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All That Glitters

Tyler Durden's picture


Submitted by Ben Hunt via Salient Partners' Epsilon Theory,

I’ve received a lot of questions over the past few weeks about Russia and the Ukraine, and why I don’t include this flashpoint in my list of greatest market risks. Sorry, but I just don’t think it’s that big of a deal from a markets perspective.

Russia is going to control Sevastapol, and everyone – including Obama and Merkel and whoever is calling the shots in Kiev – knows it. Period. End of story. Owning a warm water port on the Black Sea has been a cornerstone of Russian political identity since Catherine the Great in the 18th century, and there’s nothing that anyone can do (or really wants to do) to stop it. Does effective control of Sevastapol and the Crimea require annexation of Eastern Ukraine? Maybe. Southern Ukraine and Moldova? Seems like a stretch to me, but I hear that the Danube is beautiful this time of year, and if that’s what Putin wants that’s what he’ll get. I’m sure we’ll get the usual tsk-tsk’ing from the usual suspects, and maybe even the 2014 equivalent of Jimmy Carter’s Moscow Olympics boycott, but that’s as far as it goes.

In fact, as far as markets are concerned, the more Sturm und Drang over Ukraine, the better. Draghi needs an excuse to launch some form of European QE, and an ECB staff projection of the dire consequences of Gazprom shutting off the pipelines is just what the doctor ordered. A few days of media hand-wringing over Putin’s intentions, perhaps accompanied by – gasp! – a 1% decline in markets, and even Janet Yellen can get into the act, promising to do “whatever it takes” to support our European brethren and overcome this horrific threat to global growth.

Ultimately this all further strengthens the Narrative of Central Bank Omnipotence – the market-controlling common knowledge that market outcomes are the result of central bank policy rather than anything that happens in the real economy.

How can you know if this Narrative starts to waver or shift? If and when gold starts to work.

This is what gold means in the modern age... not a store of value or some sort of protection against geopolitical instability... but an insurance policy against massive central bank error and loss of control. So long as the dominant narrative remains that central banks are large and in charge, so long as global investors hang on every throwaway line that Draghi utters... gold doesn’t stand a chance.


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Sun, 05/11/2014 - 21:40 | 4749564 lolmao500
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What about nuclear war drills? Bullish?? After the Ruskies did it, now it's time for Murica... 

U.S. to Conduct Strategic Bomber Exercise Nuclear drills follow ‘massive’ Russian war games last week

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 21:41 | 4749566 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

"Yay!  The cold war is back!  And maybe it will go hot!"  Said the MIC who made it happen.

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 21:44 | 4749574 kliguy38
kliguy38's picture

If they want a hot conventional, they'll get it. If they wanna divy up the Ukrates then they will.... if they wanna go full nuke.......then they will.......we're just bugs

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 21:50 | 4749589 bania
bania's picture

I prefer the articles from Ben's brother, Mike Hunt.

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 22:09 | 4749632 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

Of course the central banks will fu** up! They've gone beyond the point of no return. Just to cover up past mistakes they need to compound them by raising the stakes as the ground they stand on gets ever shakier. Reagan proved that deficits don't matter. Japan is proving that debt doesn't either. The CBs will ultimately prove that currency is superfluous when it all melts down.

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 22:26 | 4749659 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

The Central Bank of DoChenRollingBearing ("CB of DCRB") has no faith in their fellow central bankers.  

Therefore the CB of DCRB is now on a Metals Standard with two core holdings:

1) Precious metals, mostly Au, but some Pt, Ag and Pd too

2) Highly engineered products made of 52100 steel


Sun, 05/11/2014 - 22:34 | 4749680 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

A wise tangible fruit basket indeed

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 22:48 | 4749705 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

The CB of DCRB, in inadvertent haste to finish its holdings announcement forgot to include yet another metals holding:

3) Pb and Pb delivery devices!

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 23:06 | 4749740 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

Better to be close to the middle of the periodic table , I agree

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 23:20 | 4749755 Manthong
Manthong's picture

Speaking of insurance and store of value...

A Washington quarter dollar coin (90% silver) would buy you a gallon of gasoline in 1964. That same 25 cent coin (after a stop at the coin store to swap it for FRN’s) will buy you a gallon of gasoline today.

