“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.

Gold – the Real and Honest Currency

Mike Gleason* of Money Metals Exchange interviews Michael Pento of Pento Portfolio Strategies who has some extremely interesting views on the U.S. economy, the data which supports it, and on gold.

Mike Gleason: It is my privilege now to be joined by 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 US Debt Market. Michael is a money manager who ascribes to the Austrian school of economics and has been a regular guest on CNBC, Bloomberg, and Fox Business News, among others.

Michael, it’s good to talk to you again. Thanks very much for joining us today and welcome back.

Michael Pento: Thanks for having me back on.

Mike Gleason: Well to start off here, Michael, I want to get your thoughts on some of the economic data we’re seeing out there and maybe you can explain some of the market action to us because there seems to be a lot of confusion. Now as you pointed out in an article you wrote earlier this week, we have a big disconnect between what the payroll reports and the employment numbers are showing compared to the tax receipts the Treasury Department is collecting. Talk about that if you would and also let us know what conclusions you’re drawing from these numbers.

Michael Pento: Well unfortunately, the conclusions I’m drawing is that the payroll numbers aren’t telling the truth. If you listen to the Labor Department, the number of net new jobs created year-over-year this fiscal year so far – it’s going to end at the end of September, so we have almost all the data in – there has been 1.66 million net new jobs created. One would assume if you have all these people in a net basis in the workforce that tax receipts would be increasing, and yet, you see corporate receipts are down 12.8% year-to-date and individual tax receipts are down 0.4% year-to-date. Furthermore, there’s something called the FUTA tax, and that’s basically a tax on, employment insurance tax on, the first $6,000 of anyone employed. So unless these people that are employed, supposedly full time and gainful employment, are earning less than $6,000 a year, these people should be paying into this pool. And those receipts are actually down year over year.

So I believe that the Bureau of Labor statistics is inflating this data and I believe the quality of the data, in other words, the number of jobs created and the quality of those jobs are mostly part time in nature and very low paying service sector jobs, which by the way, would also explain the absolute lack of productivity. Don’t forget, in case you don’t know, in case your audience isn’t aware, productivity has dropped for three quarters in a row, and a productivity of part time bar maids is not very high. That would explain the discrepancy between the two numbers that I just described between the Bureau of Labor statistics and the tax receipt data, and it also explains why I think this economy is most likely in a recession right now.

Mike Gleason: There’s something else here that doesn’t seem to add up. We continue to see records in the stock market, but earnings are not keeping up with the rise in share prices. It’s hard to know who’s actually buying shares. Zero Hedge has reported that retail investors don’t seem to be buyers. So is it possible that the fed might be actively playing in this market? We do know the Swiss Central Bank has been buying U.S. stocks and certainly Bank of Japan is a huge buyer.

Michael Pento: Sure. Really, is it that much of a stress to believe that the Federal Reserve is doing exactly what other central bankers are doing? I think we’re all headed towards helicopter money. This is where this is all going to head up. So if you look at earnings on the S&P 500, it is down 5 quarters in a row and most likely it will be 6 quarters after this earning season is wrapped up. So if you have 6 quarters in a row of falling earnings, what is supporting the stock market, which is, by the way, trading at record highs? If you look at median PE ratios, if you look at price to sales ratios, if you look at total market cap to GDP ratios, this is the most expensive market in aggregate that we have ever had in history. It’s even more expensive when you think of the fact that you have earnings that are most likely falling, that means negative, 6 quarters in a row.

So who is inflating the stock bubble? It has to be the Bank of Japan, the Swiss National Bank, the European Central Bank, and the Fed, even if they’re not directly buying ETS as they are over there in the maniacal inflation seeking retirement colony in Japan. You at least have to admit that keeping interest rates near zero for 90 months and inflating the Fed’s balance sheet by $3.7 trillion has bent down the yield curve to almost a flat level where it sits now at a 10-Year around 1.5%. That has forced everybody in a wild search for yield and where are they going? They are going every place from municipal bonds to collateralized loan obligations to REITs to every type of fixed income proxy there is, even to high performance sports cars and art. So every asset is in a bubble thanks to the fact that risk-free, so called risk-free, rate of return has been pushed down to near zero for 90 months on a worldwide basis.

Mike Gleason: You’ve written a book about the coming bond market collapse and I want to get your comments on that market here. We continue to see bond prices holding strong and even rallying. Central banks have been huge buyers, but it appears even the private sector can’t get enough of them. Investors are taking bonds with negative yield in many cases and I’ve seen reports that offerings have even been over-subscribed. Has the ongoing strength in bonds surprised you and have you revised any of your thinking on the dire predictions about the bond market? Because there is an argument out there, Michael, that the central banks can continue to buy bonds with newly created electronic money until the moment the electricity goes out.

Michael Pento: Well they certainly can. I wrote the book in 2013. I never expected that yields would go into negative territory. So I was prescient, I was definitely ahead of the curve, calling this a bond bubble when nobody else was calling this a bond bubble, but what has occurred basically, quite simply, is that the bond bubble is more elastic than I thought and has gotten much, much bigger. Look at the amount of global debt. Global debt right now is $230 trillion, up $60 trillion since 2007. That is 300% of global GDP.

