QE2: The Road to a Gold Standard
Use the above link to subscribe to the paid research reports, which include coverage of critically important factors at work during the ongoing panicky attempt to sustain an unsustainable system burdened by numerous imbalances aggravated by global village forces. An historically unprecedented mess has been created by compromised central bankers and inept economic advisors, whose interference has irreversibly altered and damaged the world financial system, urgently pushed after the removed anchor of money to gold. Analysis features Gold, Crude Oil, USDollar, Treasury bonds, and inter-market dynamics with the US Economy and US Federal Reserve monetary policy.
What an incredible few weeks with global uprisings! It is not all too surprising that social eruptions over food prices come from the Arab world, since they spend up to 75% to 80% of income on food for basic needs. What proof that the global economy is not a closed system! The QE and QE2 initiatives have spread like a powerful virus, leading to global commodity prices heading upward and quickly. Even cotton is up 170% in price. The USFed has suffered even more credibility blows, calling the global food price inflation unrelated to its QE2 policy. It is obviously connected. What we have is the Western Big Banks protected from fraud prosecution, redeemed for their broken toxic balance sheets at government expense, leading to a global price tag in the form of foodstuffs and commodities. Worse, the USGovt and USFed continue to be run by fraud kings, who continue to maintain a tight strangehold on the purse of the state and the Printing Pre$$ itself that produce deficit spending and fresh phony money. Ironically, the punishment for the US banking system is chronic unending insolvency. Despite the largesse to prop them up, fund their channels, redeem their toxic debt, enrich their executive packages, they remain the same Zombie banks from late 2008. Tragically, the USGovt will continue to fund their black holes instead of restructuring like Iceland, which is back on its feet. The battle cry of Too Big To Fail for the Big US Banks is a call to sustain the corruption and to ensure no recovery ever!!
In the meantime, fast rising gasoline prices and higher crude oil price, along with a host of industrial metals like copper, have lifted the entire cost structure of the USEconomy, and the global economy since all are priced in US$ terms. The banking officials act like keeping US wages down it a noble objective with a national purpose. It is indeed a noble purpose, as the nobility remain with money, but the masses will not be capable of effectively dealing with the cost squeeze. Businesses not well placed within the Fascist Business Model will also fare poorly. The list of US companies is long that have complained of an important cost squeeze. Expect many businesses to suffer a vanished profit margin in the next few months. The process has already begun, in fact well along. Across the oceans, the untold story on the geopolitical front is not the billboard message given by the obedient US press. The Arab world does not simply demonstrate on the city streets as a result of higher cost for hummus, bread, and cooking oil. The Arab people sense the demise of the Anglo Empire. They sense the end of the US & UK support for their tyrants and royals, who have enriched themselves and their families. The Arab people sense a weakening of their leaders and their system of government, often harsh and repressive. The food prices only serve as a lightning rod to gather the people together. What is happening is the defacto Petro-Dollar Standard is crumbing ever so slowly. Many eyes are fixed on Saudi Arabia, where the royals are increasingly fearful. All hell breaks loose if the Saudis lose their grip of the Petro-Dollar device, by which the OPEC crude oil is sold in USDollar terms. THE PETRO-DOLLAR IS THE LACE ON THE CORSET THAT SUPPORTS THE THE ANGLO-AMERICAN FRONTISPIECE. Remove the Petro-Dollar practice in global crude oil sales, and the United States becomes isolated, its currency rejected, since it cannot stand on its own. Observe the US trade gap and escalating federal deficit.
Put aside the fundamentals of Silver. It continues to see huge industrial demand, no replacement opportunities, and totally depleted stockpiles. It continues to see skyrocketing investment demand growth, massive shortages for national coin mints, and reports of extreme machinations to relieve the inventory shortages at exchanges. Focus instead on the silver market. The everpresent Big US Banks continue to ply their trade, selling silver contracts without benefit of posting collateral, otherwise known as naked shorting. However, since the autumn months, their game, their modus operandi, has backfired badly in their faces. By means of lowering the paper contract silver price, they enable a cheaper physical silver price. Imagine being a big buyer of silver bullion metal. If the strongarm syndicate forces choose to offer a discount from the corrupted price discovery system, then the outcome is hardly favorable. The physical buyers ramp up their purchases, enjoy the price discount, and thank the absurd connection between the paper silver and physical silver markets. In fact, evidence is growing fast that the two markets are gradually diverging. The Jackass forecast from months ago was for the eventual divergence between the paper silver market, where increasingly contract settlement takes place in cash (with a 25% bribe to keep quiet and walk away) and the physical market, where acute shortages have not stopped the aggressive purchases of those seeking to diversify out of the USDollar.
