Sunday, November 30, 2014

Marin Katusa: “Russia Back to Superpower Status”

By Marin Katusa, Chief Energy Investment Strategist


Russian President Vladimir Putin has re-established his country as a global superpower. "Not only that, he's got the other emerging markets working in concert against U.S. interests, globally," said Marin Katusa, author of The Colder War, during an interview on the "Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV. On top of that, Marin added, "Western Europe's become more addicted to Russian sources of oil and natural gas."

Click here to get your copy of Marin's new book and discover how the struggle between Russia and the West to control the world's energy trade will directly affect you and the future of global finance.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

“Paper Gold” and Its Effect on the Gold Price

By Bud Conrad, Chief Economist


Gold dropped to new lows of $1,130 per ounce last week. This is surprising because it doesn’t square with the fundamentals. China and India continue to exert strong demand on gold, and interest in bullion coins remains high.

I explained in my October article in The Casey Report that the Comex futures market structure allows a few big banks to supply gold to keep its price contained. I call the gold futures market the “paper gold” market because very little gold actually changes hands. $360 billion of paper gold is traded per month, but only $279 million of physical gold is delivered. That’s a 1,000-to-1 ratio:

Market Statistics for the 100-oz Gold Futures Contract on Comex
Value ($M)
Monthly volume (Paper Trade) $360,000
Open Interest All Contracts $45,600
Warehouse-Registered Gold (oz) $1,140
Physical Delivery per Month $279
House Account Net Delivery, monthly $41

We know that huge orders for paper gold can move the price by $20 in a second. These orders often exceed the CME stated limit of 6,000 contracts. Here’s a close view from October 31, when the sale of 2,365 contracts caused the gold price to plummet and forced the exchange to close for 20 seconds:


Many argue that the net long-term effect of such orders is neutral, because every position taken must be removed before expiration. But that’s actually not true. The big players can hold hundreds of contracts into expiration and deliver the gold instead of unwinding the trade. Net, big banks can drive down the price by delivering relatively small amounts of gold.

A few large banks dominate the delivery process. I grouped the seven biggest players below to show that all the other sources are very small. Those seven banks have the opportunity to manage the gold price:

After gold’s big drop in October, I analyzed the October delivery numbers. The concentration was even more severe than I expected:

This chart shows that an amazing 98.5% of the gold delivered to the Comex in October came from just three banks: Barclays; Bank of Nova Scotia; and HSBC. They delivered this gold from their in-house trading accounts.

The concentration was even worse on the other side of the trade—the side taking delivery. Barclays took 98% of all deliveries for customers. It could be all one customer, but it’s more likely that several customers used Barclays to clear their trades. Either way, notice that Barclays delivered 455 of those contracts from its house account to its own customers.

The opportunity for distorting the price of gold in an environment with so few players is obvious. Barclays knows 98% of the buyers and is supplying 35% of the gold. That’s highly concentrated, to say the least. And the amounts of gold we’re talking about are small—a bank could tip the supply by 10% by adding just 100 contracts. That amounts to only 10,000 ounces, which is worth a little over $11 million—a rounding error to any of these banks. These numbers are trivial.
Note that the big banks were delivering gold from their house accounts, meaning they were selling their own gold outright. In other words, they were not acting neutrally. These banks accounted for all but 19 of the contracts sold. That’s a position of complete dominance. Actually, it’s beyond dominance. These banks are the market.

My point is that this market is much too easily rigged , and that the warnings about manipulation are valid. At some point, too many customers will demand physical delivery and there will be a big crash. Long contracts will be liquidated with cash payouts because there won’t be enough gold to deliver. I saw a few squeezes in my 20 years trading futures, including gold. In my opinion, the futures market is not safe.

The tougher question is: for how long will big banks’ dominance continue to pressure gold down? Unfortunately, I don’t know the answer. Vigilant regulators would help, but “futures market regulators” is almost an oxymoron. The actions of the CFTC and the Comex, not to mention how MF Global was handled, suggest that there has been little pressure on regulators to fix this obvious problem.

This quote from a recent Financial Times article does give some reason for optimism, however:
UBS is expected to strike a settlement over alleged trader misbehaviour at its precious metals desks with at least one authority as part of a group deal over forex with multiple regulators this week, two people close to the situation said. … The head of UBS’s gold desk in Zurich, AndrĂ© Flotron, has been on leave since January for reasons unspecified by the lender….
The FCA fined Barclays £26m in May after an options trader was found to have manipulated the London gold fix.

Germany’s financial regulator BaFin has launched a formal investigation into the gold market and is probing Deutsche Bank, one of the former members of a tarnished gold fix panel that will soon be replaced by an electronic fixing.

The latter two banks are involved with the Comex.

Eventually, the physical gold market could overwhelm the smaller but more closely watched US futures delivery market. Traders are already moving to other markets like Shanghai, which could accelerate that process. You might recall that I wrote about JP Morgan (JPM) exiting the commodities business, which I thought might help bring some normalcy back to the gold futures markets. Unfortunately, other banks moved right in to pick up JPM’s slack.

Banks can’t suppress gold forever. They need physical gold bullion to continue the scheme, and there’s just not as much gold around as there used to be. Some big sources, like the Fed’s stash and the London Bullion Market, are not available. The GLD inventory is declining.


If a big player like a central bank started to use the Comex to expand its gold holdings, it could overwhelm the Comex’s relatively small inventories. Warehouse stocks registered for delivery on the Comex exchange have declined to only 870,000 ounces (8,700 contracts). Almost that much can be demanded in one month: 6,281 contracts were delivered in August.