The U.S. debt is 350% of GDP. The average ratio of U.S. debt to GDP is 150% and that existed for decade after decade after decade prior to going off the gold standard in 1971. So we went from 150%, which is sort of the average, the normal, to 350% debt to GDP. And there’s a massive accumulation of this debt. But by the way, this is not debt that’s been taken on by you put your savings in the bank and you have robust GDP growth, you save a little money, and that money is loaned out to the private sector for what? Capital good creation and for engendering productivity enhancements. This massive accumulation of debt isn’t at all that genre, it’s unproductive debt that is only made serviceable by unprecedented increases in base money supply. This is the perfect recipe for stagflation.

So if you add a massive increase of unproductive debt, and I gave you the numbers, $230 trillion – totally unproductive debt going to share buybacks and hole digging and pyramid building – this debt is not going to be accompanied by any type of GDP growth. It’s unserviceable unless central banks continue their torrid and unprecedented pace of quantitative easing. Just put a figure on that. There is now occurring $200 billion of quantitative easing every month, every month. So worldwide, central bankers are engaged in QE to the tune of $200 billion a month of central bank credit creation. So if you have stagflation, no growth, and a massive and unprecedented and intractable increase in the base money supply, of course you’re going to get inflation. You have to get a rapid rise inflation. And when that occurs, you’re going to have a collapse in the bond market, the likes of which we have never seen before.

Let me just quickly take you to Japan, an example I love to use. 250% debt to GDP, that’s just federal debt, that’s not gross debt, it’s just federal debt. You have an inflation target of 2% and you have a perpetual recession, never ending. It’s been going on and off since 1989. What happens when the BOJ, the Bank of Japan, successfully achieves a 2% inflation target … And don’t be misled for a second, no central bank can peg an inflation target, it will go to 2% and then keep on going. Here you are holding a Japanese JGB, ten year note, going out ten years, yielding negative ten bases points, inflation is rising, going north of 2%, and you’re dealing with an insolvent nation. The debt you hold is that of an insolvent, broke nation that is going to default.

What are you going to do? You’ll panic out of that note. You will sell that to anybody because you know that the central bank of Japan, the BOJ, will be getting out of the monetary monetization business. That’s what I predict will happen. It’s going to happen in Europe, it’s going to happen in Japan, it’s going to happen in the United States. And when that happens, when yields spike, it will reveal the insolvency of that global $230 trillion debt condition.

Mike Gleason: Let’s pivot and talk about the metals, specifically, certainly, we’ve seen some very strong action this year, which began back in January and February when we spoke to you last. Gold is up about 25% for the year, silver’s up about 40%, but both metals have come under pressure here over the last couple of weeks. The mining stocks, which have been on absolute tear, have pulled back as well. Do you expect this to be a prolonged correction in the metals with prices maybe heading lower into September or October? What are your thoughts there on the metals?

Michael Pento: Well let’s give you the reason. First of all, I am not a Pollyanna about any asset class. If I thought that the Federal Reserve was going to be able to engage in a protracted, steady increase in the Fed funds rate in the matter they did between 2004 and 2006, if I thought that they were going to be able to do this in the context of steadily increasing GDP growth, then I would tell you, “You better get the hell out of gold and gold mining shares as quickly as possible”. I can tell you right now, I don’t believe that’s the case.

So the pullback I see right now is healthy in nature, it’s way overdue, and it was engendered by, it was caused by, a plethora of talking heads from the FOMC, Federal Open Market Committee, coming out and it was perfectly timed up until this Jackson Hole meeting, which is occur on Friday, to tell Wall Street that they are way too quiescent in their view that the Fed is not going to raise interest rates in 2016. They haven’t done so yet. They did once, as you know, in December of 2015. The market fell apart. And they threatened four rate hikes this year and we are now coming up to September and have no rate increases so far.

I believe they may raise once in December after the election. That all depends if the economic data turns around. If you look at what’s happened with GDP, if you look at Q4 GDP 2015, Q1 and Q2 (of this year), we are now displaying zero handles on Gross Domestic Product. And if you look at the latest data on housing, existing home sales – which is by far the much bigger portion of home sales, vis a vis, new home sales – and if you look at mortgage applications, mortgage applications are now down year-over-year and existing home sales are down year-over-year.

That says that the all-important housing market is rolling over, people cannot afford home prices, and I think after that brief blip up in data that you see in July, Q3 will also be very anemic and the data between now and the end of the year will most likely not allow the Fed to raise interest rates between now and the end of the year, but even if they go once in December, the most salient point I can make to your investors is that the central bank will be very clear that this is not part of a protracted, elongated rate hiking campaign.

In other words, they’re going to go very, very, very slowly, as they’ve evidenced so far, and the terminal point, which they call the neutral Fed Funds Rate, will be much slower than at any other time in the past. You think about in history neutral Fed Funds rates are usually 5% to 6% on the overnight lending rate. They’re at 3%, that’s their target right now, and I believe, after these next few meetings in September and December, Janet Yellen will come out and tell you that the terminal rate, the neutral target rate, is something in the neighborhood of 2%, so they’ll be lower for longer and have a much lower terminal rate. By the way, I don’t think they ever get there. As I said before, I think the economic data turns profoundly negative between one or two more rate hikes. We enter into an inverted yield curve, we enter into a fully manifested recession, and that means the Fed joins the ECB and BOJ back into quantitative easing.