Aw heck!! Don't put the shortage aside. Observe it instead and take personal action with the remaining wealth not destroyed. Understand the incredible shortage. Thanks to Nick Laird of Sharelynx for the fine chart. By the way, shortages result in massive price increases to achieve balance between Supply & Demand, a concept totally missed by the clueless cast of economists that litter the USGovt and Wall Street landscape. They believe price is something achieved by JPMorgan market intervention, for the national good. They wrecked the system and markets, yet remain in control of the USGovt and its finance ministry. They should be in prison. They should watch over their shoulders.
In the last week, two significant factors must be mentioned, each important in its own right. Last week, both factors were overrun by the silver market as new highs were established in the silver price. Options expiration for silver futures contracts usually brings about a huge ambush by the usual suspects, the Big US Banks, who sell vast additional futures contracts without posting any collateral. Mere mortals are prohibited from such naked shorts! Usually the imminent options expiration date results in a significant sudden swoon in the silver price, at least in the futures market, the so-called but increasingly absurd price discovery arena. This past week, the silver price zoomed toward $34/oz despite the threat of ambush, in total defiance to the options expiration deadline. Also, the COMEX in their height of wisdom and market rig efforts decided to raise the margin requirements for silver, for the umpteenth time since last summer. Usually such a margin hike results in a significant price drop like a wind sheer to an commercial jet aircraft. This past week, the silver price zoomed toward $34/oz despite the threat of margin ambush, in total defiance to the greater hardship to maintain margin. It is unusual to see a silver price advance in the face of one such factor. But it rose with gusto in the face of two important obstacles. My forecast in the last few months has been steady, that silver would lead the precious metals. That has been confirmed. While silver raced past $30 and $31 with ease, Gold has yet to confirm the breakout beyond the January highs. All in time.
A final comment on price estimates for goals and targets. As preface, consider that despite a powerful USEconomic recession in progress, and despite earnings declines for the major US companies, and despite the profit margin compression to lower levels from rising costs, the S&P500 companies have a collective Price/Earnings Ratio that stands as ridiculously high. The absurdity lies in forward P/E Ratios, since the supposed expert equity analysts do not factor in the rising costs and falling profit margins. Estimates on future earnings are ridiculously low and totally fallacious. The P/E Ratios might be subject to division by zero soon, as profit margins vanish from fast rising costs. Numerous companies from Whirlpool to Kraft have tipped the market off, but the market has so far ignored the warning call about costs. These costs are obvious consequences to the Quantitative Easing initiatives done by the US Federal Reserve. Next consider the estimated price target for Gold if the monetary aggregate is based in gold held by the USGovt in reserves. My argument, and the argument of many informed analysts, is that the USGovt has no possession of gold whatsoever, having leased and sold the entirety of Fort Knox, then sold European gold, then sold Chinese gold. So the recent estimates of $7000/oz gold or $8000/oz gold make little sense if the monetary aggregate is divided by a gold reserves quantity likely to be ZERO, bound by lies at worst and myth at best. Therefore, the potential Gold price is infinite, since division by zero cannot be done. This utterly basic point escapes many conventional analysts, who have yet to benefit from any independent audit of the gold reserves. The claim of national security is given, but the reality is more like national insecurity!
It should always be noted that silver has gained much greater acceptance as a monetary asset. The Chinese Govt in February announced a new objective to put into action, for diversifying their reserve assets to include silver and platinum. This is huge news. Never before has the silver metal been included in national sovereign reserves management, an unprecedented event. Gold awaits confirmation of the silver breakout. The momentum swing move was so quick, so sudden, so breaktaking, so powerful, that it could not be sustained. Just like in the last four months of year 2010, expect the corrections to be brief and not too painful. After three or four such mini-corrections, only later can the silver market expect another consolidation that endures like what was seen in January. Maybe by June the timing will produce a month of consolidation.
