China

Jim Rogers: Some Currencies, Real Assets Could Shine When Coming Bust Arrives

Enough about Chicago already. Let’s talk money.

Last time I blogged about well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers, he shared this warning regarding the ocean of liquidity that’s been created by unprecedented money printing via the world’s central banks:

When it ends, we will all pay a terrible price.

That was the end of May. And now?

Disturbingly, he’s singing the same tune.

Elena Torrijos reported on the Yahoo! Finance Singapore website yesterday:

He doesn’t know when the party is going to end, but he believes when it does, “we’re all going to suffer very, very badly”. He said the US would also fare worse than it has in previous economic setbacks because the country’s debt is now so much higher than before.

“So the next one [economic bust] is going to be much worse… so be worried, be careful and be prepared,” he warned.

Everybody should have a game plan, he said. “Learn how to cut back if you need to, even learn how to sell short. Short sellers are going to earn a lot of money the next time around,” he pointed out.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The Singapore-based Rogers suggested certain currencies could initially offer refuge when the “bust” arrives. Torrijos added:

He believes some currencies are going to do well in that time of turmoil. “The Chinese renminbi, for instance, will probably continue to do extremely well over the next few years. I even own the US dollar at the moment. The US dollar is a terribly, terribly flawed currency, but at the moment I own it because when the turmoil comes many people will flee to what they see as a safe haven,” he said.

When invariably central banks start printing money to pump prime their economies, he’s not sure which currency he’d flee to. “Maybe the renminbi, maybe gold, probably real assets, because once the floodgates open even more, the value of paper money everywhere is going to go down a great deal,” he said.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

What about commodities- something with which the former investing partner of George Soros is so closely identified with? Back on December 3, 2013, Rogers appeared on The Lang and O’Leary Exchange, a Canadian business news television series which airs weekdays on CBC Television and CBC News Network. He told host Amanda Lang:

This is going to end badly. We’re all floating around on a sea of artificial liquidity right now Amanda. This is not going to last. No, no. And when it ends, the bull market in commodities will probably end too. But, the bull market in a lot of stuff will end.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

Source:

Torrijos, Elena. “Jim Rogers reveals his Singapore investment strategy.” Yahoo! Finance Singapore. 14 July 2014. (https://sg.finance.yahoo.com/news/jim-rogers-reveals-his-singapore-investment-strategy-153319907.html). 15 July 2015.

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CNNMoney Poll: 63 Percent Of Americans Believe Most U.S. Children Won’t Be Better Off Than Their Parents

Long-time readers of Survival And Prosperity might remember this bit about American kids possibly not turning out to be “better off” than their parents. I blogged on September 21, 2011:

Back in 2006 when I was working at a suburban fire department, a battalion chief came into my office, saw the local paper on my desk, and asked, “Did you read that piece about how kids these days might be the first generation who won’t be better off than their parents?” I replied, “Yeah, it was depressing.” The fire officer confided, “That stuff scares me. I’m worried they might be right about that.” I’d be concerned too, especially if I were the parent of a couple of young kids like this chief was.

I was reminded of that exchange when I read the following from Tami Luhby on the CNNMoney website yesterday:

The American Dream is impossible to achieve in this country.

So say nearly 6 in 10 people who responded to CNNMoney’s American Dream Poll, conducted by ORC International. They feel the dream — however they define it — is out of reach.

Young adults, age 18 to 34, are most likely to feel the dream is unattainable, with 63% saying it’s impossible. This age group has suffered in the wake of the Great Recession, finding it hard to get good jobs.

Younger Americans are a cause of great concern. Many respondents said they are worried about the next
generation’s ability to prosper.

Some 63% of all Americans said most children in the U.S. won’t be better off than their parents. This dour view comes despite most respondents, 54%, feeling they are better off than their own parents…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

According to Luhby, the poll came from telephone interviews with 1,003 adult Americans from May 29 to June 1, 2014.

I’m really not surprised by the findings of this survey. Besides an ugly employment picture, middle-class incomes are stagnating and the cost of living is rising (despite what the government and its shills say).

Here’s something else I mentioned in that September 2011 post. It’s from Annalyn Censky- also on the CNNMoney website:

It’s official. The first decade of the 21st century will go down in the history books as a step back for the American middle class.

Last week, the government made gloomy headlines when it released the latest census report showing the poverty rate rose to a 17-year high…

But the data also gave the first glimpse of what happened to middle-class incomes in the first decade of the millennium. While the earnings of middle-income Americans have barely budged since the mid 1970s, the new data showed that from 2000 to 2010, they actually regressed.

For American households in the middle of the pay scale, income fell to $49,445 last year, when adjusted for inflation, a level not seen since 1996.

And over the 10-year period, their income is down 7%

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Are middle-class wages still stuck in reverse today? From a September 17, 2013, post on the Free exchange blog (The Economist website):

THE Census released new figures on income and poverty today… They’re both grim and unsurprising. In 2012 the real median household income in America was flat relative to 2011 and down considerably from the pre-recession level

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

So is the American Dream impossible to achieve anymore?