Mike Gleason: Well as we begin to close here, Michael, I would certainly think that a negative real interest rate type environment is likely to continue. Sounds like maybe that’s what you’re predicting. What do you think that’s going to mean for the metals? And also, just give us your thoughts on the whole election as we move towards the election season here in November.

Michael Pento: Well first of all, I’d like to tell you that I believe that nominal rates are going to stay very low and I believe stagflation is going to be coming more and more into the fore. You’re looking at real yields, which will be moving further into negative territory. Anybody who knows anything about gold will tell you that this real and honest currency is absolutely essential during times when nominal rates are negative and real interest rates are even further negative, and that’s exactly the condition that we are headed into. If you look at nominal GDP, it’s just 2.4% year-over-year. If inflation is higher than 2.4% then we are now in a recession.

I also want to give you one more data point. I know it’s very data heavy, but that’s how I am and that’s how your audience is going to be able to grasp why it’s so essential to maintain their position in gold and in the miners. Core inflation is up 2.3% year-over-year. Real GDP is up just 1.2%. So inflation is twice as high as real GDP. That’s stagflation, that condition is going to get worse, that is going to make real interest rates even lower, and that is going to force people more and more into the protection of gold.

And I want to also touch before we end, you asked me about the election. Donald Trump is on record saying that he’s the king of debt and that he loves debt. He is also on record saying that if the U.S. ever enters into another 2008 type scenario, that we can default upon that debt. Now if you ever wanted to have another reason to own gold instead of treasuries that yield almost nothing is the fact that the nominal yield you’re getting, which is practically zero, if even that nominal yield has been threatened to be defaulted upon. So while Trump is a deficit lover, so is Clinton, who I believe will, by the way, unfortunately, win the election. So I believe both of these candidates are lovers of debt. Both of these candidates will be vastly increasing to the amount of debt deficits that we run up, which by the way, will be and must be monetized, and according to Mr. Trump, will be defaulted upon. At least he’s being honest.

Mike Gleason: Well we’ll leave it there. Excellent stuff Michael. We always appreciate your insights and thanks for being so generous with your time. As always, we really enjoy your commentaries, and on that note, if people want to both read and hear more of those from you and want to follow your work or learn more about your firm, tell them how they can do that.

Michael Pento: The website is www.PentoPort.com. My email address is mpento@pentoport.com. And the office number here is 732-772-9500. Love to have you subscribe to my podcast. You can read my commentaries online all over the place. I’d love to be also be able to help you manage your money through this tumultuous time that we’re going through, which will get much worse.

Mike Gleason: Again, great stuff Michael. Hope you enjoy the rest of your summer. I look forward to catching up with you again soon. Hope you have a good weekend and thanks for the time today.

Michael Pento: Thank you Mr. Gleason.

Mike Gleason: Well that will wrap it up for this week. Thanks again to Michael Pento of Pento Portfolio Strategies. For more info, visit PentoPort.com. You can sign up for his email list, listen to his midweek podcast, and get his fantastic market commentaries on a regular basis. Again, it’s PentoPort.com.

And don’t forget to check back here next Friday for our 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.

 

Precisely Wrong on Dollar, Gold?

 

By Axel Merk, Merk Investments

Since the beginning of the year, the greenback has shown it’s not almighty after all; and gold – the barbarous relic as some have called it – may be en vogue again? Where are we going from here and what are the implications for investors?

Like everything else, the value of currencies and gold is generally driven by supply and demand. A key driver (but not the only driver!) is the expectation of differences in real interest rates. Note the words ‘perception’ and ‘real.’ Just like when valuing stocks, expectations of future earnings may be more important than actual earnings; and to draw a parallel to real interest rates, i.e. interest rates net of inflation, one might be able to think of them as GAAP earnings rather than non-GAAP earnings. GAAP refers to ‘Generally Accepted Accounting Principles’, i.e. those are real-deal; whereas non-GAAP earnings are those management would like you to focus on. Similarly, when it comes to currencies, you might be blind-sided by high nominal interest rates, but when you strip out inflation, the real rate might be far less appealing.

It’s often said that gold doesn’t pay any interest. That’s true, of course, but neither does cash. Cash only pays interest if you loan it to someone, even if it’s only a loan to your bank through a deposit. Similarly, an investor can earn interest on gold if they lease the gold out to someone. Many investors don’t want to lease out their gold because they don’t like to accept the counterparty risk. With cash, the government steps in to provide FDIC insurance on small deposits to mitigate such risk.

While gold doesn’t pay any interest, it’s also very difficult to inflate gold away: ramping up production in gold is difficult. Our analysis shows, the current environment has miners consolidating, as incentives to invest in increasing production have been vastly reduced. We draw these parallels to show that the competitor to gold is a real rate of return investors can earn on their cash. For U.S. dollar based investors, the real rate of return versus what is available in the U.S. may be most relevant. When it comes to valuations across currencies, relative real rates play a major role.

