Bitcoin is a virtual currency that has no intrinsic value. The only thing giving bitcoin value is the faith that people have in it, and now that faith has been shattered. This week, the most prominent bitcoin exchange in the entire world, Mt. Gox, totally collapsed. At one time, Mt. Gox boasted more than a million accounts and it accounted for approximately 25 percent of all global bitcoin trading. But now the website has been taken down, there are rumors of catastrophic losses, and many investors are concerned that they will lose all of their money. In fact, according to one report, investors could be facing total losses of up to 367 million dollars. The collapse of Mt. Gox is also affecting other bitcoin exchanges. As I write this, the market value of bitcoin had fallen to about $470, but just three months ago it was trading close to $1,200. Needless to say, a lot of bitcoin investors are going to be licking their wounds tonight.
I have never written much about bitcoin because I never believed in it. Personally, I have always preferred to stick to silver and gold. But I can’t blame people for wanting to create a monetary system that worked outside of the central bank-controlled paradigm that we have today.
In order for our current level of debt-fueled prosperity to continue, the rest of the world must continue to use our dollars to trade with one another and must continue to buy our debt at ridiculously low interest rates. Of course the number one foreign nation that we depend on to participate in our system is China. China accounts for more global trade than anyone else on the planet (including the United States), and most of that trade is conducted in U.S. dollars. This keeps demand for our dollars very high, and it ensures that we can import massive quantities of goods from overseas at very low cost. As a major exporting nation, China ends up with gigantic piles of our dollars. They lend many of those dollars back to us at ridiculously low interest rates. At this point, China owns more of our national debt than any other country does. But if China was to decide to quit playing our game and started moving away from U.S. dollars and U.S. debt, our economic prosperity could disappear very rapidly. Demand for the U.S. dollar would fall and prices would go up. And interest rates on our debt and everything else in our financial system would go up to crippling levels. So it is absolutely critical to our financial future that China continues to play our game.
The World Gold Council’s global supply and demand figures have been released. They confirm what was already known – huge physical demand for coins and bars globally was counter acted by significant liquidations by COMEX speculators and weak hand ETF investors.
Gold Demand Trends Full Year 2013 makes interesting reading nevertheless. The World Gold Council said full-year 2013 gold demand was 3,756 tonnes, valued at $170 billion and down from 4,415 tonnes in the previous year due to ETF liquidations.
The data confirms that 2013 saw record demand for coins and bars globally but especially in China, Japan and much of Asia.
Annual global investment in bars and coins reached 1,654 tonnes, up from 1,289 tonnes in 2012, a rise of 28%, and the highest figure since the World Gold Council’s data series began in 1992. For the full year, Chinese and Indian investment in gold bars and coins was up 38% and 16%, respectively.
While correlation is not causation, the coincidental timing of the tumble in virtual currencies and the surge in physical (alternative) currencies suggests another great rotation may be occurring… with gold at fresh 3-month highs as Bitcoin presses 3-months lows…
Gold is now up over 12% from the post-Taper lows…
and Silver is exploding higher… up 15.6% now in February alone.
Precious metals had begun to jump higher before the ADP data hit but once it did – and disappointed – gold and silver spiked (over $1,270 and $20 respectively). Equity markets kneejerk reaction was a spike higher which immediately faded into a crash to recent lows. Dow futures are testing 2014 lows – as are S&P 500 futures. 10Y Treasury yields touched 2.60%; Nikkei futures are once again testing 14,000 as USDJPY breaks below 101.
And sure enough, the January ADP print missed as we expected, printing at 175K vs the expected 185K, while the December 238K was revised lower to 227K, confirming that ADP is nothing but an NDP trend follower and an absolutely worthless and meaningless data point that does nothing to add relevant data to the economic picture.
For those who care, this was the biggest miss since August and the largest monthly drop since August 2012, and the weakest print since August as well.
