The Four Most Dangerous Words In Investing…

“This time it’s different.” That quote is from Sir John Templeton, a legendary investor who is considered the father of the modern mutual fund industry. For most of the month of December, I’ve been hearing ads from mortgage brokers who are promoting the idea of refinancing your house in order to take care of holiday bills. It reminded of the early 2000’s when then Fed Chairman, Alan Greenspan, was urging Americans to use their house as “an ATM” by taking on home equity loans as a means of drawing out cash against home equity for consumption spending. Adding more debt against your house to pay off big credit card balances merely shifts household debt from one creditor to another. What’s worse, it frees up room under the credit card accounts to enable the consumer to take on even more debt.

In reference to the mortgage and housing market collapse in 2008, Ben Bernanke wrote, “Clearly, many of us at the Fed, including me, underestimated the extent of the housing bubble and the risks it posed.” It’s hard to know if that statement is genuine or not, given that many of us saw the housing bubble that was developing as early as 2004.

The Federal Government’s low-to-no down payment programs via Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the FHA, VHA and USDA, combined with the hyper-promotion of cash-out refinancings (bigger 1st mortgages and/or second-lien mortgages) tell me that, once again, most people in this country believe – or rather, hope – that the outcome will be different this time.

The graphic just below  is an interesting way to show the affect that Central Bank monetary inflation has on asset valuation vs income. Asset valuation should be theoretically derived from the income levels connected to the assets. Either the asset requires a certain level of income level to purchase and maintain the asset or the asset itself generates income/cash flow.

You’ll note the pattern that developed starting with the tech bubble era. Prior to the Clinton administration the Fed subtly intervened in the financial system by been printing money in excess of marginal wealth creation (GDP growth) once Nixon closed the gold window. But, in conjunction with the Greenspan Fed, the Government’s willingness to print money as an official policy tool took on a whole new dimension during the Clinton administration.  Note:  I’m not making a political judgment per se about the Clinton presidency, because the Fed’s ability to print money to prop up the stock market was established with Reagan’s Executive Order after the 1987 stock crash. You’ll note that the household net worth to income ratio began to rise at a sharp rate starting in mid-1994, which was when the Clinton-Rubin strong dollar policy was implemented. It’s also around the time that Greenspan began regularly printing money to address the series of financial problems that arose in the 1990’s.

The current ratio of household net worth to income is 6.75 – the highest household net worth to income ratio in history. It peaked around 6.5x in 2007 and 6.1x in early 2000. You’ll note that from 1986 to 1995 the ratio averaged just around 5.1x.

A graphic that is correlated to the household net worth/income ratio is the household net worth to GDP.  The pic to the right shows household net worth (assets minus debt) vs. a plot of the U.S. nominal GDP. As you can see, when the growth in household net worth deviates considerably from the growth in nominal GDP, bad things happen to asset values. Note: household assets consist primarily of a house and retirement funds. Currently the level of household net worth – that is, the value of homes and stock portfolios – relative to GDP is at its highest point in history. This will not end with happiness.

I wanted to present the two previous graphics and my accompanying analysis, in conjunction with the theme that “it is not different this time.” The extreme degree of household asset inflation relative to incremental GDP wealth output is yet another data-point indicating the high probability that a nasty stock market accident will occur sooner or later. To compound the severity of the problem, household asset inflation has been achieved primarily through massive credit creation. The amount of debt per home sold in this country currently is at a record level.

During this past week, the bullish sentiment of investors continued to soar.  A record level of investor bullishness never ends well for the stock market. Speaking of which, there has been an interesting development in the Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence metrics. The headline-reported index showed an unexpected declined from 129.5 to 122.1 vs 128 expected. This is a big percentage drop and a big drop vs Wall Street’s crystal ball. However, while the “present situation” index hit its highest level since April 2001, the “expectations” – or “hope” – metric plunged from 113.3 to 99.1. It seems the current euphoria connected to the stock and housing markets is not expected to last.

The chart above shows the spread in consumer confidence between “present conditions” and “future conditions” (present conditions minus future conditions). A rising line indicates that future outlook (“hope”) is diverging negatively from present conditions. I’ve marked with red lines the peaks in this divergence which also happen to correlate with stock market tops (1979, 1987/1989, 2000).