A one dollar Federal Reserve Bank note (FRN) in 1964, would buy you four (4) gallons of gasoline. That same FRN today will buy you one fourth (1/4) of one gallon of gasoline.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 00:12 | 4749794 DoChenRollingBearing
DoChenRollingBearing's picture

Anecdotes about store of value of gold and fiats?  Ah, I have another one:

Long ago (1980s and 1990s) I used to pull $300 (which was the maximum) from our ATM once in a while to buy gold.  For much of that time gold was around $450 (rough average), so it took me "1.5 withdrawals / oz of Au".  [Gold Eagles]

Now I can take $500 out of the ATM, but now that is about 2.7 withdrawals / oz Au.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 00:19 | 4749850 AllThatGlitters
AllThatGlitters's picture

Hey, my name in the headline!  :-/

BTW, check out Gold popping hard tonight!

Live Chart:

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 01:35 | 4749941 Mistress Raindrop
Mistress Raindrop's picture

Gold is so tired and dead.  I'm invested in cat food futures.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 06:32 | 4750153 negative rates
negative rates's picture

Gold bitches.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 06:45 | 4750161 GetZeeGold
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Shorting Mistress Raindrop - Member for 1 week 3 days


Winner of a free nailgun kit sans instructions.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 04:03 | 4750009 Lore
Lore's picture

Mistress Raindrop = Bot.  Do not click the CAT FOOD link. eom

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 21:43 | 4749571 Charles Nelson ...
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That FreeBeacon rag is some serious neocon shit. I wouldn't be surprised to hear that in order to get a column or blog there, you have to go down on John McCain. Lindsey Graham can't watch, or he has to pay $1000.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 01:39 | 4749952 hobopants
hobopants's picture

The Dude Abides.

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 21:45 | 4749572 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

"So long as the dominant narrative remains that central banks are large and in charge, so long as global investors hang on every throwaway line that Draghi utters... gold doesn’t stand a chance."

Which is why you buy it very quietly, for cash, very discreetly and put it away, off the grid and forget about it for a few decades.

"Trading" gold is much too dangerous.  Owning gold is the ultimate trans-generational store of value.  

Would you rather your great aunt put aside $10,000 in cash for your in 1950 or $10,000 worth of in gold?  You have your answer.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:13 | 4750424 fockewulf190
fockewulf190's picture

I doubt my stack is going to be untouched over the next few decades. The current economic system will not survive anywhere near that long, and it's going to be my stack that is going to help me survive the chaos. I hope it lasts long enough to transcend the Great Reset. Fourtunately, I can still trade my fiat for phyzz, so I continue to stack and prep as much as possible.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 10:41 | 4750685 daedon
daedon's picture

A problem is what do you do with gold when a facist state declares its possession criminal and punishable by death ?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 12:20 | 4751096 bshirley1968
bshirley1968's picture

You shoot any and every prick that comes to get it.  Either outcome means you are free in the end.

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 21:50 | 4749591 lakecity55
lakecity55's picture

In the distant past, Men found Gold. They tried to control the Gold, but found they could not. Gold, formed in the crucibles of nuclear fire deep in the Cosmos, was an Element, a Pure element possessing the unfathomable power of a Super Nova. The more that dishonest men tried to suppress the Gold, it lay silent, building its Elemental Power to destroy the fiat constructs of Men. In the early 21st Century, Man once again tried to destroy the Power of Gold.

They Failed.

At the precise point delineated by  Laws yet unknown, Gold exercised its Elemental Power and burst forth, crushing the constructs of Man and reasserting Itself as the Element of the Gods...

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 22:20 | 4749648 LetThemEatRand
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God created Man, but Man created Gold.  Man built great machines and declared that he could create the equivalent of Gold from cotton, paper and ink.  Man hailed his freedom from Gold.  "We are Goldless!", man declared.   "Let us live in a Goldless world, while we do God's work!"

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 12:23 | 4751112 bshirley1968
bshirley1968's picture

The notion that man created God, reveals a complete lack of understanding of God.  Get some understanding and then broach the subject.

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 21:56 | 4749610 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

"so long as global investors hang on every throwaway line that Draghi utters... gold doesn’t stand a chance."

Who will be our valiant hero and stand up against the CB's? Goldman? BAC? JPM? Bridgewater? Who is going to be the firm that comes out and says "making a shit ton of easy money is fun and all....but what's right is right, so we are massively shortin the euro and ust's and have just put an order in for 5 billion worth of physical gold and a billion of silver".

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 22:05 | 4749624 Carpenter1
Carpenter1's picture

Gold doesn't need a defender, it's plenty powerful enough to bury CB's just like it has every fool who's tried to manipulate its price.

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 22:28 | 4749665 kliguy38
kliguy38's picture


Sun, 05/11/2014 - 22:08 | 4749630 Greenskeeper_Carl
Greenskeeper_Carl's picture

probably no one, since all of  their incomes are dependent on maintaining the status quo. But I have been doing that, slowly, although i wouldnt call my orders very significant. Can i still be your hero?

