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May 29 2018

moneymetals

David Smith: Debilitating Inflation Is Like an Army of Termites Eating Away Your House

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

David smith

Mike Gleason: It is my privilege now to welcome back David Smith, Senior Analyst at The Morgan Report, and regular contributor to MoneyMetals.com.

David, thanks for joining us again, how are you?

David Smith: You bet, Mike. It's great to speak with you again.

Mike Gleason: Well David, we published an article you wrote on inflation this week on our MoneyMetals.com website, and it's really great, by the way, and I hope everyone listening will take a few minutes to read it, because the subject matter, that being inflation, is very timely.

Right now, metals are suffering because of a rally in the U.S. dollar. There's lots of talk on Wall Street about how well the dollar's performing over the past few weeks, but traders, of course, are focusing exclusively on the dollar's exchange rate with other world currencies. You and I know that isn't really what matters. What counts is not how many euros or yen the dollar will purchase, it's how much gasoline, or housing, or food it will buy. And the reality is that it buys less of those things every year. We have inflation regardless of whether you define the term as an increase in the money supply, or as an increase in the price of goods and services.

However, precious metals have fallen in recent weeks simply because the dollar is stronger in foreign exchange markets. The fact that the dollar buys more yen is trumping the fact that the dollar buys less oil. It's as if we have deflation but the truth is, inflation is actually positive and starting to accelerate. So, what gives here, and how long do you think it will be before Wall Street figures out what is really happening to the dollar's value, David?

David Smith: Well, Mike, I think a lot of it has to do with Wall Street looking at the exchange rate because they're asking themselves what effect will it have on the profitability of companies that do business overseas or that import things and it has a significant effect on them if there's a change in the dollar's relation vis a vis to the currencies.

But the more immediate effect happens to the rest of us because we start paying more with inflation for things that we buy and sell on an everyday basis. So we're in a different universe from Wall Street in that regard. I don't know about you, but I've noticed the price of services going up substantially. Some prices have stayed the same for several years at the grocery store, beyond just the normal seasonal fluctuations of produce that you might expect to be more like avocados certain time of the year.

But a lot of other things, too, that normally have been pretty stable seem to have a built-in upward bias and all that does is to take more and more purchasing power out of our pockets, yours and mine, and the people listening to this, and place them someplace else. So, it's kind of a subterranean type of thing that's going on but it's not to the good for any of us.

Mike Gleason: Yeah certainly, well put and obviously the markets seem to be focusing very much on what it does relative to those other currencies and not really what it's buying, like you said right there. I mean everyone can attest to the fact that things are getting more expensive. There's no doubt about that.

As you have written, inflation is a destructive force for most of us. The powers that be have done a masterful job of painting a degree of inflation as somehow healthy for the economy, but you spend a lot of time traveling in South America, as you mentioned in this week's article. So you've seen firsthand what is happening in places like Argentina and I guess the government there has given up talking about how wonderful it is that money buys less every year. Obviously nobody there is going to be buying that line of bull anymore.

In Venezuela, people are starving, and violence is on the rise. Talk a bit if you would about what a rampant inflation looks like on the ground. You recently took another trip to South America. Tell us what it's like when confidence in the money begins to fail.


Read/Listen to the podcast here: (source

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) ​

March 02 2018

moneymetals

Michael Pento: Currencies Will Be ‘Flushed Down the Toilet’ Triggering a ‘Mad Rush into Gold’


Michael Mike Gleason: It is my privilege not to welcome back Michael Pento, president and founder of Pento Portfolio Strategies, and author of the book The Coming Bond Market Collapse: How to Survive the Demise of the U.S. Debt Market.

Michael is a well-known money manager and a fantastic market commentator, and over the past few years has been a wonderful guest and one of our favorite interviews here on the Money Metals Podcast and we always enjoy getting his Austrian economist viewpoint.

Michael, welcome back and thanks for joining us again.

Michael Pento: What a great introduction. Thanks for having me back on, Mike.

Mike Gleason: Well, we often talk about bond yields with you, Michael, and I think that's a good place to start today. You recently published an article where you made the case that 4% would be the floor when it comes to the 10-year note – not the ceiling, the floor, and you made some observations that now seem striking. The yield on that note averaged 4.6% in 2007, just the year before the 2008 financial crisis.

Today practically nobody remembers yields ever being that high… 10 years is a long time we suppose. Heck, it seems like investors have already forgotten the early February selloff in the equities market, so I guess we can't be surprised that they can't remember the situation a decade ago.