The above commentary in an excerpt from the last issue of IRD’s Short Seller’s Journal.  I think retail stocks are going to be hit relentlessly beginning some time this quarter. In fact, one stock I presented as a short in early December was down over 12% yesterday after it released an earnings warning.  Some of the best SSJ short ideas in 2017 were retailers.  You can learn more about this short-seller newsletter here:  Short Seller’s Journal subscription information.

“Congrats on the [retail stock short] call. What a disaster. You have to love how the chart collapsed with the news. These algos are going to destroy people when they unless selling on stocks eventually. I made a 8X on my puts. Now I need to roll them into something else.” – SSJ subscriber who actively trades

Toxicity Plus Toxicity Does Not Equal Purification

Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it bounces, marked, ‘Account overdrawn.’ – Francisco’s “Money” Speech – from “Atlas Shrugged”

You have to love it – the City of Houston issues $1.01 billion  “pension obligation” bonds to “ease” the underfunding of the underfunded public pension fund.  “Pension underfunding”  is the politically acceptable euphemism for “debt obligation.”  Underfunding occurs when a pension investment returns PLUS future beneficiary contributions are not enough to cover current beneficiary payments.

Some might say it’s the difference between the NPV of future payouts and the current value of the fund. But that’s horse-hooey. Houston had a cash flow deficit it had to address and it did that by issuing taxpayer obligation debt – $1.01 billion dollars of taxpayer debt.  Furthermore, let’s use a realistic NPV and ROR assumption on any pension fund plus throw-in a real mark to market of illiquid assets like PE fund investments.  Every pension fund in the U.S. is tragically underfunded.

The rational remedy would be to cut beneficiary payments or force larger contributions from current working stakeholder or both.  The problem is that implementing either or both of those remedies might cost elected officials their jobs in the next election.

Instead, the proverbial can is kicked further into the sewage ditch by issuing more debt and using the the proceeds to help the pension fund cover current cash outflows to beneficiaries.  Regardless of what you call it, an underfunded pension liability is simply “debt”.  This bond issue might ensure that Houston’s retired public employees will continue, for now, to receive their expected flow of monthly pension payment, but this bond deal in no way whatsoever “eases” the debt burden of the pension fund.  Rather, it shifts wealth from the taxpayers to the retired public employees.

Similarly, the Trump Tax Cut does nothing more than shift the distribution of wealth from 99.5%’ers to the 0.5%’ers plus big corporations.  In this case, it’s not wealth per se.  Rather, it’s shifting the burden of supporting the Government’s spending deficit from the tax cut beneficiaries (billionaires and big corporations) to the rest of the population.

I could care less what CBO projections show – CBO forecasts are always appallingly inaccurate – the Government’s spending deficit is going to accelerate next year.   Between the cut in tax revenues from Trump’s Tax Cut and the big jump in spending built into the budget for defense and re-paving the roads that were paved during the Obama era, total spending will soar.  The gap between inflows and outflows will be bridged with more Treasury bond issuance.

Remember the narrative about systemic “deleveraging” after the great financial collapse crisis? Turns out that story-line was a fairy-tale.  Treasury debt hits a new all-time everyday  and has more than doubled since the end of 2008.  Non-financial corporate debt hits a new all-time high every and is 71.4% higher than it was at the end of 2008.  Auto debt hits an all-time high every day;  credit card debt is close to an all-time high and student loan debt hits an all-time high every day.  Household debt not including mortgage debt hits an all-time everyday and is 43% higher than at the end of 2008.   The household numbers do not include NYSE margin debt, which is at at all-time high and an all-time high as percent of GDP.

