Incomplete Silver CoT Analysis

By Steve Saville

During March and April a number of articles appeared at precious-metals-focused web sites describing the silver market’s Commitments of Traders (COT) situation as extremely bullish. However, this unequivocally bullish interpretation overlooked aspects of the COT data that were bearish for silver. Taking all aspects of the data into consideration, my interpretation at the time (as presented in TSI commentaries) was that silver’s COT situation was neutral and that the setup for a large rally was not yet in place.

The enthusiastically-bullish interpretation of silver’s COT situation fixated on the positioning of large speculators in Comex silver futures. As illustrated by the following chart, over the past two months the large specs (called “NonCommercials” on the chart) first went ‘flat’ and then went net-short. This suggested that large specs had become more pessimistic about silver’s prospects than they had been in a very long time, which was clearly a bullish development given the contrary nature of speculative sentiment.

silverCOT_largespec_140518
Chart source: http://www.goldchartsrus.com/

Continue reading Incomplete Silver CoT Analysis

Wealth-Destroying Zombies, Report 6 May 2018

By Keith Weiner

The hot topic in monetary economics today (hah, if it’s not an oxymoron to say these terms together!) is whither interest rates. The Fed in its recent statement said the risk is balanced (the debunked notion of a tradeoff between unemployment and rising consumer prices should have been tossed on the ash heap of history in the 1970’s). The gold community certainly expects rapidly rising prices, and hence gold to go up, of course.

Will interest rates rise? We don’t think it’s so obvious. Before we discuss this, we want to make a few observations. Rates have been falling for well over three decades. During that time, there have been many corrections (i.e. countertrend moves, where rates rose a bit before falling even further). Each of those corrections was viewed by many at the time as a trend change.

They had good reason to think so (if the mainstream theory can be called good reasoning). Armed with the Quantity Theory of Money, they thought that rising quantity of dollars causes rising prices. And as all know, rising prices cause rising inflation expectations. And if people expect inflation to rise, they will demand higher interest rates to compensate them for it.

The quantity of dollars certainly rose during all those years (with some little dips along the way). Yet the rate of increase of prices slowed. Nowadays, the Fed is struggling to get a 2% increase and that’s with all the “help” they get from tax and regulatory policies, which drive up costs to consumers but has nothing to do with monetary policy. Nevertheless interest rates fell. And fell and fell.

Continue reading Wealth-Destroying Zombies, Report 6 May 2018

Gold/Silver Ratio

By Tom McClellan

Gold/Silver Ratio
May 03, 2018

The ratio of gold prices versus silver prices is now up to the type of high reading that in the past 2 decades has marked an important low for both gold and silver prices.

The value of anything is always and in every case a ratio.  Most often the units are expressed as dollars per ounce, dollars per bushel, dollars per share, etc.  But expressing the price of an ounce of gold as being equivalent to 80 ounces of silver is perfectly legitimate.  We can understand the implications of the dollar price of something being expensive or cheap; it takes a little bit more energy to apply that same principle to such a comparison of the two precious metals’ prices, but it is still valid.

A high ratio like this says that gold is expensive relative to silver.  But turning that around, it says that silver is cheap relative to gold.  And there is information in that cheapness of silver.

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Savers Are Just Collateral Damage, Report 29 Apr 2018

By Keith Weiner

A reader asked us this week about the personal savings rate. Most people can sense that something is wrong if the rate is in a long-term falling trend, or if it falls too low (whatever level that may be). We argue that falling savings is part of the larger process of capital destruction. And unfortunately, one should expect falling savings rates when there is falling yield purchasing power.

The personal savings rate is defined as the ratio of personal saving to disposable personal income. Income excludes capital gains (as it should!) It is a measure of how much is left. This savings will pay for the saver’s own future, and in the meantime it is (presumably) invested to finance the production of new goods and services (and the government’s ever-growing welfare expense).

The personal savings rate is in a secular decline. As with other trends we have examined (e.g. marginal productivity of debt), the decline has a high correlation with the falling interest rate. Here is a graph.

Continue reading Savers Are Just Collateral Damage, Report 29 Apr 2018

A Gold Sector Fundamental View

By NFTRH

With gold testing its 200 day moving average this morning I thought I’d reproduce the first part of the precious metals segment from week’s Notes From the Rabbit Hole (NFTRH 497), including a daily chart of gold at the end showing the anticipated SMA 200 test.

Precious Metals

We have done a lot of work delineating what the best investment environment would be for gold and especially the gold mining sector. The gold miners leverage (for better or worse) gold’s performance vs. cyclical items like stocks, commodities and materials. Gold vs. stocks is a macro fundamental indicator on investor confidence, or lack thereof. Gold vs. Energy and Materials are gold sector fundamentals directly informing a gold mining company’s bottom line performance (their product vs. mining cost inputs).

