– German gold demand surges from 17 ton-a-year to a 100 ton-plus per year
– €6.8 Bln spent on German gold investment products in 2016, more per person than India and China
– Germans turned to gold during financial crises and ongoing euro debasement
– Evidence of latent retail demand on increased economic concerns
– “Gold fulfils an important long-term, wealth preservation role in German investors’ portfolios”
Editor: Mark O’Byrne
India and China often grab the headlines as the world’s largest buyers of gold. In 2016 this was not the case.
When measured on a per capita basis it is Germany that takes the impressive crown of largest gold buyer in 2016, all thanks to their investment market. Last year the country set a new personal best, ploughing as much as £6.8bn ($8 bn) into gold coins, bars and exchange-traded commodities (ETCs).
This is impressive considering that back in 2008 the amount of gold purchased by Germans barely registered outside of the country. A new World Gold Council report records that ‘average demand between 1995 and 2007 was a modest 17 tonnes’. In some of those years they weren’t even net-buyers.
In 2008 this began to change as ‘the global financial crisis brought gold to the attention of German investors at large.’ By 2009, the German gold investment market became one of the world’s largest, with annual coin and bar demand growing four-fold from 36t in 2007 to 134t in 2009.
Since then it has continued to climb, as explained in the latest World Gold Council report:
Germany has established itself as a 100t-plus per year market for bars and coins, and a vibrant domestic ETC market has developed: during Q3 2017, German-listed ETC AUM hit an all-time high of 252.1t, equivalent to €9.8bn.
So what changed and can the country keep up this record-breaking?
Bill Gross: “We Have Fake Markets Because Of The Fed”
Repeating an argument he has made increasingly more forcefully over the past few years, former bond king, Bill Gross, now at Janus Henderson where he oversees the $2.1 billion Unconstrained Bond Fund, said late on Monday that financial markets are artificially compressed, in the process distorting capitalism because of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s loose monetary policy.
“I think we have fake markets,” Gross said at a Janus Henderson event quoted by Reuters.
He added that investors should brace for higher bond yields as the Fed begins to unwind its quantitative easing program but yields will edge up “only gradually.”
Repeating observations made here, and elsewhere countless times, Gross said the Fed’s loose monetary policy had resulted in investors chasing yield and thus producing tight corporate spreads everywhere around the globe (but especially in Europe where junk bonds now yield less than matched maturity US treasurys due to the monetization distortions of the ECB).
“Even China and South Korea – perfect examples of the risk trade – are at very narrow (corporate spread) levels. There is no real advantage in the global marketplace. Everything is so tight, it is hard to pick a winner from a group that is fake.”
Gross also reiterated his previous warning that Fed Chair Janet Yellen and other global policy makers should not rely on historical models such as the Taylor Rule and the Phillips curve “in an era of extraordinary monetary policy.”
Of course, if Gross doe put his money where his mouth is – so to speak – and acts in a fiduciary duty in line with his convictions, he should return capital to investors immediately and wait until such time as market are no longer “fake” and where investors such as Gross have an edge. Somehow we doubt this will happen, however, prompting the question whether one needs fake traders to navigate these fake markets…
Putin orders to end trade in US dollars at Russian seaports
To protect the interests of stevedoring companies with foreign currency obligations, the government was instructed to set a transition period before switching to ruble settlements.
According to the head of Russian antitrust watchdog FAS Igor Artemyev, many services in Russian seaports are still priced in US dollars, even though such ports are state-owned.
The proposal to switch port tariffs to rubles was first proposed by the president a year and a half ago. The idea was not embraced by large transport companies, which would like to keep revenues in dollars and other foreign currencies because of fluctuations in the ruble.
Artemyev said the decision will force foreigners to buy Russian currency, which is good for the ruble
Zimbabwe: Gold Reserves to Back Currency
By George Maponga
Government is building diamond and gold reserves to back the local currency upon its re-introduction in future, Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa has said. VP Mnangagwa refused to disclose when the local currency would be re-introduced, but said it would only come back when mineral reserves reached desired levels.
He was speaking during an advocacy meeting on the new Constitution that was organised by the Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs in Chiredzi.
VP Mnangagwa oversees the Justice Ministry.
Responding to questions on the prevailing cash shortages, the Vice President said Government was working on ways to stem the shortages.