I don’t think so. But I predict many of the kids today and possibly future generations will find it significantly more difficult to realize the Dream due to the self-serving and ill-advised fiscal and monetary policies carried out by the adults of the last few decades to the present time.

By incurring trillions of dollars of debt during this time period, we’ve screwed a good number of our kids and future Americans.

Here’s hoping yours won’t be employed as a servant to the Chinese or whoever the next hegemon is in the coming years…


“Chinese Professor”
YouTube Video

Sources:

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Luhby, Tami. “The American Dream is out of reach.” CNNMoney. 4 Jun. 2014. (http://money.cnn.com/2014/06/04/news/economy/american-dream/index.html). 6 June 2014.

R.A. “Stagnation for everyone.” Free exchange. 17 Sep. 2013. (http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2013/09/incomes). 6 Jun. 2014.

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Jim Rogers: ‘We’re All Going To Pay A Terrible Price’ When ‘Artificial Ocean Of Liquidity’ Ends

Tonight, I want to talk about well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers. The former investing partner of George Soros- who I recently heard is worth approximately $300 million (Soros $23 billion)- recently shared his thoughts about the global financial system and potential investment opportunities.

On May 27, Nina Xiang of the China Money Network contributed the following on the Forbes website:

Legendary investor Jim Rogers has been warning about “the ocean of artificial liquidity” as a result of the unprecedented money printing by central banks around the world for quite some time now.

But with the U.S. stock market at an all-time high, his cautionary words seem to have hardly been heeded…

“When it ends, we will all pay a terrible price,” says Rogers…

Read it as an advocacy for an alternative attitude that is unpopular at the moment: the attitude of awareness that we are in this “artificial period” and it will end one day; the attitude of fearfulness that there will be more turmoil in the next ten years; the attitude of preparedness, that includes stocking up some extra food, a spare flashlight, and gold coins — instead of gold bars — for when the time of emergency comes…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Jim Rogers: We Will All Pay A Terrible Price For Today’s Artificial Liquidity”
YouTube Video

Note that in the Chinese Money Podcast that was uploaded onto YouTube the same day as that Forbes piece, Xiang and Rogers talked about regional conflicts and the Singapore-based investor predicted:

I would suspect that sometime in the next ten years, the world’s going to have a bigger conflict.

On May 26, the text of another interview with Jim Rogers was published on the website of The Economic Times (India). Rogers, who correctly predicted the commodities rally that started in 1999, talked about the following investment opportunities:

• Gold and silver- “If it goes down, I assure you I will be buying more gold and more silver.”
• Crude oil- “Remember, all the other known reserves in the world are in decline, even if the supply from the US is rising. Everywhere else, there has been declining reserves, because there have been no great oilfield discoveries in over 40 years.”
• Sugar- “I am bullish on sugar.”
• U.S. dollar- “I own the US dollar and have not sold any. In fact, probably I would have bought some more, if I weren’t talking to you.”

Rogers concluded this discussion by sharing that:

I am still trying to find some more things to buy in Russia, maybe some Chinese shares and maybe some more Japanese shares…

Nice job by The Economic Times getting this information from Rogers.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

Sources:

Xiang, Nina. “Why We Should All Take A Moment To Listen To Jim Rogers.” Forbes. 27 May 2014. (http://www.forbes.com/sites/ninaxiang/2014/05/27/why-we-should-all-take-a-moment-to-listen-to-jim-rogers/). 29 May 2014.

“Will be excited about investing in India if Narendra Modi delivers: Jim Rogers.” The Economic Times. 26 May 2014. (http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2014-05-26/news/50098911_1_jim-rogers-commodity-space-gold-imports). 29 May 2014.

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Sino-Russian Natural Gas Deal Blow To U.S. Dollar Supremacy?

“The Obama administration is playing down an increasingly warm relationship between its main global rivals, China and Russia, that it may have inadvertently encouraged.

U.S. officials maintain there is nothing to fear from the growing alliance between Moscow and Beijing, even as each throws its weight around in neighboring regions like Ukraine and the South China Sea and at international forums like the United Nations, where on Thursday they double-vetoed the latest in a series of Security Council resolutions on Syria.

Yet when coupled with growing cooperation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in other areas- notably, a new $400 billion natural gas deal and apparent agreement on the crisis in Ukraine- many believe Russia and China may now or may soon represent a powerful new alliance challenging not only the United States, but also the Western democratic tradition that the U.S. has championed globally…”

-Associated Press, May 23, 2014

You may have heard about that $400 billion natural gas deal that was just struck between China and Russia. Or maybe you didn’t, as I’ve noticed the mainstream media hasn’t really been talking about it too much. Most of the outlets that did neglected to talk about the potential ramifications for the U.S. dollar.

There were exceptions. From the BBC News website on May 22:

Some papers are also analysing the impact of the deal on the world currency market.

A commentary in the Beijing Youth Daily says the deal will probably encourage more countries to not trade in US dollars if China and Russia decide to switch to clearing payments in Russian roubles and the yuan.