The stock market is impervious to the accelerating level of debt at all levels of the U.S. financial system – at least for now.  At least until enough households and businesses get a message that says “account overdrawn,” like this person received directly from the bank teller last week (from a reader):

Great post Dave, Had a bit of a real world experience on this yesterday. Heading out to make the last biz deposit yesterday and met the mailman end of driveway and got another check. No deposit slip so asked the drive-in teller to just use my account number on the checks to deposit this. He left the intercom on. In rolls one of those massive bubba-mobiles big enough to blot out the sun..it looked like a pretty/very new one but could be wrong. I hate these loud diesel stinking machines. Anyway Bubba was trying to make a withdrawal out of his home equity credit line for $300. The teller came on and told him he was maxed. He fumed how can it be maxed?…”Well” he said “there have been 3 withdrawals in the last 2 weeks for $2200.” He whips out his phone and calls his wife (?) Raises his voice, guns the engine and off he goes…..with no cash. How often is this being repeated around the country every day…

Will The Real Phillips Curve Please Stand Up

No society that depends on money can work for long if nobody knows the true value of things, including the value of money itself. The price of attempting to live in a culture of pervasive dishonesty is that a re-set is inevitable. When it happens, it will be hugely destabilizing. – James Kunstler

Phillips Curve R.I.P. –  Paul Craig Roberts

For a decade central banks have printed enormous quantities of new money. The excuse is to stimulate the economy by reviving inflation. However, the money has, for the most part, driven up the prices of financial assets instead of consumer and producer prices. The result has been a massive increase in the inequality of income, wealth, and opportunity.

The quantitative easing policy followed by central banks is based on belief in an economic relationship between inflation and GDP growth—the Phillips curve—that supply-side economics disproved during the Reagan administration. The belief in the Phillips curve persists, because supply-side economics was misrepresented by the financial media and neoliberal junk economics.

The fact that something as straightforward and well explained as supply-side economics can be misrepresented for 35 years should give us all pause. When successive chairmen of the Federal Reserve and other central banks have no correct idea what supply-side economics is, how can they formulate a workable monetary policy? They cannot.

The Phillips Curve is the modern day version of the Unicorn. People believe in it, but no one can find it. The Fed has been searching for it for a decade and the Bank of Japan for two decades. So has Wall Street.

Central banks’ excuse for their massive injections of liquidity in the 21st century is that they are striving to stimulate the 2% rate of inflation that they think is the requirement for sustained rises in wages and GDP. In a total contradiction of the Phillips Curve, in Japan massive doses of central bank liquidity have resulted in the collapse of both consumer and financial asset prices. In the US the result has been a large increase in stock averages propelled by unrealistic P/E ratios and financial speculation resulting in Tesla’s capitalization at times exceeding that of General Motors.

In effect pursuit of the Phillips Curve has become a policy of ensuring financial stability of over-sized banks by continually injecting massive amounts of liquidity. The result is greater financial instability. The Fed is now confronted with a stock market disconnected from corporate profits and consumer disposable income, and with insurance companies and pension funds that have been unable for a decade to balance equity portfolios with interest bearing debt instruments. Crisis is everywhere in the air. What to do?

The Phillips Curve has been working its mischief for a long time. During the Reagan administration the Philips Curve was responsible for an erroneous budget forecast. In the 21st century the Phillips Curve is responsible for an enormous increase in the money supply. The Reagan administration paid a political price for placing faith in the Phillips Curve. The price for the unwarranted creation of money by central banks in the 21st century is yet to be paid.

You can read the rest of this, which I recommend, here:   PHILLIPS CURVE R.I.P.

Is Sub-Prime Auto Loan Armageddon Coming?

I experienced a real eye-opener this past week. The lease on my fiance’s Audi A3 terminates soon. I was scanning the “pre-owned” inventory at the two largest Audi dealers in Denver expecting to see some good deals on 2013/2014 Audi A4’s that had come off lease. Instead, I was shocked to see at both dealers a large selection of 2016/2017 A4s with less then 20k miles. Some under 10k miles. I even saw a 2018 with something like 6k miles on it.

Why was I shocked? Because most of these vehicles had to have been repossessed. If there were only a couple almost brand new Audi A4s with very low mileage on them, it’s plausible that the buyers/lessee’s traded them in because they didn’t like them. The bigger dealer of the two had six 2017’s, all of them with 11k or less miles. Most if not all of these cars had to have been repo’d because of lease/loan default. We plan on waiting a couple more months because her lease expires in March and I suspect that the inventory of near-new Audis will be even larger and the prices will be even lower.

