The cracks are starting to appear in the 'paper' gold market.
BlackRock's rather shocking decisision to halt ETF creation due to gold demand (i.e. being unable to source enough physical gold to meet mandated requirements given the inflows) follows the largest gold ETF inflows since Feb 2009 (just as The Fed started QE1 and unleashed trillions of freshly digitized exuberance into the markets).
As BloombergBriefs reports, investor flows into the two largest gold exchange-traded funds topped $5 billion for February.
State Street’s SPDR Gold Shares ETF attracted $4.186 billion for the month and BlackRock's iShares Gold Trust fund raked in $887 million.
The last time flows were higher the S&P 500 had fallen more than 18 percent for the year and the U.S. Federal Reserve was just three months into its first quantitative easing program to stimulate demand and shore up the financial sector. That was February 2009.
In fact, transparent gold holdings across all instruments has been soaring since the start of 2016.
Given these extremes in demand, and clear signals of discontent with the monetary and fiscal authorities, Casey Research's Justin Spitttler had some interesting perspectives on what could happen next...
If you’re buying gold right now…the government could be tracking you.
If you’re buying gold, you’re likely not doing it to make money. You’re buying it to make sure you don’t wake up poor one day.
Gold has been used as money for thousands of years because it is easily divisible, easily transportable, has intrinsic value, is durable, and has consistent form around the world. And, as Doug Casey reminds us, it's a good form of money because governments can’t print it on a whim. You can't “Bernanke your way” to wealth with gold.
When today’s dramatic central banking experiment blows up, gold will hold its value…unlike paper currencies such as the dollar.
That’s exactly why the government will try to take it from you.
The last time the government confiscated gold was during the Great Depression. In 1933, President Roosevelt outlawed owning most forms of gold. He claimed that people “hoarding” gold were making the Great Depression worse. The penalty for not turning your gold in to the government was a $10,000 fine and 10 years in jail.
Of course, Roosevelt gave his closest supporters notice before issuing the ban. They had time to move their gold to another country. Most folks weren’t that lucky.
This time around, the confiscation will be digital.
Most people own gold through a fund like Sprott Physical Gold Trust (PHYS) or Central Fund of Canada (CEF). The former will give you physical gold in exchange for your shares, once a month, if you own enough shares. The latter won’t give you the physical gold.
Because this gold is owned through a brokerage account, it will be easy for the government to confiscate.
What about physical gold? If you bought it from a dealer and paid with a wire transfer, the banking regulators have plenty of documentation. They’ll likely let you keep the gold. But it will be illegal to trade. If you don’t obey, you’ll be subject to a 99% tax on its value.
But there’s one way to buy gold so the government can’t track you. I’ve been doing it for years. You can do it, too. It’s buying at a locally owned jewelry store. These stores get a few common gold coins in every week. If you know what you’re looking for, it’s a great way to buy gold with cash.
However, the window of opportunity is closing quickly. In fact, I went to buy gold today…and saw this new sign.
It says, “CASH transactions are limited to $6,000 within a 48 hour period.”
$6,000 seems like an arbitrary number. And 48 hours seems even more contrived. This is a sign of the times. Governments are cracking down on cash. They want to know every detail of your financial life. They want to know what you buy and what you sell.
Paper cash is hard to track. So, little by little, governments are getting rid of it. Notice the $500 bill featuring President McKinley to the left of the sign. Years ago, $500 bought you a brand new car. Today, it barely buys a steak dinner for a family of five.
Cash is on its way out of existence. The government stopped issuing $500 bills in 1969. Last week, Harvard professor Larry Summers wrote an article titled “It’s time to kill the $100 bill.” The New York Times published an article arguing the same thing. Their reasoning is, big bills make it easier for criminals to commit crimes. If you’re not a criminal, you shouldn’t have a problem with the government knowing everything you buy and sell.
The $6,000 limit will soon be $1,000. The local jewelry shop is the last place you can buy gold without the government tracking you. Take advantage of it while you can.