“The world economy and finance will then embark on a process to get rid of the US dollar, and the dominance of the dollar will gradually lose its support. The US will then face more challenges in its ability to control global economics and politics,” it says…

From Liam Halligan on The Telegraph (UK) website yesterday:

The real danger, in my view, is rather more abstract — but deadly important nevertheless. If Russia’s “pivot to Asia” results in Moscow and Beijing trading oil between them in a currency other than the dollar, that will represent a major change in how the global economy operates and a marked loss of power for the US and its allies.

With the dollar as the world’s petrocurrency, it also remains the reserve currency of choice for central banks globally. As such, the US is currently able to borrow with “exorbitant privilege”, as it has for decades, simply printing money to pay off foreign creditors.

With China now the world’s biggest oil importer and the US increasingly stressing domestic production, the days of dollar-priced energy, and therefore dollar-dominance, look numbered. Beijing has recently struck numerous agreements with major trading partners such as Brazil that bypass the dollar. Moscow and Beijing have also set up rouble-yuan swap facilities that push the greenback out of the picture.

If Russia and China now decide to drop dollar energy pricing totally, America’s reserve currency status could unravel fast, seriously undermining the US Treasury market and causing a world of pain for the West. This won’t happen tomorrow or next year. It’s unlikely even by 2020. But by announcing this deal, Russia and China turned the screw half a twist more…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Then there’s this from Max Keiser, an American filmmaker and host of the Keiser Report, a financial show on RT. From The Washington Times website earlier today:

He said the $400 billion, 30-year deal will further the strategic goals of Moscow and Beijing to diminish the status of the U.S. dollar by conducting world trade in critical commodities such as oil and gas using other currencies.

Russia is the world’s biggest producer of commodities such as crude oil, gold and titanium. China is the world’s biggest consumer of these commodities.

Both countries have chafed for years at having to conduct purchases and sales in dollars, as is customary worldwide. The gas deal announced in Beijing on Wednesday would be the first major commodities contract to be settled in Russian rubles and Chinese yuan rather than dollars.

“This means the U.S. dollar’s days as the world reserve currency are numbered,” said Mr. Keiser, noting that Russia and China have been investing heavily in gold.

Many analysts question whether Moscow and Beijing can succeed in displacing the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. If that happens, however, it likely would usher in a period of global financial instability and force Americans to pay much more for the massive amounts of imported energy, Mr. Keiser said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit- the research and analysis division of The Economist Group, the sister company to The Economist newspaper- on May 22, it has been reported payments for the gas will be made in Chinese yuan rather than U.S. dollars.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

“China media: Russia gas deal.” BBC News. 22 May 2014. (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-27514395). 25 May 2014.

Halligan, Liam. “Russia-China gas deal could ignite a shift in global trading.” The Telegraph. 24 May. 2014. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/liamhalligan/10854595/Russia-China-gas-deal-could-ignite-a-shift-in-global-trading.html). 25 May 2014.

Hill, Patrice. “Russia’s Putin gains strategic victory with Chinese natural gas deal.” The Washington Times. 25 May 2014. (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/may/25/russias-putin-gains-strategic-victory-with-chinese/). 25 My 2014.

“The Sino-Russian gas deal.” Economist Intelligence Unit. 22 May 2014. (http://www.eiu.com/industry/article/431836627/the-sino-russian-gas-deal/2014-05-22) 25 May 2014.

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What Jim Rogers Is Buying In China, Russia These Days

Investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers recently appeared on the Yahoo! Finance show The Daily Ticker. Host Lauren Lyster asked the former investing partner of George Soros about China and Russia. Rogers shared the following with viewers in a segment published yesterday:

Chinese Stocks

I am not buying much in China. I am buying a little bit. They still have a big debt problem, which worries me a lot. But, I have started buying because they had a big conference in November where they said, “This is what we’re going to spend our money on in the next twenty years.” Now, Ms. Lyster- they’ve got more money than I do. And they’re smarter than I am. And if they’re going to put a lot of money into some sectors of the Chinese economy, I am too. And, they said we’re going to open up the economy more and more- especially in finance. So I started putting a little more into financial companies. And more important, they said, “When there’s a situation where we’re not quite sure what to do, we’re going to let the market decide- such as health care….”

So, I’m finding optimism. I haven’t bought shares since 2008- November of 2008. But I’m starting to buy in a small way again.

Russian Stocks

I did buy during Crimea. I woke up and said, “I’ve got to do something now because this is really collapsing.” So I bought more when they marched into Crimea or whatever it was they did. But no- I’m looking right now. But if I weren’t talking to you, I’d probably be buying more.

Russian Ruble

I’m not buying the ruble so much naked. Not naked. But, I might. I might. You’re supposed to buy when there’s blood in the streets… Russia- there’s blood in the streets. Figuratively.


“Jim Rogers: Forget U.S. markets, I’m buying Chinese and Russian stocks”
Yahoo! Finance Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Russia To Attack Petrodollar?

Here’s another story that’s not getting much attention this week:

Russia threatening to replace U.S. dollar-denominated transactions for their exports

Gleb Stolyarov reported on Reuters.com this morning:

Russia, keen to dodge threatened Western sanctions on its companies over the Ukraine crisis, said on Wednesday it was looking at ways for major state-owned exporters such as energy giants to be paid in roubles.

