Posts Tagged ‘bubble’
Friday, October 28, 2011pm
What do you get when the producer of the world’s reserve currency takes on too much debt? Nothing less than the end of the US Treasury-based monetary system.
So says Eric Janszen, economic and financial market analyst and proprietor of iTulip.com. In chronicling the decline of the global economy over the past decade, Eric has formulated a framework called the “Ka-POOM” theory, which endeavors to understand how the immense run-up in global debt will be resolved.
In short, it looks at the credit bubble that began in the early 1980′s, started accelerating in 1995, and has now reached epic proportions. The amounts are so staggering at this stage that Eric believes it is too politically undesirable to let natural market adjustments clear them away — the magnitude of the deflationary pain this would create is simply unacceptable for politicians looking to get re-elected. The only other available option is to service these debts via a dramatically devalued currency. Hence the key role the Fed is playing today.
The Fed is at the epicenter of this process, intervening heavily to keep the natural corrective market forces at bay. In this, it has a dual strategy. The first is to keep asset prices high (i.e., fight asset deflation), which it is doing by keeping interest rates historically low. The second is to keep wage and commodity costs under control, which it primarily does via devaluing the currency (maintaining a “weak dollar”).
And, of course, through its intervention, the Fed is doing all it can to keep the current financial system in place to perpetuate the process for as long as possible. The end result is a fundamental shift in risk from Wall Street to the taxpayer.
So the big question is: How long can this last? Is there a point at which confidence in the system breaks and market forces finally overwhelm the intervention?
Eric’s answers: “Much longer than most people expect.” And “Yes.”
First off, as the most important central bank in the world, the Fed has supernormal powers. In theory, it can expand its balance sheet infinitely. Its ability to absorb massive amounts of new liabilities is theoretically limitless, much of which can be easily concealed from an accounting standpoint.
And since the US is both the world’s largest economy, as well as the provider of its reserve currency, other countries are compelled to support the current regime. A mortal crack-up in the US economy would deliver undue pain to all its trading partners, so they continue to buy Treasuries in sufficient amount to fund US economic activity.
But that’s not to say they’re happy about it. And here’s where attention should be paid (and where the importance of gold comes in).
For much of the past century, the United States comprised approximately 54-58% of the global economy. Today, its share has shrunk down to about 18%, meaning its relative importance to the global system has diminished.
Issuing the world’s reserve currency is a privilege that must be continually earned through transparency and sound stewardship — qualities the US has flagrantly lacked in the past several decades as it has been blowing asset bubbles and running trillion-dollar deficits, via incurring massive debts and increasing its money supply tremendously. So, even as they continue to support the current Treasury-backed monetary regime, the world’s central banks have begun hedging their exposure.
After several decades of being net sellers, the world’s central banks became net buyers of gold in the second quarter of 2009. As Eric puts it:
There was no Plan B in the global monetary system when it switched over to the US dollar reserve basis for global monetary reserves. The only fallback is gold, gold is the only reserve asset that central banks hold other than dollars, and to some extent euros, but it is mostly gold. So gold is the fallback. So what I thought was going to happen is that over time, gradually, that there would be an increase at some point in gold holdings by central banks as they hedged the marginal increase and the number of Treasury bonds that they needed to hold as a result of conducting trade with the US and also simply maintaining the US economy through low interest rates and providing sufficient investment to continue to offer the US government.
So what is very interesting to me is [that] starting in the second quarter of 2009, right after the financial crisis, is when global central banks became net buyers of gold, which to me indicated that they had as a group, determined that it was time to more seriously hedge their dollar assets, even as they continue to buy Treasury bonds to increase their hedging.
Before that, there were effectively two teams: There were the buyers, who were countries like India and Russia and China, and the sellers, which are most of your European countries. And that structure of the gold market occurred and was maintained until the second quarter of 2009, and it shifted to a much broader base increase in the number of governments participating in the gold market, including Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and other allies of the United States.
