Hong Kong

Signs Of The Time, Part 105

Lausanne, Switzerland-based IMD World Competitiveness Center, publisher of the World Competitiveness Yearbook, “the leading annual report on the competitiveness of countries,” has just released its 28th edition of the publication. From their website:

The USA toppled as world’s most competitive economy
IMD World Competitiveness rankings released

30 May 2016 – The USA has surrendered its status as the world’s most competitive economy after being overtaken by China Hong Kong and Switzerland, according to the IMD World Competitiveness Center.

The sheer power of the economy of the USA is no longer sufficient to keep it at the top of the prestigious World Competitiveness Ranking, which it has led for the past three years.

The IMD World Competitiveness Center, a research group within IMD business school, has published the ranking each year since 1989 and it is widely regarded as the foremost annual assessment of the competitiveness of countries.

The 2016 edition ranks China Hong Kong first, Switzerland second and the USA third, with Singapore, Sweden, Denmark, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and Canada completing the top 10…

“USA third”

Disappointing to hear, but not altogether shocking.

You can read the entire piece on IMD’s website here.

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

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Wednesday, June 1st, 2016 Asia, Europe, North America, Signs Of The Time Comments Off on Signs Of The Time, Part 105

Signs Of The Time, Part 88

The Financial Times (UK) website reported yesterday that Z/Yen, billed as “the City of London’s leading commercial think-tank,” just published its eighteenth Global Financial Centres Index. GFCI 18, as it’s otherwise known, rated 84 of the world’s financial centers. From a Z/Yen press release Wednesday:

London has moved ahead of New York to reclaim the number one position. London climbed 12 points in the ratings to lead New York by eight points…

London, New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore remain remain the four leading global financial centres. New York, in second place is now 33 points ahead of Hong Kong in third. Tokyo, in fifth place, is 25 points behind the leaders…

Toronto (8th), San Francisco (9th), and Washington, D.C. (10th) were other North American cities in the “top ten” of this year’s Index.

You can read the entire Z/Yen press release on their website here (.pdf format).


YouTube Video

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

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Thursday, September 24th, 2015 Asia, Europe, North America, Signs Of The Time Comments Off on Signs Of The Time, Part 88

Jim Rogers Names ‘Top Three Best Currencies To Hold In Your Asset Portfolio’

Well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers was recently interviewed by Geoff Rutherford for Sprott Money News. Rogers talked about a number of financial/investment topics, including currencies. From their exchange recorded March 12, 2015:

RUTHERFORD: Right. Now kind of, I guess, tying in with this as well. The next question is, what are the top three best currencies to hold in your asset portfolio? And likewise, this must be from one of our Canadian listeners, where does Canada fit into the above question?
ROGERS: Well, I’ll tell you, my top three at the moment- my top three at the moment are the U.S. dollar, the Chinese renminbi, and the Hong Kong dollar. Those are the ones I own the most. Hong Kong dollar of course is tied to the U.S. dollar at the moment. The Canadian dollar- I own some Canadian dollars. Canada has been a sounder country than the U.S. for the past 30 years say. No, not 30 years, past 20 years that Canada’s been run more on a sounder basis than the U.S. So I still own some Canadian dollars. They’re certainly down in the last two or three years against the U.S. dollar for a variety of reasons, but I still own Canadian dollars.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Ask The Expert – Jim Rogers (March 2015) | Sprott Money News”
(Currency discussion starts @ 7:29)
YouTube Video

The last time I blogged about Rogers and currencies, I noted back on November 11, 2014, he had just bought Russian rubles.

The former investing partner of George Soros also talked about gold, the taxation of U.S. bullion coins, China, Russia, the U.S. dollar as the world’s reserve currency, the safest countries to keeps money and assets, and Canada in this installment of “Ask The Expert”.

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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Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 Asia, Crash Prophets, Currencies, Investing, North America Comments Off on Jim Rogers Names ‘Top Three Best Currencies To Hold In Your Asset Portfolio’

Peter Schiff Bullish On Foreign Stocks, Gold, And Silver

Euro Pacific Capital CEO/Chief Global Strategist Peter Schiff appeared on the FOX Business show Countdown to the Closing Bell last Wednesday. Host Liz Claman asked Schiff, who correctly-predicted the housing market crash and 2008 economic crisis, about where he was investing these days. He replied:

Well, my strategy has been the same for quite some time because I understand the problems that underlie the U.S. economy, how the Federal Reserve is exacerbating them in the name of trying to solve them, and so I want to invest abroad. We still favor equities, but I look at international equities. I look at value. I look at good dividends. And I want to own companies that are not dependent on the consumer…

A map was subsequently displayed that showed “Peter’s Global Area Picks”- Australia, Chile, China, Denmark, Hong Kong, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Singapore, and Sweden.