The big banks aren’t stupid. They will see these problems coming and can probably induce some holders to add to the supplies, so I’m not predicting a crisis from too many speculators taking delivery. But a short squeeze could definitely lead to huge price spikes. It could even lead to a collapse in the confidence in the futures system, which would drive gold much higher.
Signs of high physical demand from China, India, and small investors buying coins from the mint indicate that gold prices should be rising. The GOFO rate (London Gold Forward Offered rate) went negative, indicating tightness in the gold market. Concerns about China’s central bank wanting to de-dollarize its holdings should be adding to the interest in gold.

In other words, it doesn’t add up. I fully expect currency debasement to drive gold higher, and I continue to own gold. I’m very confident that the fundamentals will drive gold much higher in the long term. But for now, I don’t know when big banks will lose their ability to manage the futures market.

Oddities in the gold market have been alleged by many for quite some time, but few know where to start looking, and even fewer have the patience to dig out the meaningful bits from the mountain of market data available. Casey Research Chief Economist Bud Conrad is one of those few—and he turns his keen eye to every sector in order to find the smart way to play it. This is the kind of analysis that’s especially important in this period of uncertainty and volatility… and you can put Bud’s expertise—along with the other skilled analysts’ talents—to work for you by taking a risk-free test-drive of The Casey Report right now.

The article “Paper Gold” and Its Effect on the Gold Price was originally published at caseyresearch.com.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Outside the Box: The Return of the Dollar

By John Mauldin



Two years ago, my friend Mohamed El-Erian and I were on the stage at my Strategic Investment Conference. Naturally we were discussing currencies in the global economy, and I asked him about currency wars. He smiled and said to me, “John, we don’t talk about currency wars in polite circles. More like currency disagreements” (or some word to that effect).

This week I note that he actually uses the words currency war in an essay he wrote for Project Syndicate:

Yet the benefits of the dollar’s rally are far from guaranteed, for both economic and financial reasons. While the US economy is more resilient and agile than its developed counterparts, it is not yet robust enough to be able to adjust smoothly to a significant shift in external demand to other countries. There is also the risk that, given the role of the ECB and the Bank of Japan in shaping their currencies’ performance, such a shift could be characterized as a “currency war” in the US Congress, prompting a retaliatory policy response.

This is a short treatise, but as usual with Mohamed’s writing, it’s very thought-provoking. Definitely Outside the Box material.

And for a two-part Outside the Box I want to take the unusual step of including an op-ed piece that you might not have seen, from the Wall Street Journal, called “How to Distort Income Inequality,” by Phil Gramm and Michael Solon. They cite research I’ve seen elsewhere which shows that the work by Thomas Piketty cherry-picks data and ignores total income and especially how taxes distort the data. That is not to say that income inequality does not exist and that we should not be cognizant and concerned, but we need to plan policy based on a firm grasp of reality and not overreact because of some fantasy world created by social provocateur academicians.

The calls for income redistribution from socialists and liberals based on Piketty’s work are clearly misguided and will further distort income inequality in ways that will only reduce total global productivity and growth.

I’m in New York today at an institutional fund manager conference where I had the privilege of hearing my good friend Ian Bremmer take us around the world on a geopolitical tour. Ian was refreshingly optimistic, or at least sanguine, about most of the world over the next few years. Lots of potential problems, of course, but he thinks everything should turn out fine – with the notable exception of Russia, where he is quite pessimistic. A shirtless Vladimir Putin was the scariest thing on his geopolitical radar. As he spoke, Russia was clearly putting troops and arms into eastern Ukraine. Why would you do that if you didn’t intend to go further? Ian worried openly about Russia’s extending a land bridge all the way to Crimea and potentially even to Odessa, which is the heart of economic Ukraine, along with the Kiev region. It would basically make Ukraine ungovernable.

I thought Putin’s sadly grim and memorable line that “The United States is prepared to fight Russia to the last Ukrainian” pretty much sums up the potential for a US or NATO response. Putin agreed to a cease-fire and assumed that sanctions would start to be lifted. When there was no movement on sanctions, he pretty much went back to square one. He has clearly turned his economic attention towards China.

Both Ian Bremmer and Mohamed El Erian will be at my Strategic Investment Conference next year, which will again be in San Diego in the spring, April 28-30. Save the dates in your calendar as you do not want to miss what is setting up to be a very special conference. We will get more details to you soon.

It is a very pleasant day here in New York, and I was able to avoid taxis and put in about six miles of pleasant walking. (Sadly, it is supposed to turn cold tomorrow.) I’ve gotten used to getting around in cities and slipping into the flow of things, but there was a time when I felt like the country mouse coming to the city. As I walked past St. Bart’s today I was reminded of an occasion when your humble analyst nearly got himself in serious trouble.

There is a very pleasant little outdoor restaurant at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church, across the street from the side entrance of the Waldorf-Astoria. It was a fabulous day in the spring, and I was having lunch with my good friend Barry Ritholtz. The president (George W.) was in town and staying at the Waldorf. His entourage pulled up and Barry pointed and said, “Look, there’s the president.”

We were at the edge of the restaurant, so I stood up to see if I could see George. The next thing I know, Barry’s hand is on my shoulder roughly pulling me back into my seat. “Sit down!” he barked. I was rather confused – what faux pas I had committed? Barry pointed to two rather menacing, dark-suited figures who were glaring at me from inside the restaurant.

“They were getting ready to shoot you, John! They had their hands inside their coats ready to pull guns. They thought you were going to do something to the president!”
This was New York not too long after 9/11. The memory is fresh even today. Now, I think I would know better than to stand up with the president coming out the side door across the street. But back then I was still just a country boy come to the big city.

Tomorrow night I will have dinner with Barry and Art Cashin and a few other friends at some restaurant which is supposedly famous for a mob shooting back in the day. Art will have stories, I am sure.

