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April 20 2018

moneymetals

Jim Rickards Forecasts New Financial Crisis & Makes Prediction About Gold

Well now, without further delay, let’s get right to this week’s exclusive interview.

Jim rickards

Mike Gleason: It is my great privilege now to be joined by James Rickards. Mr. Rickards is Editor of Strategic Intelligence, a monthly newsletter and Director of the James Rickards Project, an inquiry into the complex dynamics of geopolitics and global capital. He's also the author of several bestselling books including The Death of MoneyCurrency WarsThe New Case for Gold and The Road to Ruin. In addition to his achievements as a writer and author, Jim is also a portfolio manager, lawyer and renowned economic commentator, having been interviewed by CNBC, the BBC, Bloomberg, Fox News and CNN, just to name a few. And we're happy to have him back on the Money Metals Podcast.

Jim, thanks for coming on with us again today. We really appreciate your time as always and how are you?

Jim Rickards: I'm doing great Mike, great to be with you. Thank you.

Mike Gleason: Well Jim, I figure a good place to start here is with one of your most recent books. We want to get your take on the state of the world economy. In your book titled The Road to Ruin: The Global Elites' Secret Plan for the Next Financial Crisis, you make some very interesting comments. Now while the financial media is talking about booming stock markets and accelerating GDP growth, you aren't quite as optimistic. We both know that most of the growth we've seen in recent years has been built with huge amounts of central bank stimulus and the fundamental problems that drove the last financial crisis have hardly been resolved. In fact, you think the next financial catastrophe isn't too far away and many among the elite are getting ready for it. If you can, briefly lay out some of what you've been seeing.

Jim Rickards: Sure Mike, you touched on two different threads. One is, let's call it the short to intermediate term, which is how's the economy doing? What would the forecast be for the year ahead? What do I think about stocks and so forth? That's one part of the analysis, but the other one is a little bigger and a little deeper, which is what about another major financial crisis, a liquidity crisis, global financial panic and what would the response function be to that.

Let me separate. They're related because, I mean the point I always make is that there's a difference between a business cycle recession and a financial panic. They're two different things. They can go together, but they don't have to. For example, October 29, 1987, the Stock Market fell 22% in one day. In today's Dow terms that would be the equivalent of 5,000 Dow points, so we're at 26,000 or whatever, as we speak, a 22% drop would take it down about 5,000 points. You and I both know that if the Dow Jones fell 500 points that would be all anybody would hear about or talk about. Well, imagine 5,000 points. Well, that actually happened in percentage terms in October 1987. So, that's a financial panic, but there was no recession. The economy was fine and we pulled out of that in a couple of days. Actually after the panic, it wasn't such a bad time to buy and stocks rallied back. Then, for example in 1990, you had a normal business cycle recession. Unemployment went up. There were some defaults and all that, but there was no financial panic.

In 2008, you had both. You had a recession that began in 2007 and lasted until 2009 and you had a financial panic that reached a peak in September-October 2008 with Lehman and AIG, so they're separate things. They can run together. Let's separate them and talk about the business cycle. I'm not as optimistic on the economy right now. I know there's a lot of hoopla. We just had the big Trump Tax Bill and the Stock Market's reaching all time highs. I mean, I read the tape. I get all that, but there are a lot headwinds in this economy. There's good evidence that the Fed is over-tightening.

​Read/Listen to the full podcast (here) ​

April 17 2018

moneymetals

Global Silver Scrap Supply Falls To 26-Year Low

Global silver scrap supply fell to its lowest level in 26 years. World silver recycling in 2017 dropped by nearly 50% since its peak in 2011. According to the 2018 World Silver Survey, global silver scrap supply declined to 138 million oz (Moz) compared to 261 Moz in 2011. While the lower silver price is partly responsible for the large drop in silver recycling, there are other market dynamics.

For example, silver recycling from the photography sector has declined since consumption peaked in 1999. The photography industry was using 228 Moz of silver in 1999 compared to the 44 Moz last year. Thus, silver consumption in photography has declined by 80% in nearly two decades… and along with it, a great deal of recycled silver supply.

Furthermore, a lot of silverware was recycled during the period of rising prices (2007-2012). A lot of Millennials who inherited their parent’s (and grandparents) silverware decided it was much easier to pawn it rather than spending a lot of time polishing it for holiday gatherings. Which means, a lot of available stocks of silver scrap have already been recycled.

Global silver scrap supply (1990-2017)

As we can see in the chart above, even though the $17 silver price in 2017 was four times higher than in 1991 ($3.91), global silver scrap supply is less than it was 26 years ago. Moreover, world silver scrap was over 200 Moz a year (2005-2009) when the average annual price was much less than it was last year.



