Gold: $1,200 breakthrough but not held – but next week? — Lawrie Williams

The gold price broke upwards through the $1,200 psychological level on Thursday in New York, but was unable to maintain this ending the day at $1,195. It made another tilt at the $1,200 level on Friday, but fell short and ended the week in New York at $1,196.90 – up around $20 on the week. The overall trend is upwards and if there are any more lurid disclosures on Donald Trump’s private life and/or financial irregularities from his past – whether true or fabricated – in the week he is due to be inaugurated as the USA’s 45th president, there has to be a good chance that the $1,200 level will be breached again, and held, during the forthcoming week.
With Shanghai pushing the gold price ever higher, the price difference with London and New York came down to not far short of the price premium due to the higher gold purity of the Shanghai contracts (0.999% Au content) vis- -vis London Good Delivery gold (0.995%), which amounts currently to around $6 an ounce. Thus Shanghai prices are coming down to London and New York levels – or perhaps London and New York coming up to Shanghai levels depending on how one looks at this – after around two months of big premiums in Shanghai.
Sales out of the big gold ETFs also seem to have halted – GLD for example actually added 2.96 tonnes at the end of the week after remaining static the previous four days, following almost six months of mostly continuing falls (holdings peaked on July 5th at 982.72 tonnes; since then they had fallen by almost 133 tonnes until Friday’s small increase). Whether this indicates a change of sentiment in gold’s favour is probably too early to say, but one suspects uncertainties surrounding the Trump Presidency and his policies, and whether even his Presidency will run full term given the political antagonism it has generated, some of which is coming from within the Republican Party which he is representing as well as from the Democratic opposition, mean that gold’s safe haven reputation may be coming into play.

This post was published at Sharps Pixley

How do jewellers capture every last particle of gold dust?

In a basement on London’s Hatton Garden, a small production team is heating a furnace to 2,000C – a temperature that will obliterate most materials placed within it. Each day, here at precious metals refiner Mastermelt, the furnace is fed a diet of objects collected from jewellers’ workshops – full bags from vacuum cleaners, used wet wipes, blunted sandpaper and even old carpets – in the hope that when the ashes are processed, thousands of pounds’ worth of gold, platinum and more will remain.
But the precious metal they cannot see may bring in surprising amounts of money too. The grinding, filing and buffing required to create jewels by hand or machine send microscopic clouds of precious dust into the air; the dust can land anywhere and be easily transported as it sticks to shoes and clothing. ‘We went to a workshop in Birmingham and right at the front of the building was a big 4ft sq coconut mat,’ says Mr Williams. ‘Every single person coming in and out of the building walked over that mat, and had been doing so for seven or eight years. They didn’t think it was worth anything as it wasn’t in the workshop, but they let me take it away. We swept up the dirt and processed it and it came to quite a few thousand pounds.’ Another surprise source was a pair of chair covers from a shop in Hatton Garden which were so choked with platinum dust that Mastermelt paid out 3,000 after processing them.

This post was published at Financial Times

The World’s Largest Gold Fund Is Going Through Its Longest Dry Spell On Record

The last time the SPDR Gold Shares exchange-traded fund (GLD) received an inflow was the day after President-elect Donald Trump won the presidential election.
The fund, which goes by the symbol GLD and is far and away the world’s largest commodity ETF with more than $31 billion in assets, has seen nearly $5.7 billion in outflows since receiving a net inflow of $220 million on Nov. 9.
This 43-session streak is the longest stretch without an inflow for GLD since its inception in 2004, surpassing previous record spans of 42 from October to December 2015 and June to August 2013.

This post was published at bloomberg

GATA secretary to speak at Singapore and Hong Kong conferences in March and April

Chris Powell will speak at the end of March at the Mining Investment Asia conference in Singapore — and at the beginning of April at the Mines and Money Asia conference in Hong Kong, Asia being more sympathetic to gold’s monetary functions than North America is.
The Mining Investment Asia conference will be held from Tuesday-Friday, March 28-31, at the Marina Bay Sands conference center in downtown Singapore.
The Mines and Money Asia conference will be held Wednesday-Friday, April 5-7, 2017, at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in the Wan Chai section of the city. Participants in the conference can obtain discount lodging rates at the two adjacent hotels, the Grand Hyatt and Renaissance Harbour View.
Of course both cities are spectacular and, being former British colonies, are easily navigable for those who speak only English. So your secretary/treasurer would be delighted to see some of GATA’s friends there.