My theory was confirmed when I came across a blog post from a blogger (Cold War Relic) who is a car salesman (What’s Going On?): “People are buying cars they can’t afford or shouldn’t even have been able to buy.” He goes on to explain that: “I went to my buddy Paris’ repo lot. He called me to check out a 2016 BMW 435i he jacked for BMW Financial Services…as we walked through [the lot] I noticed all of the cars seemed to be nearly new. Paris confirmed my fears when he told my about nine-out-of-ten vehicles he’s repossessed in the last few months were model year 2016 or newer” (emphasis is mine).

Here’s the coup de grace: “To make matters worse Paris only does work for prime and a few captive lenders, meaning a majority of these cars went out to consumers with good credit.” In a past Short Seller’s Journal issue in which I discussed the rising delinquency and default rates on auto loans, I suggested that, in addition to the already soaring default rates on subprime auto loans, I believed the default rate on “prime” auto loans would soon accelerate. This is in part because a lot of prime-rated borrowers would have been considered subprime a decade ago. But it’s also in part due to the fact that the average household’s disposable income is getting squeezed and what might seem affordable in the present – e.g. an brand new Audi or BMW lease/loan payment – can quickly become unaffordable.

A recent article from Bloomberg discussed “soaring” subprime auto loan defaults in connection with the fact that several Private Equity firms bought out subprime auto lending companies starting about six years ago. The investment rationale was based on expanding the loan portfolios and cashing out the “value” created in the IPO market. One company, Flagship, was bought out by Perella Weinberg in 2010. It took the loan portfolio from $89 million 2011 to nearly $3 billion. Bad loan write-offs have soared. PW tried to IPO the company in 2015. It’s still trying. Based on the two anecdotes of new car repossessions described above, it’s a good bet that the investments in most subprime auto lenders will eventually have to be written-off entirely.

The total amount of subprime auto loans outstanding is nearly $300 billion. This number is from the NY Fed. I would argue that, in reality, it’s well over $300 billion. If you add to that the amount of subprime credit card debt outstanding, the total amount of “consumer” subprime debt is in excess of the amount of subprime mortgage debt ($650 billion) at the peak of the mid-2000’s credit bubble. This is not going to end well. In fact, I suspect the eventual credit implosion will be much worse than what occurred in 2008.

How To Go Bankrupt: Slowly Then Suddenly

In Hemingway’s, “The Sun Also Rises,” one of the characters, Bill, asks his friend, “Mike,” how he went bankrupt. Mike replied, “I had a lot of friends. False friends. Then I had creditors…” This passage from the novel comes to mind when I hear ads during the local sports radio programming from mortgage brokers urging listeners to use a cash-out refi or home equity loan to take care of credit card debt that piled up during the holidays.  Beneath the surface is the message, “c’mon in, the water is fine, go ahead and take on even more debt.”

If in fact the retail sales turn out to be as strong as projected, it’s because the average household has tapped into its savings and used an unusually large amount of credit card debt to fund holiday spending this year:

The chart on the left shows the 13-week annualized percentage change in household credit card debt. The data comes from the Fed. As you can see, the use of credit cards to fund spending has soared. Further compounding potential household financial stress, the personal savings rate in November dropped to 2.9% from 3.2% in October. It’s the lowest personal savings rate since November 2007. November 2007 is one month before an official recession was declared back then.

The 18% spike in credit card debt is perhaps more troubling than the plunge in the savings rate. It’s been theorized that consumers may have used credit cards to “pre-spend” an anticipated savings in taxes from the tax legislation. Unfortunately, the changes to the tax code will be neutral at best for the average middle class household.

Furthermore, borrowing to fund current consumption in the absence of future income growth or capital gains received from monetizing assets (stocks, homes, etc) merely shifts future consumption into the present. If retail sales come in “hot” for Q4 because of strong holiday sales fueled by credit card debt, it will be offset by a steep decline in consumer spending in 2018. This is because the rate at which consumer credit is rising at more than double the rate of growth in wages. The “cherry” on top of this scenario is that there will likely be an acceleration in the rate of credit card and auto loan delinquencies and defaults.  This latter development would a continuation of the rising trend in credit delinquencies and defaults that emerged during 2017.  Mortgage payment problems are sure to follow.