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April 09 2018

moneymetals

Two Mines Supply Half Of U.S. Silver Production & The Real Cost To Produce Silver

​Just two mines supply the United States with half of its silver production, and both are located in Alaska. It’s quite amazing that Alaska now produces half of the silver for the U.S. when only 30 years ago total mine supply from the state was less than 50,000 oz per year. The silver produced in Alaska comes from the Greens Creek and Red Dog Mines. One is a primary silver mine and the other a zinc-lead base metal mine.

Even though Hecla’s Greens Creek Mine is labeled as a primary silver mine, 56% of its revenues come from its gold, zinc, and lead metal sales. However, Teck Resources, that runs the Red Dog Mine doesn’t even list its silver production in its financial reports. Because Red Dog produces one heck of a lot of zinc and lead, their silver production doesn’t amount to much in the way of revenues.

For example, the Red Dog Mine produced 542,000 metric tons (1.1 billion pounds) of zinc and 110,000 metric tons (222 million pounds) of lead, while its estimated silver production was 6.6 million oz (Moz). According to Teck’s 2017 Annual Report, total revenues from the Red Dog Mine were $1.75 billion. With the estimated silver price of $17 in 2017, total revenues from 6.6 Moz of silver were $112 million, or just 6% of the total.

In addition, Hecla’s Greens Creek Mine in Alaska produced 8.4 Moz of silver this year, down from 9.2 Moz in 2016. As I mentioned, the Greens Creek Mine also generated a lot of gold, zinc, and lead, equaling $182 million of the total revenues of $326 million (including treatment costs).

The USGS just came out with their final Silver Mineral Industry Survey for 2017, reporting that the U.S. produced 33 million oz (Moz), down from 37 Moz the previous year. U.S. silver production declined due to the union strike and the shut down of Hecla’s Lucky Friday Mine. As we can see, Greens Creek and Red Dog accounted for 15 Moz of the total 33 Moz of U.S. silver production:

Top 2 silver producers vs. u.s. total 2017

While Greens Creek and Red Dog supplied nearly half of U.S. silver production last year, the next two largest mines provided 21% of the total. Coeur’s Rochester Mine in Nevada produced 4.7 Moz of silver while the Bingham Canyon Mine, the country’s largest copper mine, supplied 2.2 Moz. Almost 7 Moz of silver came from these two mines alone.

​Continue to the full article (source) ​

April 04 2018

moneymetals

China Moves to Neuter King Dollar in International Trade

Last Monday, the Shanghai International Energy Exchange launched the first futures contract for crude oil priced in Chinese yuan. It’s a major step forward in the process of international de-dollarization. Now Chinese and other international traders can buy and sell the world’s most important commodity in a liquid market without using U.S. dollars.

The “petro dollar” now faces the prospect of being rendered unnecessary as China – the world’s biggest oil importer – attempts to establish a “petro yuan.”

China is launching a pilot program to purchase oil from Russia and Angola (two of its top suppliers) using yuan. Russia and China share a common interest in trying to break the dollar's dominance in global commodity trading.

The two powers have been among the world’s top gold accumulators in recent years, with some reports suggesting Russia is now also loading up on silver for the possible launch of a silver ruble. Russia and other emerging commodity supplier markets stand to be among the big beneficiaries of a weaker dollar, as does China.



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April 02 2018

moneymetals

Silver Price Best Setup In Years & Update On Continued Meltdown In Stock Markets


This update is by far one of the most important as the silver price setup is the best I have seen in years. According to the data, the silver price is by far in much better position to outperform gold when the precious metals market takes off. Also, I do an update on the stock market as well as the continued disintegration of the U.S. Shale Oil Industry.

While most investors will be interested in what is taking place in the silver market, it’s very important to understand how much the situation is deteriorating in the U.S. Shale Oil Industry. Without cheap and abundant oil, the value of most stocks, bonds, and real estate would collapse. Unfortunately, falling stock and real estate prices are precisely what is going to happen to 99% of the public’s investments as only 1% hold precious metals.

The reason I believe the gold and silver prices will start to take off when the stock markets begin to really plunge lower is due to the setup of these assets since the Fed’s Q3 policy at the end of 2012. Because the precious metals sold off from 2013 to 2016 and are still close to their lows, they are ripe for much higher prices. However, the real estate and stock markets are near their highs. Thus, we are going to experience one hell of a disconnect between the stock and real estate market and precious metals.. quite the opposite that took place after 2012.

Continue reading (source


March 19 2018

moneymetals

Larry Kudlow Toes Wall Street’s Anti-Gold Company Line

Gary Cohn resigned as President Donald Trump’s Chief Economic Advisor on March 6th. He and Trump didn’t see eye to eye on the recently imposed tariffs and the President selected CNBC commentator Larry Kudlow to replace him Wednesday. Perhaps it was Kudlow’s experience on television that got him the job.