THREAT OF USDOLLAR CRISIS
The Bernanke USFed is on the road to triggering a USDollar panic, a run on the buck. The USEconomy can become more competitive if the USDollar declines hard and worker pay scales fall hard. In the view of many, QE2 then QE3 will present two alternatives, rabid price inflation or USTreasury debt default. A QE3 program is guaranteed by the chronic federal deficit in excess of $1.5 trillion. Even the usually compliant Wall Street Journal has been opposing USFed policy, with dire warnings of deep USDollar devaluation, debt downgrade, and hefty labor wage cuts. Higher USTreasury Bond yields are the currently ignored flashing signal, hardly what Bernanke promised over a year ago when QE1 was launched, and hardly what he promised when QE2 was launched. But then again, he has been wrong about the housing market, the mortgage market, the economic recovery, nascent price inflation, bank stability, a housing recovery, and just about everything. Serving as Secretary of Inflation, he manages the money creation diligently and liquidity facilities with such aplomb and dexterity. Thus he is revered. Unlike the Great Depression, for which he is a revisionist history expert, massive price inflation has begun to accompany the hyper-inflation on the monetary side. Bernanke was selected as the dumb professor in residence, the bag holder, the obedient lackey, and idiot savant. My forecast is for both rabid price inflation and USTreasury debt default, the former in spades at this moment and the latter in due time.
If the USDollar declines significantly more than what it did in the 2000 decade, and worker wages fall to more competitive levels, then to be sure the US labor market would find itself more in line with foreign worker wage levels. A stimulus would be felt, but at a great cost. The price inflation effects would be powerful, while the lower income purchase power would aggravate the price effects in a profound double whammy. US households would feel an introduction to the Third World of poverty. USTreasury Bond yields have risen markedly in the last several months since the USFed announced the reckless QE2 bond purchase program born of cancer. Focus on the opposite ends of the USTreasury yield curve. The 30-year USTBond yield has shot up noticeably, the opposite of what the oafish clownish Bernanke expected. During that time, the 2-year USTBill yield has been stuck under 0.5% for over a year. The Treasury Yield Curve has grown steeper, which normally happens at the beginning of a recovery, due to investors moving out of risk free bonds into riskier assets like stocks. This time around, the steeper yield curve signals the advent of unwanted price inflation without any trace of recovery prospects. In a typical credit cycle, the yield on the long-term bond would start to fall due to investor expections that the USFed intention to raise short-term rates to curb potential inflation. The yield curve is signaling one of two things: inflation or default. My forecast is for BOTH. In fact, NO signal can be seen of a robust recovery. Fast rising costs are spreading like a powerful virus across the USEconomy. The latest crude oil threat out of Libya highlights the viral aspect. Businesses will suffer vanishing profit margins. Household will suffer vanishing extra income, the discretionary spending source.
The USFed credibility will experience yet another huge blow when prices rise across the entire spectrum but they take no action. They will instead deny the price inflation and point to absurd meaningless measures, their habit. The preppy lieutenant in charge, Geithner actually claimed that the banking officials had ample experience dealing with the crude oil threat. Mularky! They are experts at producing inflation and asset bubbles, following by fraud coverups and regulatory body silence. Even worse, US bank leaders will explain the urgent need for QE3, especially when the new USGovt fiscal budget is approved, complete with its inherent deficit estimated to be at least $1.6 trillion. USGovt debt buying has dried up. Recall the baseless chatter two years ago about reducing the deficit from $1.3 trillion to $500 billion in two to three years. The Jackass rebuttal stated in early 2009 was to expect $1.5 trillion federal deficits for as far as the eye can see. We have exactly that! The Bernanke Fed is totally committed to keeping interest rates low for an extended period, like forever. Chronic high deficits and a crippled housing market guarantee 0% rate policy continuation forever, or at least until a USTreasury Bond default. Few mention even in the gold community that the high negative real rate of inflation is the most powerful elixir and fuel propellant for the Gold price rocket. With the true CPI at 8% and rising (see the Shadow Govt Statistics), and near 0% official FedFunds rate, the real rate is falling more dangerously negative. Such is constant fuel for the rising Gold price. The flood of extra liquidity has lifted commodities prices in a grotesque display of unintended consequences.