It is time to go sing for my supper, and I will try not to keep the guests from enjoying what promises to be a fabulous meal from celebrity chef Cyrille Allannic. After Ian’s speech, I think I will be nothing but sweetness and light, just a harmless economic entertainer. After all, what could possibly go really wrong with the global economy, when you’re being wined and dined at the top of New York? Have a great week.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Looming Uranium Crisis: Strategic Implications for the Colder War

By Marin Katusa, Chief Energy Investment Strategist


In the wake of one singular event—the disaster at Fukushima in March 2011, the effects of which are still being felt today across the planet—nuclear power has seemingly fallen into utter disrepute, at least in the popular mind. But this is largely an illusion.

It’s true that Japan took all 52 of its nuclear plants offline after Fukushima and sold much of its uranium inventory. South Korea followed with shutdowns of its own. Germany permanently mothballed eight of its 17 reactors and pledged to close the rest by the end of 2022. Austria and Spain have enacted laws to cease construction on new nuclear power stations. Switzerland is phasing them out. A majority of the other European nations is also opposed.

All of this has resulted in a large decrease in demand for uranium, a glut of the fuel on the market, and a per-pound price that fell as low as $28.50 in mid-2014, down nearly 80% from its peak of $135 in 2007. Currently, it’s languishing around $39 per pound, still below the cost of production for many miners—about 80% need prices above $40 to make any return on investment, and even at that level, no new mines will be built. It’s easy to hear a death knell for nuclear energy on the breeze. And that may well be the case for Europe (except for France). But Europe is hardly the world.

South Korean plants are back online. Japan is planning to restart its reactor fleet (despite a great deal of citizen protest) beginning in 2015. Russia is heavily invested, with nine plants under construction and 14 others planned. China, faced with unhealthy levels of air pollution in many of its cities due to coal power generation, is going all in on nuclear. 26 reactors are under construction, and the government has declared a goal of quadrupling present capacity—either in operation or being built—by 2020. India has 20 plants and is adding seven more. And in the rest of the developing nations, nuclear power is exploding.

Worldwide, no fewer than 71 new plants are under construction in more than a dozen countries, with another 163 planned and 329 proposed. Many countries without nuclear power soon will build their first reactors, including Turkey, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Vietnam, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and several of the Gulf emirates.

For years, China, with its stunning GDP growth rate, has been seen as the leading destination for natural resources. “Produce what China needs” has been every supplier’s ongoing mantra. Yet, as many Americans fail to realize, it’s their own home that is the biggest uranium consumer. Despite having not opened a new plant since 1977 (though six additional units are scheduled to open by 2020), the US is the world’s #1 producer of nuclear energy, accounting for more than 30% of the global total. France is a distant second at 12%; China, playing catchup, sits at only 6% right now. The 65 American nuclear plants, housing just over 100 reactors, generate 20% of total US electricity.
Yet uranium is the one fuel for which there is very little domestic supply.


As you can see, the US has to import over 90% of what it uses. That’s a huge shortfall—and it’s persisted for many years. How has the country made it up?
In a word: Russia.

America’s former Cold War archenemy—and antagonist in the unfolding sequel, the Colder War—has in fact been keeping the US nuclear fires burning, through conduits like the Megatons to Megawatts Program.

When the USSR collapsed, Russia inherited over two million pounds of HEU—highly enriched uranium (the 90% U-235 needed to fashion a bomb)—and vast, underused facilities for handling and fabricating the material. Starting in 1993, it cut a deal with the US dubbed the Megatons to Megawatts Program. Over the 20 years that followed, 1.1 million pounds of Russian weapon-grade uranium, equivalent to about 20,000 nuclear warheads, was downblended to U3O8 and sold to the United States as fuel.

That source was very important in helping to fill the US supply gap for those two decades. It represented, on average, over 20 million pounds of annual uranium supply, or half of what the country consumed. I’m sure it would have come as a shock to most Americans if they’d realized that one in ten of their homes was being powered by former Soviet missiles.

Megatons to Megawatts expired in November 2013, but US dependence on Russia did not. Russia is easily able to maintain its sizeable export presence, due largely to present economics.
Because of all the uranium swamping the market since Fukushima, separative work units (SWUs) are trading at very low prices. SWUs measure the amount of separation work necessary to enrich uranium—in other words, how much work must be done to raise the product’s concentration of U-235 to the 3-5% that most reactors require for fission?

The tails that are left behind when U-235 is separated out to make warheads still contain some amount of the isotope, usually around 0.2% to 0.3%. When the price of SWUs gets low enough, it’s a condition known as “underfeeding,” meaning it’s worth the effort to go back and extract leftover U-235 from the tails. That’s done through the process of re-enrichment, the reverse of the procedure that creates HEU. It’s kind of like getting fresh gold from old ore that had already yielded the easy stuff.
After the Soviet Union broke up, Russia had a lot of enrichment capacity it no longer needed for its military program. And major uranium companies like Areva and Urenco had sent trainloads of enrichment tails to Russia in the 1990s and early 2000s.

Great stockpiles were built up, and they’ll be put to use until the pendulum swings the other way and we get “overfeeding,” where the price of SWUs makes re-enrichment too costly to continue. We will go from under- to overfeeding in the near future. Rising demand from the Japanese restart and new plants coming online ensures that it will happen, and probably within the next 24 months. The market is already anticipating it, with the per-pound price of uranium up more than 35% in the past few months. It’s going to double to $75… at the least.
Meanwhile, though, the ability to profitably produce fuel-grade uranium from tails confers on Russia a number of significant advantages. Among them:
  • It permits the country to exploit a previously worthless resource.
  • The more tails it can use as feedstock, the fewer it has to dispose of.
  • Most important, it means Russia can conserve much of its mineral supply for a future when higher prices will dramatically increase its leverage. That includes in-ground ore, of which it has a lot, and probably uranium picked up on the cheap when Japan did its massive post-Fukushima fuel dump (though it has never been officially confirmed who the buyers of Japan’s uranium supply were, I have some very connected sources who tell me it was the Russians who snapped most of it up).
This is one part of Vladimir Putin’s plan to dominate the world energy markets. In my book, The Colder War, I call it the “Putinization” of uranium.  And he has nicely positioned his country to pull it off.