Larry kudlow

It doesn’t look like he was chosen for his intellectual honesty. Kudlow was quite vocal with his own opposition to tariffs.

He has suddenly done an about face and now says he can “live” with targeted tariffs. However, it gets worse than simply flip-flopping on trade.

In one of his very first interviews after accepting the post, Kudlow offered this bit of advice to investors: “I would buy King Dollar and I would sell gold.”

The dollar went on a dramatic losing streak during Trump’s first year in office – one of its worst annual performances in decades. Of course, that is just a single year.

The fiat dollar has been in almost continual decline versus real assets since the Federal Reserve’s establishment 105 years ago. It has lost 98.5% of its purchasing power relative to gold since then.

Kudlow must have seen the forecasts which show federal deficits spiking higher as the combination of tax cuts and higher spending wreak havoc on the budget. The tariffs should further weigh on the U.S. dollar as higher steel and aluminum prices drive inflation.




Continue reading...(here)
moneymetals

New Sound Money Public Policy Breakthroughs Occur in the States

Well now, without further delay, let’s get to this week’s featured interview between Money Metals president Stefan Gleason and Pete Fetig during a recent summit on all things precious metals.

Stefan gleason

Pete Fetig: Stefan, I would like to start with what are precious metals and why should someone even own something like that?

Stefan Gleason: Thanks Pete. That is obviously the most fundamental question to this entire conversation. Is what are precious metals and why should you care? And this is something that has been driven out of the public consciousness to a great extent over the last 80 or 90 years and especially in the last 40 years. And that is that the role the precious metals play in our society and in our monetary system and as an investment. First and foremost, I would say that people should understand gold and silver is money. It is true money. It is been chosen throughout time as a medium of exchange, a store of value, and has been used in trade ever since several thousand years B.C. So gold and silver is first and foremost money. It has been chosen as money for a lot of reasons and those reasons are still in existence today.

First of all, it is tangible. It’s an actual asset. It cannot be created from nothing. Like paper money today is created from nothing or even electronic equivalent of paper money. It is private. It is something that you can exchange between people and it is not tracked or traced. Like so many things are in our electronic monetary system today. It is highly liquid. It is accepted by all people or governments at least. Certainly, private individuals understand that it has value. Always going to have value. It has always been accepted. Ultimately, even central bankers view it as that. Even though, they have waged a war against gold and silver and gold and silver ownership, particularly in the last several decades, they hold it as a reserve asset. They understand that it is the ultimate form of payment. It’s a form of payment that has no counterparty risk. It is not also someone else's liability at the same time, like the dollar is. And so central banks, while they do not talk about it, are holding gold and silver as reserve assets because they know that it has timeless value.

More immediately gold and silver are precious metals that are really a form of financial insurance. It’s a non-correlating asset. It does not move necessarily with the stock market, the bond market, the real estate market. It’s something that you should have as a part of your asset allocation because when everything else falls apart, gold and silver typically does very well. Just like an insurance policy that you do not necessarily want to have to cash in. You still have it. You have an insurance policy in your house. You probably have one on your car. You should have an insurance policy against your financial asset. Gold and silver is that insurance policy. It is also of an excellent hedge against inflation. It is really the ultimate hedge against inflation.

That is today, in the last 40 years in particular, since the United States and really the whole world, went off the gold standard. You’ve had an explosion in debt. You’ve had an explosion in the creation of fiat money. We now have really a competition going around the world to devalue fiat money. It’s a race to the bottom. That is done with the creation of new debt and the printing of new money to sort of prop up the economy, prop up the bond market, the stock market. And as result of that, as a result of more paper money and electronic money being created, it has caused data reduction in the purchasing power of these other currencies. Gold and silver have maintained and even increased their purchasing power, over time.

Since the Federal Reserve System in the United States was created a little over 100 years ago, the US dollar has lost over 97% of its purchasing power. In the 100 years prior to that, except for a short period of time during the Civil War when they went off the gold standard, the purchasing power of the dollar was relatively the same, but then declined dramatically since the Federal Reserve system was created. So you have this massive devaluation of currencies happening all across the globe, and gold and silver are tangible assets that are a hedge against that, that benefit from really the devaluation as they rise in price. We have seen that, gold and silver, have reached all-time highs in recent years. They got a little overheated and pulled back in dollar terms since 2011, but at the end of the day you want to own a certain amount of gold and silver as a hedge against inflation and financial turmoil.

Read/Listen to the full podcast (here) ​

March 12 2018

moneymetals

Trump Says the U.S. Will Win Any Trade War; Our Debt Load Says Otherwise

Donald Trump fired off some major new shots in the global trade wars. With the exception of imports from Canada and Mexico, steel entering the U.S. will be subject to 25% tariff and aluminum will be taxed at 10%.