Russia Backpedals On Bitcoin – Unveils Plan To Ban Cryptocurrency Sales To “Ordinary People”
After local Russian media reported earlier this year that the Russian Parliament could legalize bitcoin as soon as 2018, Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseev this week signaled that authorities might instead seek to restrict its use. During an interview with Russia 24, a state-owned news channel, Moiseev said that Russian authorities should treat cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, as sophisticated financial assets and restrict their use and trading to qualified investors only.
Moiseev’s statement surprised members of Russia’s digital currency community, who had been lead to believe that the Russian government was finally warming to digital currencies after years of skepticism. That belief was strengthened earlier this month when an aide to Vladimir Putin announced that he would seek to raise $100 million to build bitcoin mining infrastructure in Russia, with the goal of controlling as much as 30% of the bitcoin network’s hashpower.
“’Cryptocurrency should be regulated as a financial asset,’ Vedomosti reported him saying. ‘There is a point of view that cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin is a financial pyramid. Investments [in] such are high-risk. This determines our approach to their regulation.’
RBC quoted him saying: “We propose to call it a currency, but regulate it as other property, qualify it as a financial asset and allow only qualified investors to buy and sell them on the exchange.”
As a regulated financial security, Moiseev said cryptocurrencies would be sold through stock exchanges under the supervision of the Federal Financial Monitoring Service of the Russian Federation, also known as Rosfinmonitoring, according to Bitcoin Magazine.
Moiseev added that bitcoin is a “dangerous” investment, and that it’s the government’s duty to protect “ordinary people” from losing their shirts, according to CoinTelegraph.
“For ordinary people, there’s no way because these are very dangerous investments that could lead to loss of money.”
According to Moiseev, Russia’s ministry of finance is discussing how to proceed with the central bank and the Moscow stock exchange. Moiseev added that it is necessary for cryptocurrencies to sell through the exchange “to provide judicial protection to participants in transactions.”
Moiseev detailed that this approach to cryptocurrency regulation aims to protect the rights of buyers and sellers. “Now people do it at their own peril and risk, they have no judicial protection. This is our first task,” he was quoted by Vedomosti.
His comments then turned to the subject of money laundering.
“Citing Western Europe and Russia in particular, Ria Novosti quoted him saying “the use of cryptocurrency for illegal operations has become much more frequent because the mechanisms for combating money-laundering are not yet fully applied in all countries to cryptocurrencies.”
Finally, Moiseev said that the Russian government is uncomfortable with the anonymity provided by bitcoin.
“Moiseev also explained that it is necessary to sell bitcoins through the regulated stock exchange, so that the regulator will always know ‘who the seller is, who the buyer is, where these bitcoin accounts have moved.’”
What’s worse for bitcoiners is that Russia might be at the vanguard of a shift in how authorities view bitcoin. The SEC late last month declared that digital currencies, including bitcoin and the tokens issued during ICOs, should be treated as securities under the law.
So far, the SEC’s guidance has been vague. But the ease with which digital currencies could be used to finance illicit activities – regardless of whether they’re actually being used for that purpose – likely means that more government crackdowns are ahead. By requiring all local bitcoin exchanges to screen transactions for potential violations, China has found a way to pierce the anonymity surrounding digital-currency transactions.
Don’t think it can’t happen in the US.
“The Singaporean banks have regional ambitions, and for them, increasing the size of their private bank is a good way to grow,” said Jan Bellens, EY Asia-Pacific banking and capital markets leader and global emerging markets leader.
“For the Swiss players, I think it is a case that Asia is where the growth is at a time when things are more challenging in their home market.”
Activity in the Asian private banking space in recent years has primarily been among mid-sized players which are either looking to gain size to compete, or withdraw from the market.
The top six places in the table were unchanged from 2015. UBS, with its US$286 billion of AUM, fended off Citi and Credit Suisse to maintain the No 1 spot.
Despite all the comings and goings, assets under management at the top 20 private banks in Asia grew by 6 per cent in 2016 to reach a record high. Collectively, they managed US$1.55 trillion of the region’s wealth in 2016, excluding mainland China, according to the magazine’s calculations.
The magazine noted, however, that AUM growth excluding onshore China was dwarfed by that of Chinese banks. China’s top five private banks have increased their AUM by an average annual growth rate of 27 per cent since 2012, while the top five Asian banks excluding onshore China achieved CAGR of just 6.4 per cent.
The attractions for international private banks of servicing this onshore Chinese wealth are significant, but doing so involves a number of challenges, most recently the strict controls on capital leaving China.