In January 2014, Sergei Kiriyenko, head of Russian energy giant Rosatom, was bursting with enthusiasm when he predicted that Russia’s recent annual production rate of 6.5 million pounds of uranium would triple in 2015.

Rosatom puts Russia’s uranium reserves in the ground at 1.2 billion pounds of yellowcake, which would be the second largest in the world; the company is quite capable of mining 40 million pounds per year by 2020. Add in Russia’s foreign projects in Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, and Mongolia, and annual production in 2020 jumps to more than 63 million pounds. Include all of Russia’s sphere of influence, and annual production easily could amount to more than 140 million pounds six years from now.

No other country has a uranium mining plan nearly this ambitious. By 2020, Russia itself could be producing a third of all yellowcake. With just its close ally Kazakhstan chipping in another 25%, Russia would have effective control of more than half of world supply.
That’s clout. But it doesn’t end there.

Globally, there are a fair number of facilities for fabricating fuel rods. Not so with conversion plants (uranium oxide to uranium hexafluoride) or enrichment plants (isolating the U-235). And the world leader in conversion and enrichment is… yes, Russia.

All told, Russia has one-third of all uranium conversion capacity. The United States is in second place with 18%. And Russia’s share is projected to rise, assuming Rosatom proceeds with a new conversion plant planned for 2015. Similarly, Russia owns 40% of the world’s enrichment capacity. Planned expansion of the existing facilities will push that share close to 50%.

That’s Putin’s goal—to corner the conversion and enrichment markets—because it wraps Russian hands around the chokepoints in the whole yellowcake-to-electricity progression. It’s a smart strategy, too—control those, and you control the availability and pricing of a product for which demand will be rising for decades.

And that control will tighten, because the barrier to entry for either function is very high. Building new conversion or enrichment facilities is too costly for most countries, and it is especially difficult in the West due to the influence of environmentalists.

It’s worth reiterating. Russia is on track to control 58% of global yellowcake production; currently responsible for a third of yellowcake-to-uranium-hexafluoride conversion; and soon to hold half of all global enrichment capacity. There’s a word for this: stranglehold.

That is what Putin and Russia will have on the supply chain for nuclear fuel in a world where new atomic power plants are being constructed at warp speed, which will force the price of uranium ever higher. It will give Russia enormous global influence and great leverage in all future dealings with the US.

America can mine some uranium domestically and buy some more from its Canadian ally. But even taken together, those sources put only a small patch on the supply gap.

The US government would do well to make peace with Putin, if it can, because the domestic nuclear power industry—and by extension the economic health of the country—is at the mercy of Russia, indefinitely.

To get the full story, click here to order your copy of my new book, The Colder War.
Inside, you’ll discover more on how Putin has cornered the market on Uranium, and how he’s making a big play to control the world's oil and natural gas markets. You’ll also glimpse his endgame and how it will personally affect millions of investors and the lives of nearly every American.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Stealth Invasion of America Continues

The last decade has seen an invasion of American soil. This invasion has raised no eyebrows and brought no call to arms. It has been systematic and by stealth. This invasion has been completely legal and happening without the knowledge of the average American. Regardless, it is very real.
Quite often in Canada, you hear the term "snowbird". This is a Canadian citizen who purchases a vacation home in the United States. Typically this is done by a wealthy citizen and is considered completely harmless. As the purchases are done at random and not concentrated in one area.
Unlike another country that has developed an appetite for American soil. The country I speak of is China, in particular, the Chinese elite, who have accumulated a vast array of US fiat dollars and are looking to escape the corruption and pollution that plagues their country.
Typically this would not be a problem, but one challenge has arisen. The location of these purchases is incredibly concentrated.
In the past, I have discussed how whole suburbs and cities have sprung up, completely dominated by Chinese citizens. Well it hasn't stopped. Michael Krieger, of Liberty Blitzkrieg reports about the latest development:
In some California communities, 90% of real estate buyers are from China. Yes, 90%. Naturally, many of them are buying multi-million dollar homes in “all cash” transactions.
Well it appears that one of those communities is the 57,000 person Los Angeles suburb known as Arcadia. The suburb had a relatively insignificant Asian population of 4% in 1980, but it is now 59%. Of course, I could care less what the ethnic mix of any particular suburb is, but what does concern me is that a lot of the recent money coming in seems to be from questionable characters. The buyers are getting access to U.S. real estate via the EB-5 visa program, and of the 10,000 of these given away this year, 85% went to the Chinese. Oh, and it’s estimated some 20% of these homes sit vacant. A great use of resources.
The accumulation of real estate from Chinese sources has exploded. It is estimated that roughly 24% of all foreign purchases comes from China, this is an increase of 72% from last year alone!
As America continues to be hollowed out, and the endless printing of fiat dollars continues, you can expect to see more and more communities such as these springing up. Communities that the average American will have little to no say in. The stealth invasion of America continues.
chinese-real-estate-buying-US

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Colder War is Heating Up as Putin Tightens His Grip on the Global Energy Trade

By Marin Katusa, Chief Energy Investment Strategist


Vladimir Putin is stronger than ever and judgement day for the petrodollar is here said Marin Katusa, author of the bestselling book, The Colder War, in a new interview with Bloomberg Radio.


Marin warns that America cannot achieve energy independence and that downward pressure on the price of oil will remain a near-term threat. He also reveals where he thinks the next big discoveries in oil will occur. Hint: It's not America. And gives his insights on the deals happening between Russia and China and what's in store for the future of OPEC and US oil exports.

