Posts Tagged ‘Bullion’
By Jeff Clark
October 5, 2011
It may not feel like it after a 12% correction in the past 30 days, but Mike Maloney – founder of GoldSilver.com – is convinced that we’re in a gold bull market that will be life changing for those who participate. I interviewed him for our current edition of BIG GOLD and am sharing some of what we talked about here. You may be shocked at what you read, because he’s devoted a larger allocation to gold and silver than we have. See why he’s convinced a bubble is ahead for precious metals, how high prices will go, and why he stores some gold overseas.
Jeff Clark: For those who don’t know you, why is Mike Maloney such a big believer in gold and silver?
Mike Maloney: Around 1999, my mother needed help with the estate my father had left her. My sister and I interviewed a dozen financial planners and picked the one that had the most glowing recommendations and gave him control of the assets. He lost about 50% of them in the next year and a half. What I’ve found is most financial planners get it wrong. They’re always chasing yesterday’s news. To be fair, there was a market crash, but with 50% of her assets gone by 2001, I ripped everything away from him, moved it to cash, and started studying the economy like crazy.
I discovered that the people concerned about budget deficits and trade imbalances at that time were in the precious metals sector, the hard money advocates. All the rest of the economists and newsletter writers didn’t really care. Concerns about international trade imbalances and how they were going to come back to bite us one day were coming from the hard money analysts. They also wrote about monetary history, something I just fell in love with. The fact that things just repeat over and over again is amazing.
I have hard data from 1918 to today, and anecdotal evidence before 1918, that shows that throughout history a society has a certain amount of real money – gold and silver. Then they either come out with debased coinage, or paper representations of gold and silver and expand the currency supply, which eventually cause prices to rise. People then realize there was something wrong with the currency and they rush back toward gold and silver to protect their purchasing power… and in doing so, they bid up the value of the gold and silver in the country until it matches the value of the circulating medium.
It appears to me this process has been going on since 407 BC, with the first great inflation in Athens. I have charts in my book, Guide to Investing in Gold and Silver, starting in the year 1918, showing the value of the gold held at the United States Treasury compared to the value of all of the base money or paper currency, and it was a 1:1 ratio.
Jeff: So history shows that the value of gold eventually equals the value of all paper money in circulation?
Mike: Yes. Back then, the US dollar was a claim check on real money – gold. Base money was the number of US Treasury gold notes in circulation. Before World War I, base money equaled the value of the gold held at the US Treasury. Then we established the Federal Reserve and did a bunch of deficit spending for WWI, expanding the currency supply, so now there wasn’t enough gold to cover all the dollars they printed. In 1934 the price of gold was changed to $35 per ounce and the values of base money and gold at the Treasury were once again in equilibrium.
Then we expanded the currency supply to pay for WWII, Korea, and Vietnam, and in the ‘70s the price of gold rose until its value at the Treasury exceeded base money. But, for a short time in 1980, the value of gold at the Treasury not only exceeded the base money, it surpassed base money plus outstanding credit card balances. This is important because credit cards are replacing cash in circulation, so you must include it if you want to estimate a price target.
Jeff: So how high do gold and silver go?
Mike: When I finished the book, it required a $6,000 gold price to cover base money plus outstanding revolving credit. I’m not saying that that’s going to happen, but if history were to repeat, that would be the price.
However, since the book was written, Bernanke created a whole bunch of base money to bail out the banks, and now it takes a $15,000 to $20,000 gold price. One caveat is that $1.6 trillion of excess currency is sitting on banks’ balance sheets. It has yet to enter circulation, and if it never does, then this price target changes. My point is that prices are a moving target. Putting a dollar figure on them is an exercise in stupidity, I think, because the dollar is always changing. You can’t use it as a measuring stick.
My target for gold is that it should be equivalent to 1/40 of a single-family, medium-priced home, or two shares of the Dow. So gold will probably buy you about 12 times more stocks and 3 times more real estate in the future than it does now. So those are my prices.
And silver will leverage you to that. There is more gold on the exchanges and with the dealers that investors can buy than there is silver. Their current prices do not reflect this. Gold is way too cheap compared to dollars, and silver is too cheap compared to gold.