When inflation is taking root and the economic cycle is up, the gold sector is suspect for the reasons stated above. It is and has been suspect to this point by definition, because gold is either in long-term down trends (vs. stocks) or has been flat lining for 2 years (vs. commodities). Let’s realize that gold and the gold sector can and probably would go up in an inflationary boom (assuming gold were out performing stocks) but the fundamentals would degrade as long as the economy remained firm.

Continue reading A Gold Sector Fundamental View

Liquidating Civilization, Report 22 Apr 2018

By Keith Weiner

Further to our ongoing theme of capital destruction, let’s look at a topic which is currently out of favor in the present market correction. Keynes called for pushing the interest rate down near to zero, as a way of killing the savers, whom be believed are functionless parasites. The interest rate has been falling since 1981.

It did not merely fall near to zero. Nor even to zero. It has gone beyond zero, into negativeland. This alone ought to wipe out the mainstream notions of how interest rates are set in our very model of a modern monetary system. You know, the rubbish about bond vigilantes, inflation expectations, real interest rates, risk, etc. Might as well add unicorns, dragons, and leprechauns!

Instead of this rubbish, the world needs a non-linear theory of interest and prices in irredeemable currency.

In recent years, rates have plunged below zero in Switzerland, Germany, Japan, and other countries. Despite the current global uptick in rates, all Swiss government bonds out to 8-year maturity have a negative yield. Hey, at least that’s a recovery from when the 20-year had a negative yield. In Germany, bunds out to 5 years are negative, as they are in Japan.

This is pathological (in fact, due to negative long bond yields in Switzerland, Keith wrote a paper arguing that the Swiss franc will collapse).

As an aside, we note that when people hear our arguments, they go through a process akin to the well-known stages of grief. These include denial, anger, bargaining, and then finally acceptance and hope. It is much easier to think about rising quantity of dollars, and the presumed linear effect of rising consumer prices. And more pleasant, too.

Continue reading Liquidating Civilization, Report 22 Apr 2018

Re-Post: Keith Neumeyer is Plain Wrong About the Future of the Price of Silver

By Otto Rock

This post from August 2016 continues to be one of the most popular of the blog back catalogue and with silver now making a move and, of course, Keith Neumeyer coming out with a new round of “Gold to $8,000 and silver to $130” nonsense, it’s worthy of a repeat showing. It’s long and if you want to skip some of the minor matters that’s cool too, the most important point comes at the end about the way in which the supply of silver has changed since the advent of large copper porphyry/skarn mines and the large amount of very cheaply produced silver that comes with them.

And a fact: Since this analysis was first published, nearly two years ago in IKN369 dated June 5th 2016, we have had several other times when Keith Neumeyer and other silverbugs have come out and predicted massive numbers for silver in the near future. Meanwhile, the model as laid out in this post has been a more accurate scenario by far of the market in silver, which has not blasted to $20 then $25 then $30 per ounce and beyond. The gold/silver ratio has not dropped, in fact it’s moved up to over 80X (and it’s good that it’s recently dropped under that line, but don’t confuse that with a victory). More large scale silver stream and royalty deals have been inked. Silverbugs, when reality doesn’t fit your model…

Read on.

Continue reading Re-Post: Keith Neumeyer is Plain Wrong About the Future of the Price of Silver

Silver Outperforms Gold For a Change

By Rob Bruggeman

[biiwii comment: our disclaimer is that one of the linked sources below has been bullish, nearly non-stop, for years; so caveat emptor]

There seems to have been increased talk about silver over the past few weeks.  Rather than rehashing the reasons why, here are a couple of good articles about how it may be silver’s turn to shine:

The Assay – Indicators Point to a Silver Rally
Silver Seek – New Silver Bull Coming

I’d also previously indicated on this blog that a gold-silver ratio of 80 has historically marked the bottoms for silver.

Interestingly, silver moved up 2.5% yesterday while gold was only up 0.2%.  Could this be the start of a mean-reversion trend that sees silver move back towards its more typical range of 1-to-65 versus gold?  That would imply that silver should be trading at $20.75/oz, based on the a gold price of $1,349.  I hope so, given the significant silver exposure in my portfolio.  However, I have a hard time believing that silver can have a significant rally without gold’s participation.  If gold can break out of its range and trade above $1,370, then I think silver will do very well.

Continue reading Silver Outperforms Gold For a Change

Gettin’ High on Bubbles

By Keith Weiner

Back in the drug-soaked, if not halcyon, days known at the sexual and drug revolution—the 1960’s—many people were on a quest for the “perfect trip”, and the “perfect hit of acid” (the drug lysergic acid diethylamide, LSD). We will no doubt generate some hate mail for saying this, but we don’t believe that anyone ever attained that goal. The perfect drug-induced high does not exist. Even if it seems fun while it lasts, the problem is that the consequences spill over into the real world.