The “feel good about the economy” propaganda has been over-the-top this year.  Trump has been the primary cheerleader as he extols the virtues of a soaring stock market that he labeled “a massive bubble” when he was begging for votes on the campaign trail.  Now he points to the stock market as an indicator that the country is better off since he became president.

In truth, the middle class continues to be hollowed-out from an increasing need to assume more debt in order to maintain its lifestyle. More debt is necessitated by an income level that is not keeping up with the ravages of the inflation that the Government can’t seem to find in its CPI report.  “Middle class”  includes everyone who requires a mortgage to claim “ownership” on their home plus anyone not rich enough to pay for self-enriching legislative policy at the State and Federal levels of Government.  If you fit either of those of those or both,  you are strictly speaking “middle class.”

2018 is going to be a difficult year for most Americans.  I have no idea how much longer the stock market can continue transmitting the illusion that every one is becoming more prosperous.  I have a gut feeling that real inflation, resulting from the inexorable devaluation of the dollar since 1971, will rip through the system sometime in the next year or two and drive interest rates to a level that could bankrupt a major portion of the economy.  It really won’t take much of a bump in rates for this to occur…slowly, then suddenly.

A Collapsing Dollar Will Trigger The Next Big Move In Gold And Silver

When you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you–when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice–you may know that your society is doomed. – from “Atlas Shrugged”

Sorry MAGA-enthusiastics, it’s all a lie.  The tax legislation just passed will lead to higher Government spending deficits, a near-parabolic acceleration in Government debt issuance and a possible collapse of the dollar.  The U.S. is in systemic collapse.  Perhaps the biggest manifestation of this is the grand money-grab by the elitists enabled by blatant political corruption.

Alasdair Macleod published an essay that I highly recommend reading as you gather together your thoughts heading into 2018. 2018 will possibly see the next stage in the collapse of the dollar. I disagree with Alasdair’s attributing the control over the formation and implementation of economic and geopolitical policy to Trump. Notwithstanding this disagreement,  I believe Aladair’s analysis of monetary events unfolding during 2018 deserves careful perusal.  This includes his delineation of the rise in the petro-yuan as a precursor to the demise of the dollar, an acceleration of dollar-derived price inflation and an escalation in the price of gold.

The general public in the West is hardly conscious of these developments, only being vaguely aware that more and more products seem to be imported from China. They are certainly not aware that America has already lost its position as the world’s policeman, the guarantor of economic freedom and democracy, or whatever other clichés are peddled by the media. And only this week, President Trump in releasing his National Security Document, and pledging “America would reassert its great advantages on the world stage”, showed the American establishment is similar to a latter-day Don Quixote, unaware of the extent of change in the world and the loss of its power.

Like a monetary embodiment of Cervantes’ tilter at windmills, the world’s reserve currency is rapidly becoming an anachronism. And for China to realise her true destiny, it must dispense with dollars, and if in the process it crushes them, then so be it.

You can read the rest of Macleod’s brilliant essay here:   2018 Could Be The Year For Gold

Contrary to the views expressed by recent crypto-currency proselytizers, I believe that if gold heads higher in the next year then silver will soar.

Novo Resources Is Not Worth $600 Million

Novo is not worth the $544 million market cap based on Friday’s close using fully-diluted shares.   Novo might eventually be worth $600 million or even more.  But that reality is several years away.  I have been recommending selling to my Mining Stock Journal subscribers for several months.  I don’t just ideas to buy, I help my subscribers avoid stocks that are overvalued, for whatever reason.

Novo Resources is a Vancouver-based junior mining exploration company that is in the early stages of exploring its Karratha gold project in Australia. It also has another gold project, Beatons Creek, in Australia and a property in Nevada. Novo had an extraordinary run in price starting in early July, when it ran from 63 cents (US$) to US$7 by the early October. At its peak valuation, its market cap was $1.39 billion. The stock began to head south after hitting $7. It plunged nearly 29% today (Dec 21) after releasing its latest exploration update.