Claman also brought up precious metals in the discussion. Particularly, silver. From their exchange:

CLAMAN: Let’s put up the miners, because you feel that the miners now have an opportunity to really rise. Silver below $20 an ounce these days. That seems to me like a good buy because it’s so cheap.
SCHIFF: Well, it did get as high as $50 a couple of years ago. But it started the rally from below $4. So, we’re in a big bull market. We’ve been pausing for the last couple of years. But I think it’s the pause that’s going to refresh. I think what drove the metals market lower in 2013 was the false belief in a U.S. recovery, and the idea the Fed was through with QE, and that we were on the verge of a tightening cycle. None of that is true. We are slipping back into recession. Janet Yellen is going to launch an even bigger round of QE than what Bernanke launched. And this is going to be very bullish for gold and silver. But it’s not going to be bullish for the U.S. economy.


“Safeguarding Your Portfolio By Investing Abroad”
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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Monday, August 18th, 2014 Asia, Australia, Commodities, Crash Prophets, Emerging Markets, Europe, Federal Reserve, Investing, North America, Precious Metals, Recession, Recovery, Stimulus, Stocks Comments Off on Peter Schiff Bullish On Foreign Stocks, Gold, And Silver

Marc Faber: Stocks To Peak Between Next 30 To 60 Days, Followed By 20 To 30 Percent Drop

Here’s what “Doctor Doom” Marc Faber had to say last week- in case you didn’t hear- about where he thought stocks were heading. From an exchange with the Swiss-born investment advisor/money manager and Scott Wapner on CNBC’s Halftime Report Monday:

FABER: I was looking for a correction, but now I rather think that we’ll make a peak sometime between the next 30 to 60 days and then go down meaningfully.

WAPNER: What’s meaningfully?

FABER: Well, 20 to 30 percent.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Video

Later on, when the publisher of the monthly investment newsletter The Gloom Boom & Doom Report was asked about which areas he would put money into right now, Faber responded:

Well, I would buy essentially Hong Kong shares, because I think that the Chinese stock market is breaking out on the upside, and that will lift all the Hong Kong shares. So that is a trade I would do at the present time.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The head of Marc Faber Limited correctly-called the rise of China in the last decade.

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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Sunday, August 3rd, 2014 Asia, Crash Prophets, Investing, Stocks Comments Off on Marc Faber: Stocks To Peak Between Next 30 To 60 Days, Followed By 20 To 30 Percent Drop

Gold Price Takedown Leads To Buying Frenzy

“My view is that the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of Japan ’caused’ the gold crash. The rest is noise…

The world is still in a contained depression. Sliding commodities tell us global money is if anything too tight. ‘There is a threat of deflation almost everywhere. A lot of central banks will have to follow the Bank of Japan, whatever they say now,’ said Lars Christensen form Danske Bank.

The era of money printing is young yet. Gold will have its day again.”

-Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, The Telegraph (UK), April 17, 2013

Since I started blogging nearly six years ago, if I had a dollar every time I read somewhere “gold is toast,” I’d be a millionaire by now.

Fine. I’d have a hell of a lot of singles.

And a raised eyebrow from my girlfriend.

Seriously though, what is it with people who absolutely detest the precious metal?

I’m not a big fan of paper assets, but I don’t make it my life’s mission to crucify them whenever I get the chance (website and blog comments come to mind here).

My take on investing is- keep an open mind. Lest you squander major money making opportunities. Certain asset classes simply perform better than others at different points in time.

There’s a time for stocks, bonds, currencies, what have you.

And for a number of global investors, now is the time for gold.

Sure, the precious metal really got hammered in the price department the other week. But this resulted in a buying frenzy of the physical bullion. John Noble reported on the Financial Times (UK) website on April 22:

Asia is witnessing one of the strongest waves of physical gold buying in 30 years, with bargain hunters using the drop in prices to secure jewellery and gold bars.

The feverish buying has left many of Hong Kong’s banks, jewellers and even its gold exchange without enough yellow metal to meet demand. In Shanghai, the gold exchange saw volumes – often seen as a proxy for demand – rising to a record on Monday, while queues formed outside some jewellery shops in Beijing.

To give you an idea of just how crazy the demand is in China, Noble, who’s writing from Hong Kong, added:

Haywood Cheung, president of the Hong Kong Gold & Silver Exchange Society, said the exchange had effectively run out of most of its holdings as members looked to meet a shortfall in supply amid rampant retail demand for gold.