For the full story on The Colder War and how it will directly affect you, click here to get your copy of Marin's new book.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

New Study: the Middle Class is Collapsing in the United States

Central bankers print money, and it pushes up the value of assets that the rich already own, making them even richer.

In other words, if you’re born rich, you stay rich. If you’re not, it’s becoming harder to attain wealth.

Talent and hard work matter less and less with each passing year.
This is dreadfully, terribly wrong.

The people in charge of this system have completely broken what capitalism is supposed to be. And they’ve replaced it with a new form of feudalism.

You no longer have to live, work, and play in the same country where you were born.

You no longer have to hold the heavily manipulated, degraded currency that they destroy, or use the banking system that they control.

You no longer have to educate your children in the state-controlled school system, or feed your family the genetically-modified crap that the corn lobby bribes onto the store shelves.
You can break free. It’s a matter of choice.

- Source, Silver Doctors

Thursday, November 6, 2014

US Mint SOLD OUT of Silver Eagles! 2 Million Coin Surplus Sold in Under 2 Hours!

The Mint has reportedly sold through over 2 million ounces in less than 2 hours!

It appears that the $15.50 level was the line that broke the camel’s back regarding physical inventories, as physical demand has simply EXPLODED on this morning’s futures dip below $15.20.





- Source, Silver Doctors

Monday, October 20, 2014

Gold: Time to Prepare for Big Gains?

By Casey Research


Years of a severe downturn in the gold market have left very few bulls to speak out in favor of the yellow metal. Here are some positive opinions on the future of the precious metal, from the recently concluded Casey Research Fall Summit.

David Tice, founder of the Prudent Bear Fund, believes we are heading for a “global currency reset” that will reduce the role of the dollar in global trade. Central banks, he says, don’t possess all the gold they claim to, and the unwinding of the paper gold market probably isn’t far down the road—it could even ignite the next major crisis.

The paper gold market (for example, exchange-traded funds like GLD) has massive leverage, with a ratio of 90:1 or 100:1 of paper claims on gold bullion. If only a small fraction of owners convert their paper to physical gold, says Tice, it will create a “no bid” price environment and cause the price of gold to explode.

He believes that once the paper gold market collapses, gold will be priced on the basis of supply/demand for the physical metal—which means it could be headed for $3,000 to $8,000 per ounce.

Ed Steer, editor of Casey Research’s popular e-letter Gold and Silver Daily, is equally bullish on gold… in the long term, because right now, he believes the gold market to be rigged: “Central banks intervene; that’s what they do.”

They control not only gold, but also silver, platinum, palladium, copper, and oil. He says there are two possible reasons that Germany hasn’t gotten its gold back that it had stored in the US—either the gold doesn’t exist or there’s so much paper written against it that it can’t be moved for collateral reasons.

While there’s not much an investor can do about gold manipulation, Steer believes that the manipulators’ schemes will blow up in their faces sooner than later.
Summit regular Rick Rule, chairman of Sprott US Holdings, isn’t worried about the bear market in gold.

“What matters is your response to the bear market,” he says. “If you have the wits, courage, knowledge, and cash to take advantage of them, bear markets are great.”
He’s keeping his eyes peeled on junior gold mining stocks, which, he says, are hugely attractive right now.

“Our market has fallen by 75% in three years. That means it’s 75% more attractive than in 2010, when we were all in love with it. Within a few years, we’ll look back on today’s low prices as the good old days.”

Louis James, chief investment strategist of Casey’s Metals & Mining division, also welcomes the opportunities to buy low that the current slump in gold prices provides.

He personally owns stock of three of the junior miners present in the Map Room at the Casey Fall Summit. All three of them have exceptionally high-grade projects that are delivering what they promised.

To get all of Louis James’ stock picks (and those of the other speakers), as well as every single presentation of the Summit, order your 26+-hour Summit Audio Collection now. It’s available in CD and/or MP3 format. 


Learn more here.


Friday, October 17, 2014

The Broken State and How to Fix It

By Casey Research


The United States of America is not what it used to be. Unsustainable mountains of debt, continuous meddling by the government and Fed to “stimulate the economy,” and the US dollar’s dwindling status as the world’s reserve currency are very real threats to Americans’ standard of living. Here are some opinions from the recently concluded Casey Research Fall Summit on the state of the state and how to fix it.

Marc Victor, a criminal defense attorney from Arizona and a staunch liberty advocate, says there’s really no such thing as “the state”—“it’s just some people bossing other people around.”
Not everyone wants to fix things, he says; the bosses like the status quo. For example, aside from drug lords, DEA agents are the ones benefiting most from the “War on Drugs.”

Victor believes that democracy and freedom are incompatible, since “democracy is majority rule, and freedom is self-rule.” If you want to bring true freedom to America, he says, winning hearts and minds is the only way to reboot this country and create a free society.

Paul Rosenberg, adventure capitalist, Casey Research contributor, and editor of “A Free Man’s Take,” views America’s future similarly. He thinks the United States is in a state of entropy.
The bad news, says Rosenberg, is that there will be no revolution. The good news is that the peak of citizens’ obedience to the state is behind us, and people are getting fed up with the government’s shenanigans.

Real change is slow, he says, so we must work persistently to create a better world.

Stephen Moore, chief economist at the Heritage Foundation, says the problem is liberal economic policy: Red states in the US, he says, have blown away blue states in job creation since 1990. Texas alone accounts for the entire net growth of the US economy over the past five years.

As another proof point in favor of a free-market economy, Moore emphasizes that both Obama and Reagan took office during terrible economic times. While Obama has raised taxes and instituted Obamacare, Reagan cut taxes and regulation. As a result, the Reagan economic recovery was almost twice as robust as the Obama “recovery.”