The idea of major exporters being paid in roubles rather than dollars has been gaining ground in recent weeks in response to sanctions imposed by the West on officials and companies over Russia’s annexation of Crimea and an uprising in Ukraine’s east.

“There are certain risks, but we are preparing a mechanism, we are working on it,” Finance Minister Anton Siluanov told reporters during a visit to Russia’s Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

So exports would be paid for in rubles rather than dollars. So what?

Michael Snyder of The Economic Collapse blog highlighted what could be at stake. Snyder wrote yesterday:

This would essentially be like slamming an economic fist into our nose.

You see, Russia is not just a small player when it comes to trading oil and natural gas. The truth is that Russia is the largest exporter of natural gas and the second largest exporter of oil in the world.

If Russia starts asking for payment in currencies other than the U.S. dollar, that will essentially end the monopoly of the petrodollar

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Snyder continued:

So why is the petrodollar so important?

Well, it creates a tremendous amount of demand for the U.S. dollar all over the globe. Since everyone has needed it to trade with one another, that has created an endless global appetite for the currency. That has kept the value of the dollar artificially high, and it has enabled us to import trillions of dollars of super cheap products from other countries. If other nations stopped using the dollar to trade with one another, the value of the dollar would plummet dramatically and we would have to pay much, much more for the trinkets that we buy at the dollar store and Wal-Mart.

In addition, since the U.S. dollar is essentially the de facto global currency, this has also increased demand for our debt. Major exporting nations such as China and Saudi Arabia end up with giant piles of our dollars. Instead of just letting them sit there and do nothing, those nations often reinvest their dollars into securities that can rapidly be changed back into dollars if needed. One of the most popular ways to do this has been to invest those dollars in U.S. Treasuries. This has driven down interest rates on U.S. debt over the years and has enabled the U.S. government to borrow trillions upon trillions of dollars for next to nothing…

So if Russia really does pull the trigger on a “de-dollarization” strategy, that would be huge – especially if the rest of the planet started following their lead…

So would the rest of the planet follow Russia’s lead? Consider the following from the website for The Voice of Russia, the Russian government’s international radio broadcasting service. Valentin Mândrăşescu reported yesterday:

Of course, the success of Moscow’s campaign to switch its trading to rubles or other regional currencies will depend on the willingness of its trading partners to get rid of the dollar. Sources cited by Politonline.ru mentioned two countries who would be willing to support Russia: Iran and China. Given that Vladimir Putin will visit Beijing on May 20, it can be speculated that the gas and oil contracts that are going to be signed between Russia and China will be denominated in rubles and yuan, not dollars

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Stay tuned. This could get ugly.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Stolyarov, Gleb. “UPDATE 2-Russia, wary of sanctions, wants exporters to be paid in roubles.” Reuters.com. 14 May 2014. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/14/russia-exports-rouble-idUSL6N0O01RI20140514). 14 May 2014.

Snyder, Michael. “De-Dollarization: Russia Is On The Verge Of Dealing A Massive Blow To The Petrodollar.” The Economic Collapse. 13 May 2014. (http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/de-dollarization-russia-is-on-the-verge-of-dealing-a-massive-blow-to-the-petrodollar). 14 May 2014.

Mândrăşescu, Valentin. “Russia strives to exclude the dollar from energy trading.” 13 May 2014. (http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_05_13/Russia-strives-to-exclude-the-dollar-from-energy-trading-5138/). 14 May 2014.

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Richard Russell Warns ‘In A Matter Of Months, I See The Dollar Crashing’

Speaking of high-profile supporters of gold, how many readers have heard of Richard Russell? I had this to say about Mr. Russell of Dow Theory Letters-fame back on September 21, 2011:

Russell gained wide recognition from a series of over thirty Dow Theory and technical articles that he wrote for Barron’s during the late fifties through the nineties. Russell was the first (in 1960) to recommend gold stocks. He called the top of the 1949-66 bull market. And almost to the day he called the bottom of the great 1972-74 bear market, and the beginning of the great bull market which started in December 1974. Did I mention he’s been bullish about gold for almost a decade now?

Russell’s made some great calls over the years, and now he’s making headlines with another gigantic call. From the King World News Blog on April 22:

I think we are seeing the greatest transfer of wealth (West to East) in all history. China is amassing a huge hoard of gold while I don’t know how much the US and the English speaking nations actually have. The western central banks’ policy of selling gold to knock down the price is a disaster (and China must love it). The US will lose its reserve currency advantage within a few years or probably less time. Our defense against a weak economy is always to print more money. In a matter of months, I see the dollar crashing.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I was about to hit the sack the other evening when I read that last sentence, and knowing all too well Russell’s reputation, it gave me some late night jitters.

I’m not going to steal the thunder away from the King World News Blog, so check out everything that Russell’s had to say over there.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein)

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China Gold Demand To Increase In 2014?

“Gold futures on Friday held below $1,300 an ounce as recent data showing a pickup in the U.S. economy helped draw some investors away from the metal and to the stock market, feeding a loss of roughly 3% in gold prices for the week…”

-MarketWatch.com, March 28

No doubt China exerts significant influence on the gold market.