So let’s commit the first sin in valuation: we talk about expectations, but then look at current rates, since those are more readily available. When it comes to real interest rates, such a fool’s game is exacerbated by the fact that many question the inflation metrics used. We show those metrics anyway, because not only do we need some sort of starting point for an analysis, but there’s one good thing about these inflation metrics, even if one doesn’t agree with them: they are well defined. Indeed, I have talked to some of the economists that create these numbers; they take great pride in them and try to be meticulous in creating them. To the cynic, this makes such metrics precisely wrong. To derive the real interest rate, one can use a short-term measure of nominal rates (e.g. the 3 month T-Bill, yielding 0.26% as of this writing), then deducting the rate of inflation below:

Description: MILLC.Marketing:Insights newsletters and blogs:2016 Merk Insights:2016-05-09 support:2016-05-16-inflation.jpg

The short of it is that, based on the measures above, real interest rates are negative. If you then believe inflation might be understated, well, real interest rates may be even more negative. When real interest rates are negative, investing cash in Treasury Bills is an assured way of losing purchasing power; it’s also referred to as financial repression.

Let’s shift gears towards the less precise, but much more important world of expectations. We all know startups that love to issue a press release for every click they receive on their website. Security analysts ought to cut through the noise and focus on what’s important. You would think that more mature firms don’t need to do this, but the CEOs of even large companies at times seem to feel the urge to run to CNBC’s Jim Cramer to put a positive spin on the news affecting their company.

When it comes to currencies, central bankers are key to shaping expectations, hence the focus on the “Fed speak” or the latest utterings coming from European Central Bank (ECB) President Draghi or Bank of Japan’s (BoJ) Kuroda. One would think that such established institutions don’t need to do the equivalent of running to CNBC’s Mad Money, but – in our view – recent years have shown quite the opposite. On the one hand, there’s the obvious noise: the chatter, say, by a non-voting Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) member. On the other hand, there are two other important dimensions: one is that such noise is a gauge of internal dissent; the other is that such noise may be used as a guidance tool. In fact, the lack of noise may also be a sign of dissent: we read Fed Vice Chair Fischer’s absence from the speaking circuit as serious disagreement with the direction Fed Chair Yellen is taking the Fed in; indeed, we are wondering aloud when Mr. Fischer will announce his early retirement.

This begs the question who to listen to, to cut through the noise. The general view of Fed insiders is that the Fed Governors dictate the tone, supported by their staff economists. These are not to be mistaken with the regional Federal Reserve Presidents that may add a lot to the discussion, but are less influential in the actual setting of policy. Zooming in on the Fed Governors, Janet Yellen as Chair is clearly important. If one takes Vice Chair Fischer out of the picture, though, there is currently only one other Ph.D. economist, namely Lael Brainard; the other Governors are lawyers. Lawyers, in our humble opinion, may have strong views on financial regulation, but when it comes to setting interest rates, will likely be charmed by the Chair and fancy presentations of her staff. I single out Lael Brainard, who hasn’t received all that much public attention, but has in recent months been an advocate of the Fed’s far more cautious (read: dovish) stance. Differently said, we believe that after telling markets last fall how the Fed has to be early in raising rates, Janet Yellen has made a U-turn, a policy shift supported by a close confidant, Brainard, but opposed by Fischer, who is too much of a gentleman to dissent in public.

It seems the reason anyone speaks on monetary policy is to shape expectations. Following our logic, those that influence expectations on interest rates, influence the value of the dollar, amongst others. Former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke decided to take this concept to a new level by introducing so-called “forward guidance” in the name of “transparency.” I put these terms in quotation marks because, in my humble opinion, great skepticism is warranted. It surely would be nice to get appropriate forward guidance and transparency, but I allege that’s not what we have received. Instead, our analysis shows that Bernanke, Yellen, Draghi and others use communication to coerce market expectations. If the person with the bazooka tells you he (or she) is willing to use it, you pay attention. And until not long ago, we have been told that the U.S. will pursue an “exit” while rates elsewhere continue lower. Below you see the result of this: the trade weighted dollar index about two standard deviation above its moving average, only recently coming back from what we believe were extremes:

Description: MILLC.Marketing:Insights newsletters and blogs:2016 Merk Insights:2016-05-09 support:2016-05-16-dollar.pdf

If reality doesn’t catch up with the storyline, i.e. if U.S. rates don’t “normalize,” or if the rest of the world doesn’t lower rates much further, we believe odds are high that the U.S. dollar may well have seen its peak. Incidentally, Sweden recently announced it will be reducing its monthly bond purchases (QE); and Draghi indicated rates may not go any lower. While Draghi, like most central bankers, hedges his bets and has since indicated that rates might go lower under certain conditions after all, we believe he has clearly shifted from trying to debase the euro to bolstering the banking system (in our analysis, the latest round of measures in the Eurozone cut the funding cost of banks approximately in half).