One of the US’s biggest problems, says Moore, is that companies can’t reinvest profits because dividend, capital gains, and income taxes all have increased under Obama. Corporate taxes in the rest of the world have dramatically declined in the last 25 years, but in the US, they haven’t budged. The average corporate tax rate around the world is 24%—in the US, it’s 38%.

Overall, though, Moore is bullish on the US economy. American companies, he says, are the best-run in the world, if only the US government would adopt less economically destructive policies.

Doug Casey, chairman of Casey Research, legendary speculator, and best-selling financial author, isn’t so optimistic. First of all, he says, we’re in the Greater Depression right now, which began in 2008. He fears it’s too late to repair America, but says if anyone would attempt to do so, the following seven-step program would help:

  • Allow the collapse of “zombie companies” (companies that are only being held up by government handouts and other cash infusions).
  • Abolish all regulatory agencies.
  • Abolish the Federal Reserve.
  • Cut the size of the military by at least 90%.
  • Sell all US government assets.
  • Eliminate the income tax.
  • Default on the national debt.

Of course, says Casey, that’s not going to happen, so individual investors shouldn’t hope for a political solution or waste their time and money trying to stop the inevitable collapse of the US economy. The only way to save yourself and your assets is to internationalize.

He recommends owning significant assets outside your home country: for example, by buying foreign real estate. You should also buy and store gold, “the only financial asset that’s not simultaneously someone else’s liability.”

Casey’s suggestions include going short bubbles that are about to burst (like Japanese bonds denominated in yen), selling expensive assets like collectible cars and expensive real estate in major cities, as well as looking toward places like Africa as contrarian investment opportunities.

Nick Giambruno, senior editor of International Man, agrees that internationalizing your wealth—and yourself—is the most prudent way to go for today’s high-net-worth investors. It ensures that “no single government can control your destiny,” and that you put your money, business, and yourself where they are treated best.

You should internationalize each of these six aspects of your life, says Giambruno: our assets; your citizenship; your income/business; your legal residency; your lifestyle residency; and your digital presence.

Regarding your assets, you can find better capitalized, more liquid banks abroad, and using international brokerage accounts can provide you access to new investment markets.
To hear all of Nick Giambruno’s detailed tips on how to go global, as well as every single presentation of the Summit, order your 26+-hour Summit Audio Collection now. It’s available in CD and/or MP3 format.


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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Thoughts from the Frontline: Sea Change

By John Mauldin



You don’t need a weatherman
To know which way the wind blows.
– Bob Dylan, “Subterranean Homesick Blues,” 1965
Full fathom five thy father lies.
Of his bones are coral made.
Those are pearls that were his eyes.
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.

– William Shakespeare, The Tempest

Did you feel the economic weather change this week? The shift was subtle, like fall tippy-toeing in after a pleasant summer to surprise us, but I think we’ll look back and say this was the moment when that last grain of sand fell onto the sandpile, triggering many profound fingers of instability in a pile that has long been close to collapse. This is the grain of sand that sets off those long chains of volatility that have been gathering for the last five years, waiting to surprise us with the suddenness and violence of the avalanche they unleash.

I suppose the analogy sprang to mind as I stepped out onto my balcony this morning. Texas has been experiencing one of the most pleasant summers and incredibly wonderful falls in my memory. One of the conversations that seem to occur regularly among locals who have a few decades under their belts here, is just how truly remarkable the weather has been. So it was a bit of a surprise to step out and realize the air had turned brisk. In retrospect it shouldn’t have fazed me. The air has been turning brisk in Texas at some point in October for the six decades that my memory covers, and for quite a few additional millennia, I suspect.

But this week, as I worked through my ever-growing mountain of reading, I felt a similar awareness of a change in the economic climate. Like fall, I knew it was coming. In fact, I’ve been writing about it for years! But just as fall tells us that it’s time to get ready for winter, at least in more northerly climes, the portents of the moment suggest to me that it’s time to make sure our portfolios are ready for the change in season.

Sea Change

Shakespeare coined the marvelous term sea change in his play The Tempest. Modern-day pundits are liable to apply the word to the relatively minor ebb and flow of events, but Shakespeare meant sea change as a truly transformative event, a metamorphosis of the very nature and substance of a man, by the sea.
In this week’s letter we’ll talk about the imminent arrival of a true financial sea change, the harbinger of which was some minor commentary this week about the economic climate. This letter is arriving to you a little later this week, as I had quite some difficulty writing it, because, while the signal event is rather easy to discuss, the follow-on consequences are myriad and require more in-depth analysis than I’ve been able to bring to them on short notice. As I wrestled with what to write, I finally came to realize that this sea change is going to take multiple letters to properly describe. In fact, it might eventually take a book.

So, in a departure from my normal writing style, I am going to offer you a chapter-by-chapter outline for a book. As with all book outlines, it will be simply full of bones but without much meat on them, let alone dressed up with skin and clothing. I will probably even connect the bones in the wrong order and have to go back later and replace a leg bone with a rib, but that is what outlines are for. There is clearly enough content suggested by this outline to carry us through the next several months; and given the importance of the subject, I expect to explore it fully with you. Whether it actually becomes a book, I cannot yet say.

I should note that much of what follows has grown out of in-depth conversations with my associate Worth Wray and our mutual friends. We’ve become convinced that the imbalances in the global economic system are such that the risks are high that another period of economic volatility like the Great Recession is not only likely but is now in the process of developing. While this time will be different in terms of its causes and symptoms (as all such stressful periods differ from each other in many ways), there will be a rhyme and a rhythm that feels all too familiar. That should actually be good news to most readers, as the last 14 years have taught us a little bit about living through periods of economic volatility. You will get to use those skills you learned the hard way.
This will not be the end of the world if you prepare properly. In fact, there will be plenty of opportunities to take advantage of the coming volatility. If the weatherman tells you winter is coming, is he a prophet of doom? Or is it reasonable counsel that maybe we should get our winter clothes out?

