In this part, we look at the question: Is gold a currency? Professor Tom Fischer answers, “Yes, gold is a currency with the symbol XAU”.
Another volatile day ended with the Dow is down around 5% in January - the worst start to a year since 2009 (and 2nd worst since 1990) and the worst month since May 2012 (a 3-sigma miss of the average +1.5% per month gain since 2009's lows). Japan, Brazil, and Russia suffered greatly on the month as gold miners, Egypt?, and US Biotech did well. There is a huge 380bps spread between the performance of the Industrials and the Transports YTD. Gold had its best month in the last 5; Treasuries rallied with 10Y yields dropping their most since May 2012; USD rallied the most in 8 months with JPY's biggest rally (and Nikkei's biggest loss) since April 2012.
Dick Clark didn't poll America to determine their taste in music. He told them their taste in music ... not directly, but by creating common knowledge — ideas that a crowd believes that the crowd believes. With the American Bandstand group dance staging and scripted questions, Clark allowed the TV audience to see a crowd of attractive young people act as if the music were popular. This is all it takes. Clark didn't have to force his preferred choice of popular culture on his audience like some centrally-planned Ministry of Culture. The TV audience chose it all on their own, thinking all along it was their choice! This is the power of the Emperor's New Clothes. This is the power of the sitcom laugh track and the live studio audience. This is the power of public coronations and executions. This is the power of Tahrir Square and Tiananmen Square. This is the power of the crowd seeing the crowd, and it is the most potent force in the social world. It's certainly the most potent force in the social world of markets, and every Central Banker today is playing the Common Knowledge Game just as hard as Dick Clark ever did.
Remember when banks were exposed manipulating virtually everything except precious metals, because obviously nobody ever manipulates the price of gold and silver? After all, the biggest "conspiracy theory" of all is that crazy gold bugs blame every move against them on some vile manipulator. It may be time to shift yet another conspiracy "theory" into the "fact" bin, thanks to Elke Koenig, the president of Germany's top financial regulator, Bafin, which apparently is not as corrupt, complicit and clueless as its US equivalent, and who said that in addition to currency rates, manipulation of precious metals "is worse than the Libor-rigging scandal." Hear that Bart Chilton and friends from the CFTC?
Why the dollar may have a huge rally in 2014
2013 was the year that the mainstream financial media went aggressively anti-gold. So, why do we continue to keep the faith with gold (and silver)? We can encapsulate the argument in one statistic.
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.
Predictions for 2014 from a cold war spy
Paper gold in the developed world may trade based on the whims of marginal momentum chasers, and of course, the daytrading mood of the BIS gold and FX trading desk, but when it comes to physical gold and China's appetite for it, one word explains it best: unstoppable.
Historical data tells us that the unemployment falls when the confidence ratio is high. Now, there are three ways for a government to increase that confidence ratio: 1) increase debt; 2) sell off gold; and/or 3) pray for the price of gold to fall (obviously in a non-manipulative manner that doesn't direct profits to favoured entities). The fall in confidence that we observed in the latter half of the last decade was entirely due to the rising price of gold. Look at what that did to the unemployment rate! Clearly the fault of gold-bugs and conspiracy theorists. The rising price of gold completely overrode the excellent work of the Government in driving up the country's debt.
In 1933, FDR confiscated the gold of Americans. This common telling portrays it as a simple case of robbery. It makes people wonder if 1933 is a precedent. I don’t think it is so simple.
One of the most published academics on gold in the world is Dr Brian Lucey of Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and he and another academic who has frequently covered the gold market, Dr Constantin Gurdgiev have just this week had an excellent research paper on gold published.
They have researched the gold market, along with Dr Cetin Ciner of the University of North Carolina and their paper, ‘Hedges and safe havens: An examination of stocks, bonds, gold, oil and exchange rates’ finds that gold is a hedge against US dollar and British pound risk due to “its monetary asset role.”
“Is the gold market manipulated?” This is one of those extremely dodgy questions that has left both investors and economists very divided. By arguing whether or not gold manipulation exists, we may find that we are wasting our brain cells on the question. A better question, and one that we might choose to monitor on a regular basis, might be, “To what degree is successful manipulation taking place?” We might then use the on-going answer as a guide, to inform our reasoning going forward, as to what impact any perceived manipulation is likely to have with regard to our precious metals investment.