Jeff: Sounds like it’s not too late to buy gold and silver.
Mike: No. What investors need to be aware of is that we are on the last legs of our currency system. History shows that the world sees a brand-new monetary system every 30-40 years – and ours is 40 years old. Right now all currencies on the planet are backed by debt. All of the previous transitions were baby steps from something (gold) to nothing (debt). In order to give confidence back to the currencies, we’ll have to go from nothing (debt) to something (most likely gold again) in one big, huge, gigantic leap. This will cause an economic convulsion the likes of which the world has never seen.
The end of this precious metals bull market will be marked by panic buying. Gold and silver will be going into an astronomical bubble one day, probably the biggest bubble in financial history. That is why I think gold and silver are still fundamentally undervalued.
Jeff: Investors reading this might be a little skeptical that a bullion dealer is telling them to buy gold and silver. Do you mind sharing what percentage of your assets is held in gold and silver?
Mike: My personal portfolio is 100% in gold and silver. I have no other investments. I am completely committed to this because I absolutely believe it. I spent 2-1/2 years writing what is now a bestselling book on gold, and I opened a precious metals dealership. There isn’t anything I do, no action I take, that isn’t somehow connected to gold and silver.
Jeff: What separates GoldSilver.com from other bullion dealers?
Mike: Everybody at GoldSilver.com invests in gold and silver. They have all been invested in precious metals since I started the company in 2005. Everyone is absolutely committed and very knowledgeable. So we are all on the same side of the boat as Casey Research. If you become a gold and silver client, you’ll know we’re invested just like you are. We’re walking the walk and talking the talk.
We also have a team of researchers who are constantly analyzing where we are in this bull market. It’s in our best interest to try to find the top of this bull market and sell when the time is right. I believe we can multiply your winnings by letting you know what we’re doing when it comes time to sell. The way I’ve set up my company is that if you don’t win, I don’t win.
Another thing you should know is that I am not a gold or silver bug. I couldn’t care less about these metals. They are just in their cycle right now and will be the best performing asset for the coming years – period – just based on history.
There are these brief moments in history where the safe-haven asset also becomes the asset class with the single greatest potential gains in absolute purchasing power. We’re in one of these cycles right now; as the currency supply gets ramped up and people realize there is something wrong with it, they’ll rush back toward gold and silver and bid the price up until it matches the value of the currency supply.
Jeff: You’re increasing the number of storage facilities outside the US; why should a US citizen consider storing bullion outside the country?
Mike: Some investors are concerned about “confiscation,” which is technically incorrect. The US government never confiscated gold; they “nationalized” it. In 1933, they bought it from US citizens at full face so that the Treasury could hold it as an asset for the entire nation. That’s the very definition of nationalization.
Jeff: Are you saying you don’t think gold could be confiscated?
Mike: It’s possible, but I don’t believe it would happen in the United States. More than half of our currency resides outside the border. We’re the only country in that situation. If Obama passed an executive order today once again nationalizing gold, I believe that banks and brokerage houses around the world would suspect something was wrong with the dollar, and they would immediately dump their dollars and buy gold and silver. That would cause the dollar to fall to zero and send gold and silver to infinity in a matter of weeks. I would hope there is someone in the government smart enough to know this. If so, then it makes nationalization very unlikely.
Jeff: Good point.
Mike: But I do believe that it is good to have some geographical diversity. I think we’re going to see governments trying to limit our financial freedom even more than we’ve seen since 9/11. They’ll do this by instituting such draconian capital controls that today’s IRS will seem magnanimous by comparison. I want to be able to travel freely and have access to my funds no matter what happens. Therefore, I keep some of my gold in offshore storage accounts in several countries.
Jeff: But why go to the hassle and bother with the reporting requirements?
Mike: Because if you’ve got ownership outside the country, you may be able to retain it, even in a nationalization. The point is, we don’t know the future. All we can do is look at what’s happening, try to figure out what governments are going to do, and then protect ourselves with a little bit of diversity. And of all the assets you could own offshore, I believe none are safer than physical gold or silver.