Three caveats before we get started. One, I am often wrong but seldom in doubt. And while I will marshal facts and graphs aplenty to reinforce my arguments, I would encourage you to think through the counterfactuals presented by those who will aggressively disagree.
Two, while it goes without saying, you are responsible for your own decisions. It is easy for me to say that I think the bond market is going to go in a particular direction. I can even bet my personal portfolio on my beliefs. I can’t know your circumstances, but if you are similar to most investors, this is the time to make sure you have a truly balanced portfolio with serious risk management in the event of a sudden crisis.

Three, give me (and Worth, whom I am going to draft to write some letters) some time to develop the full range of our ideas. To follow on with my weather analogy, the air is just starting to get crisp, and winter is still a couple months away. Absent something extraordinary, we are not going to get snow and a blizzard in Dallas, Texas, tomorrow. We may still have some time to prepare, but at a minimum it is time to start your preparations. So with those caveats, let’s look at an outline for a potential book called Sea Change.

Prologue

I turned publicly bearish on gold in 1986. At the time (a former life in a galaxy far, far away), I was actually writing a newsletter on gold stocks and came to the conclusion that gold was going nowhere – and sold the letter. I was still bearish some 16 years later. Then, on March 1, 2002, I wrote in Thoughts from the Frontline that it was time to turn bullish on gold. Gold at that time was languishing around $300 an ounce, near its all-time bottom.

What drove that call? I thought that the future directions of gold and the dollar were joined at the hip. A bit over a year later I laid out the case for a much weaker dollar in a letter entitled “King Dollar Meets the Guillotine,” which later became the basis for a chapter in Bull’s Eye Investing. As the chart below shows, the dollar had risen relentlessly through the early Reagan years, doubling in value against the currencies of America’s global neighbors, causing exporters to grumble about US dollar policy. Then the bottom fell out, as the dollar made new lows in 1992. From 1992 through 2002 the dollar recovered about half of its value, getting back to roughly where it was in 1967. Elsewhere about that time, I predicted that the euro, which was then at $0.88, would rise to $1.50 before falling back to parity over a very long period of time. I believe we are still on that journey.



One of the biggest drivers of economic fortunes in the global economy is the currency markets. The value of your trading currency affects every aspect of your business and investments. It is fundamental in nature. While most Americans never even see a piece of foreign currency, every time we walk into Walmart, we are subject to the ebb and flow of global currency valuations, as are Europeans and indeed every person who participates in the movement of goods and services around the globe. In fact, globalization means that currency values are more important than ever. The world is more tightly interconnected now than it has ever been, which means that events which previously had no effect upon global affairs can trigger cascades of events that affect everyone.

I believe we are in the early stages of a profound currency-valuation sea change. I have lived through five major changes in the value of the dollar in the 45 years since Nixon closed the gold window. And while we are used to 40% to 50% moves in the stock market and other commodity prices happening in just a few years (or less), large movements in major trading currencies typically take many years, if not decades, to develop. I believe we are in the opening act of a multi-year US dollar bull market.

To continue reading this article from Thoughts from the Frontline – a free weekly publication by John Mauldin, renowned financial expert, best-selling author, and Chairman of Mauldin Economics


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Thursday, September 25, 2014

Buying Gold And Silver Now Makes More Sense Than Chasing Stocks

Gold and silver have outperformed stocks so far this year and have a lot further to go as equities hit a wall of fast deteriorating geopolitics and weakening economies as we progress into the autumn.
Do you buy high and sell low? No. So why would you buy stocks close to all-time highs when you can still pick up gold and silver at a respective discount of 30 and 60 per cent off their 2011 highs?
Bargain prices
Would you rather not buy low and then be able to sell high later? It’s a fairly simple logic but then markets are no more than scales weighing supply against demand.
What will encourage demand for gold and silver to pick up again? Real assets like precious metals are a safe haven in times of trouble with no third party involved or the central banks. They are money that central banks cannot print, and what do you think they will do if financial markets tumble?
Why should they fall from current near record heights? Apart from gravitational forces you have something called economic fundamentals, i.e. oil prices. We saw what happened when oil hit $147 a barrel in 2008. It brought the whole house of cards down.
Overvalued financial markets and associated assets are in the same position again today. Don’t believe the nonsense about the Islamic State now growing like a cancer inside Iraq. It is not benign. It’s malignant and Baghdad is the next target and then the southern oil fields are a doozy.
Where we go to then is anybody’s guess. The Islamic State could attack Kuwait like Saddam Hussein as another easy target, or it could become embroiled in a second Iraq-Iran War. Eventually the US and its allies will have to put boots back on the ground.
Trade war
Meanwhile, the trade war developing over the Ukraine and a possible imminent invasion by Russian ‘peacekeepers’ is also bad for energy prices and global business. It’s destabilizing and reminiscent of the breakdown of global trade in the 1930s before the Second World War.
Global financial markets have become excessively complacent after such a long run up without a correction. Things have been going so well that they can’t possibly fail can they? Anybody who knows anything about market cycles must recognize such over-confidence as pride coming before a fall.
Buying gold and silver today makes sense because by prices will soar as this geopolitical conflagration plays out and prices are cheap now. Equities will go in the other direction.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Something Seriously Wrong With Financial System


John Embry, Chief Investment Strategist at Sprott Asset Management, thinks gold price suppression is a key factor in global monetary policy. Embry contends, “If the gold price truly reflected what is really going on in monetary policy today, I think real interest rates would rise quite significantly. Given the amount of debt that is polluting the world banking system, to me, this is the end game, and that’s why it’s so vicious in terms of suppression right now. When this turns, it is going to change a lot of things. That’s why they are being so aggressive on maintaining pressure on the gold and silver prices. Silver is especially suppressed. I don’t think you can dig it out of the ground for less than $25 per ounce. It’s not like gold. There is not a huge above ground inventory.” Embry adds, “I have never seen it any more intense in terms of pressure in the paper market, which indicates we are near the end, and there is something seriously wrong with the system.”