Remember when banks were exposed manipulating virtually everything except precious metals, because obviously nobody ever manipulates the price of gold and silver? After all, the biggest “conspiracy theory” of all is that crazy gold bugs blame every move against them on some vile manipulator. It may be time to shift yet another conspiracy “theory” into the “fact” bin, thanks to Elke Koenig, the president of Germany’s top financial regulator, Bafin, which apparently is not as corrupt, complicit and clueless as its US equivalent, and who said that in addition to currency rates, manipulation of precious metals “is worse than the Libor-rigging scandal.” Hear that Bart Chilton and friends from the CFTC?
The Baltic Dry Index, a measure of commodity-shipping rates, has collapsed 39% in just the nine trading days of 2014. It has fallen from 2277 at the end of December 2013 to 1370 today. This key indicator of global economic health is a warning signal for the global economy in 2014.
Marc Faber told Bloomberg TV in an interview that, ”I prefer physical gold and silver, platinum to bitcoin. How do you value a bitcoin? I can value gold to some extent and compare say gold to the quantity of money that is floating around the world, to the wealth increase, and to the monetary base increase, to the credit increase, and so forth and so on, and to the production costs. So I have an idea of where gold should be.”
A diversified precious metals portfolio with allocations to gold, silver, platinum and palladium remains prudent.
Under the cover and amid the distraction of the Christmas bustle, I had my last “official” contact with a source inside the Department of Homeland Security known as “Rosebud” in my writings. My source is leaving his position, retiring along with numerous others choosing to leave this bureaucratic monstrosity.
For this contact, my source took unprecedented measures to be certain that our contact was far off the radar of prying government eyes and ears. I was stunned at the lengths he employed, and even found myself somewhat annoyed by the inconvenience that his cloak-and-dagger approach caused. It was necessary, according to my source, because all department heads under FEMA and DHS are under orders to identify anyone disclosing any information for termination and potential criminal prosecution.
Jim Rogers hope-driven wish is that the politicians were smart enough at some point to say (to the central bankers), “we’ve got to stop this, this is going to be bad.” He adds, on the incoming QEeen, “she’s not going to stop it, first of all she doesn’t believe in stopping it, she thinks printing money is good.” However, Rogers warns in this excellent interview with Birch Gold, “eventually the markets will just say, “We’re not going to play this game anymore”, and we’ll have a serious collapse.” The world is blinded by central bank liquidity, and as Rogers somewhat mockingly notes “if everybody says the sky is blue, I urge you to look out the window and see if it’s blue because I have found that most people won’t even bother to look out the window…” Rogers concludes, “everybody should own some precious metals as an insurance policy,” because as he ominously warns, when ‘it’ collapses, “there will be big change.
Rachel Mills, Birch Gold Group (BGG): This is Rachel Mills for Birch Gold, and I am very pleased to be joined today by Jim Rogers, legendary investor. Thank you so much Jim for joining me.
Jim Rogers: I am delighted to be here Rachel.
BGG: So today I wanted to talk a little about stock market highs and Quantitative Easing and inflation and a little bit of Federal Reserve and when is the taper is going to happen and currency wars. But there is one question that I don’t have to ask you, which you get asked a lot, I know, and that is what your secret to being so prescient in the marketplace?
“…if everybody says the sky is blue, I at least urge you to go and look out the window and see if it’s blue because I have found that most people won’t even bother to look out the window…”
JR: As far as I know, I’m not quite sure. I do know that I have learned over the years, always, when nearly everybody is thinking the same way that means somebody’s not thinking that means we got to start thinking about it and see if there’s not another way, another approach. Because if everybody says the sky is blue, I at least urge you to go and look out the window and see if it’s blue because I have found that most people won’t even bother to look out the window. If they see on the television or in the newspaper or something that everybody says the sky is blue, I at least urge them to look out the window. I find that most people don’t want to do their homework, that’s the first problem that many people have, is just doing simple homework.
“…no matter what we all know today, it’s not going to be true in 10 or 15 years…”
It is rare that investors are given a road map. It is rarer still that the vast majority of those who get it are unable to understand the clear signs and directions it contains. When this happens the few who can actually read the map find themselves in an enviable position. Such is currently the case with gold and gold-related investments.