On a somewhat related note, it was most curious to us how the Fed and ECB looked at what in some ways were similar data, but came to opposite conclusions as it relates to energy prices. The Fed, like most central banks, like to exclude energy prices from their decision process because any changes tend to be ‘transitory.’ With that they don’t mean that they will revert, but that any impact they have on inflation will be a one off event. Say the price of oil drops from $100 to $40 a barrel in a year, but then stays at $40 a barrel. While there’s a disinflationary impact the first year, that effect is transitory, as in the second year, inflation indices are no longer influenced by the previous drop.

The ECB, in contrast, raised alarm bells, warning about “second round effects.” They expressed concern that lower energy prices are a symptom of broader disinflationary pressures that may well lead to deflation. We are often told deflation is bad, but rarely told why. Let’s just say that to a government in debt, deflation is bad, as the real value of the debt increases and gets more difficult to manage. If, in contrast, you are a saver, your purchasing power increases with deflation. My take: the interests of a government in debt are not aligned with those of its people.

Incidentally, we believe the Fed’s and ECB’s views on the impact of energy prices is converging: we believe the Fed is more concerned, whereas the ECB less concerned about lower energy prices. This again may reduce the expectations on divergent policies.

None of this has stopped Mr. Draghi telling us that US and Eurozone policies are diverging. After all, playing the expectations game comes at little immediate cost, but some potential benefit. The long-term cost, of course, is credibility. That would take us to the Bank of Japan, but that goes beyond the scope of today’s analysis.

To expand on the discussion, please register for our upcoming Webinar entitled ‘What’s next for the dollar, currencies & gold’ on Tuesday, May 24, to continue the discussion. Also make sure you subscribe to our free Merk Insights, if you haven’t already done so, and follow me at twitter.com/AxelMerk. If you believe this analysis might be of value to your friends, please share it with them.

 

‘Upside in gold is both larger and closer than the downside in gold’ – Rick Rule

Source: Karen Roche of The Gold Report 

Rick Rule Reveals a Unique Arbitrage Opportunity

One of the hardest things for a mining executive to do may be nothing. But in a market that is not rewarding companies for pulling resources out of the ground, Sprott US Holdings Inc. CEO Rick Rule would prefer to see what he calls “optionality” rather than dilution from companies looking to justify salaries. In this interview with The Gold Report, he praises innovative precious metals streams on base metal projects.

The Gold Report: In November, you called the bottom for precious metals. Do you still believe that we’re in the bottom?

Rick Rule: Yes, as long as you can define a bottom gently. I said in that same interview that the most important factor in gold pricing was the fact that it was priced in U.S. dollars, and we see a topping in the U.S. dollar. In fairness, Karen, if you had asked me that same question two years ago, I would have responded in the affirmative and been quite wrong. But I do think the upside in gold is both larger and closer than the downside in gold.

TGR: Now that the Federal Reserve has increased the key interest rate slightly, the expectation is that the value of the dollar will increase relative to other currencies. How could that be the sign of a bottom for gold?

RR: I cut my teeth in the gold business in the 1970s when the prime interest rate in the U.S. increased from 4% to 15%, and the gold price went from $35/ounce ($35/oz) to $850/oz. I also remember that the gold price increased in 2002 in a climate of increasing U.S. interest rates.

The question is more about the reason that interest rates get raised than it is about the simple fact that interest rates go up. If interest rates go up because there is an anticipation of the deterioration in the price of the dollar and, as a consequence, savers deserve more compensation for lending credit, that sort of ethos is supportive to the gold price. If, by contrast, Janet Yellen can make not just the first 25 basis point interest rate rise succeed but subsequent interest rates rise, too, in other words if she can get a positive real interest rate on the U.S. 10-year treasury that exceeds the depreciation in the purchasing power of the currency, then I think we’ll see renewed dollar strength. I don’t believe she’s going to be able to do that, but the market will determine that.

TGR: Back in the 1970s, the international currency situation was different. Today, the euro and the yuan are part of a currency basket competing with the dollar. If gold is priced in U.S. dollars but now we have competitive currencies, is the logic used in the 1970s relevant anymore?

RR: Although we are in a multicurrency world, the dollar hegemony relative to other currencies has stayed intact. If you owned gold in almost any currency in the world in the last 18 months, gold performed its role as a store of value relative to the depreciation in currencies. It was only the strength of the U.S. dollar relative to all other media of exchange, including gold, that caused gold to perform poorly in U.S. dollar terms. To the extent that the U.S. dollar hegemony in world trade begins to be compromised in favor of other currencies, that weakening would be beneficial to the gold price.

You see, any time the denominator declines, the numerator becomes less important. That means if the dollar buys less of everything, it buys less gold, ergo, the gold price goes up at least nominally. Probably more importantly, however, the response that we’ve seen in the last 10 years to financial uncertainty has been an attraction for international investors into U.S. Treasuries as a store of value. If the purchasing power obtained from the real interest rate on U.S. Treasuries comes to be seen globally as negative, the attractiveness of U.S. Treasuries generally, relative to gold, will decline.

What traditionally has happened in periods of uncertainty is that investors have chosen to store some portion of their wealth in gold. The U.S. Treasuries have replaced gold to some degree over the last 10 or 15 years. My suspicion is that gold will regain some of the market share it has lost to the U.S. Treasuries as a consequence of a reduction in confidence in the U.S. dollar and U.S. Treasuries. At current interest rates, with the ongoing deterioration in the purchasing power of the dollar, U.S. Treasuries are a very flawed instrument despite their popularity.