The president’s trade policy has been applauded by people seeking to protect domestic industry and criticized by free marketeers. There is no shortage of disagreement over the policy, but some of the outcomes seem easier to predict.

Rising prices

Higher price inflation is one probability.

Domestic manufacturers who use steel and aluminum are going to pay more for those metals and will need to raise prices. A wide gamut of goods ranging from airplanes and automobiles to steel building materials will soon cost more.

Unfortunately, the higher costs will put domestic manufacturers who must buy steel and aluminum at a disadvantage.

While they pay more for imports from Europe or Asia, the cars and appliances manufactured elsewhere and shipped into the U.S. aren’t affected.

Goldman Sachs estimates the steel tariffs will cost Ford and General Motors each $1 billion in profits. Imported models suddenly get a major cost advantage in the U.S. marketplace.

There is also the possibility of higher inflation driven directly by the foreign exchange markets.

Disgruntled trading partners may choose currency warfare as their response to tariffs. This would involve liquidating dollars they hold as reserves. In the case of China, Japan, and the EU, those stockpiles are enormous.

​Continue to the full article (source) ​
moneymetals

Gerald Celente Exclusive: "If rates go up too high, the economy goes down, end of story"

Mike Gleason: It is my privilege now to welcome in Gerald Celente, publisher of the renowned Trends Journal. Mr. Celente is perhaps the most well-known trends forecaster in the world and it's always great to have him on with us.

Mr. Celente, thanks again for the time today and welcome back.​

Gerald Celente: Oh, it's always great being on. Thank you.

Mike Gleason: Well, Gerald, it's never a dull moment in Washington, D.C., these days. President Trump always keeps it lively. We have the never-ending Russia controversy, of course, the war of words with North Korea, and the intervention in Syria have both been regulars in the headlines over the past year. Now Trump is talking about tariffs and people are worried about a trade war. Volatility is coming back to the stock markets and some investors are getting nervous about rising interest rates. When it comes to Russia interfering in U.S. elections, it seems more or less like a smoke screen. We have very little doubt there is plenty of collusion and a fair bit of it involved Hillary shepherding the Uranium One deal over the finish line.

So, we're finding it hard to predict which of these stories are worth paying attention to and which are likely to fade away. And there's nobody better who can help us evaluate this than you, so I'm excited to talk today. So, which of the current stories have legs, Gerald? Will there be a trade war, a big correction in stocks, another attempt by Democrats to impeach Trump? What?

Gerald Celente: Well, the attempt by the Democrats to impeach Trump have never stopped. And, again, Mike, I've been at this a lot of years, and anybody awake and alive that hasn't tuned out knows that every time we've had an election in this country, whether you like the person or not, they always used to say, "Well, whether you like it or not, this is the new person. Let's rally behind him and try to push the country forward." That never happened with Trump. And I want to make this really clear. I'm not a Trump supporter. I didn't vote in this last election. And (people say), "Oh, you didn't vote? Did you get what you deserve?", to which I say, "Grow up. If you voted for any of these people, then you got what you deserve and I don't deserve either of them. My standards are different."

And I look what's going on. It doesn't make the news, all the things that you just mentioned. Hey, how about what just happened in Italy with Cinque Stelle, the Five Star Movement, becoming the major party, a party that just started in 2009 because the people are disgusted with the establishment. How could you be disgusted with the establishment? You should love the establishment. How could you dare be anti-establishment? That's the stupidity of the language that they use.

They call it, for example, what Trump is doing, protectionist movements. Oh, a protectionist? Oh, I'm a close combat practitioner, have been for over a quarter of a century. I'll protect myself. I'll protect myself if I'm being attacked. But yet if you're being attacked trade-wise, economically, and you go to protect yourself, well, you're a protectionist. So, listen to the language, it's very important as a trend forecaster.

You mentioned about the Russian elections. The bar has sunk so low that people are listening to Samantha Power, the former UN Ambassador. And I'm tired of hearing this baloney, "Oh, if only women were in charge." It's not about men, women, race, creed or color. Good and bad comes in all of them. Let's call it equal. This is a woman, along with Hillary Clinton, Samantha Power and Susan Rice that started the Libyan War, that overthrew a sovereign nation, whether you liked the guy or not, that did nothing to us and created the refugee problem that nobody talks about and the migrant crisis. Because when Qaddafi was in there in Libya, they weren't going into Europe. He made a deal with them and warned them that when he went, the migrants would come.



Continue to the article (source

March 02 2018

moneymetals

Why U.S. GDP Hasn’t Really Increased Since 2000

While official sources forecast U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to surpass $20 trillion this year, the real figure is probably much less. So how much less is real U.S. GDP? Well, that depends on how it is measured. If we factor in energy consumption and the increase in total public debt, U.S. GDP is likely less than half of the current figure.

