Category Archives: Precious Metals

Bitcoin, Propaganda, Fake News And Unmitigated Idiocy

I want to show two quotes from commentators in related areas of financial analysis because they illustrate the difference between truthful commentary and unmitigated idiocy.

Yesterday, James “Mc” wrote in Bill Murphy’s nightly “Midas” report:

“The sexiness of Bitcoin, Tesla, Netflix, and hundreds of other techie things will become FAR less sexy in a good old fashion economic crash. Reality will quickly set in, and real stuff, made by real people will prevail. As history has shown everything else becomes superfluous. Millennials, or even Gen-Xer’s for that matter have never experienced truly hard times. Many will be shocked to learn when TSHTF a plumber is far more marketable than an IT guy. Bartering with Bitcoin might prove problematic.”

I doubt there’s anything with that statement with which anyone could dispute. Murphy prior to that made the valid points that Central Banks and sovereign nations will never incorporate Bitcoin into their currency reserves like they do with gold. The point being that, while Bitcoin is accepted as a form of currency by its users, it is not considered a wealth storage asset.

It would be tough to classify James’ comment as propaganda or fake news. Gold is the world’s second oldest form of money (silver is the oldest). Bitcoin may or may not become a passing fad but it certainly has not stood the test of time. Its use can be eliminated by shutting down the global power grid.

Here’s an example of propaganda, fake news and unmitigated idiocy from Citicorp’s “respected” strategist, Tom Fitzpatrick:

“…markets ultimately will be driven by the economic backdrop rather than by headlines. US labor and housing markets remain robust and should continue to drive growth. European growth is picking up. China remains stable in our view despite recent volatility.” LINK

China remains “stable?” I doubt anyone would disagree that China has fomented the second biggest debt and asset bubble in the world, with the U.S. bubble the largest, and its financial system rests on the precipice of systemic collapse resting on a pyramid of debt and derivatives that requires a flood of printed money and credit creation in order to defer the inevitable financial and economic implosion. That’s the truth, in contrast to Fitzpatrick’s moronic assertion.

As for the remark that the U.S. labor market is “robust.” My guess is that a majority of the 95 million working age people (37% of the working age population) in the U.S. who are no longer considered part of the “labor force” would have a different set of adjectives to describe the labor market here (they would also have a set of adjectives to describe Fitzpatrick that would make some blush).

A “robust” housing market? Total home sales are running two-thirds of the long run average and about 50% the last peak in sales. This is despite a steady long term growth in the population. Furthermore, in order to for a home to sell, in general buyers have to resort to using a 0-3% down payment mortgage and use at least 50% of their monthly income to service the mortgage. An oversupply of housing in New York City and Miami is beginning to crush those two housing markets, a dynamic that will soon spread to most major metro areas across the country. Flippers and “investors” were about 35% of all home sales in 2016.

These are unequivocally NOT the attributes of a “robust” housing market, not to mention the fact that the even the monthly manipulated home sales data series published by the Government and the National Association of Realtors have been trending lower this year. Tom Fitzpatrick’s remarks embody the attributes of Wall Street propaganda,  outright fake news and total unmitigated idiocy.  I hope you get rich selling lies and feel good about it, Tom.

There’s been a lot of debate over the meaning and significance of the parabolic move in Bitcoin.  Allhambra Investments’ Jeffrey Snider has come the closest to the truth by equating the Bitcoin move as the manifestation of Gresham’s law.

While this encapsulates the Bitcoin frenzy, beneath the surface represented by Bitcoin is an even bigger movement  of bad money (fiat currencies) piling into physical gold that is occurring in the eastern hemisphere, specifically in India and China.  The evidence of this movement in the form of a higher price expressed in dollars is being hidden by the continuous intervention in the western gold market implemented by the western Central Banks using paper gold derivatives.

The point of this is that the price of Bitcoin is behaving the way price of gold would be behaving in the absence of manipulation.   The rush into both is a rejection by the market of  the continuous devaluation of fiat currencies that is occurring from the trillions of paper currencies that have been created since 2008.