The common wisdom on Wall Street is that gold has seen the moment of its greatness flicker. This confidence has been fueled by three beliefs: A) the Fed will soon begin trimming its monthly purchases of Treasury and Mortgage Backed Securities (commonly called the “taper”), B) the growing strength of the U.S. economy is creating investment opportunities that will cause people to dump defensive assets like gold, and C) the renewed confidence in the U.S. economy will shore up the dollar and severely diminish gold’s allure as a safe haven. All three of these assumptions are false. (Our new edition of the Global Investor Newsletter explores how the attraction never dimmed in India).
The U.S. government defaulted after the Revolutionary War, and it defaulted at intervals thereafter. Moreover, on the authority of the chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, the government means to keep right on shirking, dodging or trimming, if not legally defaulting.
Default means to not pay as promised, and politics may interrupt the timely service of the government’s debts. The consequences of such a disruption could — as everyone knows by now — set Wall Street on its ear. But after the various branches of government resume talking and investors have collected themselves, the Treasury will have no trouble finding the necessary billions with which to pay its bills. The Federal Reserve can materialize the scrip on a computer screen.
Things were very different when America owed the kind of dollars that couldn’t just be whistled into existence. By 1790, the new republic was in arrears on $11,710,000 in foreign debt. These were obligations payable in gold and silver. Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the Treasury, duly paid them. In doing so, he cured a default. Continue reading »
“The American people are being bamboozled into believing that you have to keep spending for ever,” Ron Paul exclaims, as “neither side is truly looking for spending cuts.” As he explains they all know that increasing spending is all that can maintain the status quo. In this brief CNBC clip, Paul says playing the blame game is ignorant of the reality that both sides are “rigid with bad ideas,” dismissing Obama’s ‘faction’ comments. For a glimpse at the chaos underlying the status quo (that is being exposed this week), Paul blasts that “it is a philosophy of government that is to blame; Keynesianism, Militarism, and Interventionism, and the funny-money system that we use. All that has come together and the country is bankrupt and nobody wants to amid it.”
“Why in the world can’t the people have an option to opt-out?” is the middle ground possibility that Paul suggests…
“While more are waking up to it (especially in light of the non-essential services furloughs currently), there is still an appetite for big government – people are afraid to give up on it.”
The Democrats are just as “rigid” as the Republicans.. “They are rigid with bad ideas too in that “deficits don’t matter, the government has to spend, and the government has to take care of us, and you should print money when you need it.”
Paul goes on to discuss Gold “all central banks work together – they collude”
… Moral convictions, “right or wrong”, and “the only thing that really counts is what the American people believe the role of government should be… and if deficits don’t matter, it will not be a shutdown of government but a breakdown of government that occurs“
Karen Hudes is a graduate of Yale Law School and she worked in the legal department of the World Bank for more than 20 years. In fact, when she was fired for blowing the whistle on corruption inside the World Bank, she held the position of Senior Counsel. She was in a unique position to see exactly how the global elite rule the world, and the information that she is now revealing to the public is absolutely stunning. According to Hudes, the elite use a very tight core of financial institutions and mega-corporations to dominate the planet. The goal is control. They want all of us enslaved to debt, they want all of our governments enslaved to debt, and they want all of our politicians addicted to the huge financial contributions that they funnel into their campaigns. Since the elite also own all of the big media companies, the mainstream media never lets us in on the secret that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way that our system works.Remember, this is not some “conspiracy theorist” that is saying these things. This is a Yale-educated attorney that worked inside the World Bank for more than two decades. The following summary of her credentials comes directly from her website:Continue reading »
This morning the National Bank of Panama announced that it was suspending all services until Tuesday the 1st of October. The National Bank of Panama says that the reason is to upgrade systems. The Banking Holiday in Panama was announced this am.