In any event, markets are not prepared, or priced for 4% yields on the 10-year. Talk a bit about why 4% is likely to be a minimum and why yields should probably be much higher than that.

Michael Pento: Let's start with the fact that normally speaking throughout history, the 10-year note seems to run with nominal GDP growth, which is basically your real growth plus inflation. So, if we're running around 2% inflation and we have growth at 2.5% around that, you would assume that the 10-year note should be historically speaking around 4.5% right now. But I can make a very cogent argument, Mike, that rates should be much, much higher because if you look back ... as you mentioned the 2007 when that average interest rate was, again, 4.6% and nominal GDP was sort of around that same ballpark, the annual deficit was 1.1% of GDP.

But going into fiscal 2019... sounds far away, not maybe that far away, but it sounds further away than really what it is. It begins in October of this year. Our annual amount of red ink will be $1.2 trillion. That is the Treasury's annual deficit, but you have to add to that to the fact that the central bank of the United States will be selling... and I say selling, because what they don't buy the Treasury must issue to the public, $600 billion less of Treasury Bonds. So, that's $1.8 trillion deficit. That has never before happened in the history of mankind, a $1.8 trillion deficit, which happens to be 8.6% of our phony GDP if we don't go into a recession.

Read/Listen to the full podcast (here)

February 27 2018

moneymetals

New Warnings on Risky “Self Storage” Gold & Silver IRAs

Bullion investors buy gold and silver as a matter of self-reliance. Physical metals aren’t dependent upon the promises of financial institutions, governments, or other third parties.

This lack of counterparty risk makes precious metals quite different from most conventional assets. There is no possibility of a default or mismanagement which renders them worthless. That is a lot more than can be said of securities such as stocks and bonds.

Gold retirement nest egg

Recently a few firms promoting “self storage” precious metals IRAs have been trying to exploit the self-reliance streak running through bullion investors in a manner that could cause significant harm.

These firms offer a scheme to circumvent IRS rules which require IRA metals be stored by a third party, and some people are biting. The desire to have possession and control of the metals appears to be outweighing good sense.

The warnings are piling up. Last week, the Industry Council on Tangible Assets issued the latest warning about storing IRA metals at home.

The trouble is rooted in the IRS requirement that assets in your retirement account be held by a third party.

Some firms have begun offering a dangerous work-around. They help investors create an LLC company which they claim will fill the role of the third party. The LLC buys and holds the metals, and the IRA holder manages the LLC.

IRS officials have already signaled that they see the formation of the LLC as a simple fiction to grant control over assets which are supposed to kept at arm’s length. ”Self storage” IRA holders seem likely to find their accounts disqualified, with taxes and penalties due immediately (as an early distribution of the full account balance).

As one expert frames it; “you can own a bakery with your IRA, but you cannot be the baker.” Owning a business with your self-directed IRA is okay. Hiring yourself and paying a salary is a definite no-no. Likewise it is perfectly fine to buy investment real estate, but your IRA cannot purchase your personal residence.

IRA promoters are offering LLC or “checkbook” IRAs despite knowing the program has not been defended successfully in court. It certainly does not have the blessing of the IRS.

​Continue reading (source)​

February 05 2018

moneymetals

January 26 2018

moneymetals

January 19 2018

moneymetals

Chinese Physical Gold Investment Demand Surges While Americans Pile Into Stock & Crypto Bubbles

Chinese demand for physical gold investment surged in the first three-quarters of 2017 while Americans ditched the shiny yellow metal for increased bets in the crypto mania and stock market bubble market. Even though China’s Hang Seng Stock Market outperformed the Dow Jones Index last year, Chinese citizens purchased the most gold bar and coin products Q1-Q3 2017 since the same period in 2013, when they took advantage of huge gold market price selloff.

According to the World Gold Council, Chinese gold bar and coin demand increased to 233 metric tons (mt) in the first three-quarters of 2017 compared to 162 mt in the same period last year. Furthermore, if we include Indian gold bar and coin demand, China and India consumed nearly half of the world’s total:

Global gold bar & coin demand q1 - q3 2017

As we can see, China and India consumed 338 mt of gold bar and coin products which accounted for 47% of the total 715 mt Q1-Q3 2017. German gold bar and coin demand of 81 mt took the third highest spot followed by Thailand (49 mt), Turkey (47 mt), Switzerland (31 mt) and the United States (30 mt). Chinese gold bar and coin demand of 233 mt nearly equaled the total demand by German, Thailand, Turkey, Switzerland and the United States of 238 mt.


