Sprott Asset Management
Gold declined from $1,900 in September 2011 to $1,188 on December, 19, 2013. Silver declined from $48.50 to $18.50 over approximately the same time frame. Precious metal equities declined by approximately 70% over this period. This move down played out exactly as was scripted. However, let us review the causes of this decline. We start out with the most important words ever written by a regulator: BaFin, the German equivalent of the SEC, said that precious metals prices were manipulated worse than LIBOR. What are we to read into this, particularly the word “worse”? Obviously, worse than LIBOR could not mean that more money was fraudulently earned since the LIBOR markets are many orders of magnitude larger than the precious metals markets. Then it must mean that the egregiousness of the pricing dysfunction was materially larger in precious metals.
The Inteligencia Financiera Global blog (Global Financial Intelligence Blog) is honored to present another exclusive interview now with GATA’s Bill Murphy.
A common argument that has been made to explain the precipitous decline of the price of precious metals in 2013 (in spite of the significat demand for the physical bullion) is of investors’ disenchantment with gold and silver, which had been piling up in exchange traded products as a way for investors to gain exposure to the metals. However if redemptions are a symptom of investors' disenchantment with precious metals as an investment, shouldn't silver have suffered the same dramatic redemptions fate as gold? Indeed it should have, but we think the reason silver ETFs were not raided like gold was that Central Banks do not have a silver supply problem, they have a gold problem...
I like Professor Shiller and respect his work. Really, I do, but... Massive bubbles, the sort of the proportion of the 2008 crisis, are nigh impossible to miss if you can add single digits successfully and are able to keep your eyes open for a few minutes at a time. Yes, I truly do feel its that simple. I saw the property bubble over a year in advance, cashed out and came back in shorting - all for a very profitable round trip. Was I a genius soothsayer? Well, maybe in my own mind, but the reality of the situation is I was simply paying attention. Let's recap:
Recent dramatic declines in gold prices and strong redemptions from physical ETFs (such as the GLD) have been interpreted by the financial press as indicating the end of the gold bull market. Conversely, our analysis of the supply and demand dynamics underlying the gold market does not support this interpretation. As we have shown in previous articles, the past decade has seen a large discrepancy between the available gold supply and sales. Many recent events suggest that the Central Banks are getting close to the end of their supplies and that the physical market for gold is becoming increasingly tight. The recent sell-off was all orchestrated to increase supply and tame demand. We believe that central planners are now running out of options to suppress the gold price. After taking a pause, the secular gold bull market is set to continue.
Recent outflows from physical gold exchange traded products have been interpreted by the financial press as a sign of weakness in the demand for gold as an investment vehicle. However, a closer look at the evidence suggests otherwise - the evidence presented here suggests that, contrary to what has been stated in the financial press, the flows out of the SPDR Gold Trust may have been generated by the bullion banks to take advantage of an arbitrage opportunity in the physical market. This arbitrage opportunity occurred because of the intense demand for gold stemming from Asia and the inability of traditional suppliers to provide this gold (hence the large Shanghai premium). We believe that this activity further supports our hypothesis that there is a lack of availability of physical gold and an obvious dislocation between the physical and paper gold markets.
With the financial experts claiming, some gleefully, that gold has "lost its safe haven status" in the aftermath of its biggest tumble in 30 years, many commentators thought (hoped?) that the dramatic price drop would steer people away from gold ownership. To my eyes, the past week has all the earmarks of a high-gloss propaganda campaign complete with well-placed anti-gold stories in the media and the careful use of language aimed at sowing doubt about gold's ability to be a store of wealth. But for those who consider gold a store of value, the recent gold slam is a gift: an invitation to purchase more sound money with fewer units of paper currency. In other words, a sweet deal. Gold and silver on sale and the world is taking advantage.
Société Générale (“SocGen”) recently published a special report entitled “The end of the gold era” that garnered far more attention than we think it deserved. The majority of the report focused on SocGen’s “crash scenario” for gold wherein they suggest that gold could fall well below their 2013 target of US$1,375/oz. It also included a classic criticism that we’ve heard so many times before: that the gold price is in “bubble territory”. We have problems with both suggestions.
Eric Sprott's findings support the growing meme that there is a massive bullion transfer from West to East. This should particularly concern those in the U.S., EU and Canada as his suspicion is that, increasingly, it's monetary gold that is being sold. "We are well into the financial crisis. Everyone’s trying to keep it together, even though it would appear from the reading of the economy things are not going well at all here. And everyone's ignoring things. But I think, in their hearts, the Central Bankers must know what they’re doing is totally irresponsible. And the tell of that irresponsibility – which is the debasing of the currencies – is the fact that real things will go up in value. This should be reflected in the price of gold and silver." For precious metals holders licking their wounds from the carnage of the past several months , this note offers both new insights and sound reminders of the long-term reasons for owning gold and silver.