“A number of the international private banks have stated that their aim is to service onshore Chinese wealth, but it is not yet clear what a successful operating model might be,” Bellens said.
China dumping U.S. Treasury debt in record volume… is this a prelude to the globalist assault on Trump’s economy?
China was recently the largest holder of US treasury securities, but has now lost that title to Japan after China started selling their securities rapidly. Chinese authorities are sacrificing their coveted position with significant financial and diplomatic value. They are preparing to engage in a bigger battle, to protect the Yuan’s value from plummeting. The battle is set to intensify this year, when President Donald Trump challenges the Yuan, along with China’s devaluation practices.
China’s holdings in US Treasury bonds recently fell by $66 billion. The US Treasury department said it was their 6th consecutive month of selloffs. But that’s only a fraction of their holdings, China now has their lowest amount of Treasury holdings since early 2010. Analysts predicted that trend would continue in November and December, and it did. The selloffs were a prudent move in which China needed in order to raise funds to protect the Yuan’s value, which is currently being pushed down by capital flight and the rising dollar.
Back in August 2015, I noted that Goldman Sachs and HSBC had taken delivery of a huge tonnage of physical gold, probably purchased near the lows. Physical bars of gold are, by definition, a very long term investment in the yellow metal. At the time, the two banks were telling clients and others not to buy gold, even as they were loading up on it, themselves.
Let’s fast forward…
Starting in December 2015, JP Morgan began buying tremendous quantities of physical gold, as opposed to paper/electronic gold futures, forwards, ETF certificates etc. From December 1, 2015 to December 29, 2016, the big bank purchased and took physical delivery of over 31 metric tonnes worth of bars of the yellow metal for its house account at COMEX alone.
In other words, it now has a physical gold pile which, at minimum, is worth over $1.1 billion at $1,140 per troy ounce, and it is an asset of the corporate bank. By May, 2016, unlike the actions of GS and HSBC in buying while advising clients to sell, analysts at JP Morgan were beginning to encourage customers to buy gold also.
Let me repeat that the enormous purchase of 31+ tonnes of traceable physical gold occurred at New York’s COMEX exchange. The so-called “OTC” gold market in London is five times larger than the gold market in New York City, and if they were buying at COMEX, they were probably buying in London also. The problem with London is that the “LBMA” is not a formal exchange with disclosure rules and regulatory oversight. It is simply an informal collection of banks who operate by agreeing to a common set of rules of engagement. Transactions are secret….
Might the globalists who’ve been working with impunity to bring down America to install their totalitarian, dictatorial ‘new world order’ use a collapse of the economy, their ever-present ‘shadow government’, an assassination attempt upon the life of Donald Trump or a Soros/Clinton funded ‘purple revolution’ to complete their long-held goals now that they realize that time may berunning out on them with Trump only 2 months away from taking office?
While we pray that the above mentioned possibilities never play out and Trump at least gets into office to show America what we’ll look like under his leadership, we should remember that Trump warned that the world faces possible economic collapse, and we should always be prepared for anything and everything that might come our way.
The establishment is clueless. Hopelessly corrupt. Immeasurably incompetent. The media, the political elite, the criminal bankers, the idiotic academics… they have absolutely no clue about the size of the fervent backlash that’s headed their way.
“The Fed Failed ….” And that Changes Everything
There is a growing body of public work that suggests Federal Reserve officials are prepared now for avery different sort of normalization than what had been envisioned up until this year. That comes, as noted earlier, with the realization that the economy is not just in rough shape but likely to remain that way for the foreseeable future.
The important caveat left off that bleak pronouncement is actually ceteris paribus. So long as the current policy and monetary system remains firmly in place, there is little hope the global economy will just spontaneously ignite. Since economists and central bankers have made it clear they aren’t going anywhere despite being wrong about everything up to now, here we are.
Even Janet Yellen has been forced to concede that even if the Fed does manage to get on with further rate hikes, the ultimate destination for them in nominal terms is much less than prior “cycles.” Current thinking seems to be aiming for around 3% for the federal funds rate rather than 5% as had long been accepted. The way things are going, and as the Japanese showed, they will be lucky to get even half that far.
But in what can be only another sign of just how twisted, upside down, and easily receptive to pretzel logic the mainstream is now, that is supposed to be a good thing especially for stocks. Writing today for BloombergView, Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic advisor for Allianz, makes this exact argument.