​Continue reading (source)​


January 15 2018

moneymetals

The 2018 Stock Market Bubble vs. Gold & Silver

The U.S. Stock Market is reaching its biggest bubble in history. When the price of the Dow Jones Index only moves in one direction… UP, it is setting up for one heck of a crash. While market corrections aren’t fun for investors’ portfolios, they are NECESSARY. However, it seems that corrections are no longer allowed to take place because if they did, then the tremendous leverage in the market might turn a normal correction into panic selling and a meltdown on the exchanges.

So, we continue to see the Dow Jones Index hit new record highs, as it moved up 765 points since the beginning of the year. Now, if we go back to 1981 when the Dow was trading about 800 points, it took five years to double itself by another 800 points. However, the Dow Jones Index just added 765 points in less than two weeks. It doesn’t matter if the (1) point increase in the Dow Jones today is insignificant compared to a (1) point increase in 1981, investors feel rich when the numbers are increasing in a BIG WAY.

This is the same phenomenon taking place in the Bitcoin-Crypto Market. Crypto investors who are used to 10-20 baggers (10-20 times increase) no longer have the patience to invest in a real company that might grow on a 10-25% basis annually. Why the hell put money in a real business that employees a lot of people when you can turn $1,000 into $50 million in a few weeks?

Unfortunately, the Bitcoin-Crypto Market has destroyed the new Millennials ability even to consider making old fashion sound investments in real capital-intensive companies. Today, the Entrepreneurs rather make money trading Cryptos on their I-Phone, sporting a few thumbs-up Selfies, compared to the previous generation of business people doing deals out of their briefcases.

Continue reading (source)

January 05 2018

moneymetals

Gordon Chang: Blowup w/ China or North Korea Could Change Almost Everything Overnight

Without further delay, let's get right to this week's exclusive interview. 

Gordon chang

Mike Gleason: It is my privilege now to welcome in Gordon Chang, author, television pundit, and columnist at the Daily Beast. Gordon is a frequent guest on Fox News, CNBC, and CNN, among others, and is one of the foremost experts on Asian economics and geopolitics, having written books on the subject and it's great to have him back on with us.

Gordon, it's a real honor to have you on again, and thanks so much for your time today. I know it's been a busy week for you given all of your media appearances, and we're grateful that you could join us today. How are you?

Gordon Chang: I'm fine, thank you, and thank you so much, Mike. I really appreciate the opportunity.

Mike Gleason: Well, there are many things to cover here given all that's going on right now. We certainly appreciate your expertise, particularly when it comes to the developments in Asia. There's a lot going on in that part of the world with big implications for investors. Let's start with North Korea. That's obviously been at the forefront of the news this week with tensions getting ratcheted up again.

Kim Jong-Un and President Trump are both bragging about their nuclear arsenals. The over the top posturing on both sides makes it hard to gauge just how seriously the threat of nuclear exchange should be taken. The market seems to have stopped paying attention for the most part. Please give us your thoughts on the matter. Is there any likelihood the disagreement over North Korea's nuclear weapons program will escalate beyond words, Gordon, or is this war only going to be fought on Twitter?

Gordon Chang: If you look at Twitter, this certainly is a matter of concern, but I think the reality is much different. Right now, Kim Jong-Un, the ruler of North Korea, is feeling sanctions. We saw a hint of that in his New Year's address where he referenced it, at least indirectly, and at one point he actually called the sanctions an existential threat.

What he's trying to do right now with his overture to South Korea is to get the South Koreans to shovel money into his regime. What he would like in return for sending two figure skates to the winter Olympics in South Korea next month would be for South Korea to lift sanctions to resume inter-Korean projects, like the Kaesong Industrial Complex, and also for more North and South Korean aid.

I don't think that those expectations are realistic. Some of what he wants would be a violation of UN sanctions, and President Trump's policy has been to cut off the flow of money to Pyongyang so it can't launch missiles or detonate nukes. This is going into, I think, a very crucial period, because if you look back in history, and I'm talking seven decades, we have seen North Korea engage in military provocations shortly after making peace overtures. And this whole concept of the Olympics and his opening of dialog with South Korea, that's a peace overture.

Mike Gleason: We've got two huge wild cards at the forefront of all this with President Trump and Kim Jong-Un being rather unpredictable, to say the least. Is Trump's tit-for-tat responses to his adversary here going to make diplomacy harder to achieve as our allies might have a hard time joining in full force to combat the North Korean threat?