A climax comes for an end of the USDollar. The extravaganza of monetary expansion ushers in the advent of hyper-inflation. The response will be an urgent global demand for monetary discipline. The Gold Standard is a device for that discipline. The demand for USDollar as well as other currencies comes from the failure of the bond world, including sovereign bonds. The supply for USDollars as well as other currencies comes largely from the Printing Pre$$, gargantuan government deficits, and coverage of black holes like the credit derivatives and Fannie Mae mortgages. Witness an historic bust of a fiat currency system resting upon numerous economies built atop bubbles. A revolution in currencies is in progress. Hyper-inflation in prices is well on its way, the aftermath from monetary hyper-inflation by reckless bankers insistent on bailing out bank failures, enabling bank frauds, and providing banker bonuses. Even Black Swan author Nassim Taleb urges avoidance of the USTreasury Bond and the USDollar. Taleb trumpets a theme, advising every single human being to bet Treasurys will decline because of the policies of USFed Chairman Bernanke and the Obama Admin. Taleb believes the United States is just like Greece, only without the Intl Monetary Fund to enforce discipline. Worse, the Euro Central Bank is often a voice of restraint, whereas the USFed is the grand centrifuge of inflation and perpetrator of monetary fraud. Bill Gross of PIMCO also believes the a bond riot would be a positive event to enforce debt discipline by the USGovt. The USTreasury Bond is the final asset bubble, but a very harmful one. Its bust will ensure an economic depression, and an explosion in the price of Gold & Silver, even crude oil. Gold is guaranteed to rise by double, and silver certainly much more. If a USTreasury Bond bust occurs, the Gold & Silver prices will rise to breathtaking levels. Those who believe Silver will be harmed by economic ruin are just plain morons. Their deflation arguments are the dumbest chapters written in our day, since they ignore the monetary inflation response and how Silver has been included as a monetary asset, even a reserve asset.
THE GOLD STANDARD, RELUCTANTLY
A powerful Reactive Law of Nature dictates that in the absence of a Gold Standard, the world will seek an alternative, a quasi-Standard, a stand-in substitute, whatever functions reasonably well or effectively. Crude oil and homes served well. Nowadays the entire commodity basket serves the purpose, except that means a destructive rising cost structure. Recall the fraudulent underpinning of the QE2 movement itself, to produce jobs and stimulate the USEconomy. One must be a total blockhead idiot to believe that further Quantitative Easing, aka monetary hyper-inflation, would stimulate any economy. Instead it will act like a huge wet blanket, one that even eliminates a return on investments in savings certificates of deposit, keeps down the earnings that fund pensions, and much more. The hidden message behind the QE2 chapter, the second of many, is that the USFed is planning to give every working man and woman in the US a big pay cut, so the USEconomy can more capably compete with foreign labor. The US is heading to a dangerous place where poverty abounds, the population is rendered unable to contend with the rising costs, shortages crop up, and labor turns cheap. The many claims that the USTreasury Bonds cannot default come from simple minds and empty craniums, fed by propaganda and arrogance. They have never seen a run on the USDollar, which has begun.
China might be considering a gold-backed Yuan currency. But they must not go alone. Any launch of a currency with strong basis foundation will threaten to de-throne the USDollar. China must NOT form the lone currency with a gold component in operation. If China did it alone, embarked on the path without other monetary allies like Russia or Germany, then the Yuan currency would rise by 50% to 100% quickly. That would kill their export industry and turn the economy of the Middle Kingdom into a burned crisp. Such a radical move must be done in concert with most of the world monetary leaders, excluding the most egregious nations in violation. Point the finger at two nations most responsible for bond fraud, market interventions, bank insolvency, and constant monetary inflation. Read the United States and United Kingdom. Basically, those nations not participating with the Chinese lead would plunge into the Third World. A Gold-backed Yuan could happen alongside a Gold-backed Nordic Euro, a planned coordinated direction. Try to imagine the US & UK, along with PIGS nations, bidding up the Yuan and Nordic Euro, killing the USDollar and other native currencies. That process would force a shocking price inflation episode on American and British soil, as well as Southern Europe, that would invite a systemic failure. No global financial dominance is possible without control of global monetary system from a catbird seat, a control position. The fallen nations, if debt burdened, risk falling into the Third World in the flip flop. The rise of China can only come if the United States falls perilously. Such is the powerful motive for world war.