At some point, and there’s not anyone who can predict when, Tom Fitzpatrick’s fake news and unmitigated idiocy will be exposed for what it is as global financial markets and economies crash and money that is pulled out of bubble assets floods into the safety of physical gold and silver.   At that point the Central Bank effort to suppress the price of gold and silver will fail.

It’s been occurring slowly since 1971 (and really since 1913) and will at some point happen all at once.  Have a great Memorial Day weekend and try to enjoy what you can, as much you can, while you still can.

Analyzing Gold & Silver Stocks: Avoid Barrick

Lior Gantz of the Wealth Research Group invited me onto this show to review Barrick Gold as an investment.  It was an interesting proposition because I was not given advance notice in order to prepare notes or review Barrick’s financials.  The exercise forced me to focus on an overview of my reservations about the quality of Barrick as an investment and point to the critical financial metrics I review when doing a “drive-by” analysis of a prospective mining stock investment.

Investing in the largest mining companies is like investing in IBM instead of the promising emerging technology stocks during the 1990’s technology revolution. The best geologists at the big companies, after they’ve reached a level of financial security, leave to develop new gold and silver projects that are often overlooked or rejected by the big companies. These are the types of investment opportunities that offer the best upside in the sector and these are the opportunities that present in the Mining Stock Journal. In the last 8 weeks two of the companies presented in the Mining Stock Journal have agreed to be acquired (Exeter Resources and Mariana Resources).

Forget GDXJ – Follow The Real Money Into Gold, Silver And Juniors

Silver Doctors / The News Doctors invited me onto their weekly SD Bullion Metals and Markets show to discuss why both the technicals and fundamentals are setting up for an unexpected rally into the summer in gold, silver and the mining shares, specifically the juniors.

Subsequent to our recording, the weekly Commitment of Traders report released Friday showed that the bullion banks continue to cover their net short positions in both gold and silver rather aggressively and the hedge funds are unloading long positions and piling into the short side.  Historically, this has been a set-up for big moves higher in the sector.  The hedge funds chase momentum and they are almost never right in the precious metals sector.  When they pile into short positions, like they are now, it’s always a valid contrarian indicator.  We also discuss why the “summer doldrums” in the precious metals sector is no longer a valid seasonal play.

Another contrarian indicator is the negative sentiment connected to the GDXJ ETF.  Adam Hamilton wrote a non-compelling critique of GDXJ and made the assertion that GDXJ was diverting the flow of capital away from junior companies that deserve to get funding. The problem with this analysis is that retail investor buying of junior mining stocks on the secondary market is not a source of capital for junior mining companies. The secondary trading of stocks is not a source of capital for any stock, for that matter.  ETFs are a “derivative” of the secondary trading market and thus are also not a source of capital for companies.

Junior mining stocks get their capital from new share issuance or from direct investment by strategic investors.  If Hamilton bothered to call on the companies themselves rather than take quarterly filings and throw numbers into a spreadsheet as his primary tool of analysis, he would discover that many junior exploration CEO’s would tell him that they are getting a lot interest from strategic investors. Furthermore, many junior mining companies with investment-worthy stories are having no problem raising capital  through primary share-issuance, notwithstanding the recent turmoil connected to GDXJ. GDXJ is a derivative security. Derivatives are a source of fees for their issuer/sponsors, not a capital raising conduit for companies.

The Mining Stock Journal focuses on the emerging junior exploration mining companies that are seeing an elevated level of investment interest from sophisticated private investment funds and from strategic investors.  These are the stocks that offer the greatest upside-potential in the junior segment of the sector – not the larger-cap, developed companies in the GDXJ Trust.  The latest issue features a company with a potentially prolific gold property that is in negotiations with a strategic investor.  Two juniors featured in the Mining Stock Journal were acquired recently.  Looking at companies one-by-one, not en masse, is how you find the potential home run stocks.  You can learn more about investing in these opportunities here:  Mining Stock Journal information.