Listen/Read the entire podcast here: (source)

December 22 2017

moneymetals

David Smith: Cryptos Bringing Broad Attention to All Dollar Alternatives

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

David smith

Mike Gleason: It is my privilege now to welcome back David Smith, Senior Analyst at The Morgan Report and regular contributor to MoneyMetals.com. David, Merry Christmas, and thanks for joining us again. How are you?

David Smith: Very good Mike, and thank you and the very same to you and yours.

Mike Gleason: Well, as we start out here, David, let's talk first about the setup as we finish up 2017 and move into the new year. There are a lot of similarities to last year, maybe the year before. We've had the Fed just announce a rate hike. The move was well telegraphed and all the selling in the metals happened prior to last week's FOMC meeting. Open interest in the futures got pretty extended about a month ago, and as often happens in that scenario, the speculative long buyers were taken out to the wood shed and punished as the bullion banks cashed in on their shorts. Now we're seeing a bit of a rally in the metals, so the situation in these regards is very similar to a year ago. What are you expecting from the metals markets in the weeks and months ahead? Are you looking for a rally to match last year's?

David Smith: I really think that we could be looking at a very similar set up to 2016 where the metals actually bottomed in December, and the mining stocks tried to put a lower low in in mid-January. And I'll never forget it, January 19th, and on an inter-day basis, they turned around, and then it was up and away for the metals and the miners for the next six months.

Then between then and now they gave back about 50% of it, which is what you'd expect on a retracement, and nobody can predict the future exactly, but I really feel pretty strongly that we're going to see a very strong, right out of the box, in January, on the metals and miners, and it may even turn before the new year, but there's so many technical indicators themselves, that when you add them all up, they become something larger, and so I think if a person is waiting to purchase their metal, they shouldn't be waiting too much longer if they had the same view I do.

And not only that, as you know, when the demand starts ramping up pretty quickly, the premiums go up too, so you would have a double whammy against you, buying at a higher price and paying a higher premium if you wait until a lot of other people kind of get the same idea.

Mike Gleason: Yeah, certainly a buyers’ market right now, both in terms of low spot prices, and also the premiums, as you mentioned. And the last couple years, we have had pretty strong, right of the gate, moves there in the metals and the miners, and maybe 2018 is going to have the same thing.

Now in your most recent article that we published this week in MoneyMetals.com, you make the case for physical metals and cryptocurrencies to coexist. Now we think that is a vitally important idea right now as people are working through questions about what the advent of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies will mean for gold and silver. It would be pretty easy for people to look at price charts and leap to the conclusion that metals are quickly becoming irrelevant. The reality is that the times we live in are desperately calling for honest money and that both cryptocurrency and metals both have important roles to play. They have very different strengths and weaknesses, however, so talk for a minute, David, about how these two asset classes are likely to coexist.

Read/Listen to the entire podcast here: (source)

December 05 2017

moneymetals

December 04 2017

moneymetals

Gerald Celente: Middle East Wild Cards Could Bring Down Markets, Drive Up Gold

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

Gerald celente

Mike Gleason: It is my privilege now to welcome 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.

Gerald, thanks for taking the time and welcome back.

Gerald Celente: Thanks for having me on.

Mike Gleason: Well, Gerald, to start off here, we still have the equities markets ripping and roaring and there is seemingly no news that can derail the train. So, as we head into the end of the year, what does your forecast show for the crowd on Wall Street? Is the party going to end anytime soon?

Gerald Celente: Well, as they go through with this tax deal, it's just going to bring more money to the bigger corporations and you saw what the corporations have done with the profits from the past, what do they do with them? They reinvested them into the stock market rather than building their companies and investing in capital improvements.

So, giving them more money will give them more stock buybacks. The more stock buybacks, the higher the market goes. I mean that's the reality of it. So, if the tax breaks go through the way they're being planned, we're going to see more stock buybacks, more cheap money to reinvest back into the markets.

Again, we're looking at a very small segment of the population that's really playing the markets. For example, only 10% of Americans are in the markets at the range that makes any difference, so that 10%, for example, that's playing, they have about in equity about $350,000 (on average). The rest of society that has money into it, the so called middle class, of those that have any money in it, and again the 10% own over 90%. For the rest of the society, they only have about $15,000 in equity.