Seeking Alpha published my analysis if Novo – you can read the rest of it here:  Novo Is Not Worth $600 million

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Is Gold Ready To Move Higher?

The simple answer to that question is: who knows, eventually it will. I like to look at the Commitment of Traders report for signals. I think the COT offers better information than looking at charts, although I like to use my COT analysis in conjunction with charts. My fund partner keeps a database of COT gold and silver data going back to May 2005. Over this time, there’s been a strong correlation between the direction of gold, the net long position of the hedge funds, the net short position of the banks and the total open interest in gold (silver) futures.

Over this time period (Since May 2005), the total open interest in Comex gold futures has averaged 429k contracts. The hedge fund net long position in gold futures has averaged 142.8k and the bank net short position has averaged 168.1k contracts. Since 2015, we’ve had two price cycles starting with the low in December 2015. At the December 2015 low in gold, the hedge fund net long position was 9,750k contracts and the bank net short was 2.9k contracts.  The December hedge fund net long was an extraordinary low net long position and the bank net short was extraordinarily low. This makes sense given that mid-December marked the bottom of the nearly 6-year bear cycle within the secular gold bull market.

If we go back July 2016, the open interest in Comex gold has declined 206k contracts – a staggering 26 million ozs – 737 tonnes (25% worth of gold produced annually).   The Comex banks were short an eye-popping 340k contracts – 34 million ounces, or 964 tonnes of paper gold. This represents an undeniably enormous effort by the Fed via the Comex banks to cap the price of gold.

As of the last COT report (Dec 12th, the hedge fund net long was 107k and the bank net short was 119k. The overall open interest was 446k, about 20k contracts above the average open interest since May 2005.  In a “horsehoes and handgrenades” context,  we should have seen the bottom a week ago.

The open interest report thru Tuesday (Dec 19th) showed 446k open interest. Assuming most of that drop in o/i was decline in the hedge fund net long and bank net short, we should start to head higher, but don’t expect this happen continuously, in parabolic crypto-coin fashion.  The gold bubble is yet to occur.   I can’t promise that gold will move higher from here.  The best we can do is assess probabilities based on historical data relationships as they apply currently.

I want to mention briefly that Dennis Gartman has exited the long position in gold in his theoretical portfolio. Gartman’s market calls have a spectacular track record as a reliable contrarian indicator. I kid you not. This would suggest that the gold market is at or near a bottom.

Back in the September, I advised my Mining Stock Journal subscribers that I suspected the coming sell-off in gold – manipulated sell-off, of course – would take gold down to mid-$1240 area.   It hit $1241 on December 12th.  Sometimes the coin does indeed land on “heads” when I call “heads.”  I also discussed the hedge we were implementing on our mining stock portfolio and provided details on the my opinion of best way for subscribers  to hedge a junior portfolio.  The hedge easily saved us at least 7% (700 basis points) of performance this quarter.

The stock I presented in the last issue (Dec 14th) is up 12% and it’s still highly undervalued, especially given that it will start producing in late 2018.  You can learn more about this stock and subscription details using this link:  Mining Stock Journal.

Gold, The Economy, Cryptocurrencies And Irrational Exuberance

The current tax legislation isn’t some thoughtful reform to benefit Americans. It’s a quickly planned looting through a broken window in our nation’s character. – John Hussman

John Hussman wrote a must-read essay titled:  “Three Delusions:  Paper Wealth, A Booming Economy and Bitcoin (link).”   The crypto/blockchain delusion has exceeded the absurdity of the dot.com and housing bubble eras.   I was shorting fraud stocks happily in both eras.  I’m short a company  now called Riot Blockchain.  If you look at its description in Yahoo Finance, it bills itself as a developer of technologies applied to animal (“non-human”) medicine.  It recently changed its name to Riot Blockchain from Bioptix Inc.  Prior to calling itself Bioptic Inc, it called itself Venaxis.  Just the name change to Riot “Blockchain” moved the stock from $4 to $40…insanity.

The Company changed its name in early October to Riot Blockchain.  Based on this, Canaccord was more than happy to fleece investors by raising $37 million for Riot in a private placement.  But that’s okay I guess because one has to be a “sophisticated” investor with the financial qualifications to have your money taken from you by Wall Street and Bay Street in order to invest in private placements.

