In mathematics, the term ‘linearity’ describes a relationship in which the rate of change for a variable is constant. However, just like the erosion of civil liberties, the destruction of financial privacy, the growth in world population, the expansion of the money supply, and the demand/depletion of natural resources, debt is an exponential challenge. The danger with exponential problems is that they can really sneak up on you. The numbers do not lie. Debt grows exponentially. Tax revenue grows linearly. So the only question is – what time would you leave?
Over the past year, India has unleashed the most unprecedented series of gold "capital controls" ever seen in a modern nation, shy of confiscation (and even that may be imminent). Today, India added yet another more measure to its list of prohibitions that seek to minimize the size of the gold market available to citizens, yet which will only result in even more interest and demand in the yellow metal. As Reuters reports, India increased its import duty on gold jewellery from 10 percent to 15 percent, setting it higher than the duty on raw gold in a move to protect the domestic jewellery industry. Why is the government doing this? Simple: "To protect the interests of small artisans, the customs duty on articles of jewellery ... is being increased," the ministry said.
Gold and silver futures surged 2.1% and 3.6% respectively and the dollar fell on the open in Asia prior to determined selling which again capped precious metal prices. Analysts and media attributed the price gains on the withdrawal of Larry Summers from the race to be the new Fed Chairman, leaving Janet Yellen as the new frontrunner.
Financial circles in Hong Kong are buzzing today on the new Goldman Sachs projection that gold may drop below $1,000 an ounce. The central thess: since the US economy is out of the woods, there’s no longer a need for gold as a risk hedge. But as one senior-level manager at a major investment bank noted, "Nobody knows what the f**k is going on..." However, this mentality entirely misses the point of precious metals. When the hopes and dreams of the entire global financial system rest on the lies of politicians, the whims of central bankers, and the mountains of debt they have all accumulated, things could turn on a dime... tomorrow. Gold is an insurance policy. It’s a form of money that you might never need to use. But should that need ever arise, you’ll be so much better off for owning it.
It started early this morning as Asia really went to bed - when gold markets were temporariliy halted. Someone decided that was the perfect time to sneak a few thousand contracts through the futures market (and clearly has no fiduciary duty to a client for best execution). As the US day-session opened, it was silver's turn totake a hiding (and gold less so that time); and then into the close, with both precious metals (and copper) heading towards their lows, Silver nose-dived (now -8% on the week) and its worst day in almost 3 months. Away from precious metals, Oil surged back over $109 as Syria chatter hotted up again (from Assad this time), the USD slid further (though ended flat on the day after an opening dump), and Treasuries shrugged off early gains to close red even as stocks closed lower (despite a late-day ramp effort) - breaking the streak and stunning a few TV anchors as VIX-slam and the 'short squeeze' seems over for now.
A COMEX default on delivery of precious metals and specifically of gold bullion bars remains a risk. It is of significant importance and that is why we have covered its possibility since 2011. A COMEX default would have serious ramifications not just for precious metals markets but for the wider commodity markets, for the U.S. dollar and all fiat currencies and our modern monetary system.
Another successful US opening - after probably the deadest overnight session in weeks - has lifted the all-important Dow back above 15,000 confirming that all is well in the world. 'They' must be pleased though it seems the earlier attempt to slam-down precious metals failed miserably this time. AAPL is back above $500, Gold under $1,400, and Dow above 15,000 - Mission Accomplished...
As macro news continues to trickle in better than expected, the latest batch being benign (if completely fake) Chinese inflation data (CPI 2.6%, Exp. 2.6%, Last 2.7%) and trade data released overnight which saw ahigher than expected trade balance ($28.5bn vs Exp. $20.0; as exports rose from 5.1% to 7.2%, and imports dipped from 10.9% to 7.0%, missing expectations), markets remain confused: is good news better or does it mean even more global liquidity will be pulled. As a result, the release of an encouraging set of macroeconomic data from China failed to have a meaningful impact on the sentiment in Europe this morning and instead stocks traded lower, with the Spanish IBEX-35 index underperforming after Madrid lost out to Tokyo to win rights to host 2020 Olympic Games. Even though the news buoyed USD/JPY overnight, the pair faced downside pressure stemming from interest rate differential flows amid better bid USTs. The price action in the US curve was partly driven by the latest article from a prolific Fed watcher Jon Hilsenrath who said many Fed officials are undecided on whether to scale back bond purchases in September. Hilsenrath added that the Fed could wait or reduce the programme by a small amount at the upcoming meeting. Going forward, there are no major macroeconomic data releases scheduled for the second half of the session, but Fed’s Williams is due to speak.