So, the markets are just going to keep going up if the cheap money keeps existing. Again, that's going to also see what happens when they raise interest rates, which are about a 99% sure shot now, later in December. And if the cheap money flows stop, then the markets stop. It's as simple as that, but we don't think a 25 basis point increase is going to have much of an impact.

Mike Gleason: Clearly the world has a problem with crooked bankers and corrupt politicians. We talked about this a bit when we had you on back in August. The two aren't unrelated, of course. Bankers and politicians have a very long and dark history of collusion.

On one hand, if history is a guide, there isn't much reason to expect anyone will be held to account for their crimes. "They are too big to jail," as former Attorney General Eric Holder might say. On the other hand, we can't help but be a little bit hopeful. It looks to us like some of these crimes, such as the Uranium One deal, are getting harder to ignore.

What do you make of the recent news? Are you feeling any more optimistic about some of these crooks actually going to prison?

Gerald Celente: No, quite the opposite. Look at the new Fed chair that's coming in. He's already saying that the banking regulations in place now are too tough and tough enough. So, if under the current regulations nobody went to jail and they soften them, they could steal more, and get fined, and also accused of less crimes.

So, no, it's going in the opposite direction. Under the new administration, they're not draining the swamp, they’re just filling the swamp with different swamp creatures. I mean look at the Trump White House. Who's running it? Mnuchin and Cohn on the financial end and those are both Goldman Sachs guys. It's just more of the same.

Mike Gleason: The rise of cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin in particular, is making waves in the precious metals markets. Some of the demand for gold and silver has been diverted to Bitcoin. People see it as another form of honest money and there is plenty of excitement over the huge price gains. Lots of people are wondering what the rise of Bitcoin might mean for precious metals over the longer term.

Now, our take is that Bitcoin offer hope as honest money and we are certainly fans of anything that can circumvent central bankers. Gold and silver, on the other hand, are proven stores of value with a track record extending back thousands of years and they are totally off the grid. Physical metals work with or without electricity or an internet connection and they can be used without leaving digital tracks behind.

What are your thoughts on the relationship between Bitcoin and bullion?

Read/Listen to the full podcast here: (source

November 30 2017

moneymetals

How to Choose a Firm to Set Up Your Precious Metals IRA

Self directed IRAs are increasingly popular as investors discover they can use them to escape the ring fence represented by traditional IRA accounts.

Banks and brokerages successfully cultivated the idea that IRAs should contain only conventional securities – stocks, bonds, and mutual funds. The truth is that they get paid handsomely for selling those paper assets, so that is all they put on the menu.

But word is getting out that it is perfectly legal and easy to own tangible assets, including real estate and precious metals, in an IRA. Investors just have to leave Wall Street and find a custodian which specializes in self-directed IRA plans. Today, there are a number of firms offering this sort of plan, so it is worth covering how an investor might go about choosing one.

Secure Your Retirement with a Precious Metals IRA | Learn More  />

You’ll want to start by evaluating the basics. Choose a firm with a reputation for providing great service at competitive fees. You might give extra points for a firm which is well established in the industry. There has been a fair bit of consolidation and changes in the space recently.

We would not recommend custodians charging more than $150 in annual fees or those charging more than $50 for each transaction. There are some very good firms with fees significantly below those levels.

The capability to enroll, view and manage transactions online should be a big consideration if you prefer the convenience of managing affairs electronically. Those people who prefer to deal in person should inquire by phone to see if you can reach a service rep easily and get good care.

Continue to the full article (source

November 27 2017

moneymetals

November 22 2017

moneymetals

November 13 2017

moneymetals

The Dangers of Zero

Inline image 1

Zero is an important number in the psychology driving demand for bullion. There are periods when investors find the argument that gold or silver prices “will never go to zero” compelling.

The 2008 financial crisis and the years immediately following it are the most recent example. The fear of conventional securities and even the fiat dollar becoming worthless was palpable for many in the metals markets. Bullion demand hit record levels.

Left behind

Investors have chased bull markets
for fear of being left behind.

While demand for gold ETFs and futures contracts has been strong in 2016 and 2017, some investors in the physical market for coins, bars, and rounds seem to have overlooked the modest gains of the past two years and are anxious instead to participate in bull markets elsewhere. If they are worried about anything, it is the possibility of missing out.

Gold and silver’s appeal as a safe haven is in temporary eclipse.

The metals markets are awaiting the moment when investors lose their conviction about ever higher stock prices and once again grapple with the idea that prices do fall.

Indeed, the value of some securities can, and does, fall all the way to zero. Companies miss expectations or fail outright. Bond issuers occasionally default and fiat currencies eventually die. Investors discount risk in the euphoria of a bull market.

