Real Interest Rates
In Japan, the European Union and Switzerland, where negative nominal interest rates have already been adopted, it was observed that demand for safes and cash increased. At the same time, we learn that negative rates have boosted demand for gold in Japan (sales of gold to Japanese consumers rose to 32.8 metric tonnes in 2015 from 17.9 tonnes a year earlier). According to Takahiro Ito, chief manager at Tanaka Kikinzoku Kogyo K.K.’s store in Tokyo’s Ginza shopping district, “Many customers are wagering that it’s better to turn their savings to gold as a safe asset rather than deposit money at banks that offer low interest rates."
Krugman is wrong. An economic boom, based on nothing but hot air (phony credit, with no real resources behind it), is fraudulent. It will never take us to real growth. Just the contrary. The best thing to do is to pop the bubble…and then pick up the pieces. Besides, it will pop whether we want it to or not. Heck, we believe in magic as much as the next guy. But the magic act is wearing a little thin. The smoke is dispersing. The rabbits have disappeared. All the glam and sparkle, the shock and awe, the claptrap and hokum – they’re all giving way to economic reality. We are beginning to see more clearly: the Fed’s theory is nothing but hot air.
Are interest rates low because of the action of central banks or because of unresolved debt deflation?
Should US monetary policy not be on the path to normalization, a fundamental change in the benefit of gold ownership is taking place, and this increased investment demand should lead to higher gold prices. Gold investment appears to be moving towards stronger fundamentals than we have seen over the past few years.
"Money-financed fiscal programs (MFFPs), known colloquially as helicopter drops, are very unlikely to be needed in the United States in the foreseeable future. They also present a number of practical challenges of implementation, including integrating them into operational monetary frameworks and assuring appropriate governance and coordination between the legislature and the central bank. However, under certain extreme circumstances—sharply deficient aggregate demand, exhausted monetary policy, and unwillingness of the legislature to use debt-financed fiscal policies—such programs may be the best available alternative."
The mainstream loves to hate gold, but then again, these are the same people who were bearish on gold all the way up from $250 to $1,900 (some turned bullish shortly before it topped, but that’s another story). What actually explains all this contempt for gold is the fact that it remains the main antagonist of the current statist centrally planned fiat money system. It’s as simple as that.
Gold has historically rallied for at least 100 trading days after the first hike by the FOMC, but as HSBC's Jim Steel explains, this time it could be longer. Steel sees three key reasons to remain bullish and forecasts USD1,300/oz this year (though warns that beyond that level, physical demand may weaken and help curb further rallies.)
Gordon Brown, back when he was the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, distinguished himself by selling off approximately one-half of Great Britain’s gold reserves at what turned out to be a near-bottom at the end of the secular bear market in gold which lasted from 1980 to 2000-ish. However, the news that the new Canadian Finance Minister Bill Morneau has completed selling all remaining Government of Canada gold reserves may remove Brown's laughing-stock status.
Gold prices are up between 13% and 23% year-to-date in the major currencies. However, this upward trend started long before the recent price rally.
“I thought the Depression was going to go on forever. For six or seven years, it didn’t look as though things were getting better. The people in Washington DC said they were, but ask the man on the road? He was hungry and his clothes were ragged and he didn’t have a job. He didn’t think things were picking up.”
Recently, for example, the markets took a tumble when the Fed moved to normalize monetary policy. The US central bank responded by delaying the normalization process, which stabilized the markets, but eventually fears of falling behind the curve on inflation will force it to resume the process. That will lead to renewed market turmoil in a cycle that has the potential to repeat itself endlessly.
“Betting against gold is the same as betting on governments. He who bets on governments and government money bets against 6,000 years of recorded human history.” – Charles De Gaulle
"Whatever can be said about the world recovery since the crisis, it has been neither strong, nor sustainable, nor balanced. There seems little political willingness to be bold, and so perhaps we should fear that the size of the ultimate adjustment will just go on getting bigger."
Gold never changes; it's the world around it that does. Why is it that we see a renewed interest in gold now? And more importantly, should investors buy this precious metal? Key attributes in a 'changing world' that are relevant to the price of gold are fear and interest rates.
Gold is many things to many people. A perennial battleground subject, gold remains arguably one of the most debated asset classes across global financial markets, but as Goldman's precious metals equity analyst notes, from a fundamental perspective, the risk/reward looks more balanced than that of its bulk and base metal peers, especially in terms of the supply/demand dynamics.