Dominique Strauss-Kahn from the Intl Monetary Fund has called for a new world currency. All such attempts to replace the USDollar by a basket of paper currencies are absolutely futile. Observe desperate maneuvers to switch discredited executives on a Board of Directors with other unqualified executives. The currency basket concept is a subtle attempt at currency exchange rate fixing, since a basket of currencies inherently would contain fixed ratios within the basket. So if the Powerz cannot prevent a USDollar decline that releases a wave of global price inflation, they might attempt to hitch the US$ to the other damaged currencies in a clever gesture. It will not work. The Axiom of Sound Money dictates that only a hard asset currency can replace a broken fiat paper currency as global reserve for usage widely in banks and commerce. Dominique is totally clueless, preaching in front of a burning bonfire of paper currencies without recognition that the underlying problem is paper money and QE is the lighter fluid. The world needs a reasonable US monetary policy first and foremost!! He advocates inclusion of the Chinese Yuan from the emerging market nations to a basket of currencies that the IMF administers, a move be believes could add stability to the global system and reduce exchange rate volatility. The IMF device called Special Drawing Rights (SDR) is an official fixed basket currently composed of the USDollar, Pound Sterling, Euro, and Yen. The SDR is not a new class, but a repackaged old class. At the Paris G-20 Meeting of finance ministers, absolutely nothing was either agreed upon or solved. The SDR basket vehicle might gain widespread acceptance in order to halt the global price inflation. But its basket will break apart since the USDollar is the generator of monetary hyper-inflation. The fixed inherent ratios would have to change on a weekly basis, not every several years. The reduction by numerous nations in their US$-based reserves in a diversification to a different basket would result in a powerful decline in the USDollar exchange rates. The basket is not a static concept. How idiotic!
A new alternative as supposed solution to the monetary crisis is a foursome basket of global reserve currencies. The world saw a desperate gambit revealed at Davos to retain the fiat paper currencies with multiple reserve currencies. The move would be an exchange rate price fix attempt, nothing more. The concept is akin to the IMF basket, and equally unworkable in a futile attempt to avert imposition of the Gold Standard. Lack of action assures chaos, the Jackass forecast. Action is far too difficult to agree upon and implement. A movement is afoot to create four global reserve currencies, as other major currencies would join the crippled USDollar. The vehicle instrument would be the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) from the IMF. This is a crackpot concept born of total desperation and steadfast refusal to work toward realistic reform, simply a patchwork of the broken currency regime. Multiple reserve currencies would mean immediate diversification out of the USDollar, and thus a significant US$ devaluation within the process of its actual installation, since the US$ would go from 65% to 30% of reserves held officially. The four-part reserve basket could work for a short time, like a month or two, provided the USDollar is devaluated by 20% suddenly within the basket inception. How totally unworkable, as though a sudden change could avoid a transition. These bankers are idiots as much as witch doctors.
Alan Greenspan supports the Gold Standard. After almost two decades of making great contributions to destroying the global monetary system, encouraging a sequence of asset bubbles, blessing them as good, and reinforcing the calamitous bank derivative foundation, Greenspan repeated his devotion to the inert precious metal of historical importance. A Gold Standard would enforce laws against abuse, fraud, and basic counterfeit. The Gold price in the sanctified regime would require a reset to at least $6000 per ounce. One must truly wonder if Greenspan, along with countless other monetary criminals of our era, have invested personal fortunes in Gold while destroying the global monetary system in thorough fashion. My suspicion is that for over 15 years, Greenspan, Rubin, Paulson, Dimon, Blankfein, Mack, and a dozen major Wall Street executives took the opposite long gold position in their personal accounts while their wrecked corporations took the short gold position. Former USFed Chairman Greenspan again reiterated his support for the Gold Standard, following World Bank president Robert Zoellick, credit analyst Jim Grant, and Kansas City Fed president Thomas Hoenig. They have no political capital to lose in doing so, since none is elected. They are all elite members of different pedigree.