Eric sees this move by central banks, of positioning themselves closer to the door, as a natural step to the inevitable endgame here, which is the dissolution of the US Treasury dollar-based monetary system. Due to entrenched special interests, politics, escalating commodity scarcity, and other factors, he does not see the US taking necessary corrective action before confidence in the solvency of the US and its currency collapses.
As such, Eric advises investors position themselves into gold and assets that take advantage of rising rents and energy prices.
To Read the FULL TRANSCRIPT CLICK HERE.
Read the entire article HERE.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) — Gold price manipulation is the most controversial theory that has circulated among gold bugs for 20 years.
Conspiracy theorists think that gold prices have been illegally suppressed over the last two decades by central banks and governments. GATA or Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee is the biggest complainant.
Central banks reportedly have 32,000 tons of gold, with the International Monetary Fund accounting for 2,800 tons. Under the Washington Agreement on Gold, its members can only sell a maximum of 400 tons a year thereby restricting the amount of gold in the open market place.
GATA argues that central banks in actuality have less than 15,000 tons of gold and that the missing gold has been secretly sold into the market preventing gold prices from rising to their actual price, which helps the country’s paper currency, bonds and interest rates. The suppression theory means that global economies are in worse financial shape than investors think and that gold should be bought as the ultimate safe haven.
The New York Post recently reported that the the Commodities Futures Trade Commission and the Department of Justice have launched criminal and civil probes into JPMorgan’s trading in the silver market to determine if the investment bank depressed the silver price for their advantage. There are also rumors circulating that a major New York law firm will launch a similar lawsuit against the investment bank.
I interviewed Chris Powell, secretary and treasurer of GATA to get the facts of this alleged manipulation.
Can you explain the basics of silver/gold manipulation?
Powell : Gold, and to a lesser extent, silver are currencies. Governments have intervened in the gold market in the open throughout history. Our complaint is that more often now they’re doing it surreptitiously as a mechanism of supporting their currencies, supporting government bonds and suppressing interest rates.
So can you break it down, how the government is doing it on the sly as you said?
Powell: Yes, the manipulation of the gold market now is achieved through two mechanisms mainly. One is the outright sale or leasing of central bank gold reserves to add gold to the market. The other is the sale of futures and options, gold derivatives by the big investment banks that have special relationships with the central banks, particularly with the Federal Reserve. These are essentially naked short positions in the gold and silver markets.
We believe they are pretty much backed up by the central banks, which will, at least in the gold market, provide whatever gold is necessary when somebody actually wants to remove gold from the system to really liquidate a position. The problem is the gold supply has been inflated in the futures market so there’s so much more gold paper out there than there really is gold.
For someone who has no idea what this means, how do the central banks lease to the bullion banks?.
Powell: It basically began as a carry trade. It was in the interest of most central banks and the investment banks. The central banks would lend gold at a very low interest rate, perhaps 1% to an investment bank. The investment bank in turn would sell the gold for cash and use the cash to fund its operations.
And this worked very well for the investment houses as long as they had some confidence that the gold price would not rise and destroy the carry trades. Central banks liked it because it kept the price of gold, the competitive currency down. It kept interest rates down. It supported the government bonds and the government currencies. Now this carry trade is breaking up a bit. We think because central banks are running out of gold that they can distort.
So that doesn’t seem so bad. You lease gold, it goes into the markets. So what’s the problem?
Powell: Well the problem is it’s surreptitious. It’s a matter of deceiving the gold market and more importantly, the currency and government bond markets as to what the government is doing. It also gives inside information to the investment houses that are working the trades that the government wants done. It’s a grand deceit. If it was done in the open, people would understand what the government policy was. But open policy would not have the effect of deceiving the markets. If you remove the deceit from the gold pricing scheme, the scheme is of very little use.
How long do the investment banks get to lease the gold for, from central banks?
Powell: The leases may be written in limited periods of a year or two years or three years. We believe that most of the central bank gold sales, or supposed gold sales in recent years, were not really gold sales at all. They were cash settlement of lease gold that could not be recovered and returned to the central bank without causing a huge spike in gold prices.
Continue the article HERE.
Purchase Professionally Graded Gold and Silver Coins HERE.