Today, drunk on falling interest rates, people look for the perfect speculation. Good speculations generally begin with a story. For example dollar-collapse. And then an asset gets bid up to infinity and beyond (to quote Buzz Lightyear, who is not so close a friend as our buddy Aragorn). It happened in silver in 2010-2011. It happened more recently in bitcoin.

Most speculators don’t care about the economic causes and effects of bubbles. They just want to buy an asset as the bubble begins inflating, and sell just before it pops. But bitcoin and many gold proponents are different. They promise that their favorite asset will cure many social ills, fix many intractable problems, and increase liberty. Oh yeah and get-rich-quick.

Continue reading Gettin’ High on Bubbles

Milking the Savers

By Keith Weiner

Do you want to lend your hard-earned money to the US government? In exchange for the high, high interest rate of 2.8%? It’s a most generous deal, even though the Federal Reserve is committed to dollar devaluation at the rate of 2% per annum. So you are getting 0.8% per year, assuming that the Fed hits its goal. In exchange for lending to a profligate and counterfeit borrower—the government has neither the means nor intent to repay.

No, you don’t? This sounds like a bad deal? Well, tough.

It sucks, but if you need to hold a cash balance, your other choices suck more. Instead of lending to the government, you could deposit the cash in a bank. There’s only one problem. The bank will lend to the government. After taking out the costs of compliance, this rate is 2% according to the St Louis Fed.

This is actually up from 0.13% over the last three years, in our current bout of risinginterestrate-itis. Enjoy this high rate while you can.

In any case, the bank adds risk. On top of all of the risks you incur by lending to the government, you take the risk of bank insolvency too. The government does provide deposit insurance—but this is the same government whose risk you are trying to avoid by not buying its bonds.

Finally, you could hold paper cash, $20 bills. Ignoring the risk of theft, there is still a problem with this. You are lending to the Fed. The Fed issues dollars, which are its liability, to fund its purchase of Treasury bonds. The dollar is backed by government bonds.

To have a dollar is not to own a thing. It is a credit relationship. Someone else owes you. If you own the dollar bill, the Fed owes you.

Continue reading Milking the Savers

The Skyrocket Phase

By Keith Weiner

Let’s tie two topics we have treated, one in exhaustive depth and the other in an ongoing series. They are bitcoin and capital consumption. By now, everyone knows that the price of bitcoin crashed. Barrels of electrons are being spilled discussing and debating why, and if/when the price will go back to what it ought to be ($1,000,000 we are told).

As an aside, in what other market is there a sense of entitlement of what the price ought to be, and a sense of anger at the only conceivable cause for why the price is not what it ought?

Bitcoin, Postmodern Money

Anyways, during the incredible run up in price, we wrote a series of articles, entitled Bitcoin, Postmodern Money. We were not focused on the price of the thing, other than to discuss the problems of unstable price, and even rising price. We did not say the price will come down, or when. We said a rising price makes it unusable as money.

In an online forum, some folks insisted that bitcoin is a store of value (in contrast to the dollar). We said that even if you don’t think it will crash, a skyrocket is not a store. Here is the graph through Friday.

Continue reading The Skyrocket Phase

Slaves to Government Debt Paper

By Keith Weiner

Picture, if you will, a group of slaves owned by a cruel man. Most of them are content, but one says to the others, “I will defy the Master.” While his statement would superficially appear to yearn towards freedom, it does not. It betrays that this slave, just like the others, thinks of the man who beats them as their “Master” (note the capital M). This slave does not seek freedom, but merely a small gesture of disloyalty. Of course, he will not get his liberty (but maybe a beating).

Today we do not have slavery, but we are shackled nevertheless. Savers are forced to use the government’s debt paper as if it were money. Most are content, but one says “gold will go up.” He does not expect a beating (but maybe a price suppression).

The slave cannot escape from his bondage, until he stops thinking of the brute as “Master” with a capital M. Freedom does not come from a little show of resentment. So long as malcontent slaves are content to limit themselves to petty disobedience, the Master is content that his rule is absolute. Freedom first takes an act of thinking. One must see the brute for what he is.

Today’s investor cannot escape from the bondage of the Federal Reserve, until he stops thinking of the dollar as “Money” with a capital M. So long as malcontent investors are content to limit themselves to betting on the dollar-price of gold, the Federal Reserve is content that its rule is absolute. Freedom takes an act of thinking. One must see the dollar for what it is.

Continue reading Slaves to Government Debt Paper