Author Archives: Claudio Grass

     

 

 

A Strong First Half of the Year, Followed by Another Retreat

In early 2016 gold had a big bull run. The precious metal rose close to 25% this year, pushed higher in a summer rally that peaked on July 10th. Gold experienced a bumpy ride over the remainder of the summer though, as investors became increasingly concerned about a potential rate hike by the Federal Reserve. Uncertainty returned to gold market and has intensified further since then.

 

chart-1-gold-annotatedInitially, gold rallied sharply in 2016, but then retreated again in the second half as concerns over Fed rate hikes and the impact of Mr. Trump’s election victory have pushed bond yields and the US dollar up in the short term.

 

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The U.S. Elections: The Latest Crack in the System

The 2016 U.S. presidential elections are unprecedented: I don’t believe we have ever witnessed before a campaign year so toxic, so dangerously divisive and full of ad hominem attacks. Both camps have vilified the opposition and their followers, creating a schism in society. There has been no rational dialogue on the issues that truly concern the American public.

 

votersThe schism

Illustration by : M. C. Escher

 

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Lurid Media Coverage

In recent months, more and more of our clients and friends from overseas are asking us whether it is safe to travel to Europe. These fears are understandable, given the media coverage of the tragic events that occurred this year. The press painted a sinister and truly graphic picture of Europe as a war zone, as a target of global terrorism.

 

the-scenes-inside-brussels-airport-after-the-attackInside the Brussels airport shortly after the bomb blast in March.

Photo credit: Pavel Ohal

 

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Mounting Resistance

Thousands of people recently demonstrated in Brussels against free trade deals negotiated by the EU. This happened just days before a meeting of EU trade ministers in Bratislava last Friday, which was considered the last push to salvage the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the United States. Not only is Europe divided on the deal, but the talks have been extremely secretive.

 

in-the-darkThis placard carried by anti-TTIP protesters in Brussels goes to the heart of the problem, namely the secrecy characterizing the deal.

Photo via flushthetpp.org

 

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Renewed Escalation

This summer witnessed a renewed escalation between Russia and Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine of sending saboteurs to attack Russian troops, targeting “critical infrastructure”. Kiev denied the allegations and claimed Russia’s “fantasy” was nothing but a false pretense to launch a “new invasion”.

 


August 10: Russian president Putin announces that there was an altercation involving a group of Ukrainian saboteurs at the border with Crimea. We note he appeared to be genuinely angry about it.

 

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The Rationale for Interventionism

It has been almost eight years since former U.S. President George W. Bush warned the world that “without immediate action by Congress, America could slip into a financial panic and a distressing scenario would unfold.”

 

rescue party before destroying villageSeptember 2008: a solemn-faced “rescue party” of bureaucrats and politicians (from left to right: Ben Bernanke, GW Bush, Hank Paulson and Donald Cox) announces that the village needs to be destroyed in order to save it (“normally, we’re all for free market capitalism, just not this time”).

Photo credit: Credit Larry Downing / Reuters

 

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The “Third Way”

 

“Stealth, intrigue, subversion, and the deception of never calling socialism by its right name” – George Bernard Shaw

 

fabain-2520zAn emblem of the Fabian Society: a wolf in sheep’s clothing

 

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Crumbling Stability

In the past few months, we have witnessed a series of defining events in modern political history, with Britain’s vote to exit the EU, (several) terror attacks in France and Germany, as well as the recent attempted military coup in Europe’s backyard, Turkey.

 

TurmoilGlobal stability continues to be undermined

 

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A Fragile System

 

Ronald StoeferleRonald Stoeferle, managing partner and investment manager at Incrementum AG, and probably best known to our readers as  co-author of the “In Gold We Trust” report, the most widely read gold report in the world

Photo credit: Elke Mayr / WB

 

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The Transition

 

“The chaos that one day will ensue from our 35-year experiment with worldwide fiat money will require a return to money of real value. We will know that day is approaching when oil-producing countries demand gold, or its equivalent, for their oil rather than dollars or euros. The sooner the better.”

Ron Paul

 

oil pipeline to ghawarA new oil pipeline is built in the Saudi desert… this one is apparently destined for the Ghawar oil field, one of the oldest fields in Saudi Arabia and still the largest in the world

Photo credit: Saudi Aramco

 

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Mutating Promises

We are less than one week away from the EU referendum, the moment when the British people will be called upon to make a historic decision – will they vote to “Brexit” or to “Bremain”? Both camps have been going at each other with fierce campaigns to tilt the vote in their direction, but according to the latest polls, with the “Leave” camp’s latest surge still within the margin of error, the outcome is too close to call.

 

corbyn, cameronThe battle lines are drawn….

 

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Introductory Remarks – About Godfrey Bloom

[ed note by PT: Readers may recall our previous presentation of “Godfrey Bloom the Anti-Politician”, which inter alia contains a selection of videos of speeches he gave in the European parliament. Both erudite and entertaining, Mr. Bloom constantly kept the etatistes of the EU on their toes.]