TGR: Why are they popular?

RR: I think they are popular because people have an intrinsic sense that losing 1 or 2% a year in purchasing power beats losing 30% a year in the equities markets. People are genuinely afraid of the direction in the economy. They’re afraid of a replay of 2008.

Super investor George Soros once said that you make large amounts of money by finding a popularly held public precept that’s wrong and betting against it. I just last night watched the movie The Big Short, and I was reminded that it’s not uncommon to have the financial services industry, the government and the populace believe something to be true that is categorically false. I’m not suggesting that the U.S. 10-year Treasuries are as stupidly overpriced as the U.S. housing market and mortgage-related securities were in the last part of the last decade, but I do suspect that we are in a bond bubble, in particular a sovereign bond bubble. I suspect that a 30-year bull market in bonds is fairly close to being over. Raising rates is very difficult for the principal value of bonds. I think we’re closer to the end of the bond bull market than we are to the beginning and that’s very good for gold.

TGR: In terms of resources, are there some widely held popular beliefs that you believe are not true?

RR: I do. Sadly, as an American, I think the hegemony of the U.S. economy relative to the rest of the world economy is a widely held precept that’s untrue. Remember in 2011, the pro-gold narrative revolved around on-balance sheet liabilities of the U.S. government—just the federal government, not the state and local governments—of $16 trillion ($16T). That was considered unserviceable in an economy that generated new private savings of $500 billion a year. If $16T was unserviceable in 2011, how can $19T be serviceable today? Was $55T in off-balance sheet liabilities—Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security—in 2011 less serviceable than $90T in off-balance sheet liabilities today?

My suspicion is that the change in the interpretation of the narrative has to do with the fact that in 2011, the lessons of 2008–2009 were much closer. My observation, having been in financial services for 40 years, is that people’s anticipation of the future is set by their experience in the immediate past. And the experience that we’ve had in the 2011–2015 time frame is that the big thinkers of the world—the Yellens, the Merkels, the Obamas—have somehow muddled through. But the liquidity they have added to the equation is not a substitute for solvency. That is the great, popularly held precept that’s wrong. What I don’t know is when the reckoning occurs.

TGR: Going back to Soros and a widely held popular belief and you bet against it, what’s the bet against this?

RR: Gold for one thing. I think you also need to have U.S. dollars because cash gives you the courage and the means to take advantage of circumstances like 2008. But I think that if you had a set of circumstances where faith in the U.S. dollar and U.S. dollar-denominated sovereign instruments began to falter, gold would be an enormous beneficiary. History tells us that if you’re using gold as an insurance policy that a very small premium—a fairly small amount of gold held in a portfolio—gives you an enormous amount of insurance. In other words, the upside volatility in the gold price is such that you can protect your portfolio against losses in other parts of your portfolio by having fairly moderate gold holdings.

TGR: Are you talking about physical gold?

RR: This would apply to physical gold or proxies like the Sprott Physical Gold Trust, the Sprott Physical Silver Trust and the Sprott Physical Platinum and Palladium Trust.

TGR: Soros has said that sometimes it takes two or three years before a bet actually comes in to the money. If we are expecting the gold price to increase as the faith in the dollar falters, what is the role of mining equities in betting against the status quo?

RR: I think it’s important to segregate between the gold bet and the gold equities bet. I would say if you think that gold is going to go up, buy gold. Don’t buy the gold stocks for that reason. This is particularly the case with the juniors. People ask me, “Rick, if the price of gold goes up, what will it do to the share price of my Canadian junior, Amalgamated Moose Pasture Mines?” The truth is that Amalgamated Moose Pasture doesn’t have any gold. It’s looking for gold.

If the price of something that you don’t have goes up, it doesn’t have much impact on the intrinsic value. I will say that the leverage that’s inherent in the best 10% of gold stocks is superb, but you need to buy those stocks because the management team is adding relative value. You can’t buy the shares hoping for a magnification of the gold price increase. That won’t compensate for the risks. There have to be other ways the company is advancing.

The truth is that the gold mining industry has been an enormously efficient destroyer of capital in the last 40 years despite real increases in the gold price. You need to be an excellent stock picker to overcome drag brought on by corporate inefficiency relative to the inherent leverage that you should theoretically enjoy in equities relative to the gold price. The equities have made me an enormous amount of money in the last 40 years. It’s just that as a consequence of understanding the equities for what they are, I’ve done a better job of picking them.

TGR: The Silver Summit was the first time I heard you explain the concept of “optionality.” What is your advice in this climate for mining investors?

RR: For the right class of reader who is speculative and willing to do the work, there is a class of junior company that offers extraordinary leverage to the changing perceptions in favor of gold and gold equities. It is inherently illogical to put a mine in production because you think the price of a commodity is going to go up in the future. Let’s say that there’s a five-year lag between the time that you put the mine in production and the time that the commodity price goes up. What happens is that you’ve mined the better half of your ore body and sold that gold during periods of low gold prices in anticipation of higher gold prices. So the gold price goes up, and you have a hole in the ground where your gold used to be. Fairly silly.

