It May Be 2008 All Over Again, But There Is One Key Difference

The financial press has been inundated with articles comparing what is happening in global markets now to events in the latter part of 2008. Sure enough, the surge in Treasurys from 100 to 143 in the last two months of 2008 following the Lehman bankruptcy is most comparable to the move in the same security from 122 to 140 in the two months since the beginning of July 2011. What is disturbing is that the bulk of this move has happened after the August 2 debt deal, and after the announcement of QE2.5 or "ZIRP through mid-2013" by the Fed on August 9. Additionally, stocks have also traded in a pattern very reminiscent to what happened during the first round of the Great Financial Crisis, but the lock up in capital market liquidity, especially in Europe, may be the most obvious parallel between the two time periods. That said, there is one key difference between 2008 and 2011. Bill Buckler, in the latest edition of his Privateer, demonstrates what it is...

A Race In Opposite Directions:

 

How scary is it? The best illustration comes from the $US Gold price. The “price” of longer-term US Treasury debt has risen by 14.75 percent since the beginning of July. Over the same period, the $US price of Gold has risen from $US 1482 to its August 19 spot future close of $US 1852. That’s a rise of $US 370 or 25 percent. Yet US Treasury debt and Gold are polar opposites in any sane evaluation of the financial system. Treasury debt is the foundation of the global monetary system. Gold is the pariah of the global monetary system and has been locked out of it in any official form for four decades.

 

With all the comparisons to the events of 2008 which have been appearing in the mainstream financial media, this comparison has been all but totally overlooked. Cast your mind back to the carnage of late 2008. During that period, almost everything was sold off. While it is true that Gold did not fall nearly as far as did most of its fellow “commodities”, it is nonetheless a fact that in the two months between mid September and mid November 2008, Gold fell from about $US 920 to $US 700. That’s about 24 percent.

 

There were two financial assets which boomed in late 2008. One was Treasury debt, the other was the US Dollar. While Gold and everything else was falling out of bed, the trade-weighted US Dollar index - the USDX - soared 21 percent from 73 to 88.2 between early August and late November 2008.

 

Compare that to what is happening now. Treasuries are soaring but the US Dollar is, at best, flat. And Gold in terms of EVERY major paper currency has gone ballistic. This time, things do look different.