 

1-Godfrey BloomGodfrey Bloom, back in his days as UKIP whip

Photo credit: Reuters

 

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Most read in the last 20 days:

  • America Goes Full Imbecile
      Credit has a wicked way of magnifying a person’s defects.  Even the most cautious man, with unlimited credit, can make mistakes that in retrospect seem absurd.  But an average man, with unlimited credit, is preeminently disposed to going full imbecile.   Let us not forget about this important skill...  [PT]   Several weeks ago we came across a woeful tale of Mike Meru.  Somehow, this special fellow, while of apparent sound mine and worthy intent, racked up...
  • Retail Capitulation – Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Small Crowds, Shrinking Premiums The prices of gold and silver rose five bucks and 37 cents respectively last week. Is this the blast off to da moon for the silver rocket of halcyon days, in other words 2010-2011?   Various gold bars. Coin and bar premiums have been shrinking steadily (as have coin sales of the US Mint by the way), a sign that retail investors have lost interest in gold. There are even more signs of this actually, and this loss of interest stands in stark...
  • Credit Spreads: Polly is Twitching Again - in Europe
      Junk Bond Spread Breakout The famous dead parrot is coming back to life... in an unexpected place. With its QE operations, which included inter alia corporate bonds, the ECB has managed to suppress credit spreads in Europe to truly ludicrous levels. From there, the effect propagated through arbitrage to other developed markets. And yes, this does “support the economy” - mainly by triggering an avalanche of capital malinvestment and creating the associated boom conditions, while...
  • Gold Divergences Emerge
      Bad Hair Day Produces Positive Divergences On Friday the ongoing trade dispute between the US and China was apparently escalated by a notch to the next level, at least verbally. The Trump administration announced a list of tariffs that are supposed to come into force in three week's time and China clicked back by announcing retaliatory action. In effect, the US government said: take that China, we will now really hurt our own consumers!  - and China's mandarins replied: just you wait, we...
  • Industrial Commodities vs. Gold - Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Oil is Different Last week, we showed a graph of rising open interest in crude oil futures. From this, we inferred — incorrectly as it turns out — that the basis must be rising. Why else, we asked, would market makers carry more and more oil?   Crude oil acts differently from gold – and so do all other industrial commodities. What makes them different is that the supply of industrial commodities held in storage as a rule suffices to satisfy industrial demand only for a...
  • Chasing the Wind
      Futility with Purpose Plebeians generally ignore the tact of their economic central planners.  They care more that their meatloaf is hot and their suds are cold, than about any plans being hatched in the capital city.  Nonetheless, the central planners know an angry mob, with torches and pitchforks, are only a few empty bellies away.  Hence, they must always stay on point.   Watch for those pitchfork bearers – they can get real nasty and then heads often roll quite literally....
  • Lift-Off Not (Yet) - Precious Metals Supply and Demand
      Wrong-Way Event Last week we said something that turned out to be prescient:   This is not an environment for a Lift Off Event.   An unfortunate technical mishap interrupted the latest moon-flight of the gold rocket. Fear not true believers, a few positive tracks were left behind. [PT]   The price of gold didn’t move much Mon-Thu last week, though the price of silver did seem to be blasting off. Then on Friday, it reversed hard. We will provide a forensic...
  • Merger Mania and the Kings of Debt
      Another Early Warning Siren Goes Off Our friend Jonathan Tepper of research house Variant Perception (check out their blog to see some of their excellent work) recently pointed out to us that the volume of mergers and acquisitions has increased rather noticeably lately. Some color on this was provided in an article published by Reuters in late May, “Global M&A hits record $2 trillion in the year to date”, which inter alia contained the following chart illustrating the...
  • Cryptocurrency Technicals – Navigating the Bear Market
      A Purely Technical Market Long time readers may recall that we regard Bitcoin and other liquid big cap cryptocurrencies as secondary media of exchange from a monetary theory perspective for the time being. The wave of speculative demand that has propelled them to astonishing heights was triggered by market participants realizing that they have the potential to become money. The process of achieving more widespread adoption of these currencies as a means of payment and establishing...
  • The Fed's “Inflation Target” is Impoverishing American Workers
      Redefined Terms and Absurd Targets At one time, the Federal Reserve's sole mandate was to maintain stable prices and to “fight inflation.”  To the Fed, the financial press, and most everyone else “inflation” means rising prices instead of its original and true definition as an increase in the money supply.  Rising prices are a consequence – a very painful consequence – of money printing.   Fed Chair Jerome Powell apparently does not see the pernicious effects...
  • A Walk on the Wild Side
      A Walk on the Wild Side   “Never play cards with a man called Doc.  Never eat at a place called Mom’s.  Never sleep with a woman whose troubles are worse than your own.” – Nelson Algren, A Walk on the Wild Side   Fresh Fruit or Rotting Vegetables? A subtle gas seems to always be vented into the atmosphere at the sunset of an extended bull market.  As the light fades, an odor that’s indiscernible from that of fresh fruit or rotting vegetables wafts down...

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