Monday, September 15, 2014

Deutsche Bank: The Bubble Must Go On To Sustain The "Current Global Financial System"

"The bubble probably needs to continue in order to sustain the current global financial system and the necessary future deleveraging. However with yields moving ever lower in many parts of the world in recent times, partly due to weak growth, and with debt levels still moving higher, the chances are that most government bondholders are unlikely to achieve a positive real return over the medium to long-term from this starting point. Inflation or even the risk of sovereign restructuring will likely prevent this."

- Source, Zero Hedge

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Western Policies Are Doomed, Gold is Going Higher

Right now the West is content in trying to drive up paper stock prices and keeping the price of gold suppressed. But the future for the West will be very bleak if our central planners continue to play games by manipulating major markets. None of this is good for the West. In fact, it is setting the stage for a bad outcome, and the longer this goes on, the worse the outcome will be.

The U.S. should be doing what the Chinese and the Germans are doing. These countries are making long-term plans. This is why you have to be buying gold and silver if you are in the West because once the world does begin to change, that change can come incredibly fast.

If anything, the situation is getting worse for the West and better for the East. Unfortunately that really is the big picture. So for investors, the core of their wealth should be in physical gold and silver because the West’s policies are doomed, and this is how they can protect themselves and their families from the coming financial turmoil the West will have to endure.

- Stephen Leeb via King World News

Thursday, September 11, 2014

A Gold Standard Will Emerge in the East

“Clearly the world is a mess right now. We have the chaos in Ukraine and the Middle East. As far as the situation in Ukraine goes, Russia won. They got exactly what they wanted. They have stopped fighting and they are now in a position where eastern Ukraine is not going to be part of Russia but they are going to be more or less independent....
It’s a very big deal that Putin won in Ukraine. You also see Russia moving closer to China, forging a strong alliance. Now we see that China is moving to have closer ties with India. Chinese President Xi is skipping a trip to Pakistan and heading to India instead.

So we are seeing this move to consolidate an alliance in the East. China is going to want to have a lot more control over how much energy it buys and at what price, which also means some sort of gold standard will emerge in the East."

- Stephen Leeb via King World News



Monday, August 18, 2014

Doug Casey - Is Silver Shinier Than Gold?


Is Silver shinier than Gold?
Richard Knowles - Government bank 'bail-ins' in Canada?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Junk Bond Funds Just Experienced A 6-Sigma Event

Junk Bond Funds Just Experienced A 6-Sigma Event

High-yield bond mutual funds saw Outflows Total An Eye-Popping $7.1 Billion last week.

"HY flowmageddon," said Goldman Sachs' Charles Himmelberg in a research note we saw via @Lebullmarche. "This is the largest HY outflow on record – a 6-sigma event when flows are scaled by mutual fund assets under management!"

Sigma is another way of saying standard deviation. And the greater the number of standard deviations, the more unlikely the event.

A 6-sigma event is extremely rare. If you want to put a number to it, think 1 in 500 million. According to Business Insider quant reporter Andy Kiersz, it's like flipping a coin 29 times in a row and getting heads each time. It's like rolling a die 11 times in a row and getting 6 each time.

"High-yield is less overvalued," Said Doubleline Funds' Jeffrey Gundlach in a phone call with Business Insider on Friday.

Gundlach stopped short of saying high-yield looked attractive. Himmelberg didn't.

"Our confidence in the buying opportunity in the face of retail selling stems from our belief that credit fundamentals remain supportive, while valuations are now more attractive," Himmelberg said. "Unlike the muni market (where institutional liquidity providers are few), the corporate market has a deep bench of investors who are responsive to value. This is one reason we have long argued that dislocations caused by retail selling present more opportunity than risk."

"[T]he U.S. high yield house is not burning down," said UBS's Matthew Mish. "The real panic will come with a more severe downturn in credit and economic fundamentals, which will likely trigger an exodus from non-institutional and crossover/tourists from U.S. high yield. That moment is unlikely to be a 2014 event."

This is not to say the outflows and price declines will end anytime soon.

"Given the outstanding concerns around rate, credit, and liquidity risks, some will simply choose to exit early – the tack some investors are clearly embracing," Mish said. "How far it extends is anyone's guess, but the run continues and the negative headlines seem unlikely to abate over the near term." Read »

Thursday, August 14, 2014

CHINESE SILVER INVENTORIES NEARLY 90% DEPLETED AT SHANGHAI FUTURES EXCHANGE

Chinese silver inventories are growing increasingly tight as stocks at the SFE continue to fall to record low levels.

After the PAPER SMASH in the price of silver in April 2013, we can see just how fast inventories declined. 

By August, 2013, silver inventories at the Shanghai Futures Exchange fell 610 mt to 533… a staggering 53% decline. Inventories continued to fall, but a slower pace until they reached a low in November at 418 mt.

Then over the next three months, there was a build of silver stocks to a high of 575 mt in February, 2014.

Once the price of silver started correcting lower, inventories declined in March to 417 mt, and then a huge fall to 246 mt by the end of April. In May and June, silver inventories remained relatively flat as spot price bottomed then headed higher in June.

When June rolled into July 2014, once gain, the price of silver headed lower right along with the decline in silver warehouse stocks.. Another 86 mt were withdrawn in July as inventories are now the lowest level (148 mt) they have ever been.

In a nutshell, silver inventories declined nearly 90% from their record peak set in March, 2013. 

The Shanghai Futures Exchanged experienced a net decline of 995 mt from March, 2013 to the end of July this year


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