In fact, on March 4, I blogged about HSBC Global Research’s claim of China’s buying of gold jewelry and bullion now being the biggest driver of prices, rather than investment demand from the West.

I also noted the World Gold Council expects China not only to remain the world’s largest consumer of physical gold (roughly 25% of global gold demand), but to increase its acquisition of the precious metal as well.

The WGC isn’t alone in thinking that.

Nat Rudarakanchana reported on the International Business Times website this morning:

Demand for gold in China, which broke consumer records in 2013, could reach new heights in 2014, according to some analysts…

New York’s CPM Group projects that net Chinese gold demand, which sums investment and consumer demand, will rise to over 44 million ounces in 2014, up from 41 million ounces last year…

“But the rate of growth is sharply lower,” in 2014 compared to last year, cautioned CPM Group commodities analyst Jeffrey Christian…

Since 2006, Chinese gold demand has risen at an annualized rate of 20 percent, according to Dundee Capital Markets economist Chantelle Schieven.

Lower average gold prices in Chinese yuan in 2014 could drive more purchases this year, as Chinese incomes rise, she said at a recent New York gold seminar. Schieven also expects Chinese demand to increase in 2014…

(Editor’s note: Bold added or emphasis)

Gold finished today higher after touching six-week lows under $1,300 an ounce.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

Source:

Rudarakanchana, Nat. “Chinese Gold Demand Could Rise In 2014, In Surprise Call, Though India’s Demand May Have Peaked Years Ago.” International Business Times. 28 Mar. 2014. (http://www.ibtimes.com/chinese-gold-demand-could-rise-2014-surprise-call-though-indias-demand-may-have-peaked-years-ago). 28 Mar. 2014.

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HSBC: China, Not Investment Demand From West, Now Steering Gold Prices

Sounds like China may be firmly in the driver’s seat these days when it comes to steering gold prices. Yue Li reported in The Wall Street Journal’s MoneyBeat blog this morning:

China’s buying of gold jewelry, coins and bars is now the biggest driver of prices, not investment demand from the West, according to HSBC Global Research.

“We would argue that physical demand trends in the emerging world will largely define gold’s price movements this year,” HSBC analysts James Steel and Howard Wen said in a research note.

China alone can take up the equivalent of half of the global gold mine output, while a possible recovery in Indian demand could also act as a boost for the yellow metal as long as the Indian authorities reduce import tariffs on gold.

Investment demand, typically coming from gold exchange-traded funds, had long been considered the sole reason behind the gold’s decade-long bull run…

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Long-time observers of gold have recognized China’s growing influence in this market.

A question that’s probably on their minds is, will Chinese demand continue to steer prices?

Consider what Jennifer Schonberger wrote on the FOX Business website back on February 21:

China overtook India last year as the world’s largest buyer of physical gold, according to the World Gold Council. In 2013, Chinese demand for gold bars, coins and jewelry soared 32% to a record high, as China imported 1,066 metric tonnes of the precious metal, or more than one third of the 2,968 metric tonnes of gold produced globally.

And last year’s record wasn’t a one-hit wonder. This year, the World Gold Council expects China to remain the world’s largest consumer of physical gold. While down slightly from last year’s record level, the research body projects China will still gobble up a robust 1,000 tonnes to 1,100 tonnes of gold in 2014. China accounts for roughly 25% of global demand for gold and is likely to boost its share in coming years. The stock of gold in China is less than half of India and consumption per head in China is still catching up to other markets.

The Chinese gold rush comes after China’s government lifted restrictions on gold ownership. Until 2002, Beijing barred citizens from owning gold bars and coins. Culturally there’s been an appreciation for gold for a long time in China, but citizens weren’t able to access it to the extent they have over the past 12 years. Now that China has lifted restrictions, the government has unleashed pent-up demand…

I blogged last April what the demand for the precious metal has looked like in China at times.

In the meantime, the financial mainstream media here in the West keeps running pieces about gold’s imminent demise. And no doubt plenty of Americans will keep believing it.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Li, Yue. “China Now Biggest Driver of Gold Prices, HSBC Says.” MoneyBeat. 4 Mar. 2014. (http://blogs.wsj.com/moneybeat/2014/03/04/china-now-biggest-driver-of-gold-prices-hsbc-says/). 4 Mar. 2014.

Schonberger, Jennifer. “Going for the Gold: Chinese Demand Could Be Gold’s Long-Term Bid.” FOX Business. 21 Feb. 2014. (http://www.foxbusiness.com/investing/2014/02/21/going-for-gold-chinese-demand-could-be-golds-long-term-bid/). 4 Mar. 2014.

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H10N8: New Strain Of Bird Flu May ‘Replicate Efficiently In Humans’

H10N8. I’d never heard of this new strain of bird flu until tonight, when I came across the following from Michelle Roberts on the BBC website. From earlier today:

Experts are concerned about the spread of a new strain of bird flu that has already killed one woman in China.

The 73-year-old from Nanchang City caught the H10N8 virus after visiting a live poultry market, although it is not known for sure if this was the source of infection.

A second person has since become infected in China’s Jiangxi province.

Scientists told The Lancet the potential for it to become a pandemic “should not be underestimated”.