“In terms of volume, I haven’t seen this gold rush for over 20 years,” he said. “Older members who have been in the business for 50 years haven’t seen such a thing.”

The Times piece noted demand for the yellow metal is also strong in India. Something Biman Mukherji and Debiprasad Nayak confirmed on the Wall Street Journal website on April 23. They wrote:

Indian gold retailers are paying more in order to meet immediate demand, as customers scoop up every gold bar they can lay their hands on in the wake of a plunge in international prices.

Indian retailers say they are paying premiums of $8-$10 an ounce over the international gold price, which is around $1,425 a troy ounce. That’s four or five times the premium retailers usually pay for imported gold during periods of peak demand in India, according to traders.

“We have not seen this kind of premium on gold imports in years,” said Suresh Hundia, president emeritus of the Bombay Bullion Association.

Gold demand is not too shabby in nearby Australia either. Jake Lloyd-Smith reported on the Bloomberg website tonight:

Australia’s Perth Mint, which refines nearly all of the nation’s bullion, said that demand has jumped to the highest level in five years after prices plunged, with the factory kept open through the weekend to meet orders.

There’s been strong interest, including from the U.S., with buyers speculating that the metal will rebound from the decline, Ron Currie, sales and marketing director, said in a phone interview from Perth…

“We haven’t seen levels like this since the 2008 global financial crisis,” Currie said yesterday. “Compared to March sales, April sales have doubled or tripled,” he said, without providing figures.

On Friday, April 12, the afternoon fix gold spot price was $1,535.50 per ounce. The price tumbled to $1,380 an ounce by Tuesday, April 16. Today, the London P.M. fix was back up to $1,467.50.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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)

Sources:

Noble, John. “Asian bargain hunters pile into gold.” Financial Times. 22 Apr. 2013. (http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/56244496-ab39-11e2-ac71-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2RuiP9ndw). 29 Apr. 2013.

Mukherji, Biman and Nayak, Debiprasad. “India Gold Premiums Soar as Demand Outstrips Supply” Wall Street Journal. 23 Apr. 2013. (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324874204578440242906344734.html). 29 Apr. 2013.

Lloyd-Smith, Jake. “Perth Mint Works Through Weekend as Gold Demand Surges on Price.” Bloomberg.com. 29 Apr. 2013. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-30/perth-mint-works-through-weekend-as-gold-demand-surges-on-price.html). 29 Apr. 2013.

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Gold Flowing From West To East

“While the current world hubs for gold trading and storage are London, Zurich, and New York, stores of physical metal are also beginning to migrate east. Gold storage facilities are springing up all over Asia like mushrooms after a summer rain.”

-Tim Staermose, Chief Investment Strategist, SovereignMan.com, July 30, 2012

Some time ago, I remember well-known investor and China bull Jim Rogers say that capital is flowing from West to East.

I hear the gold is heading that way too these days.

Clementine Wallop pointed out on the Wall Street Journal website this morning:

Investors in Asia are increasingly dealing with a seemingly anachronistic problem: finding a place to stash their bars of gold.

Gold is a popular choice for those seeking to diversify their holdings and spread risk, but it isn’t the most mobile of assets. Still, gold has been moving east, and that has created opportunities for security companies in Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai—financial hubs where the metal’s popularity is soaring.

Security companies are busy ordering two-ton steel doors and sophisticated monitoring systems, and hiring more armed guards as they expand their high-security vault capacity in Asia…


“Asians Using Gold Vaults to Store Designer Bags”
WSJ Video

So are Western vaults no longer a safe place to store gold bullion? Not necessarily. Wallop added:

Vault operators say banks are among those seeking to spread their risk by holding gold in a variety of locations, rather than a single stronghold in London or Zurich.

She did note:

Some private investors fret about tougher rules and the scrutiny of Swiss and other Western banks, they say.

Still, reputation and the stability of the countries these vaults are located within remain a draw for many owners of the yellow metal.

(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:

Wallop, Clementine. “Going for Gold? Don’t Forget the Vault.” Wall Street Journal. 20 Dec. 2012. (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324461604578190841374704164.html). 20 Dec. 2012.

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Thursday, December 20th, 2012 Asia, Commodities, Europe, Investing, North America, Precious Metals Comments Off on Gold Flowing From West To East

China, Asia Still Pushing To Become World’s Financial Supercenter

Did you see that TV commercial during the run-up to Election Day?