This system wide shutdown has country wide implications. The National Bank of Panama did not warn the people before making the announcement and shutting down the banks. The people do not have access to ATM’s either. We received word of this from family members first. This weekend is payday for people across Panama.
Canadian billionaire businessman Ned Goodman predicts the end of the U.S. Dollar as the world’s reserve currency. He predicts the transition out of the U.S. Dollar will become, “…quite ugly.” He delivered the lecture at Cambridge House’s Toronto Resource Investment Conference 2013 on Thursday, September 12, 2013.
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during President Reagan’s first term. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. He has held numerous academic appointments, including the William E. Simon Chair, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University, and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution, Stanford University.
When it comes to war in Syria, economist Dr. Paul Craig Roberts says, “This time the big lie didn’t work like it did in Iraq.” On fallout of a possible Syrian war, Dr. Roberts worries, “If they start abandoning the dollar, the collapse of the exchange rate will bring down the whole house of cards in the United States. The Fed will lose control. The banks will fail. Prices will rise dramatically. People will essentially not be able to pay their bills. It will be an unbelievable mess.” What would happen to gold with a Syrian war? Dr. Roberts says, “If you get a real collapse in the dollar, gold could be $30,000 an ounce. Who knows?” Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with former Assistant Treasury Secretary Dr Paul Craig Roberts.
Curious where all the demand for (immediate) physical gold (delivery) is coming from (as detailed here first in April)? As it turns out, so is JPMorgan.From this week’s Flows & Liquidity
SEC filings showed that the largest hedge fund holders of the gold ETFs liquidated most of their positions in Q2, although the single largest holder commented that they had simply switched their exposure from ETFs to the OTC derivative market as the current downward sloping forward curve makes it cheaper to be long gold through futures than via the ETF. Figure 7 shows the annualized % difference between the 1st and 2nd COMEX gold futures contracts going back over the past 30 years on a weekly basis. As the figure shows, a backwardated (downward sloping) gold forward curve is very unusual. This is an indicator of how strong physical demand is, i.e. spot is bid up relative to forward prices due to strong demand for immediate delivery of gold.
Ostensibly, this means that until the Bundesbank and/or PBOC finally issue a relevant 8-K, the “confusion” will continue.
On the surface, there is nothing spectacular about the weekend news that JPMorgan is seeking to sell its 1 Chase Manhattan Plaza office building. After all, the former headquarters of Chase Manhattan Bank, located deep in the heart of the financial district and which was built by its then chairman David Rockefeller, is a remnant to another time – a time when banking was about providing loans, not about managing and trading assets which has become the realm of Midtown New York, and since JPM already has extensive Midtown exposure with its offices at 270, 270 and 245 Park, the 1 CMP building always stood out as a bit of a sore thumb. Of course, as Zero Hedge readers first learned, the big surprise is literally below the surface, some 90 feet below street level to be exact, where the formerly secret JPM gold vault is located, which also happens to be the biggest commercial gold vault in the world.
This is not to say gold is not affected by Macro issues. But that is very different than saying Gold has a fundamental value, an intrinsic worth. It does not. [. . .] Gold is not, and can never be, an investment. It has no true intrinsic value, no cash flow, no earnings, no coupon[,] no yield. What people call fundamentals are nothing more than broad macro analysis (and how have your macro funds done lately?). Gold is the ultimate greater fool trade, with many of its owners part of a collective belief theory rife with cognitive errors and bias. [bold emphasis in the original]
In the years 2006 and 2007, the underlying stability of the global economy and the U.S. credit base in particular was experiencing intense scrutiny by alternative economic analysts. The mortgage-driven Xanadu that was the late 1990s and early 2000s seemed just too good to be true. Many of us pointed out that such a system, based on dubious debt instruments animated by the central banking voodoo of arbitrary fractional reserve lending and fiat cash creation, could not possibly survive for very long. A crash was coming, it was coming soon, and most of our society was either too stupid to recognize the problem or too frightened to accept the reality they knew was just over the horizon.