This particular strain of influenza A virus has not been seen before…

I felt compelled to alert Survival And Prosperity readers about this particular avian influenza due to its novelty and its ability to reproduce. Roberts added:

Scientists who have studied the new H10N8 virus say it has evolved some genetic characteristics that may allow it to replicate efficiently in humans.

The concern is that it could ultimately be able to spread from person to person, although experts stress that there is no evidence of this yet…

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

“Although experts stress that there is no evidence of this yet.”

Let’s hope it remains that way.

I haven’t heard/read too much about H10N8 in the American mainstream media.

Nor does the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website talk about this new strain of bird flu.

Stay tuned…

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Roberts, Michelle. “New strain of ‘deadly’ bird flu.” BBC News. 4 Feb. 2014. (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-26020015). 4 Feb. 2014.

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Tuesday, February 4th, 2014 Asia, Health, Natural Disasters No Comments

Peter Schiff Bashes QE, Taper Lite, Gold Bears

“Gold Set for Worst Annual Tumble Since ‘81”

-FOX Business website headline, December 23, 2013

“Gold’s safe-haven role is over: strategist”

-MarketWatch.com headline, December 23, 2013

“I wouldn’t buy gold with my worst enemy’s cash: Strategist”

-CNBC.com headline, December 22, 2013

Not only have I been waiting to hear Euro Pacific Capital CEO Peter Schiff’s take on last week’s “taper” of the Federal Reserve’s quantitative easing program, but also his opinion on the latest bout of gold selling.

Schiff, who correctly called the recent housing crash and 2008 global economic crisis, just uploaded a new entry to The Schiff Report, his YouTube video blog. Schiff told viewers on December 20:

We have never had more stimulus- both monetary and fiscal- than we have right now. This is record-breaking, Keynesian stimulus. And it’s barely working. Yes, it’s inflating a stock market bubble. It’s inflating a real estate bubble. But it’s not creating genuine economic growth. And it never will. It is not raising living standards for the vast majority of Americans. And it isn’t creating productive, high-paying jobs. And it never will. And Ben Bernanke doesn’t understand that.

Like fellow “crash prophet” Marc Faber, Schiff believes the Federal Reserve will eventually pursue more, not less, bond-buying in the future. He explained:

Why did gold sell off? “Because everything is great.” “Because the Fed has done the impossible.” “It’s tapered and it hasn’t hurt anything.” This is what everybody believes. That the Fed has accomplished its goal. It hasn’t done anything. It’s talked about doing a tiny bit. But again, as far as I’m concerned, monetary policy is even easier now than it was before they announced this trivial taper lite. And the rest of the taper is probably never going to happen because the Fed is going to have to buy more bonds, not fewer bonds, to keep this whole house of cards from imploding.

Now, is gold going to continue to fall? I don’t know. My gut is that it’s probably still finding a bottom around 1,200. There is plenty of legitimate support for gold all around the world. Yes, all the speculators who are convinced that everything is great. The same people that thought it was great in 2007. Or it was great in 1999. That crowd, completely clueless about actual economics, is convinced that there is no reason to own gold. And so, they’re going to sell it, they’re going to short it. But there is a larger community around the world, particularly I think a lot of the emerging markets, central banks, China in particular, that see it differently. And they’re using this opportunity to buy as much gold as they can so that when the speculators and the investors figure out how wrong they’ve got it, and they realize that they need to be buying gold not selling it, there won’t be any gold left to buy because they would have already sold it. And the people who bought it from them aren’t going to sell it back. The gold that China bought- they’re never going to sell it. I don’t care how high the price of gold goes. They want that gold as reserves for their currency because they know the dollars that they have in reserve are eventually going to be Monopoly money. It’s going to be confetti. So they need something real to back up their own currency, and they want gold.

And so, I think that we need to be taking advantage of this opportunity. And don’t be worried about all the negativity that’s out there and all the professionals who are writing gold’s obituary. They’ve written it before, they’ll write it again. But I still think that the bull market has a long way to go. Ultimately, we are still heading for a currency crisis.


“Taper Lite: Bernanke Tightens Monetary Policy by Easing it!”
YouTube Video

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Jim Rogers: Opportunities In Chinese Railroads, Healthcare, Agriculture, And Pollution

“China unwrapped its boldest set of economic and social reforms in nearly three decades on Friday, relaxing its one-child policy and further freeing up markets in order to put the world’s second-largest economy on a more stable footing…

Analysts suggested the plans are the most significant since Deng Xiaoping led a series of reforms in the late 1970s and the early 1980s. Those changes eventually opened up the country to the outside world and set it on course to become the champion economy of emerging markets.”

-Reuters, November 15, 2013

Well-know investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers has been bullish about the People’s Republic of China for some time now. However, in the wake of the above announcement, the author of Bull in China: Investing Profitably in the World’s Greatest Marketicon is even more upbeat about the Asian country’s prospects.