Yes, it sounds insane to say that the current U.S. GDP is likely overstated by at least 50%, but if we go by fundamental data, it isn’t that crazy at all. Unfortunately, Americans have been conditioned to believe that money grows on trees and energy comes from the Wizard of Oz. Thus, if we need more money, then the U.S. Treasury can print more Federal Reserve Notes, or we can swipe the credit card. And, if we need electricity, we just switch on the light. Easy… Peasy.

Due to the highly complex nature of the world in which we live in today, the individual is clueless as to the tremendous amount of energy and work that it takes to produce the foods we eat and the goods, energy, and materials we consume. So, it should be no surprise that U.S. GDP can be overstated by 50%+.

If we go by the data that shows the growth of Global GDP is related to the growth of Global Oil Supply, then it is very quite easy to spot inflated GDP figures. However, you have to be able to understand this essential ENERGY=GDP relationship. Of course, this is not taught in business or economic classes in high school or college. Instead, the economic teachers focus on the insane theory of SUPPLY vs. DEMAND. If individuals are taught GARBAGE, then their thinking and reasoning is GARBAGE. So, we really can’t blame them.

In looking at the following chart by Gail Tverberg, the increase in Global GDP corresponds to the rise in Global Oil Supply:

World oil supply growth vs. world gdp growth

As the annual growth percentage of World Oil Supply declined in the periods shown in the chart above, the same trend took place in World GDP. If we can understand the OIL-GDP relationship figures in the chart, then it is impossible for a country to grow its GDP if it does not increase its energy consumption.



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February 15 2018

moneymetals

U.S. Public Debt Surges By $175 Billion In One Day

After the U.S. Government passed the new budget and debt increase, with the President’s signature and blessing, happy days are here again. Or are they? As long as the U.S. Government can add debt, then the Global Financial and Economic Ponzi Scheme can continue a bit longer. However, the days of adding one Dollar of debt to increase the GDP by two-three Dollars are gone forever. Now, we are adding three-four Dollars of debt to create an additional Dollar in GDP. This monetary hocus-pocus isn’t sustainable.

Well, it didn’t take long for the U.S. Government to increase the total debt once the debt ceiling limit was lifted. As we can see in the table below from the treasurydirect.gov site, the U.S. public debt increased by a whopping $175 billion in just one day:


U.S. debt increased 175 billion feb 2018

I gather it’s true that Americans like to do everything… BIG. In the highlighted yellow part of the table, it shows that the total U.S. public debt outstanding increased from $20.49 trillion on Feb 8th to $20.69 trillion on Feb 9th. Again, that was a cool $175 billion increase in one day. Not bad. If the U.S. Government took that $175 billion and purchased the average median home price of roughly $250,000, they could have purchased nearly three-quarter of a million homes. Yes, in just one day. The actual figure would be 700,000 homes.


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February 13 2018

moneymetals

DOW JONES INDEX CORRECTION & CRASH LEVELS: A Chart All Investors Must See

As the Dow Jones Index continues to drop like a rock, the worst is yet to come. Today, investors once again plowed into the markets because they are following the Mainstream Financial advice of BUYING THE DIP. Unfortunately, those who bought the dip before yesterday’s 1,032 point drop and the 400+ point drop this afternoon, have thrown good money after bad.

Of course, we could see a late day rally to calm investor’s nerves…. but we could also see an increased sell-off. Either way, I could really give a rat’s arse. Why? Well, let’s just say the Dow Jones Index has a long way to fall before it gets back to FAIR VALUE. However, my fair value is likely much lower than the Mainstream analysts’ forecasts.

I wanted to publish this post today but will be putting together a Youtube video with more detail this weekend.

If you haven’t seen this video, I highly recommend that you do. When I published that video, the Dow Jones Index was trading at 26,100. Today it is already down to 23,400. However, as I stated, we have much further down to go. Here is my newest chart:

Dow jones index - feb. 9, 2018


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February 12 2018

moneymetals

Reckless Deficit Spending by Congress Set to Wreck the Dollar

U.S. equities got a free ride on the Trump train after his election, even as Federal Reserve officials hiked interest rates. That ride may have ended last week.

Hiked rates

If commentators are correct and the blame for recent selling in the stock market falls on the burgeoning fear of rising interest rates, it looks like Fed tightening is finally having the effect many predicted when the cycle began.

Most currently expect the FOMC to continue with hikes at about the same pace set in 2017. They have gotten away with several hikes, but attempting several more will be harder for them.

The question is whether the Fed’s tolerance for pain is any higher under new chairman Jerome Powell. We’d wager that it won’t take much in the way of flagging stock prices and slowing growth to have them reversing course and punching the stimulus button.