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 22:13 | 4749643 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

"Who is going to be the firm that comes out and says "making a shit ton of easy money is fun and all....but what's right is right, so we are massively shortin the euro and ust's and have just put an order in for 5 billion worth of physical gold and a billion of silver".

The PBC.  They already did.

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 22:20 | 4749650 fonzannoon
fonzannoon's picture

well I am not convinced they want out of the current system. I admit they have purchased a nice chunk of insurance. but i really am interested in seeing if they let themselves burn down. If they do, can the fed handle it. We are certainly not there yet. As of now Greenskeeper is more my hero than china, although i am concerned that there is enough production to keep him from cornering the market.

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 22:24 | 4749657 Grande Tetons
Grande Tetons's picture

When you have a house that is next to Pompei...yeah...I will add the to the insurance any chance I get. 

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 01:42 | 4749960 Four chan
Four chan's picture

lol now thats gold^

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 23:01 | 4749734 NoDebt
NoDebt's picture

Anyone tells you they know what's coming with precision is lying.  I just know that both gold and power are flowing west to east right now.  

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 02:52 | 4750028 Lore
Lore's picture

That's the key point that the author seems to stumble around. The paper pageant in NYC is irrelevant except as a mechanism for subsidizing lower nominal prices in the currency du jour. What matters is where the stuff is being delivered, to whom, and why.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 06:34 | 4750154 negative rates
negative rates's picture

Is that with precision?

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 21:58 | 4749614 lordbyroniv
lordbyroniv's picture

Gold going back to $35 an ounce?

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 22:11 | 4749635 Ignorance is bliss
Ignorance is bliss's picture

Let's hope so. I'd like to buy my own nation one day in the future.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 09:23 | 4750454 fockewulf190
fockewulf190's picture

It may be revaluated in the future, but you won't see a dollar symbol in front of the number.

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 22:02 | 4749620 Carpenter1
Carpenter1's picture

No "all powerful" manipulators have succeeded before and certainly this version of cowards and fools will be no different. Fortunes have been made in only the last few decades trading gold.

Article thinks too much of CB's.

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 22:05 | 4749626 deeply indebted
deeply indebted's picture

So long as the dominant narrative remains that central banks are large and in charge, so long as global investors hang on every throwaway line that Draghi utters... gold doesn’t stand a chance.

Luckily, this won't last long.

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 22:07 | 4749629 eddiebe
eddiebe's picture

No doubt, the central banks are playing a confidence game, and it's working. Pathetic as it is, it's working.

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 22:11 | 4749636 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

Every Ponzi has his day

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 22:12 | 4749638 Kreditanstalt
Kreditanstalt's picture

Too Amero-centric.

Tell the Chinese, Indians and Vietnamese that "gold doesn't stand a chance"...

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 22:33 | 4749669 LetThemEatRand
LetThemEatRand's picture

Western-centric.  America is still a colony of Britain as far as the western banks are concerned.  The Eastern populations have lived through endless oligarch ruling classes and they know where the value is.  The Western powers are relative new kids of the block who think they have this new idea of paper money and Americans remember as far back as black and white TV.

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 22:12 | 4749639 Tinky
Tinky's picture

What a steaming crock.

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 23:43 | 4749804 Vint Slugs
Vint Slugs's picture

Agreed.  Mr Hunt's "game  theory" perspective is just a heavy load of BS.  It's become the recent popular focus of the on-line financial bloggers - ZH included obvioiusly.  Just read any of his "articles" with a critical eye and you can see it for what it's worth:  other than a lot of verbiage not much.  I'd like to get a look at the portfolio makeup of any account that Mr Hunt "manages", if indeed he manages any portfolios.  We need to listen less to the Mr Hunts and spend a little time just rationally analyzing real-world cause and effect.

I hesitate to say, because it doesn't logically follow, but will anyway:  from his photo it's obvioius that he needs a more flattering set of spectacles as well as a dental job on the spacing of those 2 front incisors.


Sun, 05/11/2014 - 22:25 | 4749660 Goldilocks
Goldilocks's picture

Tom Petty - Free Fallin' (4:30)

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 22:31 | 4749672 FieldingMellish
FieldingMellish's picture

Indian election results May 16th. Just sayin'.

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 22:41 | 4749694 Seize Mars
Seize Mars's picture

All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring; renenwed shall be blade that was broken, the crownless again shall be king.

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 23:51 | 4749819 Pool Shark
Pool Shark's picture



In the land of Fed-dor where the shadow-bankers lie,

One fiat to fool them all, one fiat to blind them,

One fiat to bring them all, with no gold behind them.