This post was published at GATA

The Further Decline in International Reserves — Hugo Salinas Price

Over the past 29 months, the decline in Reserves took place at a rate of about $42 billion dollars a month. At this rate, by the end of 2017 International Reserves will likely decline by another $504 billion dollars, to $10.31 Trillion, which will increase the decline from the peak in 2014 to 14.31%.
However, the rate of decline is almost certainly going to increase, because the spring that has fed International Reserves since 1971 – the U.S. Trade Deficit – is the object of the attention of Mr. Donald Trump, and he has expressed the intention of stopping up this spring by reducing or eliminating the U.S. Trade Deficit, which feeds International Reserves to central banks of the rest of the world.
The decline in the total of International Reserves is a clear sign of world credit contraction. The economic consequence to a world that has been built upon the premise of ever-expanding credit will be the increasingly desperate liquidation of investments by businesses and individuals around the rest of the world, in order to pay off previously incurred dollar-denominated debts. The liquidation will be a huge struggle against the opposing current of increasing scarcity of dollars.
Ludwig von Mises pointed out many years ago, that once a central bank indulges in expansion of credit by lowering the rate of interest it charges on loans, it cannot stop expanding credit: it has to go on expanding credit by lowering even more, the interest rate it has set. If the central bank decides to let the market once again set the interest rate, then the previous expansion will turn into a general a liquidation, to clear out the malinvestments created by the artificially induced expansion. If the central bank does not allow the market to set the interest rate, then the expansion of credit will continue until it produces the crack-up boom, which is followed by a massive debt liquidation.

This post was published at Plata.com.mx

German Journalist Who Blew Whistle on CIA Media Control Drops Dead at 56

Udo Ulfkotte, a German journalist and former editor of Germany’s prestigious newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung who spoke out in recent years about the control of his profession by the CIA and U.S. government, has died of a heart attack. He was 56.
In November 2014 he said the following in an interview with Oriental Review:
I didn’t get money – I got gifts. Things like gold watches, diving equipment, and trips with accommodations in five-star hotels. I know many German journalists who at some point were able to take advantage of this to buy themselves a vacation home abroad. But much more important than the money and gifts is the fact that you’re offered support if you write pieces that are pro-American or pro-NATO. If you don’t do it, your career won’t go anywhere – you’ll find yourself assigned to sit in the office and sort through letters to the editor.
When you fly to the U.S. again and again and never have to pay for anything there, and you’re invited to interview American politicians, you’re moving closer and closer to the circles of power. And you want to remain within this circle of the elite, so you write to please them. Everyone wants to be a celebrity journalist who gets exclusive access to famous politicians. But one wrong sentence and your career as a celebrity journalist is over. Everyone knows it. And everyone’s in on it.

This post was published at Russia Insider

Sterling Options Signal More Turmoil as May Speech, Ruling Loom

A measure of anticipated swings for the pound climbed to the highest in three months before U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech on Brexit plans Tuesday and a court ruling this month on whether the British leader or Parliament carries the power to invoke the exit.
The pound slid below $1.20 for the first time since October’s flash crash after the Sunday Times reported May will prepare to withdraw from tariff-free trade with the European Union in return for freedom to curb immigration and strike commercial deals with other countries. While hedge funds started to boost bets against sterling from the end of last year, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. said the Supreme Court ruling may spur investors to unwind these short positions.
‘Even if the pound recovers somewhat in London, it seems as though the realities of a hard Brexit are still not fully priced in,’ said Sean Callow, senior strategist at Westpac Banking Corp. in Sydney. ‘It is difficult to make the case for the pound to avoid testing, probably breaking, the ‘flash crash’ lows in coming weeks.’
The pound fell as much as 1.6 percent on Monday to $1.1986, the weakest level since Oct. 7 when it slid to $1.1841, the least since 1985. Sterling was 1 percent down at $1.2065 as of 11:14 a.m. in London.