You know, the one featuring the Chinese professor in 2030 lecturing his students about the fall of the American “empire” through foolish fiscal policies.


“Chinese Professor”
YouTube Video

Seeing that again (I heard a lot of people got angry when they saw it for the first time) reminded me of a number of pieces I came across prior to the global financial crisis rearing its ugly head in the fall of 2008 that spoke of Asia becoming the “supercenter” of global finance as the 21st century marched on. So much so that legendary stock investor Warren Buffett confidently announced:

The 19th century belonged to England, the 20th century belonged to the U.S., and the 21st century belongs to China. Invest accordingly.

Since those more visible days of the ongoing economic crisis, I haven’t encountered that same level of interest from the financial mainstream media about the flow of capital and jobs moving from West to East. Until recently, that is. Perhaps it’s because the whole thing didn’t come crashing down like a number of China/Asia observers had been saying it would? Who knows, but Huw Jones wrote on the Reuters website back on Halloween:

Hong Kong was named the world’s top financial center for the second year running by the World Economic Forum (WEF), thanks to the strength of its business environment, infrastructure and a favorable tax regime.

The WEF’s annual Financial Development Report considered a wide range of factors and underscored the rise of Asian trading centers and the influence of China as the world’s second-largest economy.

Rival surveys based purely on the total value of transactions typically put New York or London in top place.

However, stalling capital markets, sputtering economic growth and waning trust in financial organizations served to ensure that the top six positions remained unchanged from 2011, the WEF said.

The United States was the runner-up, Great Britain third, and Singapore fourth in the 2012 rankings.

In another study of global finance centers, the British were hanging on to the top spot- for now. Catherine Boyle wrote on the CNBC website this past Monday:

London is losing its crown in the battle of the global financial hot spots, with New York expected to overtake it this year as the biggest financial-services employer and Hong Kong and Singapore snapping at its heels.

Hong Kong will overtake London by 2015 if current trends in job cuts and moving business to the East continue, according to a new report by UK-based Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR).

Singapore’s emergence as a financial center is also changing the focus away from London, which has had the most city-type jobs since the turn of the twenty-first century.

It will be interesting to see how this all pans out down the road, but my gut tells me China/Singapore/Asia are on the road to becoming the world’s next financial supercenter- bar a complete disaster taking place. Even with a global economic crash, this region of the world appears to be in much better shape financially than its trading partners in the West, which will be vital in weathering the storm and the recovery phase. As for New York City and Wall Street? It may no longer be the center of world finance like it once was in such a scenario, but I would think it would continue to play a vital role in the global financial system, especially here in North America. The same can be said for London and Western Europe.

Down, but not out, I suspect.

Sources:

Jones, Huw. “Hong Kong named top financial center for second year.” Reuters. 31 Oct. 2012. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/31/us-financialcentres-wef-report-idUSBRE89U0BD20121031). 14 Nov. 2012.

Boyle, Catherine. “London Losing Its Crown in Battle of Financial Hubs.” CNBC. 12 Nov. 2012. (http://www.cnbc.com/id/49778263). 14 Nov. 2012.

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Wednesday, November 14th, 2012 Asia, Employment, Europe, North America, Trade, Wall Street Comments Off on China, Asia Still Pushing To Become World’s Financial Supercenter

China’s Gold Imports From Hong Kong Up 172 Percent On The Year

While many Americans continue to question the utility of gold, other nations just can’t get enough of the precious metal.

Case in point, China.

China’s gold imports from Hong Kong remain strong these days, even after a banner-year in 2011. Tatyana Shumsky wrote on the Wall Street Journal website Tuesday:

HSBC precious metals analyst Jim Steel said in a note to clients that China’s gold imports from Hong Kong are a signal of the country’s “strong appetite for gold.” China imported 68 tons of gold from Hong Kong in July, up 172% on the year, but down slightly from 75 tons imported in May.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

In 2011, Chinese gold imports from Hong Kong surged 259 percent (428 tons) from the year before, according to figures released by the Hong Kong Census and Statistics Department. Imports from Hong Kong are seen as a proxy for China’s overall gold imports.

Speaking of HSBC, analysts from the London-based banking and financial services company recently predicted gold prices could rally over $1,900 an ounce by the end of 2012. CNBC Assistant News Editor Holly Ellyatt reported on August 3:

“Economic uncertainty, geopolitical tensions and the uncertainty of the U.S. November elections are theoretically gold-bullish,” and gold should perform better later in the year “when U.S. growth is poor and the dollar is weak,” a new HSBC report said. “We expect prices to rally to above $1,900/oz by the end of the year. Patience is the most important commodity.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Ellyatt added:

HSBC recommends holding onto gold as an asset that will gain in value as investors fear the future of the euro and dollar, with governments and central banks expected to intervene to shore up their currencies’ strength.