In the land of Fed-dor where the Chairmen lie.


Mon, 05/12/2014 - 06:36 | 4750156 negative rates
negative rates's picture

It does take one to know one.

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 22:42 | 4749696 Caviar Emptor
Caviar Emptor's picture

You can hitch your wagon to ine out of a zillion little pieces of paper that claim you own something (aka stocks). Or to one of zillions of little IOus that claim somebody owes you anything (aka bonds). Or to one of not many available tangibles that actually is worth something all by itself aka gold

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 22:46 | 4749703 freedom5000
freedom5000's picture

Wow remind me never to read this guys articles again, he must be a moron. 

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 23:09 | 4749733 F0ster
F0ster's picture

"This is what gold means in the modern age... not a store of value or some sort of protection against geopolitical instability... but an insurance policy against massive central bank error and loss of control."

Massive CB error causes geopolitical instability. The error had already been made repeatedly and the quantity of currencies have crossed the Rubicon. Gold is already quietly returning to the global monetary system. As Draghi commented last year, he makes sure CBs have lots of gold in Europe to hedge the US Dollar (and likely the Euro too). Don't be fooled, gold is BACK, we're just witnessing the institutional accumulation game playing out. Gold will revalue soon and it's cheap today.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 01:49 | 4749969 Four chan
Four chan's picture

it's not really an error if it it fall within the feds mandate by its owners.

capture all assets through boom and bust cycles it creates; and enslave a previously free people to debt servitude.


as gwb would say"mission accomplished." 

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 23:26 | 4749767 Hongcha
Hongcha's picture

They can take it below extraction costs if they really want to but we are already pretty much there, the premium has been bled out.  It would take a Rube Goldberg atom bomb to hold it below that and I do not think they coud do it without immolating themselves.

Supply has to be contracting right around where we are now, as there is a sizeable population who has a valuation for it.  More than 2/3 of the world's population has that valuation.  They are getting drowned out by our traitorous, treacherous, maggotlike leadership and inane newscasters.

The obvious thing to do is what many are saying and have been saying for years ... buy as much physical as you can afford at these prices, since we are within 10% of the ultimate, inviolable bottom.

Or sit tight if you cannot buy.  Sit tight and be right as Jesse Livermore said.

Remember, the early 2014 rally started off $1180 when the discussion of touching all-in costs started, quietly.  I hope they try to run it past $1180, that will be a bottom to buy, generational.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 05:07 | 4750093 BigJim
BigJim's picture

The degree to which our overlords can suppress the price, is primarily how much physical they can get hold of. Actual new supply runs at something like 1.6% a year of the total ever mined; plenty of that total is still in the west, and the constant barrage of anti-gold propaganda we are subjected to is a desperate attempt to make holders (and potential buyers) of physical change their mind about its true worth, and sell at the suppressed price, or not buy any more.

Ultimately, it's a race between TPTB's ability to persuade people that gold is worthless, and those same people's unwillingness to listen to them.

I stack, but if I thought TPTB were going to be successful in their quest I'd sell in a NY minute.

Value is subjective; if enough people are persuaded that gold is just a worthless shiny metal, and bondsNstawks are where it's at, then stackers are fucked.

Fortunately, it looks like TPTB are losing the war. Which is as it should be; they are evil, as is their control of the money supply.

One thing I've noticed - every time a gold-holding country is 'liberated' by the West, the paper dumping picks up pace.... Just a coincidence, I'm sure.

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 23:36 | 4749788 Atomizer
Atomizer's picture


Ron Paul vs Bernanke: Is Gold Money? - July 13, 2011


Wall Street green snots vs. Tailwinds?

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 23:43 | 4749805 Tinky
Tinky's picture

As ZH reported earlier this evening, there was a $210m smackdown at 6:50, and gold is already back to where it started before the hit. These transparent efforts are becoming increasingly ineffectual, and it should not be difficult to figure out why.

Good luck keeping the lid on the boiling pot much longer, assholes.

Sun, 05/11/2014 - 23:52 | 4749820 hairball48
hairball48's picture

That all assumes Central Banks can maintain "control". Personally, I have doubts.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 00:47 | 4749881 AusMike
AusMike's picture

The chinese demand for gold is what will ultimately break the gold market. Koos Jansens blog is great on this

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 01:15 | 4749918 Schmuck Raker
Schmuck Raker's picture

" So long as the dominant narrative remains that central banks are large and in charge, so long as global investors hang on every throwaway line that Draghi utters..."

- Yeah, Draghi, that's the key?

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 01:53 | 4749979 Rogue Economist
Rogue Economist's picture

Peak Credit now breached!