One of the most underreported sentiment shifts of the past week was JPM's announcement late on Friday, that the firm quietly went long commodities - specifically base metals and copper (in addition to energy) - and the firm also closed it "sell" (i.e., underweight) in precious metals. This is not surprising: we had noted the ongoing purchasing of gold by JPM over the past two month (in part to restore its depleted gold vault inventory) when the yellow metal not only stabilized but promptly entered a bull market, returning 20% in a short period of time. And as gold was rising, JPM was advising its clients to sell. It seems JPM now has more than enough gold stashed away, and as the September shock is set to unwind, even JPM may be seeking the safety of gold, and the usual other hard asset suspects, if and when events escalate out of control, resulting in another "risk off" phase.
Succinctly summarizing the weekly bull/bear recap, positive and negative news, data, and market events of the week...
An impressive chaotic day in stocks and bonds as both markets appeared confused as to whether jobs bad news was good, if the jobs bad news was bad enough, and if Syrian bad news was actually good news in holding off the Taper a little longer. The Dow seemed the trigger for all things today as the collapse on Putin's statement slammed the Dow into the red for the week (which would have made 5 weeks in a row, something we haven't seen since the US downgrade in 2011). That was clearly unacceptable to someone, and the Dow soared 220 points on no news whatsoever to break the all-important "Mission Accomplished" level of 15,000. Once that farce was over, we started to fade and then on news of Syrian government "gas" shelling, we tumbled back into the red (with the Nasdaq and S&P practically unchanged again). Treasuries rallied off their just-greater-than 3.00% yields with their biggest intraday plunge in yields in weeks on a slow-growth (or Taper-off) bid exaggerated by Putin's comments, only to sell-off back to pre-Putin by the close. Gold, Silver, and Oil (highest clsoe since May 2011) all surged not looking back after the jobs and Putin news.
Ahead of tomorrow's all-important facade of the NFP print, US equity markets traded on very low volume in the 2nd narrowest range in 6 months. Sectors were a litte more disprsed with rate-sensitive names hurt and Utes underperforming. The real story of the day was the "Taper-On" trades in Treasuries, precious metals, and the USD. The belly of the Treasury curve smashed another 10-11bps higher (now up 21bps from Friday's pre-Obama speech) as the 10Y trod water at 2.98% from the European close only to jump up to 2.99% into the close. As we crossed the US open, gold and silver were summarily punched lower, down 1-2% on the week as the USD surged following Draghi's chatter and better macro data this morning. Credit markets were decidely more nervous going into the close than stocks. Gold and the S&P 500 are now exactly equal with each other and unchanged from the 6/18 FOMC "Taper" moment (and Silver is up 7%).
Since 2003, we have consistently said that silver was likely to surpass its real high in the coming years. The gold silver ratio is likely to trend lower and revert to its long term average and its geological ratio of 15 to 1 as a huge amount of silver has been used in industrial applications in recent years.
JPY Tests 100.00 For First Time In 6 Weeks; US Treasury Curve Collapses To Flattest In 13 Months; Gold/Silver SlammedSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/05/2013 00:36 -0500
UPDATE 2: And there go the precious metals... with their ubiquitous 'opening' slamdown...
UPDATE 1: US Treasuries are now rallying urgently back from the edge as European markets awake (and the EUR slammed)... what else would one expect on ECB/BoE day?
The exuberance of the US day-session has flopped into the evening and Asian stocks, buoyed by a plunging JPY and the carry-mob is on a charge once again. USDJPY just broke back over 100.00 for the first time since July 25th managing to lift the Nikkei almost 1000 points since Friday's close. Most Asian stocks are higher (India +2.6%) but FX is more varied with the Rupiah, Baht, and Ringgit lower still as the Rupee strengthens modestly (as forwards compress too). The USD is bid against the majors with EUR cracking lower. The tale of the night though is US Treasuries which have slammed higher in yield once again. The spread between 5Y Treasuries and 30Y has plunged over 30bps in the last month and now hovers just above 200bps - its lowest in 13 months. This bear-flattening (belly and short-end is underperforming notably overnight) has driven the market's implied 10Y rate for year-end over 3% for the first time since July 2011. The entire forward curve of the Treasury complex is repricing higher in rates as 'absolute' NIM expectations drop.
With Syrian strikes looking to be a 90-day minimum 'surgical strike' and being supported by the US Congress, it is hardly surprising in this bad-is-good-news 'opposite' world, that both precious metals and crude oil prices are getting slammed lower this morning...