A much better strategy is to buy deposits cheaply when gold prices are low. Then hold them in the ground, spending almost no money on beneficiation. Spending money at that point only causes you to issue equity, which reduces your percentage ownership in the deposit.

TGR: How does someone who is not a geologist know what the relative cost of getting that gold is if the company hasn’t done some work like drilling and publishing a preliminary economic assessment to educate me?

RR: One thing investors can do is subscribe to publications like Brent Cook‘s newsletter or visit the free educational material at www.sprottglobal.com. The truth is that nobody, even the best investor in the world, is going to get it right all the time. All you have to do is get closer than your competition. Given the fact that most of your competition isn’t doing any work whatsoever, the bar isn’t very high.

TGR: Another investment strategy that you have been a fan of is streaming companies. How would you compare their optionality given where the gold price is now?

RR: I love the streaming business. It’s regarded as an extremely conservative strategy, and maybe that’s why I like it. In the streaming business, the contracting company buys the rights to a certain amount of gold or silver from a mine for a fixed price over a given period of time. The company receives the gold in return for a pre-negotiated payment irrespective of the gold price at the time that the gold is received. The company that contracts for the gold isn’t responsible for the capital cost required to build the mine, so any cost overrun associated with the mine is irrelevant to the streamer. Similarly, it is not responsible for the operating cost of the mine. It has already locked in its costs. Commonly, those are about $400/oz. The margin between $400/oz and $1,000/oz—$700/oz—is substantially greater than the margins enjoyed by the mining industry in general, which are, in fact, negative.

What I really like about the streamers right now is the arbitrage in cash flow valuation between the streaming companies and the base metals mining companies. Precious metals-derived revenues in a streaming company, because of the success of streamers in the last 20 years, have been capitalized at about 15 times cash flow. That same precious metals revenue as a byproduct revenue in a base metals mine is capitalized at about six times cash flow. That means that a streaming company could buy that cash flow from a base metals mining company at $10M, and it would be wildly accretive to the streaming company at the same time as it would materially decrease the cost of capital for the base metals mining companies.

Base metals mining companies are in truly dire circumstance right now, with the price that they’re being paid for their base metals commodities being substantially lower than their all-in sustaining capital costs for producing it. This means that the base metals mining companies need to do whatever they can do to lower their cost of capital. My suspicion is that you will see many billions of dollars of precious metals byproduct streams from base metals mines being sold from the major base metals mining companies around the world to the streaming companies. My suspicion is that these transactions will simultaneously save the base metals mining company billions of dollars in capital while being accretive to the precious metals streamers by billions, too. I think this is a transformative event for the streamers.

TGR: If a base metals company is essentially losing money for every pound pulled out of the ground, why wouldn’t the management leave the commodity in the ground until prices increase? Why don’t they practice optionality?

RR: One of the challenges with the optionality strategy is it is very tough to get a management team to do nothing. It’s tougher yet to get them to be paid appropriately for doing nothing. Not mining is an awful lot cheaper and an awful lot easier than mining, but the truth is that there’s a bias to produce, and there may be a need to produce. Your all-in cost to produce 1 pound of copper may be $2.75, but your cash cost to produce that pound may be $1.70, and if you sell it for $2/lb, you are generating $0.25 to service debt and cover the all-important CEO salary.

TGR: Frank Holmes agreed with you when he said that while the price of gold seems to have languished in the U.S. dollar terms, in other currencies it has been doing quite well. Particularly, he pointed to Australian mining companies as standing out. Do you agree?

RR: Australian gold stocks have performed incredibly well this year, so part of that thesis has been used up by the share price escalation of those companies. Given that Australian gold mining companies sell their product in U.S. dollars but pay their costs in Australian dollars, they had a de facto 40% decrease in their operating costs, which is extraordinary. In fact, the decrease was deeper than that because a major component of their variable costs is the price of energy, and the price of energy fell 50% in U.S. dollar terms at the same time that the Australian dollar fell further. That means that the operating performance of gold mining companies in Australia relative to gold mining companies whose costs are denominated in U.S. dollars with U.S. operations has been extraordinarily good.

We don’t see any near- or immediate-term strength in the Australian dollar so this cost competitiveness could continue. Additionally, the iron and the coal industry, which compete for workers and inputs directly with the gold industry, have experienced continued distress, which means that the cost push even in Australian dollar terms will diminish.

Plus, we see the Australian market as more honest than the Canadian or the London market in the sense that the mining industry in North America and Europe became increasingly securities-oriented where the value proposition became rocks to stocks and stocks to money. In Australia, the ethos is more a direct drive, more a sense that you want to make money mining and that the stock ought to take care of itself. We see that as a competitive advantage that will continue for five or six years while the North American and European industries reform their expectations.

TGR: The value of the Canadian stocks has been decimated over the last three years. If the management teams are not focusing now on making money now, what’s going to make them change?

RR: Hopefully, bankruptcy. There are 500 or 600 listings on the TSX Venture Exchange that are zombie companies with negative working capital. They’re in a capital-intensive business, but they have no capital, so they aren’t really in businesses. These companies need to be extinct. It’s an ugly thing to say to the people who own stock in these cockroaches and uglier still to the people who work for the cockroaches, but it has to happen.