Mon, 05/12/2014 - 02:10 | 4749995 VWAndy
VWAndy's picture

Golds value in a energy based monetary system would be very solid as a long term store of wealth.

 As it should be. Gold will always have a large energy value.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 02:30 | 4750010 Debugas
Debugas's picture

gold is just another asset class

and the insurance policy against massive central bank error and manipulation is simply buying real assets (of which gold is just a tiny fraction) causing assets inflation in terms of fiat

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 04:12 | 4750069 CHX
CHX's picture

" long as global investors hang on every throwaway line that Draghi utters... gold doesn’t stand a chance."

How about considering half the world is buying gold head over fist (China and India alone, not considering the rest where there is also additional demand) and global demand for physical gold exceeding BY FAR global mining supply? As long as people/traders believe in paper gold, of which there is currently ~100 more traded than physical gold, the shenenigans continue. It's not global investors, its the TBTFs, the government and their agencies who make up the paper matrix. Step out of their paper realm, it's so simple.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 05:38 | 4750108 falak pema
falak pema's picture

FDR is gonna have the last laugh on these Neo-Con shills who have used War Mongering and "Free Hand of Market" to create this REAGANOMICS fiat beanstalk plague that will now bring Oligarchy Jack back flat on his butt when it collapses.

As you sow so shall you reap Pax Americana minions of Oligarchy morph, since Aldous Huxley day; having created this dystopian rentier false wealth spigot and having emptied the true gold of Oil spigot to pollute the world like nobody's business. 

All these neo-feudal Oligarchs are going to hang themselves on their own fiat disseminated ropes in their elitist hopium and imperial hubris gone viral.

Just like the Popes did when they asked Michael Angelo and Raphaei to paint the Vatican.

Little did they realize then that their derivative fed scam of using INDULGENCES-- selling the dream of getting a cheap ticket to Heaven and to wash your Oligarchy sins-- helping thus to create their Papal office's wealth-- would wreck havoc for both Obscurantist Dogma and feudal Kings with divine Rights. Both those so called Christian Pillars of the feudal age fell under the cleansing scourge of Enlightenment and Revolution. 

As for the Hayekian Notion of invisible hand of the Market; don't make me laugh; its as much a leveler of economic justice, of fair terms of trade, as was the Spanish Inquisition that followed the fall of House of Papal God and begot the age of the Rapist Conquistadors doing God's Work all over the World.

But...Before Enlightenment arrived we had two centuries of COUNTER REFORM and religious war.

History is never a straight, logical process, it meanders awesomely. It even regresses but then returns with a vengeance on its progressve trajectory; the notion of "progressive" being illusory and time constrained.Thus be human nature! 

As History rhymes...tightens your seat belts, the 21 st century will be a great period of re-adjustment for global political power and human values. 

It may even see the reversal of the "Go West" symphony of 1492, into a "Go East Charlie".

What the Humanist reform did to the Christian faith during the Renaissance Age we may see the Islamic Reform do to Salafism, to Mollahism and to Ayatollahism in this coming age. About time too !

Lay on Macduff!  And, all that glitters is not gold its human aspirations for a better world.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 06:27 | 4750150 Atlas Crapped
Atlas Crapped's picture

Well said Ben. When the world is ready, gold will appear.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 06:37 | 4750158 negative rates
negative rates's picture

Next they will pave the roads with gold.

Mon, 05/12/2014 - 12:41 | 4751188 bshirley1968
bshirley1968's picture

We can all talk about what could happen, what should happen, or what will happen based on history, our dd, or our opinions.

The bottom line is that fiat affords much more flexibility and control mechanisms that are non-existent in gold.  Therefore, those who are in power/control will do whatever is necessary to maintain their fiat.  It will not crumble on its own.  If it would, then that would have already happened.  It is going to take a catalyst.  What will that be?  THAT is the question.

Problem is there will always be a person or group of persons who want to "rule the world" and fiat is the best way to get that done.  Gold is only going to insulate to a point.  Don't get me wrong, I have both metals in physical.  There is no way to stay passive and win a fight.  There must be activity........against the other side.......if you intend to win.  This is not going to fix itself.  Evil was, is, and always will be aggressive.  The question is, how far do we let it go before we stand up and give it a moment of pause?  It never has and never will go away or accept defeat.  It has to be maintained or controlled or else it will just rise up and try to destroy you time and time again.  Question: Can you even recognize evil?

A war is coming.  Shame we will have an even harder than ever time picking the "lesser of two evils" when it breaks out.  That is the only catalyst I see that will break the death hold the Elite Reserve Banks have over the world.  There will be no winners when this happens.

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