Here’s the download for the latest SD Bullion weekly show:  MP3 download  and here’s the podcast:

Phenomenal movement lately with one of your stock picks, Dave, and I have no doubt it’s still in the first inning of what will be a very long game. Superb. Thank you! – subscriber “Mark”

Stock Bubbles, Propaganda And The Deep State

At the close of the Constitutional Convention of 1787, someone asked Ben Franklin: “have we got a Republic or a Monarchy?”  To which Dr. Franklin replied, “A Republic – if you can keep it.”  – from the notes of Dr. James McHenry, one of Maryland’s delegates to the Convention

A “Republic” is defined as a State in which the supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives.  The critical foundation of a Republic is Rule of Law.  When a person or group of people transcend the Rule of Law, and therefore “rise above” the sovereign power, a Republic no longer exists.

The Republic to which Ben Franklin referred no longer exists in the United States.  It’s debatable as to when the Republic status was lost, but the fact that Rule of Law has transformed into Rule of Man is not debatable.   The “invisible” entity known at the Deep State is the ruling body in the U.S.

Evidence of this is ubiquitous.  For example, Barack Obama’s Attorney General, Eric Holder – the chief enforcer and prosecutor in the United States – said with regard to the obvious crimes committed by the big Wall Street banks:  some banks are too large to prosecute. With that, Holder declared that the Too Big To Fail Banks are above the law.   Wall Street, in fact, is an integral part of the Deep State apparatus.

Another essential tool of the Deep State operation is the proliferation of propaganda.  The socially accepted term for “propaganda” is “alternative facts.”  But propaganda is merely a lie that is formulated and presented in a way that a lazy-minded populace will accept as the truth.   The Iraq war is good example.  The propagandists, like Colin Powell, who helped to enable an illegal attack on Iraq by the Bush regime, have openly admitted they lied to get the public behind the invasion.

The current pre-war “alternative fact” propaganda is this idea that Russia interfered in presidential election in order to influence the outcome.  This lie was floated by Hillary Clinton during one of the debates with Trump.  That lie has disturbingly transformed into an insidious lie that is promoted by the media and happily accepted by most Americans.

Another big lie seemingly accepted as truth is the stock market.  Never before in history has the value of the U.S. stock market been as dislocated from the underling fundamental reality than now.  But as long as the Dow and the S&P 500 keep levitating higher, the politicians and economists can point to the stock market as evidence of a healthy economy and “success” with regard to their policies of money printing, credit creation an unfettered Government spending.

(Of course, don’t pay attention to the fact that the median stock that trades on the NYSE is below its 200 day moving averaging and stocks in certain sectors are testing 52-week lows).

In today’s episode of the Shadow of Truth we apply Orwell’s quote – “In our age, there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia” – to 2017 America:

Silver – The Only Commodity 66% Cheaper Than 37 Years Ago

Silver has gone from being the cartel’s kryptonite to being its LHC, or Large Hadron Collider. There are a lot of theories on what is going on with silver but the reality will probably be something even more fantastic. I keep getting back to lumber by way of comparison. The OI in silver is 55 times higher than in lumber, yet the global physical lumber market by dollar volume is actually higher. – quote from LeMetropole Cafe’s “Midas” Report

Those of us who have studied and traded silver for a long time (16 years in my case), have concluded that the Western Central Banks have painted themselves into a corner with their multi-decade effort to control the price of silver. Central Banks ran out of silver to unload on the market a long time ago. As such, they’ve had to resort to using paper derivative silver in the form of Comex futures, LBMA forward and OTC derivatives in their effort to cap the price of silver. In the last year, the amount of paper silver sold short against the available supply physical silver has grown into an astronomical number. At this point the banks can only pray that less than 1% of the longs each delivery period will continue to settle the contracts in cash…

“As a fiduciary, to the extent that you own gold and are going to own it a long time, it is not a trade….in the COMEX warehouse they had $80 Billion of open interest, and $2.7 Billion of deliverables….thats an easy one, you go get it.”  -Kyle Bass

Kyle: “What if 4% of the people want delivery?”
COMEX Delivery Manager: “Oh Kyle that never happens. We rarely ever get a 1% delivery.
Kyle: “Well, what if it does happen?”
COMEX Delivery Manager: “Oh, well price will solve everything.”
Kyle: “I said thanks, give me the gold.”