Fundamentally this system is dissolving. The Government economic data, like GDP, CPI and employment  is worthless. The numbers produced by the Government are rigged to support political propaganda about the economy and the financial system. Economic reports released by the private sector generally contradict the Government’s reports.

Silver Doctors invited me to participate in their weekly Metals & Markets podcast. We chatted about gold, cryptocurrencies and the economy. Gold is currently the only asset that has not participated in this “Irrational Exuberance 2.0.” Of course, gold ran from $250 to $1900 from 2001 to 2011. We discuss why now is time to move investment funds back into gold for its next cyclical bull move in the context of a much bigger secular bull market in real money:

If you are interested in finding junior mining stock ideas, as well as relative value trade ideas in larger cap mining stocks, click here to learn more about the Mining Stock Journal. New subscribers get a copy of all of the back-issues with their subscription.

Gold EFPs: Absolute Proof That Paper Gold Is A Fraud

A guest post by Stewart Dougherty

IRD’s Note:  In the past year, there has been a noticeably substantial  increase in the use of the obscurely defined EFPs (Exchange for Physicals) and PNTs (Privately Negotiated Transactions) in the settlement of Comex gold and silver futures contracts.  In simple terms, the EFPs and PNTs enable the counterparties  a Comex futures contract or LBMA forward to settle the contract in an acceptable form other than the actual physical commodity as required by the contract specifications (e.g. one gold futures contract requires the delivery of a 100 oz. gold bar as qualified by the Comex).  As an example, the counterparty that is required to deliver gold under Comex contract terms can deliver a comparable dollar amount of GLD shares if the counterparty standing for delivery agrees to take delivery of the GLD shares.

The EFPs and PNTs plunge the Comex operations into even greater opacity – likely intentionally.  In all probability, the EFPs and PNTs are used to bridge the gap between the amount of gold (silver) that needs to be delivered and the amount of gold (silver) that is available to be delivered.  The settlement of the contract occurs outside of the Comex.  These contract settlement devices further enable the ability of the western Central Banks to execute the successful manipulation of the gold (silver) price.

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In recent months, the issuance of gold Exchange for Physical (EFP) contracts has surged. EFPs convert a physically deliverable Comex gold contract into an LBMA or LME contract supposedly deliverable at a later date ex London and/or Hong Kong. As an incentive for Comex contract holders to accept EFPs, a cash bonus reportedly is paid. EFPs in silver are also being issued in vast quantities, but we will focus on gold for brevity.

Most gold market observers believe that EFPs are a Comex gimmick designed to prevent, or at least forestall a formal Comex delivery failure. We believe the full story behind the EFPs is more complicated and disturbing, and that it involves collusion, conspiracy, and fraud.

In order to fully understand the corruption within the gold market, we believe that one must first understand the full extent of American political corruption, as the two are directly linked. Inferential Analytics, the forecasting method we have developed and use, is based on linkages, which are crucial to insight. Please bear with us as we take a brief tour of the Washington, D.C. political swamp; it is crucial to understanding the gold swamp.

The 2016 U.S. presidential election was never intended to be an election. Instead, it was a Deep State charade designed to pass the presidential baton from Obama to Clinton. Obama’s reign was an unprecedented financial bonanza for his Deep State handlers, and they were poised to go in for the looting kill upon the second White House coming of the epically money motivated Clintons.

The mainstream media did everything in their power first to derail Trump’s nomination, and then to destroy his prospects in the general election. Anyone who understands American politics knows that there was no way whatsoever any of the non-Trump Republican nominees, such as Rubio, Cruz and Kasich, could ever have beaten the stop-at-nothing Clinton political machine in the general election. None of the Republican candidates was ever supposed to win; their specific purpose was to lose, while creating the false illusion of a real presidential campaign and election.

The Republican establishment was greatly looking forward to the Clinton presidency, as the political streets would have been more thickly paved with gold than ever before in their careers. They could taste the graft, kickbacks, donations, pay for play bribes and other forms of illicit compensation headed their way.

PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ THE  REST:     GOLD EFPs / FRAUD