Prof. Antal Fekete On Gold Takedown: ‘Who Said The Hydra Would Take It Lying Down … While Its Several Heads Were Being Chopped Off One – By – One?’

Professor Fekete on the Gold Smash: “Who Said the Hydra Would Take it Lying Down” (Liberty, Blitzkrieg, April 19 2013):

Ostensibly a lower gold price would solve the problem Bernanke has. Demoralized gold bugs would be forced out of their holdings through margin calls. Disillusioned investors would shun gold. This would make physical gold available to rescue the strapped gold futures market.

In fact, however, a lower gold price is making the problem more intractable, not less. The Fed is diving from the frying pan into the fire. This is the point missed by almost all observers and market analysts. They ignore the underlying flight into physical gold that continues unabated, in spite of (or, better still, because of) the panic in the paper gold market. The Fed’s intervention in bankrolling short interest is going to back-fire, for the following simple reason. The Fed’s strategy is inherently contradictory. A lower price for paper gold makes it easier, not harder, to demand delivery on maturing futures contracts.

– Professor Antal E. Fekete

Of all the articles I have read since the attack on the precious metals markets, this piece by Professor Fekete is the best one yet. I completely agree that this was an extremely desperate and brazen attempt by the Central Planners, one that is quite clearly backfiring big time.  My favorite excerpts are below:

In waking up too late that there was a problem after gold futures markets have been flirting with backwardation for a year or so, officialdom was forced to act. Act it did in a typically haphazard fashion. A few days ago, on April 12 and 15 the paper gold market was demoralized by a ferocious attack on the lofty gold price. This in and of itself is proof that Bernanke is fully aware that permanent gold backwardation is imminent, and that it will create and unmanageable situation. It’s got to be stopped in its track at all hazards.

Well, well, well. Gold is not the same as frozen pork bellies after all. The Hydra is not taking it lying down. The kid gloves have finally come off.

Bernanke is trying to stop gold backwardation by selling unlimited amount of gold futures contracts through his stooges, the bullion banks. He is underwriting losses they are certain to suffer in due course. We can take it for granted that they haven’t got the gold to make delivery on their contracts. In fact, delivery of gold will be suspended under the force majeure clause. Short positions will have to be settled in cash, to be made available by the Fed’s printing presses. Gold futures trading will be a thing of the past.

Ostensibly a lower gold price would solve the problem Bernanke has. Demoralized gold bugs would be forced out of their holdings through margin calls. Disillusioned investors would shun gold. This would make physical gold available to rescue the strapped gold futures market.

In fact, however, a lower gold price is making the problem more intractable, not less. The Fed is diving from the frying pan into the fire. This is the point missed by almost all observers and market analysts. They ignore the underlying flight into physical gold that continues unabated, in spite of (or, better still, because of) the panic in the paper gold market. The Fed’s intervention in bankrolling short interest is going to back-fire, for the following simple reason. The Fed’s strategy is inherently contradictory. A lower price for paper gold makes it easier, not harder, to demand delivery on maturing futures contracts.

The more paper gold Bernanke sells, the lower the cost of acquiring physical gold in exchange for paper gold becomes. The price of the nearby futures contract will drop to hitherto unimaginable depths, relative to the cash price, making backwardation worse, not better. Ultimately this will make backwardation irreversible. Welcome to the world of permanent gold backwardation.

Academia and the financial press have utterly failed to recognize the relevance of gold backwardation as regards deflation. They might fret about hyperinflation as a result of unbridled money-printing (euphemism for the monetization of government debt). Yet the real danger is not on the inflationary but on the deflationary front as realized even by Krugman – while he is perfectly clueless on the question from what hole the evil deflationary wind blows (other than conservative wishful thinking).

Well, I can pinpoint the location of the hole to within yards for the benefit of Krugman. It is on Constitution Avenue, in Washington, D.C. The evil deflationary wind is blowing from the building of Federal Reserve Board.

If Bernanke thought that his attacks on the gold price would stem deflation, well, his efforts were counter-productive, to put it mildly. They have, in fact, made the flight into physical gold accelerate. Permanent backwardation of gold, and its concomitant, the re-invention of barter – the ultimate in deflation – will be the result.

There is no reason to fear that the Fed is pushing the world into hyper- inflation. In fighting the gold price the Fed unwittingly pushes the world into hyper-deflation.

All the same, it is destroying the dollar and the international monetary and payments system.

April 18, 2013.

Professor Fekete’s full piece can be read here.

In Liberty,
Mike

Leave a Comment