Equity investors have also been reassured by the growing — and correct — recognition that this Fed hiking cycle will depart drastically from historical norms. Instead of following a relatively linear path of increases at regular intervals, it will have pronounced “stop-go” characteristics. Also, and perhaps more importantly, the endpoint — or what economists call the “neutral rate” — will be considerably lower than recent historical averages.
How in the world is that a good thing that would “reassure” equity investors? Truly rational investors make decisions based on discounted information about the future, and what El-Erian suggests here (and he hasn’t been alone) is that stock investors show more preference for “accommodative” monetary policy than actual growth. A lower rate ceiling implies without much ambiguity continued awful economic conditions here and elsewhere around the world. But to the screwed up nature of mainstream thought, so long as monetary policy is lower overall continued stagnation is forgiven, perhaps even to be mildly celebrated?
What does it mean by claiming “accommodation” that gives “investors” so much apparent comfort? It can’t mean that in economic terms for obvious reasons; instead we are led to believe that low (meaning desperately insufficient) growth isn’t all that bad so long as interest rates don’t rise too far. Investors are supposed to be paying for growth, not the failure of interest rate “stimulus” to seed it. If the Fed feels it can’t raise rates all that much, with a true “ceiling” yet to be determined, it is a much riskier, not less risky, environment.
The idea of a lower R* or r-star is truly a defining defeat, though it is, like El-Erian’s attempt here, being spun into what is nothing more than rationalization. As I wrote in September, the falling R-star can mean nothing else:
There is more complexity when we talk about inflation, of course, but by and large it is commodity prices that have thwarted John William’s (or Janet Yellen’s) “normalizing” narrative. Commodities have been falling more intensely since the middle of 2014 but really dating back to the middle of 2011. Both of those inflections recall and are related to obvious eurodollar or global wholesale money events. Thus, even subscribing to Wicksell’s theory, the current rate must now be, as it has been, above the natural rate, unambiguously indicating “tight” money. Whether it is via Friedman’s interest rate fallacy or Wicksell’s natural rate hypothesis, both arrive at the same conclusion due to seemingly intractable market prices.
Central banks assume that means they have to “stimulate” more when in fact it is just their math telling them they haven’t stimulated at all – at least not where it counts and has been needed. Translating depression into econometrics is a long and costly affair, but it is at least starting to be done, slowly and in discrete pieces. R* may yet be of some great value, insofar as further calculating just how little monetary authorities know about money.
Reception of and belief about QE have been very much cult-like and it was thus too thinly constructed to withstand being so thoroughly debunked. This is not even close to making the best of a bad situation; it is instead claiming positive attributes that just don’t exist, being downright offensive to common sense. How anyone, let alone El-Erian, wrote that paragraph (contained within an article further rationalizing the latest of the “rising dollar”) without awareness of its very basic flaw can at best be described as intentionally obtuse while still bordering upon nakedly deceiving. The world of the near future is going to be bad, worse than everything “we” have been expecting, but take heart, the Fed’s monetary policy will reflect just that. Translating it from the original mainstream thought-bubble language truly reveals its truly absurd premise… The Fed failed, and that changes everything; including and especially what is to be made of “accommodation” and what it is that might have “reassured” equity investors in the past and might do so (or not) going forward.
The Latest Deutsche Bank Scandal Reeks Of Enron: 103 “Enhanced Repo” Deals To Make Loans “Disappear”
Exclusive: ‘Flash Boys’ protagonists aiming new exchange at gold
IEX Group, which rose to prominence with its bid to shake up stock trading in the United States, now aims to do the same in the more than $5 trillion-a-year gold market with a new exchange being created by its spinoff TradeWind Markets, a board member of the new venture said on Tuesday.
The protagonists of Michael Lewis’s book, “Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt,” are planning a gold exchange that would use elements of blockchain technology to improve transparency and the clearing and settling of trades, said Matt Harris, a managing director at Bain Capital Ventures. Bain has an investment in IEX.
Blockchain is a tamper-proof shared ledger that can automatically process and settle transactions using computer algorithms.
TradeWind Markets began as an internal project of IEX and was spun off as a separate firm earlier this year. In June, the startup raised $9 million, according to a regulatory filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. A person familiar with the operation who asked not to be identified because the plans are not public, said the funding came from IEX and Sprott Inc (SII.TO), a Canada-based investment firm that manages physical bullion funds……