This post was published at bloomberg

Rogoff: An Elitist Who Has No Respect for the People

Kenneth Rogoff is a Professor of Public Policy and Economics at Harvard University. Rogoff calls critics of negative interest rates ‘ignorant’ despite the fact that negative interest rates have been used since 2008 without any success. He had the audacity to say that people should not look at their short-term personal losses, but rather look at the long-term vision of the central banks. He is such an elitist. I cannot find words appropriate to describe how this academic, who has zero experience in the real world, is incapable of comprehending that his Marxist style intervention is creating the next crisis.
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Yes, negative interest rates lower deficits. But who will buy the negative debt besides central banks? Why borrow money at all and compete against the private sector? Interest rates are negative to punish savers for saving. He wants them to spend their money. Fine – stop government borrowing altogether and just print what is needed for the expense of government. Stop this elitist Marxist concept that people like Rogoff can play the role of emperor and manipulate society to do whatever they believe is appropriate.

This post was published at Armstrong Economics on Jan 18, 2017.

US F-16 Photographed In Mock Dogfight With Russian Su-27 Above Area 51

A curious sight was observed in the skies above Area 51 in Nevada, on November 8, the day Donald Trump was elected President, by vacationing air traffic controller Phil Drake. According to Drake, the photographs below all taken by him, show a Russian-built Su-27P fighter jet taking on a US Air Force F-16 engaged in a mock dogfight training mission.
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Drake, a 42-year-old enthusiast from Hampshire in the UK, told the Mail he was visiting the desert surrounding Area 51 on the day of the Presidential election, and hoped to see some fast jets involved in a training mission. Instead, what he photographed appears to have been Russian Su-27 involved in a combat training with a US fighter jet.
Drake said the Russian jet was a Su-27P Flanker-B, which has never been officially imported into the United States.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 17, 2017.

Nomi Prins-Financial Crash possible in Last Quarter of 2017

The following video was published by Greg Hunter on Jan 17, 2017
Former top Wall Street banker and best-selling author Nomi Prins correctly predicted no financial crash for 2016. Prins’ upcoming book is titled ‘Artisans of Money.’ It is all about central bank money creation. What does Prins say about this year? Prins predicts, ‘In 2016, I pegged the non-crash. . . . Central bankers were finding new ways to extend their money creation policies. That is what kept the markets up. There was a separate bid on the markets after Trump was elected. It was on the expectation that he would be good for growth, that he would be good for infrastructure and that he would create jobs. I do think there is a little juice in the central banks. I keep thinking there shouldn’t be, but they keep surprising all of us with their ability to boost the markets. They have artificially stimulated so many different asset bubbles, whether it’s debt, which is epic, or stock markets, many of which are at historic highs. If we have a crash, it will be in the second half of 2017. The promises, the rate hikes, the dollar being high could collapse into the realities of the stability and this artificialness. I am not sure about a crash this year, but if we see a big decline, it will be in the last quarter.’
On the U. S. dollar, Prins says, ‘I think with the expectation of things going well, the dollar will be keeping a bit of a bid. It will be within a range but staying fairly up. I think the dollar will turn around and weaken in the second half of the year. . . . That’s why, in the last half of the year, gold will catch more of a bid.’ (Meaning prices for gold will rise according to Prins.)

The Dollar, ‘the Most Crowded Trade,’ Gets Less Crowded

That trade was just waiting to unwind. On Tuesday, the dollar fell 1.25% against the basket of currencies in the Dollar Index. The index is down 3% since its peak at the end of 2016. US companies that report in dollars but have sales and income outside the US in other currencies – which is much of the S&P 500 – love this. When they translate their foreign-currency revenues and earnings into weaker dollars, they get to show more dollars.
US consumers have benefited from the ‘strong dollar’ because it kept a lid on price increases of imported goods and made overseas vacations more affordable.
But for companies, the ‘strong dollar’ has been a common complaint during earnings calls since it started rising in mid-2014, when the end of QE Infinity approached. From April 2014 through its peak in late December 2016, the Dollar Index soared 32%. Global US companies have lamented this rise every step along the way.
So, by this logic, the dollar’s sharp drop on Tuesday should have caused stocks to surge. But they sagged.

This post was published at Wolf Street on Jan 18, 2017.

Davos (According To Donald Trump)

Bloomberg’s Anne Swardson, Zoe Schneeweiss, and Andre Tartar perfectly summed up the state of play right now during their discussion of the World Economic Forum’s annual get-together: “Never before has the gap between Davos Man and the real world yawned so widely.”
As the world’s top executives, financiers, academics, and politicians make their way to Switzerland, Trump – who won’t have an official representative there – has expressed strong feelings about some of the countries sending delegations, including his own.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Jan 18, 2017.