Greed, Fear, Bubbles and Market Madness

Grant Williams, of Vulpes Investment Management, provides us with a brilliant presentation explaining how greed and fear play into the making of economic bubbles.  After giving a few examples of historic bubbles of the past, Williams then goes on to describe two bubbles in the present.  Spoiler alert!

Williams presents the latter two bubbles happening today as one nearing a collapse and the other in a “sweet spot” ready to enter the hyper-inflating mania phase.

Central Banks Manipulate the Gold Markets: Chris Powell

Here’s Chris Powell of GATA explaining the motivation for central banks to keep the gold price under control. Powell also notes that potential gold investors should only buy physical gold, which they can actually hold in their hands. He estimates that 70-80% of all the gold people think they own doesn’t really exist!  The paper forms of ‘investment gold’ such as ETFs or unallocated accounts likely do not have the physical gold supporting all the paper claims.  Through rehypothecation schemes, gold leasing and swaps arrangements, there is simply not enough physical metal to back all the paper claims.

JP Morgan’s $2 Billion Loss Possibly Indicative of Bigger Problems Behind the Scenes

Update May 16, 2012: In contrast with Jim Willie’s speculation below, a much more renowned Jim Rickards has a much more probable thesis on the JP Morgan loss. The trade was actually a bet on the spread between the bond index and the bonds themselves. Time ran out, resulting in the loss. Read about it at USNews.

Here’s an interview with Jim Willie (TheGoldenJackass) discussing his speculation on what’s really going on regarding JP Morgan’s $2 billion dollar ‘whale trader’ loss.  Jim speculates that JPM’s declaration that it involved European bond investments that have gone bad doesn’t make sense because in the last 6 weeks those bonds haven’t changed so much to warrant such huge losses. More likely, according to Jim, is that these losses are much larger and they reflect losses in the credit derivatives markets. Furthermore, eastern nations like China are likely causing the rout in precious metals because they’re forcing the western commercial banks to sell to cover these losses in the derivatives markets.