Jeff: Do you think foreign storage puts a target on my back with government officials?
Mike: Well, they want to make sure you’re declaring any capital gain. And I do think that precious metals investors will see some sort of windfall profit tax when the government tries to punish those nasty gold speculators that caused the dollar to crash. They will always point the finger anywhere but where it belongs – which is squarely at the government and the Federal Reserve. People are just trying to protect themselves from government stupidity and the Fed by buying gold and silver.
I think the reason they require the reporting is to make it difficult for people to cheat on their taxes. I don’t think it’s going to make you any more of a target than anybody else if you report everything. If you play within the rules, you’re not a target. I myself walk the straight and narrow. I make sure I comply with everything the IRS and the Treasury require.
Jeff: What about the small investor? Do you have any advice for the person who has limited funds?
Mike: Yes. It only takes $40 to become a silver investor. Regardless of what your income level is, you’re going to come out much better in the end. And once you take the leap and become an investor, your mindset changes and you find yourself starting to plan. A lot of people are not really planning on the future that much – but once you buy an ounce of silver and become educated, you give yourself a tremendous advantage over the rest of the population.
So just buy small quantities of silver. It has such leverage to it. And silver will probably go into some sort of super-spike that you will want to catch, which means you probably need some sort of guidance. That’s where subscribing to newsletters such as yours is very, very important for anybody who’s going to get into this.
Jeff: Thanks for your time, Mike. And we appreciate the discount you’re offering our readers.
Mike: You’re very welcome.
Read the entire article HERE.
By Mike Getlin
September 29, 2011 1:18 PM EDT
International Business Times
We gold bulls have been licking our wounds over the last few weeks. This summer’s intense upward price movement set the stage for major volatility on the precious metals markets, and long term gold investors are stuck riding out the storm, at least for the moment. Yesterday however, something was brought to my attention by someone out on our trading floor. One of his clients who bought a diversified investment grade coin position early in the month was actually dead even on his overall position. While gold had tumbled by over $300 per ounce, his coins had stayed right where they were showing him no loss whatsoever. Needless to say, this needs a bit of explaining.
Let’s take a look at gold’s correction versus the price movement in a variety of $20 Liberty certified coins. Gold closed at $1895 on September 6th. Over the course of the next 20 calendar days, it shed $297 to close at $1598 on September 26th. That is an overall correction of 18.58% in 14 trading days. The certified $20 Liberty coins fared much better. See the chart below for the comparison.
Click Image for Larger View
The major difference between raw gold bullion and certified coins is the premium (which is often significant) that the coins carry over the spot price of gold. For example, the $20 Liberty in Mint State 66 condition is a coin that sells for well above $15,000. Most investors look at that and wonder why in the world anyone would buy a one ounce coin for over 15 grand! Yet this month, the one who did would be laughing all the way to the bank while the rest of us dream longingly of weeks gone by and $1900 per ounce.
Now this is not to say we should all rush out and dump all our bullion in favor of certified coins. That said, there is clearly an advantage to be gained by owning some of these products that help insulate investors from these volatile markets. The real question is what causes certified coin premiums to change, and what place do these products have in a healthy and diversified gold portfolio.
The debate over whether to buy bullion or certified coins (also referred to as numismatics) has been raging for decades and will probably continue to produce spirited cocktail hour conversation for a long time to come. Some people swear by investment grade numismatics, while others think only a fool would buy anything other than bullion. So who’s right? Both of course. As with most arguments like this, there is a lot of truth to both sides, and each strategy has significant advantages and disadvantages.
On the bullion side, the main argument against certified coins is that they are too expensive. Why pay $3000 per ounce or more for a gold coin when you could buy a Gold Eagle or a bar for $1800? The premium, as well as the dealer’s bid/ask spread is much higher on certified coins as they are more difficult to source and procure. The other argument against them is they tend to move more slowly than bullion coins. For investors who need instant liquidity, or are trying to pop in and out of the markets with some frequency, certified coins present some major drawbacks.