TGR: You’ll be speaking at the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference at the end of January. What are you hoping that investors take away from that conference?

RR: This conference is in Vancouver, so it’s easy and cheap for companies to exhibit there. The first thing that I hope that people do is understand that if the narrative that existed with regard to resources and precious metals in 2011 was true then, it’s more true now. Only the price has changed. Investors need to recognize that a market that’s fallen by 88% in nominal terms and 90% in real terms is precisely 90% more attractive now than it was then. The mistakes that people made then were mistakes of overvaluation. The mistakes that people make now are mistakes of undervaluation.

It’s important, however, not to make the mistakes that we made in the past. The truth is that you need to temper your expectation of wonderful stories with hard core reality, with securities analysis, which people are unwilling to do. At that conference, you will have the ability to learn lessons in equity market valuations if you are willing to work and absorb them. And you have the ability, with 200 exhibitors present, to practice the lessons that you’ve learned in real time, 20 or 30 meters away from where you learned the lesson itself. So it’s a wonderful opportunity for people who come to work rather than people who come to be entertained.

TGR: Thank you, Rick, for your insights.

Rick Rule, CEO of Sprott US Holdings Inc., began his career in the securities business in 1974. He is a leading American retail broker specializing in mining, energy, water utilities, forest products and agriculture. His company has built a national reputation on taking advantage of global opportunities in the oil and gas, mining, alternative energy, agriculture, forestry and water industries. Rule writes a free, thrice-weekly e-letter, Sprott’s Thoughts.

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DISCLOSURE:
1) Karen Roche conducted this interview for Streetwise Reports LLC, publisher of The Gold Report, The Energy Report and The Life Sciences Report, and provides services to Streetwise Reports as an employee. She owns, or her family owns, shares of the following companies mentioned in this interview: None.
2) The following companies mentioned in the interview are sponsors of Streetwise Reports: Fission Uranium. The companies mentioned in this interview were not involved in any aspect of the interview preparation or post-interview editing so the expert could speak independently about the sector. Streetwise Reports does not accept stock in exchange for its services.
3) Rick Rule: I own, or my family owns, shares of the following companies mentioned in this interview: Fission Uranium Corp. I personally am, or my family is, paid by the following companies mentioned in this interview: None. My company has a financial relationship with the following companies mentioned in this interview: None. I was not paid by Streetwise Reports for participating in this interview. Comments and opinions expressed are my own comments and opinions. I determined and had final say over which companies would be included in the interview based on my research, understanding of the sector and interview theme. I had the opportunity to review the interview for accuracy as of the date of the interview and am responsible for the content of the interview.
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The daily gold price scenario – Asia takes it up, London brings it down

Lawrie Williams

Most mornings, when I log on to my computer, two of the first sites I check are www.sharpspixley.com  and www.kitco.com  to check out how the gold price is moving and what it has done overnight,  as well as hyperlinks to the latest significant items of gold news from other sources .  The former carries an excellent real-time update on the gold price, not only in US dollars, but also in a number of other relevant major currencies, while on the latter I tend to be drawn to the small thumbnail chart which shows the most recent move in the gold price in a rather exaggerated graphical format.

From this little kitco chart one does at least get an impression of the way the gold price has been trending overnight and in the opening of trade in Europe and recently an interesting trend has become apparent.  Almost every day recently, almost without exception, the Asian markets have taken the gold price higher to see it taken down sharply again on European and London opening – and then the day’s trading tends to see it recovering  unless there has been some significant geopolitical or financial news which has taken it to another level either up or down.  But the pattern of the overnight price being held or rising followed by the sharp take down on the London market as soon as trading opens, has been very apparent of late.  It was apparent again today, but was followed by a decent price recovery taking gold back to above $1190 ahead of New York opening.

While I’m not sure how significant this all is, I do see the overnight Asian strength – even if at the moment it’s only mildly positive, as encouraging for the long term gold price, while the London morning movement does smack of the same slightly bearish forces at work ahead of the new LBMA gold price benchmarking process.  But one should also point out that although the initial London movement has tended to be down – by perhaps a few dollars – there has also tended to be a small pick up as the day progresses and this seems to continue in New York unless something like the next statement (however inconclusive) from Janet Yellen or one or other of the various FOMC participants on a somewhat nebulous interest rate raising timetable moves the price a little more sharply up or, usually, down.

It was thus interesting to listen to Nikos Kavalis of Metals Focus’ views on the longer term likely effect of Fed interest rate raising when it actually occurs at the launch of the consultancy’s Gold Focus publication yesterday.  As any such process of raising interest rates is likely to remain exceedingly cautious, it will still leave then in real negative territory which is positive for gold.  With the likely consequent unwinding of short positions built up in anticipation of the Fed’s rate rise thereafter, the precious metals consultancy sees this pointing to the end of the current bear cycle, and while it sees the potential for further gold price dips in Q2 and Q3, it sees a rising price from Q4 heading forward.  See: End of bear cycle for gold in 2015 – Metals Focus