Here’s the link to that interview with Kyle Bass: “I’ll Take My Gold, Please”

The Daily Coin chatted with GATA’s Bill “Midas” Murphy about the current degree of manipulation in the silver market. The banking cartel is trapped, in a sense. The only resolution of this dilemma is a much higher price of silver – the free market solution – or war:

Is China Intentionally Making It Harder To Manipulate Gold?

A new gold futures contract is being introduced by the Hong Kong Futures Exchange (two contracts actually).  The two contracts will be physically settled $US and CNH (offshore renminbi) gold futures contracts.   The key to this contract is that it requires physical settlement of the underlying gold, which is a 1 kilo gold bar.

The difference between this contract and the Comex gold futures contract is that the Comex contract allows cash (dollar aka fiat currency) settlement. The Comex does not require physical settlement.  In fact, there are provisions in the Comex contract that enables the short-side of the trade to settle in cash or GLD shares even if the long-side demands physical gold as settlement.

With the new HKEX contract, any entity that is long or short a contract on the day before the last trading day has to unwind their position if they have not demonstrated physical settlement capability.

The new contract also carries position limits.  For the spot month, any one entity can not hold more than a 10,000 contract long/short position.   In all other months, the limit is 20,000 contracts.   A limit like this on the Comex would pre-empt the ability of the bullion banks to manipulate the price of gold using the fraudulent paper gold contracts printed by the Comex.  It would also force a closer alignment between the open interest in Comex gold/silver contracts and the amount of gold/silver reported as available for delivery on the Comex.

To be sure, the contract specifications of the new HKEX contracts leave the door open to a limited degree of manipulation.  But at the end of the day, the physical settlement requirement and position limits greatly reduce the ability to conduct price control via naked contract shorting such as that permitted on the Comex and tacitly endorsed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

You can read about the new HKEX contract here – HKEX Physically Settled Contract – and there’s a link at the bottom of that article with the preliminary term sheet.

Will this new contract help moderate the blatant price manipulation in the gold market by the western banking cartel?  Maybe not on a stand-alone basis.  But several developments occurring in the eastern hemisphere and among the emerging bloc of eastern super-powers – as discussed in today’s episode of the Shadow of Truth – will begin to close the window on the ability of the west’s efforts to prevent the price of gold from transmitting the truth about the decline of the U.S. dollar’s reserve status and the rising geopolitical instability:

Templeton Funds And Druckenmiller Get Burned on Barrick

As reported on Bloomberg TV:  “Barrick Gold Corp was back in favor with fund managers last quarter, before the world’s biggest bullion producer reported disappointing earnings and rising costs…Billionaire investor Stan Druckenmiller’s Duquense Family Office LLC bought 2.85 million shares in Barrick” in the 1st quarter.

Apparently Templeton and Druckenmiller have not done their home work on mining stocks.  Anyone with any knowledge and experience investing in mining stocks knows that companies like Barrick and Goldcorp and are poorly managed, highly bureaucratic organizations.  As such, they are terrible vehicles with which to express a leveraged view on the precious metals market.

Barrick has all kinds of problems that will affect its profitability, including a pile-on of class action lawsuits that hit recently.   Anyone with experience in this sector already knows this. Rather than investing in the largest mining stocks, the best returns in the sector will be made by investing in the companies that will be acquired by these large caps.  A good example is the recent takeover of Exeter Resources (XRA) by Goldcorp:

If Stanley Druckenmiller had been a subscriber to the Mining Stock Journal, he would have known to buy XRA in early September (presented in the Sept 1, 2016 issue) at $1.16. The stock popped up to $1.80 when XRA and GG announced the merger. That’s a 55% ROR in 7 months. MSJ subscribers were also shown Mariana Resources in the December 22, 2016 issue at 82 cents. Mariana agreed to acquired by Sandstorm Gold in a deal valued at $1.41. Because of the heavy stock component, SAND traded lower and Mariana traded up to $1.24. A 51% ROR in four months. The new stock idea presented in mid-April is up 19% and has a lot more room to run.

The Mining Stock Journal is a bi-weekly subscription publication that is designed to help you navigate the smaller-cap mining stocks.  You can learn more about the subscription service here:  Mining Stock Journal information.