In contrast, numismatists (people who study coins) never forget one simple fact: value comes from scarcity. If you purchase a gold bar this year and sell it in 2015, there will have been millions upon millions more produced and sold between now and then. If you purchase a certified $20 Liberty, you can sleep well at night knowing that never again will a single $20 Liberty coin be produced. It’s hardly even a question of supply and demand, because there really is no supply. Thus when you look at the $20 Liberty MS66 in the graph above, you see it actually increase in value during gold’s worst month in 20 + years. The premiums on certified coins can move quite independently from the gold market and often times increase when gold goes down. This provides strong buoyancy during gold market corrections; something a lot of gold buyers would have loved over the last few weeks.
All in all, there is no real “right” answer as to whether investors are better off with bullion or certified coins. As such, we’re strong believers in owning both. Ideally, a healthy gold portfolio would have both bullion and certified coins. The bullion will move more quickly, provide more gold per dollar invested, and can be bought and sold at lower margins. The certified coins may have higher long term profit potential, benefit from strong demand and scarcity, and can provide stability in a gold market that is likely to become increasingly volatile in the coming years. As with most arguments, the best answer probably borrows a bit from both sides. As with most investments, the best strategy is probably a diversified one.
Read the entire article HERE.
August 14, 2011
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – For gold sellers on eBay, the recent stock market turmoil has been a boon for business. Gold and silver sales on eBay had already been rising steadily over the past several years – so much so that eBay Inc. created a special area in May to make it easier for buyers to find sellers.
Now, activity on that part of the site, the Bullion Center, is intensifying as consumers unnerved by the economic uncertainty flock to gold in hopes it will be a stable investment.
“When people are coming down to the question, ‘Do they want to have cash in the bank or gold in their hands?’ the answer is they’d rather have gold or silver,” said Jacob Chandler, CEO of Great Southern Coins, the largest seller of precious metals on eBay.
The stock market just ended one of its most volatile weeks in years, prompted in part by a downgrade in the nation’s credit rating and fears of another recession. The Dow Jones industrial average fell nearly 6 percent on Monday, its worst one-day drop since December 2008. Then the index rose Tuesday, fell Wednesday and rose Thursday and Friday to end the week 2 percent lower than a week ago.
Through most of last week, the average selling price increased for gold bullion – bars or coins stamped with their weight and level of purity.
According to the most recent data available from eBay, sales of 1-ounce gold American Eagle coins and 1-ounce gold Pamp Suisse bars rose steadily from Aug. 5 to Wednesday, before dipping slightly on Thursday.
On Aug. 5, when Standard & Poor’s lowered the nation’s credit rating, American Eagle coins were selling for an average of $1,800 among eBay’s featured sellers. The average price of the coins, produced by the U.S. Mint, rose more than 8 percent to $1,952 on Wednesday, before dropping to $1,915 on Thursday.
The Pamp Suisse brand of gold bars sold for an average of $1,787 on Aug. 5 and climbed nearly 8 percent to $1,927 by Wednesday. On Thursday, the bars dropped slightly to $1,890.
Even before last week’s market turbulence, investors were cautious because economic signals in the U.S. and overseas pointed toward trouble.
The Dow index fell 6 percent in the week ending Aug. 6. That week, the number of gold buyers on eBay rose 11 percent compared with the year’s weekly average. The number of gold sellers rose 14 percent. EBay would not provide the total number of buyers and sellers.
“With all the turmoil in the markets, this is seen as a way to diversify,” said Anthony Delvecchio, eBay’s vice president of business management and strategy for eBay’s North America business.
EBay, which is based in San Jose, Calif., does not impose minimum purchase amounts for bullion. Sellers offer gold both through auctions and “Buy It Now” fixed-price sales.
The increased popularity of gold on eBay echoes what’s happening in the broader gold market, where prices have spiked during the past two years.
Gold traded at about $900 per ounce in the summer of 2008, before the financial crisis unfolded that year. It passed $1,600 in late May and briefly rose above $1,800 for the first time on Wednesday before pulling back to $1,784. On Friday, gold fell to $1,740.60 per ounce, still nearly twice the summer 2008 prices.