Earlier today, Rogers appeared on CNBC-TV18 and told viewers:

Well, I’m excited by what happened. As the Chinese had an exciting announcement in 1978 and in 1993, they say this announcement is to be as significant and as exciting as what happened previously in those two years. So far what I have seen that’s correct- some sectors of the Chinese economy are going to benefit enormously. And as you all know if you can find a government that is going to spend a lot of money or give a lot of incentives to a sector, you should put your money into that sector too. So the Chinese are clear that they are going to do something about railroads, about healthcare, agriculture, pollution. They have made it pretty clear they are going to do something, so I would suggest that people read what they said and then try to find some stocks in those areas.

You can watch the entire interview of Jim Rogers by CNBC-TV18 on their website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

Source:

“Pick China over India; oil likely to fall: Jim Rogers.” CNBC-TV18. 25 Nov. 2013. (http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/fii-view/pick-china-over-india-oil-likely-to-fall-jim-rogers_996551-1.html) 25 Nov. 2013.

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Quote- No, Headlines- For The Week

Something different for readers this week. Instead of a quote, here’s two news headlines which made my eyes roll upon spotting them this weekend…

“Dow 20,000 here we come: It’s different this time”

-MarketWatch.com, November 22, 2013

“It’s different this time.”

I’ve lost count how many times I’ve heard this phrase uttered over the years as some asset bubble was being inflated.

It’s not just me either.

From Michael Kling on the Moneynews website back on May 23, 2013:

Time and again, as stock prices continue rising to unsustainable heights, stock enthusiasts have preached, “This time is different.”

And it’s not just stocks either.

From Charles Hugh Smith on LewRockwell.com this past Halloween:

Defenders of current real estate valuations can draw upon an array of justifications, but they boil down to the same one used to justify valuations in every asset bubble: this time it’s different.

As for my two cents? Like I commented on a Chicago Tribune article last week, it’s my belief that after the economic crisis reared it’s ugly head in the fall of 2008, home prices nose-dived, and the “Great Recession” took hold, Washington and the Fed only managed to paper over the situation and monetary policy was designed to inflate a new asset bubble (or two, what the hell) to “save” the U.S. economy and larger financial system. Subsequently, we find ourselves immersed in QE Infinity and what some of those who correctly-predicted the “Panic of ’08″ and housing crash see as new bubbles forming in residential real estate and equities.

I don’t envision this ending well.

Speaking of the Tribune, here’s another headline that made me cackle in disbelief.

“Breakthrough deal curbs Iran’s nuclear activity”

-Chicago Tribune website, November 24, 2013

All I can say about this hopium-infused headline is that I expect one of two scenarios down the road:

1. Downtown Tehran packed to the gills as the Islamic Republic of Iran parades its first nuclear weapon for the entire world to see. Those in the know understand state actors in this region of the world can only salivate over the prospect of having a nuke in their arsenal- Iran included. Realpolitik, people.

2. A mushroom cloud over an Israeli or U.S. city. If the technology/opportunity presents itself, an electromagnetic pulse originating from a nuclear device detonated in the atmosphere over one of these countries (more bang for the buck).

Of course, all bets are off over these two scenarios taking place if some one (the Israelis?) take out Iran’s growing nuclear capabilities with military force.

Question is, is that even possible anymore given the time Iran has had?

Again, there’s others who think the claim that the interim pact reached betwen Iran and China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Russia, and the United States “curbs Iran’s nuclear activity” is one big joke.

Enter Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, “the world’s foremost value investor” with a net worth of $20 billion as of March 2013 according to Forbes magazine. Here’s what the Saudi royal had to say about a potential deal with Iran. From Jeffrey Goldberg on Bloomberg.com Friday night:

“There’s no confidence in the Obama administration doing the right thing with Iran,” he told me, with a directness that would make Benjamin Netanyahu blush. “We’re really concerned — Israel, Saudi Arabia, the Middle East countries — about this.”

It is quite something for a Saudi royal to state baldly that his country is part of a tacit alliance with Israel, but Saudi leaders, like Israel’s leaders, are frantic with worry that an overeager Obama will accede to Iran’s desire to become a threshold state, one whose nuclear program is so advanced that it would only need several weeks to assemble a deliverable weapon. Alwaleed, like Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, believes that Iran, in its ongoing negotiations with the world’s major powers, will pocket whatever sanctions relief it gets without committing to ending its nuclear program. “Why are they offering relief?” he asked. “Keep the pressure on. Sanctions are what brought about the negotiations to begin with! Why not keep the pressure up?”

Obama, Alwaleed says, is a man who is in desperate political straits and needs a victory — any victory — to right his presidency. “Obama is in so much of a rush to have a deal with Iran,” he said. “He wants anything. He’s so wounded. It’s very scary. Look, the 2014 elections are going to begin. Within two stamonths they’re going to start campaigning. Thirty-nine members of his own party in the House have already moved away from him on Obamacare. That’s scary for him.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Note Goldberg’s headline for his Bloomberg piece:

“Iran Is Playing Obama, Says Saavy Saudi Prince”

Iran is “playing” Obama and many others, judging by the buzz being reported in the mainstream media this Sunday.

Not me. I just can’t see Dow 20,000 being sustained just yet or Iran’s nuclear aspirations being curbed through diplomacy any time soon.