If you wanted to sum up the just-concluded Casey Research/Sprott Inc. Summit titled Navigating the Politicized Economy, you could say "The situation is hopeless but not serious." More than 20 speakers – many of them world-renowned financial experts and best-selling authors – gathered in Carlsbad, CA, from September 7 to 9 to ascertain exactly how hopeless, and what investors can do to protect themselves.
Beware: "Allocated" Gold May Not Really Be There
When Mr. Market ultimately becomes disenchanted with the fiscal excesses of the sovereign deadbeats, he can express his ire most energetically. When the current bond bubble here in the US ultimately bursts, as it must, it's going to be a bloodbath. Of course, there is much, much more at stake to coming to the correct answer on the recovery, or lack thereof, than that. For instance, poor economies make for poor reelection odds for political incumbents. And when it comes to maintaining a civil society, the lack of jobs inherent in poor economies often leads to a breakdown in civility. On that note, overall unemployment in Spain is now running at depression levels of almost 25%, and youth unemployment at close to 50%. How long do you think it will be before the citizens of this prominent member of the PIIGS will refuse being led to the slaughter and start taking out their anger on the swine (governmental and private) seen as bearing some responsibility for the malaise? Meanwhile, back here in the United States, the commander-in-chief is striding around the deck of the ship of state trying to look like the right man for the job in the upcoming election, despite the gaping hole of unemployment just under the economic water line. His future prospects are very much entangled with this question of recovery.
So, what's it going to be? Recovery… no recovery… or worse, maybe even a crash?
Sprott strategist John Embry has never been a fan of the existing financial system. Today, he makes that once again quite clear in this interview with Egon von Grayerz' Matterhorn Asset Management in which he says: "I think that the current financial system, as we know it, will be totally destroyed, probably sooner rather than later. The next system will require gold backing to have any legitimacy. This has happened many times in history." Needless to say, he proceeds to explain why a monetary system based on gold, one in which one, gasp, lives according to one's means, is better. Logically, he also explains why the status quo, whose insolvent welfare world has nearly a third of a quadrillion in the form of unfunded future liabilities, will never let this happen. Much more inside.
Eric Sprott, Chairman of Sprott Asset Management, and James Turk, Director of the GoldMoney Foundation, meet in Munich and talk about the Munich Precious metals conference (Edelmetallmesse). They comment on Eric Sprott’s speech at the conference and how increasing interventions by central banks, from zero interest rates to money printing and bond buying have completely distorted the financial markets. Other discussion topics include the choices between austerity and increasing stimulus and how both will bring on a meltdown, whether bankruptcy or hyperinflation brought on by money printing. They talk about the huge leverage in the banking system and the risk inherent in the system. People are only now starting to understand counterparty risk. They explain that 20-to-1 and even higher leverage is common in the banking system. Lastly, the two talk about the short-term focus of political decisions and the bad omens for the dollar as a world reserve currency. Kicking the can down the road is increasingly not an option for bankrupt governments, as even the bond markets are increasingly uncooperative with new stimulus efforts. As an example the recent failed attempt by the EFSF to raise 3 billion. They talk about the IMF creating $280 Billion SDRs out of thin air and ask whether that will keep the party going a bit longer.
On its way to becoming the world’s greatest superpower, the United States pulled off some truly remarkable trades. Two notable transactions come to mind and were both outstanding bargains: 1) The Louisiana Purchase (purchased from the French); 2) Alaska (purchased from the Russians). For a mere $15 million, America instantly doubled its size with the 1803 purchase of the Louisiana territory.1 Sixty-fouryears later, oil-and mineral-rich Alaska was obtained for a paltry $7.2 million.2 Even adjusting for inflation, the combined value of these deals in today’s dollars would be very small. However, these two transactions pale in comparison to the greatest trade of all time, one which remains ongoing. This particular trade has allowed the US to exchange more than $8 trillion worth of paper for an unbelievably enormous amount of real goods and services over 36 straight years. We’re referring, of course, to the United States trade deficit. As Chart 1 shows, imports have exceeded exports every year since 1975. For much of the past decade, America’s annual trade deficit has soared past the $600 billion mark, while the accumulated trade deficit has moved relentlessly higher.