As India continues to wage war with gold, investors are seeking out the yellow metal through any means available. Reports today suggest that there is not enough room on commercial flights into Dubai for all those investors seeking to purchase gold. “I cannot find a place for transporting gold on Emirates, on BA or Swiss Airlines this weekend,” lamented Tarek El Mdaka, the managing director of Kaloti Gold in Dubai adding he is shipping as much as 2 tonnes of gold every day.1 As we had suspected, it would appear that the Indian gold trade has moved offshore to avoid the restrictions on imports and extra taxes imposed. However, this is not the biggest change in the Indian precious metals market – silver imports have exploded.
“Somewhere ahead I expect to see a worldwide panic-scramble for gold as it dawns on the world population that they have been hoodwinked by the central banks’ creation of so-called paper wealth. No central bank has ever produced a single element of true, sustainable wealth. In their heart of hearts, men know this. Which is why, in experiment after experiment with fiat money, gold has always turned out to be the last man standing.” – Richard Russell
Gold premiums doubled in India on Wednesday as suppliers struggled to meet surging demand after a ban on consignment imports, but futures prices fell to their lowest in more than a month as international gold prices fell due to a strong dollar.
India, the world’s biggest buyer of gold, now requires importers to pay upfront for inventory, making it difficult for smaller jewellers with lower working capital to source supplies. The government also raised the import duty to 8 percent in May to keep a lid on the surging current account deficit.
There may come a day soon where the markets sell off if one of the whiskers in Big Ben’s beard is out of place. Or perhaps if his tie is a bit crooked. Or maybe we end up with Janet Yellen as the next puppet in charge over at the local banking cabal and we fret about her hairdo. I don’t know, but one thing that is for certain is that this central bank so wants to be loved and we are so under psychological attack with all of this QE nonsense that it isn’t even funny.
QE is the endgame. ZIRP was only the beginning. QE, or monetization (which they’ll never call it because of the negative connotations), is the heroic measure applied to an already dead system. Our system, for all intent and purposes, died in 2008. It ceased to exist. The investing, economic, and business paradigm that has existed since is drastically different than its predecessor despite all the efforts being made to convince everyone, including Humpty Dumpty, that it is in fact 2005 all over again.
Now we get to the fun part of the game. This is the part where the not-so-USFed wants to give the idea that it is tapering (buzzword of the month) without actually doing so. There will be no tapering. There will be no end to QE. The goose (Americans and their willingness to continue to pile up debt) is still laying the golden eggs. And even if they make paper contracts on those golden eggs gyrate wildly in price, they still want them. The quislings on television who are gleefully bashing precious metals this morning? They want them. They want your physical metal. These folks will swim through any sewer to get that which they desire. If you don’t understand the Machiavellian nature of your enemy, then you’re in for an extremely rough ride. This is no playground. This is a battlefield (credit to Chuck Baldwin). They’re playing chess and we’re still playing Tiddly Winks.
As shown two months ago, the marginal cost of production of gold (90% percentile) in 2013 was estimated at $1300 including capex. Which means that as of a few days ago, gold is now trading well below not only the cash cost, but is rapidly approaching the marginal cash cost of $1104…
Which means that of the following mines (as we showed here) which make up the gold cost curve, one by one, starting on the right and going left, production is going to go dark, even without the recent demand by South African gold miner labor unions to have their wages doubled. Until eventually virtually no gold will be produced. Continue reading »
The antimicrobial treatment could help to solve modern bacterial resistance
Like werewolves and vampires, bacteria have a weakness: silver. The precious metal has been used to fight infection for thousands of years — Hippocrates first described its antimicrobial properties in 400 bc — but how it works has been a mystery. Now, a team led by James Collins, a biomedical engineer at Boston University in Massachusetts, has described how silver can disrupt bacteria, and shown that the ancient treatment could help to deal with the thoroughly modern scourge of antibiotic resistance. The work is published today in Science Translational Medicine.
“Resistance is growing, while the number of new antibiotics in development is dropping,” says Collins. “We wanted to find a way to make what we have work better.”