Exchange Traded Fund
For many commentators there are two distinct camps in the gold market: investors in bullion and speculators in the paper market. With the two markets pulling in different directions some dealers think it is only a matter of time before derivatives fail completely and the price of gold will rocket on physical demand. However, the key to future gold prices comes down to the point in time at which central banks stop supplying the market; not some sudden crisis between value investors in the East and momentum chasers in the West. That is to confuse cause with effect.
Outflows of gold from ETF's amounted to 24.3 million ounces, nearly 700 metric tonnes, in 2013. Imports from Hong Kong to China totaled 26.6 million ounces or 754 metric tonnes through September alone. It is unknown where gold would come from to replenish these ETF holdings, if there was a sudden surge in demand in the West in the event of a new sovereign debt crisis or a Lehman Brothers style contagion event.
One would think that value investors from outside the industry would be all over this vacuum.
One of the singular best investment strategies is to buy assets/asset classes which are most reviled by investors. Right now, junior gold miners fit the bill.
There are only a few UK and U.S. banks on the list of global safe banks. This should give pause for thought. Notice that many of the safest banks in the world are in Switzerland and Germany.
According to Hong Kong customs data, in the month of October (with the usual one month delay), China imported 148 total tons of gold in a month in which the price of gold, once again plunged. Curiously, unlike momentum chasers of paper ETF promises to get gold delivery, China continues to BTFD in gold, and the 148 tons of import in the past month was the second highest monthly import ever through Hong Kong, second only to the 224 tons imported in March of 2013. Compared to a year ago, when the price of gold was over 30% higher, China has imported over 200% more than the 48 tons it bought through Hong Kong a year ago. At least someone is grateful for plunging gold prices.
Western central banks have tried to shake off the constraints of gold for a long time, which have created enormous difficulties for them. They have generally succeeded in managing opinion in the developed nations but been demonstrably unsuccessful in the lesser-developed world, particularly in Asia. It is the growing wealth earned by these nations that has fuelled demand for gold since the late 1960s. There is precious little bullion left in the West today to supply rapidly increasing Asian demand, and it is important to understand how little there is and the dangers this poses for financial stability.
It is important that one owns physical gold and not paper or electronic gold which could be subject to bail-ins. Owning a form of paper gold and derivative gold such as an exchange traded fund (ETF) in which one is an unsecured creditor of a large number of custodians, who are banks which potential could be bailed in, defeats the purpose of owning gold.
Physical Gold, held in secure conferring outright legal ownership through bailment remains the safest way to own gold.
Led by countries such as Russia and China, central banks have recently become net buyers of gold. Meanwhile, ETF gold outflows have been a temporary source of supply this year, but obviously this cannot persist. It’s also unreasonable to assume that recycling will make up a significantly greater piece of supply without the price of gold increasing substantially. With the grade of current producing gold mines being 32.6% higher than undeveloped deposits, it makes the supply scenario even more clear. Not only is the current yearly mine supply difficult to sustain, but future mines coming online will be challenged by grade and margins to be economical at today’s prices. Mathematically, unless we have high-grade, high ounce deposits that are being fast tracked online, it will be very difficult to find a way to get supply to match demand. Have we reached peak gold?
And yet gold still seems to be stuck in a downtrend. This week's sell off may have been due to trading shenanigans on the COMEX and many, including the UK Financial Regulator are asking questions as to whether gold price rigging is taking place.
Many have wondered why one of the greatest boxers of our generation, Philippines' Manny Pacquiao, has not retired gracefully into hero-dom following his loss to Marquez late last year. For a fighter - it could be pride, ego, or, sadly, lack of funds. In Pacquiao's case it is none of the above, we suspect as a politician, the diminutive boxer has realized the wealth effect-creating impact of his victories of the nation - which at no other time in history needs something positive to reflect on. While in the US, investors have POMO to almost guarantee an up-day in stocks, in the Philippines, stocks rise 73% of the time after a Pacquiao win (compared to 52% average) and rise a stunning 0.5% (against a 0.04% average). Pacquiao is 6-1 on to win against Brandon "Bam Bam" Rios on Saturday (86% likely to win); is there a Philippines ETF?
On October 15, two weeks after the end of the third quarter, David Tepper appeared on CNBC for his semi-annual stock pumpfest, most memorable for his suggestion that a 20x P/E multiple on the S&P was perfectly acceptable. Which would suggest Tepper was very bullish on risk. Which would suggest buying more stocks, not selling. Yet selling is precisely what he did between June 30 and September 30 according to his just released 13F. Specifically, after having a total long equity AUM of $6.9 billion at the end of the second quarter, the Appaloosian lowered the dollar value of his AUM by nearly 10%, to $6.3 billion as of September 30. So what did he liqudate? Here are his biggest liquidations and notable sales.
Many have likened the ETF structure of today to the CDO structure of the last bubble as the potential catalyst for accelerating moves in risk markets. If that is the case, then the collapse in the shares outstanding of the massively popular and liquid Russell 2000 ETF IWM will likley make some ask WTF?
Just when Twitter briefly dipped in bear market territory from its post IPO highs, and threatened to wipe out the retail mania of 2013 (very much as FaceBook did in 2012), here comes the hail mary to provide the most anticipated IPO of the year its second wind. "From its inception in 1974, the intent always has been for the Wilshire 5000 Total Market Index to be the most complete and investable measure of the total U.S. equity market," noted Robert J. Waid, managing director. "As a rules-based index, the Wilshire 5000 does not need to make special accommodations for early entry of large IPOs, like Twitter, as stock additions always have been made monthly for U.S. companies with readily available price data. The Twitter IPO is no exception," he concluded. Of course, how inclusion in the Wilshire 5000 will boost TWTR profitability, remains a mystery.
In the minute preceding last week's highly anticipated payrolls report, Nanex exposes the appearance of a High Frequency Trading (HFT) algo in both the December 2013 Nasdaq (NQ) Futures and the QQQs (an ETF). When it was active, it caused prices to gyrate wildly over a few seconds of time. This is the brief period that also saw Treasury Futures halted (and gold prices jumping) and looking closer at the charts, it appears this HFT algo caused wild price oscillations in the futures in a way that enable it to establish a short position in QQQs. We are sure the regulatory world is already on this blatant manipulation (or simple front-running on information received)...