No one should bet that last week’s rally in the dollar means the bottom is in. The next few years look downright terrifying for the greenback. Here are some factors to consider:

  • Congressional Republicans embarrassed themselves last week by proving the lip service they pay toward fiscal conservatism is nothing but lies. The Republican leadership shepherded through $300 billion in additional spending. Furthermore, they once again completely suspended the limit on borrowing;
  • The Treasury will be issuing staggering amounts of new debt to fund the Congressional spending spree. Last fall’s tax cut may be good news for taxpayers, but it will also magnify federal deficits. Net new debt in 2018 is expected to be $1.3 trillion – the highest since 2010!
  • President Trump will soon begin the push for a trillion-dollar infrastructure program. That will almost certainly be paid for with additional borrowing.
  • The creditworthiness of the U.S. is once again back in the news. Rating agency Moody’s raised the idea of a downgrade for U.S. debt last week.

​Continue reading (source)​

February 06 2018

moneymetals

DANGER AHEAD FOR U.S. GOVT: Unable To Service Debt As Interest Rates Surge

The U.S. Government is in serious trouble when interest rates rise. As interest rates rise, so will the amount of money the U.S. Government will have to pay out to service its rapidly rising debt. Unfortunately, interest rates don’t have to increase all that much for the government’s interest expense to double.

According to the TreasuryDirect.gov website, which came back online after being down for nearly a month, reported that the average interest rate paid on U.S. Treasury Securities increased from 2.2% in November 2016 to 2.3% in December 2017. While this does not seem like a significant change, every increase of 0.1% in the average interest rate, the U.S. Government has to pay an additional $20.5 billion in interest expense (based on the $20.5 trillion in total U.S. debt).

Already, the U.S. Government is off to a BANG as it’s interest expense paid for the first three months of the year increased to $147 billion compared to $139 billion in the same period last year:

US oct dec 2015 2017 interest expense

This chart was taken directly from the TreasuryDirect.gov site, with my added annotations. As we can see, the U.S. Government paid $126.5 billion to service their debt Oct-Dec 2015. We must remember, the U.S. Government Fiscal period starts in October. So, in just two years, the interest expense the U.S. Government paid for Oct-Dec increased more than $20 billion. Now, what is interesting is that the average interest rate in Dec 2015 was 2.33%, but in Dec 2017 it was only 2.31%. Thus, it was actually lower, even though the interest expense increased by $20 billion.

The reason for the $20 billion increase in the interest expense during Oct-Dec 2017 versus Oct-Dec 2015 was due to a more than $2 trillion increase in U.S. debt over that two-year period. So, the U.S. Government will have a serious problem as interest rates really start to rise… and that doesn’t even include the continued increase in total U.S. debt.

Check it out here (source)

January 31 2018

moneymetals

WORLD’S LARGEST SILVER MINES: Suffer Falling Ore Grades & Rising Costs

The world’s two largest silver mines have seen their productivity decline substantially due to falling ore grades and rising costs. Gone are the days when silver mines could produce silver at 15-20 ounces per ton. Today, the Primary Silver Mining Industry is likely producing silver at an average yield of 4-5 ounces per ton.

In my newest video, I discuss the changes that have taken place in the world’s two largest silver mines, the Cannington Mine in Australia and the Fresnillo Mine in Mexico. Falling ore grades and rising energy costs have contributed to the doubling and tripling of production costs at many silver mining companies. Investors who believe it still only costs $5 an ounce to produce silver, as it did in 1999, fail to grasp what is taking place in the silver mining industry:


A big problem that has confused investors is the reporting of the “CASH COST” metric by the mining industry. Some silver mining companies can brag that they have a very low cast cost of $5 an ounce, but they arrive at that figure by deducting their “by-product credits.” By-product credits are the revenues they receive from producing copper, zinc, lead, and gold along with their silver.


Continue to the full article here: (source

moneymetals

For Anyone Still Wondering If Gold Prices Are Rigged...

That said, it is way too soon for investors in gold futures to start counting on fair dealing. There are, as usual, a few telltale signs that the action is unlikely to have much effect.

There are no U.S. based banks listed as part of this enforcement action, but that is merely suspicious. What really looks bad is the fact that, once again, no senior bank executives have been charged with a crime.

No matter how often people at these same firms get caught lying, rigging, and defrauding their own clients and investors at large, regulators never manage to pin blame on the top brass.

They have yet to suspend the trading privileges of any major bank.

James McDonald, who became the CFTC’s head of Enforcement last year, gave market participants a pretty good idea of what to expect from the agency – a passive attitude toward enforcement. Reuters summarized his approach this way:

He plans to encourage companies and staff to report their own wrongdoing and cooperate with investigators, a strategy he hopes will make it easier to prosecute more individuals.

With a policy like this, Wall Street banks don’t have much to worry about. Investors looking for a fair shake in precious metals futures markets, on the other hand, don’t have a whole lot to look forward to.