After subscribing to Brent Cook for 3 months, I was underwhelmed. Resubscribed to you a few weeks back and sure am glad I did so. You are one the few straight shooters still out there. Keep up the great work. I think we are right on the cusp of a serious market break, thus the war drums. – subscriber “Chris”

Silver Demand Shows A Consumer In Trouble

Global demand for silver declined from 2015 to 2016 by 123 million ozs per numbers from the Silver Institute presented in an article on The Daily Coin yesterday.   In fact, for the demand categories primarily driven by the consumer, demand plummeted 125 million ozs, or 15.3%.   Industrial demand for silver increased slightly but this was because of the global expansion in the solar panel industry, primarily in India and China.

The consumer portion of global silver demand is derived from jewelry, coins and bars (investment), silverware and electronics.  The 15.3% plunge in demand reflects the fact that consumer disposable income is drying up.   After making required monthly expenditures – food, mortgage/rent, debt service, healthcare – consumers, especially in the United States, are out of money.

Disappearing disposable income explains only part of the equation.  The illusion of economic improvement in the U.S. was created by debt issuance.   Between Q3 2012 and now, total household debt expanded by $1.38 trillion dollars.  In fact, total household debt is now at an all-time high, driven by auto, student, credit card and personal loans.  The truth is that “discretionary” consumption was fueled by the Fed enabling the average U.S. household to accumulate a record level of debt.

The economy likely hit a wall in late 2016 and is now contracting.   Today’s retail sales report – to the extent that the numbers have any credibility – showed a .4% gain in retail sales for April vs. March.  But these are nominal numbers.   On an inflation-adjusted basis, retail sales declined.

While demand for silver products reflects the fact that the average consumer is out of money, restaurant sales confirm this.   April restaurant sales declined 1% in April and foot traffic into restaurants dropped 3.3%.  This was the 12th month out of the last 13 that restaurant sales fell.  Restaurant sales have dropped five quarters in a row.  The last time a streak like this occurred was 2009-2010.   Sound familiar?

Regardless of what the Fed says in public, the U.S. economy is in trouble.  The illusion of economic growth post-2009 was a product of debt issuance.  Now the consumer – 70% of the economy – has hit a wall with regard to its ability to take on more debt – look out below. In today’s episode of the Shadow of Truth, we review the silver demand numbers and discuss the implications for U.S. and global economy:

Is The U.S Ponzi Scheme About To End?

“How did you go bankrupt?” “Two ways. Gradually, then suddenly.”
– Ernest Hemingway, “The Sun Also Rises”

I was chatting with a friend two days ago who was agitated by the insanity of the markets. Look at TSLA, for instance.   This thing loses $13,000 for every car sold.  Soon the tax credits – i.e. the taxpayer subsidies – will expire and TSLA will lose even more per car because it will have to lower the price to entice buyers.   Its balance sheet is a ticking time bomb in the form of residual value guarantees issued by TSLA used to induce buyers into paying up for a car that has depreciated in value considerably more than the value of the guarantee. Those poor saps don’t realize it yet, but they will be unsecured creditors to a bankrupt corpse of a company.  And yet, the market has pushed the market cap above the market caps of GM and Ford.

To say this is absurd is an insult to the word “absurd.”  I’m still trying to decide whether TSLA or AMZN is the biggest Ponzi scheme in U.S. history.  I have not had a chance to dissect TSLA’s financials and operations to the extent that I have done so with AMZN.  With AMZN the market doesn’t seem to care that, on a net income basis, in its latest quarter AMZN’s product sales business (it’s non-cloud, or AWS, business) lost money (that’s right, if you subract the operating income of AWS from total net income,  AMZN lost money – AMZN manufactures net income for its non-AWS business via GAAP gimmicks) .  But why focus on the facts?  The operating income of its AWS cloud business dropped 29%.   Once GOOG, MSFT and ORCL have fully implemented their attack on AMZN’s cloud market share, AWS will become irrelevant.   I would bet every single entity that bought AMZN stock since it released its Q1 earnings does not know these facts.  AMZN, pure and simple, is a Ponzi scheme.