More on gold later.

(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)

Sources:

Shumsky, Tatyana. “PRECIOUS METALS: Gold Prices Slip in Slow Trade.” Wall Street Journal. 7 Aug. 2012. (http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20120807-716396.html). 8 Aug. 2012.

Ellyatt, Holly. “Gold to Rally Above $1,900 by End 2012: HSBC.” CNBC. 3 Aug. 2012. (http://www.cnbc.com/id/48478951). 8 Aug. 2012.

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Wednesday, August 8th, 2012 Asia, Commodities, Currencies, Europe, Precious Metals Comments Off on China’s Gold Imports From Hong Kong Up 172 Percent On The Year

Which Central Banks Are Buying Gold?

If there’s one question gold “bears” have a hard time answering, it’s this:

If gold is such a “barbarous relic,” how come central banks are acquiring it these days?

There’s doesn’t seem to be much doubt this accumulation is taking place. In fact, Izabella Kaminska wrote on the FT Alphaville blog on the Financial Times (UK) website just today:

What’s more, the case for “gold” is increasingly being linked to future expectations that central banks and public authorities will continue to be large net buyers and borrowers of gold, rather than sellers.

The point is made nicely in this note from Moody’s Analytics on Tuesday:

One strong positive for gold demand is purchases for the reserves of governments and supranational organizations. After many years of shedding reserves, net buying by the official sector reached 456 t last year. The desire to diversify from major currencies may continue to drive such demand…

So, which central banks in particular are acquiring the precious metal?

I recently received this month’s edition of Peter Schiff’s Gold Report (ROTW back on July 6, 2011) and the President and Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital provided some insight. From the July issue of this free newsletter:

The return to gold is unmistakably the product of a strategic, not merely a tactical, shift in global central banking policy. Central banks in the developed world have now altogether stopped selling bullion. This was foreshadowed by their behavior over the past decade, when they sold even less gold than they were permitted to under the anti-dumping Central Bank Gold Agreements. Clearly the concern about dumping gold was out of step with the trend. But more importantly, central banks in the emerging markets have been buying gold by the truckload.

Since the financial crisis of ’08, nations as diverse as Mexico, the Philippines, Thailand, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Ukraine, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and India have led the way back to gold as a primary reserve asset. Russia alone has added an impressive 400 tonnes of bullion to its reserves, most of it coming from domestic purchases. Mexico has added over 120 tonnes, including 78 tonnes from one mega-purchase in March 2011. The Philippines have bought over 60 tonnes, with 32 tonnes coming in as recently as March 2012. Thailand has added approximately 60 tonnes, and Kazakhstan just shy of 30 tonnes. Turkey amended its regulatory policy late last year to allow commercial banks to count gold towards their reserve requirements, adding over 120 tonnes to its official reserves. And bullion imports into mainland China through Hong Kong have been reaching all-time highs.

Finally, loyal US allies Saudi Arabia and India, in what is sure to leave particularly bitter taste in Washington’s mouth, have been adding gold to their reserves by the hundreds of tonnes.

In short, the governments of emerging markets recognize that the global monetary order is on the verge of a reset. These emerging markets are the economic engines of the 21st century, and they’re determined not to be undermined by Western fiat paper.

South Korea might also be adding to their gold reserves soon. I blogged on June 21:

The Irish precious metals firm also highlighted the possibility of South Korea buying more gold in 2012:

The Bank of Korea has said that its current gold holdings are too small and that the BOK may buy more gold this year in order to diversify its foreign exchange portfolio which is exposed to the dollar.

Eugene Kim, chief investment officer at the central bank’s foreign-exchange reserve management group, said its gold holdings are “too small” given the size of its forex reserves, which stood at a record-high of $310.87 billion at the end of May, and that the BOK might buy more bullion this year.

Gold. A “barbarous relic” for sure.

(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)

Sources:

Kaminska, Izabella. “Propping up the gold price.” FT Alphaville. 10 July 2012. (http://ftalphaville.ft.com/blog/2012/07/10/1077461/propping-up-the-gold-price/). 10 July 2012.

Schiff, Peter. “The Return Of The Gold Standard.” Peter Schiff’s Gold Report. July 2012.

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Survival And Prosperity
Est. 2010, Chicagoland, USA
Christopher E. Hill, Editor

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