Great Southern Coins has benefited from this uptick. Chandler said the company is selling more gold lately, and its silver sales remain strong, too. Chandler estimated his business has nearly quadrupled in the past 45 days, and he said it appeared to be up about five or six times during the past week, with most of this growth coming from sales on eBay.
Daniel Hirsch, a New York-based statistician who recently purchased more than a dozen gold coins on eBay from Great Southern Coins, said he started buying gold less than a year ago in an effort to expand his investment portfolio.
“It’s kind of a safe haven and a hedge against low interest rates,” he said.
Read the entire article HERE.
By Mitra Amiri
TEHRAN | Wed Jul 6, 2011 8:48am EDT
“It was always a tradition to give gold coins to close family members on special occasions. This year for the first time I can not afford to do it anymore.”
Whether for wedding gifts or as a way to squirrel away savings, Iranians have a long history of buying gold coins, widely available from dealers in high street shops and bazaars. But recently, what was a steady demand has become a gold rush.
Amid global economic uncertainty, the price of gold on world markets rose steadily in the first half of 2011 and Iranian coins appreciated in line with that. Rather than cashing in their coins for a profit, Iranians continued to buy them in ever larger numbers.
“Usually, as the price of an item increases, demand will decrease. But in the case of gold, it seems that higher prices are creating more demand,” said a gold retailer in Tehran who asked not to be identified.
The Iranian gold rush was mainly driven by fears about the domestic economy, particularly the risk of soaring inflation and a wobbly currency, he said.
In addition to concerns about a global double-dip recession, the economy has been hit by sanctions as the United States leads global pressure on Tehran over a nuclear program many states say is aimed at building atomic weapons, a charge Iran denies.
“The reasons that people are drawn to these safe assets — gold coins and hard currency — are firstly a limited choice of investment opportunities, and secondly a fear from the weakness of the national currency,” said an economist who asked not to be named.
“These are results of more potential economic instability in the country.”
KING AND CLERICS
Treasured as a store of value, Iran’s gold coins, minted over centuries, are also culturally important.
They were traditionally stamped with the faces of kings. After the 1979 revolution, the Islamic Republic started to issue Bahar-e Azadi (Spring of Liberty) coins, some of which were engraved with the image of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who led the uprising against the last shah.
Produced by the Central Bank of Iran, a standard gold coin weighs 8.133 grams. It is also sold in smaller denominations of a half coin and a quarter coin.
In June the price of a Bahar-e Azadi gold coin reached an all-time high at around 4,550,000 rials ($422), compared to a year ago when it sold for around 3,120,000 rials.
Iranian authorities have repeatedly denied that sanctions are hurting the country, saying the economy is strong.
But many Iranians are worried that keeping their wealth in rials is a risk.
“We can keep the coins at home and feel secure,” said Mohammad, a 39-year-old stock trader who said financial sanctions have made it harder for normal Iranians to transfer capital abroad, for example to buy property in Dubai or Europe.
“In the current situation there are people who can move their capital and invest in other countries, but we as ordinary people have no choice but to invest in gold coins,” he said.
INFLATION AND DEVALUATION
Saving rials is also less attractive than a few months ago after the government reduced the level of interest banks could pay on savings. Returns were slashed in April from a range of 26-28 percent to 14-17 percent, below what many Iranians believe to be the actual inflation rate.
Worries about the declining buying power of the rial and doubts over the currency’s stability are the main drivers behind the flight to gold.
While the International Monetary Fund has praised Iran for reducing inflation to 12.4 percent for 2010-11 from 25.4 percent two years earlier, the rate has been creeping back up over the last year to 14.2 percent in May. Prices have risen much faster for key items such as fuel, water and food as heavy government subsidies are phased out.
At the end of last year, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad started winding down some $100 billion of subsidies and giving direct cash payments to families to reduce the impact of price rises. The switch, praised by the IMF, was done despite the predictions that surges in the prices of fuel, food and water could stoke wider inflation.
As well as hoarding gold, many Iranians sought to change their rials into hard currency, increasing demand for dollars so much that the Central Bank devalued the rial by almost 11 percent last month.
That sudden decision did nothing to assuage Iranians’ fears about the safety of their savings.
