Saturday, September 5, 2009

To The Moon

Warnings Ignored
By: Theodore Butler
A remarkable story recently appeared in a leading Chinese business publication that threatens to upend the world of commodities. It seems that the government of China may be preparing the way for state-owned investment funds to walk away or default on OTC commodity derivatives contracts held with foreign banks if those contracts cause loss to the funds. A good discussion of this issue can be found here, along with links to the original story and a related Reuters article.

Even more amazing is that the obligatory follow-up story, in which the threat of default is invariably denied, actually confirms that China is seriously considering defaulting on selected OTC commodity derivatives contracts. Click here. If there is going to be a default by China in select OTC commodity derivatives, silver is a prime candidate.

The Untold Story Behind This Golden Breakout
By Christopher Barker
...a long list of fundamental drivers supporting higher gold and silver prices leads this Fool to conclude that the move will have some legs.

In no particular order, here are some of the more recent fundamental catalysts I've identified:

•In a move that Western media sources have failed to cover adequately, the agency responsible for oversight of China's state-owned enterprises (SOEs) recently warned foreign financial institutions that SOEs will be permitted to walk away unilaterally from failed OTC derivative hedge contracts.

•China will purchase up to $50 billion in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) from the International Monetary Fund. Fools will recall that China has explicitly called for replacing the U.S. dollar as the world's reserve currency in favor of these SDRs. Russia and India have likewise indicated an interest purchasing SDR-denominated IMF bonds.

•China's ramped-up dealmaking activity for resource-related assets around the globe reflects an official policy directive. Recent loans or investments by Chinese entities relating to foreign resource assets are themselves nearing the $50 billion mark. China has indicated that foreign reserves will be deployed in support of this broader initiative, representing another clear diversification away from U.S. dollar exposure.

•The Democratic Party of Japan emerged as the clear victor in last week's election, ending a 15-year reign of the Liberal Democratic Party. Fools will recall that the Democratic Party of Japan's finance chief advised his nation last May to cease purchasing U.S. Treasury bonds unless those bonds are denominated in yen.

•China is considering a ban on rare-metal exports. More than 95% of the world's supply of rare-earth minerals comes from China, so the move places global manufacturers of everything from hybrid cars to cell phones in a difficult position. China is also the world's leading producer of gold, and this move raises this Fool's eyebrow as a precedent for China's restricting exports of key strategic resources.

•China is actively encouraging its 1.3 billion citizens to invest in precious metals. I have viewed excerpts from state television touting the extraordinary relative value of silver to gold given the large deviation from the historical ratio between prices of the two metals. Because gold and silver are surprisingly small physical markets, even a minor uptick in investment demand could fuel sizeable price increases.

•Hong Kong is repatriating its physical gold reserves from London to high-security vaults at home, and it is inviting the region's central banks to store their bullion there. Announced just this week, the move deals a significant blow to London's historical role as a global hub in the precious metals market, and it raises the specter of a potential price-settlement hub in Asia to rival the New York and London daily spot-price fixes. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority is also targeting a new gold bullion ETF using the new vault as a repository, which would remove yet more physical supply from the market. The SPDR Gold Shares (NYSE: GLD) reports holding 1,078 tonnes of gold, slightly more than China's last-reported gold reserves.

It's no coincidence that all of the above developments -- which can be considered potential near-term catalysts boosting the strength of this breakout in gold and silver -- hail from Asia. This Fool has observed China, which holds more dollar-denominated debt than any other nation, steadily ramping up both its rhetoric and its actions in a clear vote of no confidence in the greenback. I view an end to this 18-month correction in precious metals as imminent, and I concur with the likes of Jim Rogers that the dollar remains between a rock and a hard place.

Hong Kong recalls gold reserves, touts high-security vault
HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- Hong Kong is pulling all its physical gold holdings from depositories in London, transferring them to a high-security depository newly built at the city's airport, in a move that won praise from local traders Thursday.

The facility, industry professionals said, would support Hong Kong's emergence as a Swiss-style trading hub for bullion and would lessen London's status as a key settlement-and-storage center.

"Having a central government-sponsored vault would create a situation where you could conceivably look at Hong Kong as being a hub, where metal could be traded for the region," said Sunil Kashyap, managing director at Scotia Capital in Hong Kong, adding that the facility was the first with official government backing in the region.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority, which functions as the territory's unofficial central bank, will transfer its gold reserves stored in other vaults to the depository later this year, the Hong Kong government said in an earlier statement.

China Urges Citizens to Buy Gold and Silver
By Jeff Nielson
An article from mining web-site, Mineweb quotes a program which appears on China's largest (state-owned) television company, promoting bullion-buying in general, but stressing that silver is currently the best value for investors (no surprise to regular readers):

China has introduced its first ever investment opportunity for silver bullion. The bars are available in 500g, 1kg, 2kg and 5kg with a purity of 99.9%. Figures show that gold was fifty times more expensive in 2007 but now that figure has reached over seventy times. Analysts say that silver has been undervalued in recent years. They add that the metal is the right investment for individual investors and could be a good way to cash in.

It is only in the last three years that the Chinese government significantly relaxed the rules for precious metals buying for its citizens. Given that the Chinese people (like most of Asia) already had a greater appetite for gold and silver than people in most Western nations, the explicit urging by the government itself for people to load up on bullion clearly implies the expectation of a strong future for precious metals. With a population greater than 20% of the world's total and an abundance of savings, this could easily become a self-fulfilling prophecy – especially given the tiny size of the precious metals market, relative to many other commodities.

As the Deficit Grows so Does Outrage[VIDEO]

Why the Obama Administration Will Implode In Weeks
1. Health Care's Long and Painful Death

2. Cap-and-Trade Will Be the Largest Tax Increase in American History

3. Unemployment Will Remain

4. Obama's Integrity Has Been Tarnished in August

5. A $3 Trillion Dollar Budget

6. A Coming Middle Class Tax Hike

Gold: Separation Before Liftoff [MUST READ]
Jim Willie CB
The latest development in the gold world is highly favorable. Summarize by saying from the rooftops that GOLD LEADS THE CURRENCIES in price movement. Gold is not only a metal, but the most important of currencies, whose importance will soon be confirmed on a worldwide basis. The enlightened realize that if gold had been a core to the banking systems, and to the currency systems, that the entire bank credit crisis would not have occurred. The dimwitted that dominate the landscape still utter nonsense about gold, only to have their prattle squelched and overrun, as it seems so tiresome and vacant anymore. Gold has begun to respond finally to the global ruin of money, to the Western government fiscal ruin, and to the ruin of the United States and United Kingdom banking systems. The price movement in gold & silver has suddenly turned favorable, although this is an early stage, in spite of the lack of decline in the USDollar. That is the main point. Gold has risen without a lead by the crippled USDollar. Silver has followed.

The gold price has risen without benefit of a weaker USDollar. It will next challenge the $1000 level in a natural progression. The real debate is whether the gold price will surpass the $1000 level with or without a key signature event. In my view, it simply does not matter. That is like asking whether the sun will rise with or without clouds.

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