillion dollars, 330% of GDP. That is the total amount of debt in the globe today. Up $70 trillion dollars since the great recession. While you’ve taken interest rates and deformed the whole risk spectrum, while you’ve increased debt, you’ve also blown up the biggest asset bubble in equities ever. So, we’re now at 150%, 1.5 times. The market cap of equities are now 1.5 times the underlying economy.

That has never before happened in history. It was only reached about that same level in March of 2000. This is a dangerous bubble and it’s going to burst, and you and your investors need to be aware of how dangerous it is. And you should also understand if you’re going to invest, you should have somebody that understands this dynamic now and can at least try to profit from the 3rd, 50%+ plunge in prices since the year 2000.

Mike Gleason: Yeah a very troubling set up for sure. Well as we begin to close here Michael, I wanted to talk to you about gold and silver. They’re often viewed as safe havens, and in the aforementioned scenario you got to think metals would get a boost. But if we go back to the last financial crisis, they did get taken down, gold and silver, they did get taken down with equities although they bounced back much sooner.

However, leading up to the fall of ‘08, we had a pretty hot commodities market that drove metals up in the preceding few years, but this time metals have been languishing a bit and seem cheap compared to everything else. So, what do you see happening in the metals markets this time around during a big stock market crash, if and when we do get one?

Michael Pento: So, you know Mike that I love gold, I think it’s going to be supplanting fiat currencies after the debacle ensues. But I’m underweight gold in the portfolio now. You once talked about 2008, what happened in 2008 don’t forget. If you remember back then we had the BRICs trade going. So people were short dollars and long Brazil, Russia, India, China currencies. So, when people became aware that the stock market globally … and economies globally and real estate market globally … was going to tank, they had to close out that carry trade, which involved buying dollars.

That trade is not prevalent today, so I don’t think gold is going to get hurt the next time this happens. But I’m underweight gold now, precisely, because while the dollar does stand to weaken because of these massive trade deficits … we have huge trade deficits, in fact the last one came out at minus $74 billion dollars for one month of goods and services in the deficit … we also have, and I mentioned it, the massive debt. That’s very negative for the dollar and positive for gold. What we have on the negative side for gold is rising nominal and real interest rates. So that is never good for gold. So, there’s a battle on right now, it’s like this $1,300 to $1,350 kind of battle. You see gold tries to get higher and then you realize well, rising rates are not very good for gold, and then it starts to fall and you realize that hey, a falling dollar is really good for gold, so it’s kind of caught in this trading range of ignominy.

But that all ends when that epiphany, that watershed moment comes from the Federal Reserve that yes, we have to stop draining our balance sheet, and we must reduce the federal funds rate. And then I think, as I said, fiat currencies get flushed down the toilet and there’s going to be a mad rush into gold like you’ve never seen before. Because what’s going to happen is you’re going to have bond prices and equities tanking simultaneously. And people will be fleeing to gold, flocking to gold, in the realization that normalization in the interest rate spectrum, normalization in the economy, is not going to be able to be achieved any time in the near future.

Mike Gleason: It’ll certainly be interesting to see if you could get your hands on it in that sort of a mad rush of retail investors trying to get gold. Right now, we’ve got a lot of access to inventory and it’s on sale still so people should heed that warning.

Well we appreciate it as always Michael, it’s great having you on once again and we always love getting your insights. Now before we let you go, as we always do, please tell people about how they can both read and hear more of your wonderful market commentaries and also learn about your firm and how they could potentially become a client if they want to do that.

Michael Pento: Well thank you. It’s Pento Portfolio Strategies, PentoPort.com. My email address is mpento@pentoport.com. The office number here is 732-772-9500 give us a call, we won’t bite. And please subscribe to my podcast, its only $49.99 a year and it gives you my ideas on a weekly basis, kind of analysis of economics and markets that you won’t find anywhere else.

Mike Gleason: Yeah it’s truly great stuff. Michael is somebody that I’ve been following for a long time, we always love having his comments here on the podcast, and we certainly appreciate it and look forward to catching up with you again before long. Thanks very much for all you do Michael.

Michael Pento: Thank you, Mike.

Mike Gleason: Well that will wrap it up for this week, thanks again to Michael Pento of Pento Portfolio Strategies. For more information visit PentoPort.com. You can sign up for his email list, listen to his mid-week podcast and get his fantastic marking commentaries on a regular basis. Again, just go to PentoPort.com.

And don’t forget to tune in here next Friday for next Weekly Market Wrap Podcast, until then this has been Mike Gleason with Money Metals Exchange, thanks for listening and have a great weekend everybody.