Continue reading: (source)

November 06 2017

moneymetals

November 03 2017

moneymetals

Bitcoin or Gold: Which One's a Bubble and How Much Energy Do They Really Consume

Inline image 1

If you are investing in either Bitcoin or Gold, it’s important to understand which asset is behaving more like a bubble than the other. While it’s impossible to understand how the market will value these two very different assets in the future, we can provide some logical analysis that might remove some of the mystery associated with the market price of Bitcoin vs Gold.

I’ve read some analysis on Bitcoin profitability and energy consumption that seemed unreliable, so I thought I would put my two cents in on the subject.

For example, many sites are using the Digiconomist’s work on Bitcoin energy consumption. However, I believe this analysis has overstated Bitcoin’s energy consumption by a large degree. According to the Digiconomist, Bitcoin’s annual electric use is approximately 24 TerraWatts per year (TWh/yr):

Digiconomist bitcoin energy consumption

In a recent article that was forwarded to me by one of my readers, How Many Barrels Of Oil Are Needed To Mine One Bitcoin, the author used the information in the chart above to calculate the energy cost to produce each Bitcoin. He stated that the average energy cost for each Bitcoin equals 20 barrels of oil equivalent. Unfortunately, that data is grossly overstated.

Read the full article: (source)

October 24 2017

moneymetals

October 03 2017

moneymetals

U.S. Mint Bullion Coin Sales Dip As Buyers Take Advantage Of Secondary Market

The U.S. Mint is on track for the lowest sales of American Eagle coins in almost a decade. The 2008 financial crisis began a historic ramp up in sales that lasted for years. 20,583,000 silver American Eagles sold that year, more than double the 2007 total of 9,028,036 coins.

In all but one year thereafter the Mint set a new record. Sales peaked in 2015 at 47,000,000 Silver Eagle coins – 5 times the number sold before the world discovered just how rickety the global financial system actually is.

Memories are short, however, and investor complacency is setting in.

Sales to date in 2017 are just short of 16 million coins and are set to finish the year very close to the 2008 totals.

U.S. Mint sales are viewed as a proxy for bullion sales in the broader market. There isn’t much else available in the way of published data. However, Mint statistics don’t tell the whole story.

While retail buying activity is still stronger than retail selling, we’ve seen a meaningful increase in customer selling of coins, rounds, and bars over the past year. A lot of the American Eagles traded today are therefore resale coins which don’t show up in the Mint’s reporting of new minting activity.

Government Mint Bureaucrats Don’t Respond to Market Conditions

Private mints and refiners are responding to weaker sales by lowering premiums on rounds and bars. The government bureaucrats which run the sovereign mints, including the U.S. Mint, largely ignore these competitive forces. To date, they have not adjusted pricing.

Demand for government-minted products therefore suffers the most as buyers take advantage of significant premium discounts available in other products and secondary market items.

While retail bullion demand in the U.S. is certainly weaker overall, it is way better than the Mint's statistics might imply. In a sense, the bullion markets are more balanced. National dealers like Money Metals Exchange make more of a two-way market, both buying from and selling to clients.

That is good news for buyers. The days when new production Silver Eagles were strictly allocated and supply fell hopelessly short of demand are behind us, at least for now. Investors can get those coins for around $2.50 over melt value, instead of paying up to $6.00 and waiting for delivery – which has been the case on a few occasions over the past 5-7 years.

Any buyer who doesn’t have to have a sovereign coin will find plenty of other silver products with premiums under a buck – such as rounds and bars. Gold premiums and availability are also improved.

Premiums could go even lower if retail demand does not increase despite the renewed bull market in precious metals that began in late 2015.

Much will depend on spot prices. Many people are impatient with the seemingly gradual rise in gold and silver prices off the 2015 bottom. If prices accelerate upwards, investors will finally start believing in the new bull market.

Perhaps an even bigger variable is the atmosphere of complacency in the markets and how much longer that will persist. Our view is that virtually all markets are severely underpricing risk. More investors should be buying safe-haven assets rather than selling.

It is hard to reconcile the world we find ourselves in today with record stock market prices, at least not without the artificial forces of central bank stimulus in massive amounts and algorithmic trading. Those forces are formidable, to be sure. But how much longer can bankers (both central and Wall Street) forestall the ultimate reckoning for all of their excesses?

Investors asking the same question should take advantage of the buyer’s market in metals while it lasts.

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