 (Original Source)

January 30 2018

moneymetals

Illinois’ Debt Crisis Foreshadows America’s Financial Future

Those wanting a glimpse into the future of our federal government’s finances should have a gander at Illinois. The state recently “resolved” a high-profile battle over its budget. Taxpayers were clubbed with a 32% hike in income taxes in an effort to shore up massive underfunding in public employee pensions, among other deficiencies.

But, predictably, it isn’t working. People are leaving the state in droves.

Illinois the land of debt

In fact, Illinois now leads the nation in population collapse. Statistics show people leaving the state at the rate of 1 every 4.3 minutes and the state dropped from 5th place to 6th in terms of overall population.

Turns out that people with options aren’t planning to stand there and take the epic tax increase.

Illinois officials’ hands are tied. Decades ago, public employee unions successfully lobbied for an amendment to the state constitution which prevents cuts to pensions. The taxpayers are hostages.

Illinois officials are instead considering one final gambit, one well-tried by many insolvent governments through history. They will address the problem of too much debt by borrowing even more money. Specifically the plan under review calls for selling $107 billion in debt in the largest ever municipal bond offering.

Worse, the state would use the borrowed funds to invest in financial markets. The state would purchase stocks and other securities near their all-time highs.

The Illinois credit rating has suffered in recent years, so borrowing costs will be higher. That means the state will need to take on even greater levels of risk to generate returns. What could go wrong?

Illinois is demonstrating a universal truth which certainly still applies at the national level. Governments do not voluntarily shrink. They grow until they can no longer be sustained. Then they get desperate – just before the default.

(Original Source)


January 25 2018

moneymetals

The Market Underestimates The Tremendous Energy Consumption By The Gold Mining Industry

While the gold mining industry reports energy as only 15-20% of its total production costs, the total amount consumed by the industry is much higher. The market underestimates the amount of energy consumed by the gold mining industry because of the way it is listed in their financial statements. Thus, it takes a great deal more energy to produce gold than the market realizes.

Due to the complex supply chain system that we depend upon, most of the energy that is consumed in the production of goods, services, materials, metals, and commodities is hidden from plain sight.For example, a gold mining company will list “Tire Costs” in their Financial and Sustainability Reports. However, even though a tire cost is listed as a material cost, the majority of a tire’s production cost comes from burning energy… in all forms and in all stages.

For example, Barrick Gold consumed nearly 25,000 tons of tires in 2013 on its mining operations. According to the Rubber Manufacturing Association, it takes roughly 7 gallons of oil to produce a standard car tire. And from the article, This Is What A $42,500 Tire Looks Like, stated the following:

Caterpillar 797 tire

One of the many unique aspects of the Cat 797 are its tires: More than 13-feet-tall, weighing 11,860 pounds, each Michelin or Bridgestone 59/80R63 XDR tire costs $42,500 and that’s when you buy the full set of six required by each $5.5 million truck.

Contains nearly 2,000 pounds of steel, enough to build two small cars and enough rubber to make 600 tires to put on them.

If the Rubber Manufacturing Association says it takes 7 gallons of oil to make one standard tire, and this article claims that the 13-feet-tall tire used by the Caterpillar 797 haul truck contains enough rubber to make 600 tires, then it takes 4,200 gallons of oil to make one of these giant tires. If we take a more conservative estimation of a smaller mining truck tire, it would likely consume at least 2,000 gallons or oil, or nearly 50 barrels of oil.

​Continue reading.. (source

January 24 2018

moneymetals

Rickards: Next Financial Panic Will Be the Biggest of All, with Only One Place to Turn…

Well now, without further delay, let’s get right to this week’s exclusive interview.

Jim rickards

Mike Gleason: It is my great privilege now to be joined by James Rickards. Mr. Rickards is Editor of Strategic Intelligence, a monthly newsletter and Director of the James Rickards Project, an inquiry into the complex dynamics of geopolitics and global capital. He's also the author of several bestselling books including The Death of MoneyCurrency WarsThe New Case for Gold and The Road to Ruin. In addition to his achievements as a writer and author, Jim is also a portfolio manager, lawyer and renowned economic commentator, having been interviewed by CNBC, the BBC, Bloomberg, Fox News and CNN, just to name a few. And we're happy to have him back on the Money Metals Podcast.

Jim, thanks for coming on with us again today. We really appreciate your time as always and how are you?

Jim Rickards: I'm doing great Mike, great to be with you. Thank you.

Mike Gleason: Well Jim, I figure a good place to start here is with one of your most recent books. We want to get your take on the state of the world economy. In your book titled The Road to Ruin: The Global Elites' Secret Plan for the Next Financial Crisis, you make some very interesting comments. Now while the financial media is talking about booming stock markets and accelerating GDP growth, you aren't quite as optimistic. We both know that most of the growth we've seen in recent years has been built with huge amounts of central bank stimulus and the fundamental problems that drove the last financial crisis have hardly been resolved. In fact, you think the next financial catastrophe isn't too far away and many among the elite are getting ready for it. If you can, briefly lay out some of what you've been seeing.