Many economists believe the rial, which is loosely pegged to major world currencies under a “managed floating exchange rate,” has not been allowed to devalue in line with inflation and is overvalued by between 30 and 50 percent.
As international trade in rials is very limited, the change in its value has no real impact on global markets.
It sank to 12,500 to the dollar last month, compared to 10,500 earlier in the year.
Since the devaluation, Central Bank governor Mahmoud Bahmani has said he might use a raft of policies to prevent the rial falling further, including possibly restricting the activities of money traders he accuses of profiteering and speculation.
He also said Iran would reverse the bank interest rate decision. “We will curb the fake demand for foreign currency by increasing interest rates,” the daily Arman quoted Bahmani as saying in June.
Following central bank intervention, injecting hard currency and gold into the market, the price of both the dollar and of gold coins has eased.
But analysts say fundamental problems will continue to pressure both and have criticized what they say are contradictory signals from the government.
Bahmani said the rial will recover to a “market rate” of 10,000 rials and the price of gold will decline.
But such comments, immediately after a devaluation which put the official dollar rate at 11,717 rials, have only added to the uncertainty, some economists say.
“Signs of confusion over forex policymaking are very apparent. The sudden increase (in the dollar) followed by a drop and the announcement of various rates for currency by different finance officials is indicative of that,” the economic daily Abrar-e Eqtesadi, wrote on July 3.
Ordinary Iranians are far from reassured.
“During these times of instability in Iran, the safest form of investment is gold coins because no-one knows how much the rial will decline or interest rates will be,” said 30 year-old private sector employee Saba Aqabala.
Back in her apartment in northern Tehran, Grandma Molook hopes she might still find the money to buy her granddaughter the gold coins. “I’m afraid I’ll have to buy her a household appliance,” she said. “Or just give her the cash.”
Read the entire article HERE.
By Vincent Del Giudice
May 16, 2011 8:21 AM PT
Global demand for U.S. long-term financial assets such as government bonds slowed in March as investors shifted into shorter-term securities and China trimmed its portfolio of Treasuries.
Net buying of long-term equities, notes and bonds totaled $24 billion during the month, compared with net buying of $27.2 billion in February, according to statistics issued today in Washington. Including short-term securities such as stock swaps, foreigners purchased a net $116 billion, compared with net buying of $95.6 billion the previous month.
The Treasury’s reporting on long-term securities helps gauge confidence in the U.S. economy as well as fiscal and monetary policy. The data capture international purchases of government notes and bonds, stocks, corporate debt and securities issued by U.S. agencies such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which buy home mortgages.
“Foreigners had a little more confidence in the recovery in March,” and they shifted into swaps, equities and riskier assets from Treasury securities, said Kevin Chau, a foreign exchange strategist at IDEAglobal in New York.
China remained the biggest foreign holder of U.S. Treasuries, after its holdings fell by $9.2 billion to $1.145 trillion in March from $1.154 trillion in February, according to the Treasury’s statistics.
Japan, Hong Kong
Japan, the second-largest holder, increased its holdings by $17.6 billion to $907.9 billion in March from $890.3 billion in February. Hong Kong, counted separately from China, reduced its holdings by $2.5 billion to $122.1 billion in March from $124.6 billion in February.
Before today’s report was issued by the Treasury, economists in a Bloomberg News survey projected long-term U.S. financial assets would show net buying of $33 billion in March. Seven economists participated in the survey, and their estimates ranged from $10 billion to $45 billion.
Total foreign purchases of Treasury notes and bonds were $26.8 billion in March compared with purchases of $30.6 billion in February. Foreign demand for U.S. agency debt from companies such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac registered net buying of $9.49 billion in March after selling of $1.49 billion in February.
Net foreign purchases of equities were $14.7 billion in March after net purchases of $6.1 billion in February. Investors purchased a net $3.77 billion in U.S. corporate debt in March after selling $2.54 billion in February.
Slower Than Forecast
In the first quarter, the U.S. economy grew at a slower- than-forecast annual rate of 1.8 percent as government spending declined by the most since 1983, according to Commerce Department statistics released April 28. In the fourth quarter of last year, gross domestic product grew at a 3.1 percent annual rate.