Sources:

Kling, Michael. “New Yorker: No Stock Bubble- This Time Is Different.” Moneynews.com. 23 May 2013. (http://www.moneynews.com/InvestingAnalysis/stock-market-bubble-different/2013/05/23/id/506002). 24 May 2013.

Smith, Charles Hugh. “What Real Estate Bubble? Oh, You Mean the One That’s Bigger Than the 2007 Bubble?” LewRockwell.com. 31 Oct. 2013. (http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/10/charles-hugh-smith/what-real-estate-bubble/). 24 Nov. 2013.

Goldberg, Jeffrey. “Iran Is Playing Obama, Says Savvy Saudi Prince.” Bloomberg.com. 22 Nov. 2013. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-22/iran-is-playing-obama-says-savvy-saudi-prince.html). 24 Nov. 2013.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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U.S. Pandemic Preparedness Still Lacking

It’s been seven years since I left my job in the public safety field. And back in 2006, there was already plenty of discussion in that arena about the threat posed by pandemic influenza to the United States.

I fear the nation is still not prepared to the extent that it can be for such an event, despite improvements in pandemic preparedness in the last several years.

A number of public health experts seem to agree.

I came across the following tonight by Alvin Powell on the official news website for Harvard University. Powell wrote on the Harvard Gazette on November 15:

Despite world-class hospitals and an army of highly trained medical personnel, the local health establishment doesn’t have the excess “surge” capacity to handle a flu pandemic outbreak.

And Boston isn’t alone. A panel of experts on pandemics and public health said Wednesday that not only is such capacity lacking in Boston, it is in short supply around the world and would affect everything from providing beds for the sick to the ability to make and distribute vaccines.

“There’s just little wiggle room in today’s health care system,” said Anita Barry, the director of Boston’s Infectious Disease Bureau.

Barry spoke at the Harvard School of Public Health as part of a discussion about whether heath specialists are ready to handle the next pandemic. Though many people are thinking hard about the problem and keeping an eye on worrisome developments, such as a bird flu outbreak in China that has killed 45 and an outbreak of the SARS-like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) that has killed 64, the global capacity to handle a major outbreak is still a work in progress.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Keep in mind something Klaus Stohr, vice president and global head of influenza franchises for Novartis Vaccines and Diagnostics, pointed out in the discussion. Powell wrote:

Though technology has improved production, it still takes weeks to create a new flu vaccine, months to get it to the public, and as long as a year to make it widely available around the world, Stohr said.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Yet, it might require only 90 days for a pandemic flu to infect the entire United States. Robert Roy Britt wrote on the science news website LiveScience back on April 5, 2006:

A new computer model reveals how a pandemic like the avian flu might spread quickly across the United States and what methods would best thwart the scenario.

Researchers assumed a starting point of 10 highly infectious influenza cases in Los Angeles, then let the model take it from there. The virus spread quickly, peaking in just 90 days with 100 or more infections per 1,000 residents of just about every corner of the country [Animated Map]…

U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt has said the country is not prepared for such a scenario.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

“The country is not prepared for such a scenario.”

I didn’t think so.

Sources:

Powell, Alvin. “Underprepared for the next pandemic.” Harvard Gazette. 15 Nov. 2013. (http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2013/11/underprepared-for-the-next-pandemic/). 20 Nov. 2013.

Britt, Robert Roy. “Virtual Pandemic: 90 Days to Infect Entire U.S.” LiveScience. 6 Apr. 2006. (http://www.livescience.com/4027-virtual-pandemic-90-days-infect-entire.html). 20 Nov. 2013.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Wednesday, November 20th, 2013 Asia, Emergencies, Government, Health, Middle East, Preparedness No Comments

Jeremy Grantham’s Top 10 Third Quarter Stock Buys Revealed

It’s Sunday night, and time to check on the latest investment activities of the “crash prophets.” First up is someone who I haven’t blogged about in a while- Jeremy Grantham. The last time I talked about the co-founder and chief investment strategist of Grantham, Mayo, Van Otterloo & Co. (GMO) was back in late September. However, the British-born investment advisor whose individual clients have included Secretary of State John Kerry and former Vice President Dick Cheney was the focus of a recent piece on the NASDAQ website by GuruFocus.com, which “tracks the stocks picks and portfolio holdings of the world’s best investors.” From the site Friday:

GMO’s Jeremy Grantham runs a vast portfolio of 663 stocks, fair valued at $37.9 billion. The total number of stocks that were new in the third quarter is 99, for quarter-over-quarter turnover of 6%. Global investment management firm GMO has $112 billion in assets under management as of Sept. 30, 2013, and is headquartered in Boston.

Top 5 Third Quarter Stock Buys…

Actually GuruFocus.com lists the top 10.

While I don’t want to steal anyone’s thunder (check out the article on NASDAQ.com here), I do find it interesting Grantham/GMO purchased over 560,000 shares of a Chinese index ETF last quarter.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

GuruFocus.com. “Jeremy Grantham’s GMO Top 10 Stock Buys.” NASDAQ.com. 15 Nov. 2013. (http://www.nasdaq.com/article/jeremy-granthams-gmo-top-10-stock-buys-cm301830). 17 Nov. 2013.

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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