Greenspan stands out as the person most responsible for the American addiction to cheap toxic credit, the nearly complete destruction of the middle class, displaced industry, a ruined economy, and insolvent banking system. Greenspan said, "We have at this particular stage a fiat money which is essentially money printed by a government. It is usually a central bank which is authorized to do so. Some mechanism has got to be in place that restricts the amount of money which is produced, either a Gold Standard or a currency board, because unless you do that, all of history suggest that inflation will take hold with very deleterious effects on economic activity. There are numbers of us, myself included, who strongly believe that we did very well in the 1870 to 1914 period with an international gold standard." The deleterious price inflation has arrived. The USEconomic risks depression. Greenspan actually questioned openly whether the United States really needs a central bank.
Some quick napkin calculations. According to Dylan Grice of Societe General, a great adjustment would be required if a Gold Standard is imposed. The monetary base would have to go through a re-index stage, setting the currencies to a real time equivalent price of Gold. He estimates the proper value of Gold to be $6300 per ounce. His reasoning is derived from simple arithmetic. He said, "The US owns nearly 263 million troy ounces of gold, the world's biggest holder. While the Fed's monetary base is $1.7 trillion. So the price of gold at which the US dollars would be fully gold backed is currently around $6300." Next bring into the calculus that the USGovt has almost zero gold except admittedly in Deep Storage reserves, namely mountain ore bodies of yet unmined gold bullion final product, like deep beneath the Rocky Mountains. Primary school arithmetic teaches us that when zero enters the denominator, the resulting quotient bears an infinite result. Hence, the gold price in USDollar terms, given the total lack of gold reserves, has an infinite potential price. The Jackass believes that no upper barrier exists in the Gold price. The march upward in price will be halted only when a global replacement to the USDollar is launched, with great effort, courage, and gold initiative. The Gold Standard is not only the obvious solution to enforce discipline, it is a reluctant solution since the banker elite prefer their fraud.
The next QE3 initiative will be born from desperate need. Numerous causes will be put forward as beneficiary to the next Quantitative Easing chapter. It will form like a bandwagon. Its approval will invite a global shrill outcry, and demand for a Gold Standard. The USFed must overcome the price inflation (especially food) objections in order to win political approval. That would involve a vigorous debate to be sure, but one that USFed and USCongress can overtime with other false promises and twisted logic, their specialties. The QE programs will be endless until the United States is cut off globally. Many are the causes and suppliers of bonds for entry toward USFed support in QE3, via the monetization engines. Of course, the USTreasury Bonds will need buyers, given the chronic continuing yawning federal deficits. The Fannie Mae mortgage bonds will need buyers, given the desired movement to phase out the toxic firm (key word desire). It will never be phased out, any more than a garbage dump is removed from city outskirts. Big US Banks will stand in line looking for buyers for the flood of Mortgage Putbacks, given the court decisions that come and the MERS court dismissal of legal standing. The Municipal Bonds are overdue for needed buyers, given the plight of the states and cities, provided they all abandon their employee pension obligations. The hidden need is for the derivatives that hold together the US banking system structurally, in particular the Interest Rate Swaps, given the difficulty in keeping interest rates down. So the advent of QE3 is a lock, my forecast. The Bernanke Fed must sell QE3 from urgency and national survival!! His credibility has never been lower, still falling rapidly with each passing month and each fresh chaotic outbreak like Egypt and Libya. Each QE chapter makes the next far easier to sell, since desperation and ruin are nearer to the system and its participants. Prepare for QE to infinity!!
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February 22, 2011
Jim Willie CB is a statistical analyst in marketing research and retail forecasting. He holds a PhD in Statistics. His career has stretched over 25 years. He aspires to thrive in the financial editor world, unencumbered by the limitations of economic credentials. Visit his free website to find articles from topflight authors at www.GoldenJackass.com. For personal questions about subscriptions, contact him at JimWillieCB@aol.com