In emerging European economies, public finances have “sharply deteriorated” and banks are burdened by “large numbers” of nonperforming loans, the International Monetary Fund said in a report May 12. The European Union and the IMF were forced to organize bailouts for Greece and Ireland last year and are preparing a rescue plan for Portugal.
China and the U.S. remain at odds over foreign exchange policy. After meetings last week in Washington, Chinese Deputy Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said the U.S. and China agree that the yuan should be allowed to strengthen. However, “the view from the U.S. side is that the yuan should rise continuously at a faster appreciation pace,” Zhu said. “We have differences on the degree of appreciation.”
Read the entire article HERE.
As Silver Touches $34.90, US Mint Runs Out Of Bullion Blanks, Halts American Eagle Silver Coin Production
Submitted by Tyler Durden
03/02/2011 09:45 -0500
The scramble for non-dilutable currencies hits a frenzy as silver just touches on a fresh 31 year high of $34.90. To commemorate this historic event, the US Mint has halted American Eagle silver coin production, in addition to its ongoing halt of American Buffalo coins: “because of the continued demand for American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins, 2010-dated American Eagle Silver Uncirculated Coins will not be produced. The United States Mint will resume production of American Eagle Silver Uncirculated Coins once sufficient inventories of silver bullion blanks can be acquired to meet market demand for all three American Eagle Silver Coin products.”
Production of United States Mint American Eagle Silver Uncirculated Coins continues to be temporarily suspended because of unprecedented demand for American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins. Until recently, all available silver bullion blanks were being allocated to the American Eagle Silver Bullion Coin Program, as the United States Mint is required by Public Law 99-61 to produce these coins “in quantities sufficient to meet public demand . . . .”
Although the demand for precious metal coins remains high, the increase in supply of planchets—coupled with a lower demand for bullion orders in August and September—allowed the United States Mint to meet public demand and shift some capacity to produce numismatic versions of the American Eagle One Ounce Silver Proof Coin.
However, because of the continued demand for American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins, 2010-dated American Eagle Silver Uncirculated Coins will not be produced.
The United States Mint will resume production of American Eagle Silver Uncirculated Coins once sufficient inventories of silver bullion blanks can be acquired to meet market demand for all three American Eagle Silver Coin products.
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.
The latest quarterly reports from the big Wall Street banks revealed a startling fact: None of the big four banks had a single day in the quarter in which they lost money trading.
For the 63 straight trading days in Q1, in other words, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Bank of America, and Citigroup made money trading for their own accounts.
Trading, of course, is supposed to be a risky business: You win some, you lose some. That’s how traders justify their gargantuan bonuses–their jobs are so risky that they deserve to be paid millions for protecting their firms’ precious capital. (Of course, the only thing that happens if traders fail to protect capital is that taxpayers bail out the bank and the traders are paid huge “retention” bonuses to prevent them from leaving to trade somewhere else, but that’s a different story).
But these days, trading isn’t risky at all. In fact, it’s safer than walking down the street.
Because the US government is lending money to the big banks at near-zero interest rates. And the banks are then turning around and lending that money back to the US government at 3%-4% interest rates, making 3%+ on the spread. What’s more, the banks are leveraging this trade, borrowing at least $10 for every $1 of equity capital they have, to increase the size of their bets. Which means the banks can turn relatively small amounts of equity into huge profits–by borrowing from the taxpayer and then lending back to the taxpayer.
Why is the US government still lending banks money at near-zero interest rates? Ostensibly, for the same reason that the government bailed out the banks in the first place: So the banks will lend money to small businesses, big businesses, and other participants in the “real economy.”
But the banks aren’t lending money to the real economy: Private sector lending has fallen off a cliff.
And one reason private sector lending has fallen off a cliff is that lending money to the private sector is risky. Lending money to the government, meanwhile, is nearly risk-free. So the banks are just lending money back to the government (by scarfing up US Treasuries), collecting a nearly risk-free 3% spread, and then leveraging up this bet 10-15 times