Amusingly, there’s a contest on CNBC over whether AMZN or GOOG hits $1000 first.  This is the surest signal that the end of this fiat currency-driven credit and stock bubble globally is about to collapse.

Given the inability to manipulate its market via paper derivative instruments and short selling, this is the message that Bitcoin is signaling:

In the absence of the ability to manipulate the market, this is the same message that gold and silver would be sending to the world, only the scramble for gold and silver bullion in any form would be more frenzied and it would be widespread. There actually is a somewhat frenzied scramble for gold and silver in eastern hemisphere markets based on the premiums to melt being paid for refined products in places like India, China, Turkey and Viet Nam.

At some point the western Central Banks will lose the ability to manipulate the gold and silver price and the Comex will default.  That’s when chaos will break out in the physical gold and silver markets.  That may be what it will take to trigger the collapse of the U.S. Ponzi scheme.   Apparently JP Morgan understands this inevitability.  Prior to 2011, JPM did not operate a Comex vault.  It had zero Comex silver.   Currently JPM is holding nearly 108 million ozs of silver, or 54% of the total silver reportedly held in Comex silver vaults.   This tells us, or at least me, that smart insider money is loading up on precious metals – not Bitcoin – and that silver is a better bet than gold.

Hemingway’s “slowly” method of going bankrupt has nearly run its course.  There’s no way to tell the timing on the “all at once” side of this trade but the price action in Bitcoin is signaling to the world that the obviously inevitable draws near.

Is Gold Signaling The Next Financial Crisis?

Gold and silver have been sold down pretty hard since April 18th. But the structure of the weekly Commitment of Traders report, which shows the long and short positions of the various trader classifications (banks, hedgers, hedge funds, other large investment funds, retail) had been flashing a short term sell signal for the last few weeks. The net short position of the Comex banks and the net long position of the hedge funds had reached relatively high levels. Except Thursday (May 4th), almost all of the price decline action was occurring after the London p.m. gold fix and during the Comex floor trading hours, exclusively. This tells us all we need to know about the nature of the selling, especially given the enormous amount of physical gold currently being accumulated by the usual eastern hemisphere countries. The table to the right  calculates the Comex banks’ paper gold positioning going back to 2005.  As you can see, currently the net short position and the net short position as a percent of total open interest has reached a relatively high level. This typically happens when the banks engage in raiding the Comex by unloading massive quantities of paper gold in bursts in order to trigger hedge fund stop-loss selling. It serves the dual purpose of pushing down the price of gold and providing a relatively riskless source of profits for the banks.

This is the cycle that has repeated numerous times per year since 2001. This time, however, more than any other time since 2001, the sell-off in the price of gold is counter-intuitive to the collapsing financial and economic condition of the United States, specifically, and the entire world in general. The likely reason for the current price take-down of gold is an attempt by the elitists to remove the batteries from the “fire alarm” mechanism embedded in a rising price of gold. An alarm that lets the populace know that there’s a big problem that will hit the system sooner or later; an alarm that lets the public know systemic failure is beyond Government and Central Bank Control.

A similar manipulated take-down of the price of gold and silver occurred in the spring of 2008, ahead of the great financial crisis. Gold was pushed down to $750 from $1050 and silver was taken down from $20 to $10. This price decline was counter-intuitive to the collapsing financial condition of the U.S. financial system, which had become obvious to anyone not blinded by the official propaganda at the time. Of course, after the financial collapse occurred and was addressed with money printing, the price of gold ran up to an all-time high.

It’s likely that a similar situation is taking place now. Only this time around all “assets” are in price-bubbles fomented by record levels of fiat money creation and the interminable expansion of credit. The debt portion of this equation is getting ready to hit the wall, the only question is timing. This explains the parabolic move in the price of Bitcoin. Bitcoin is nearly impossible to manipulate. Once the western Central Banks lose the ability to manipulate the price of gold in the derivatives markets, the price of gold and silver will go on their own parabolic price journey – one that will leave the price of Bitcoin in the rear view mirror.

If you are interested in getting unique, insightful gold/silver market analysis and mining stock investment ideas ahead of the market, subscribe to the Mining Stock Journal.  You can get more information about this here:  MSJ subscription info.