Jim Rickards: Sure Mike, you touched on two different threads. One is, let's call it the short to intermediate term, which is how's the economy doing? What would the forecast be for the year ahead? What do I think about stocks and so forth? That's one part of the analysis, but the other one is a little bigger and a little deeper, which is what about another major financial crisis, a liquidity crisis, global financial panic and what would the response function be to that.

Let me separate. They're related because, I mean the point I always make is that there's a difference between a business cycle recession and a financial panic. They're two different things. They can go together, but they don't have to. For example, October 29, 1987, the Stock Market fell 22% in one day. In today's Dow terms that would be the equivalent of 5,000 Dow points, so we're at 26,000 or whatever, as we speak, a 22% drop would take it down about 5,000 points. You and I both know that if the Dow Jones fell 500 points that would be all anybody would hear about or talk about. Well, imagine 5,000 points. Well, that actually happened in percentage terms in October 1987. So, that's a financial panic, but there was no recession. The economy was fine and we pulled out of that in a couple of days. Actually after the panic, it wasn't such a bad time to buy and stocks rallied back. Then, for example in 1990, you had a normal business cycle recession. Unemployment went up. There were some defaults and all that, but there was no financial panic.

In 2008, you had both. You had a recession that began in 2007 and lasted until 2009 and you had a financial panic that reached a peak in September-October 2008 with Lehman and AIG, so they're separate things. They can run together. Let's separate them and talk about the business cycle. I'm not as optimistic on the economy right now. I know there's a lot of hoopla. We just had the big Trump Tax Bill and the Stock Market's reaching all time highs. I mean, I read the tape. I get all that, but there are a lot headwinds in this economy. There's good evidence that the Fed is over-tightening.

Remember the Fed is doing two things at once that they've never done before. They're raising rates. I mean, they've done that many times, but they're raising rates, but at the same time, they're reducing their balance sheet. This is the opposite of QE. I'm sure a lot of listeners are familiar with QE, Quantatative Easing, which is money printing. That's all it is. And they do it by buying bonds. Then when they pay for the bonds from the dealers, they do it with money that comes out of thin air. That's how they expand the money supply. Well, they did that starting in 2008 all the way through until 2013, and then they tapered it off and the taper was over by the end of 2014, but they were still buying bonds. So, that was six years of bond buying. They expanded their balance sheet from $800 billion to $4.4 trillion.

Well, now they're putting that in reverse. They grabbed the gear and they shifted it into reverse and they're actually not dumping bonds. They're not going to sell a single bond, but what happens is, when bonds mature, the Treasury just sends you the money, so if you bought a five-year bond five years ago and it matures today, the Treasury just sends you the money. Well, when you send money to the Fed, the money disappears. It's the opposite of money printing. So, the Fed’s are actually destroying money, actually reducing the money supply, so they're raising rates and destroying money at the same time. It's a double whammy of tightening and I don't believe the U.S. economy's nearly as strong as the Fed believes. They rely on what's called the “Phillips Curve," which says unemployment's low, that's a constraint and wages are going to go up and inflation is right around the corner. And that's part of the reason they're tightening, but there are a lot of flaws in that theory....

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January 23 2018

moneymetals

Gold Market Consolidates Near Important Levels as Government Shuts Down

Inline image 1The gold market has been mired in a four-and-a-half year basing pattern. The rally that began late last year has taken prices up toward a major resistance zone. It’s make or break time!

Gold - jan. 19, 2018 (chart)

Also on the cusp of a potentially big move is the bond market.

Bonds haven’t been making headlines like the stock market, but where the bond market heads next could be crucial for stocks as well as metals (not to mention housing and lending).

The 30-year Treasury bond is forming a potential head and shoulders top. A sustained break below the major support line would confirm a new bear market in bonds. Lower bond prices would mean rising long-term interest rates – a potential precursor to rising inflation rates.

Bonds - jan. 19, 2018 (chart)

The government shutdown doesn’t do anything to inspire confidence in the creditworthiness of the U.S. Treasury.

Although no immediate threat of default exists, brinksmanship could escalate in future showdowns.

The government shutdown of 2011 caused the U.S. to suffer its first ever credit rating downgrade.

Senate Democrats pulled this latest political stunt over DACA – a controversial amnesty program for children of illegal immigrants. DACA affects very few Americans directly. It barely registers as a line item in the $4.1 trillion federal budget. Yet it caused the government to lock up and threatens to lead to a constitutional crisis down the road.

Continue reading (source)

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