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Negative interest rates and gold

Negative interest rates and gold 

The reason for persistent strength in the price of gold can be found in the changing relationship between time preference for monetary gold, and a new round of interest rate suppression for the dollar. Evidence mounts that the forthcoming recession is likely to be significant, even turning into a deep slump. Bullion bank traders are waking up to the possibility that dollar interest rates are going to zero and that pressure is likely to be put on the Fed to introduce negative rates. The laws of time preference tell us bullion banks must urgently cover their short bullion positions in anticipation of a dollar rate-induced permanent backwardation for gold, silver and across all commodities.

This article dissects the moving parts in this fascinating story.

Introduction

For some time now, I have maintained the wheels are likely to fall off the global economic wagon by the year-end. Furthermore, for many of my interlocutors, the recent rise in the gold price is just evidence of an impending cyclical crisis, anticipating and discounting the certain inflationary response by central banks. But in this, we are describing only surface evidence, not the underlying market reality.

In the combination of trade protectionism and an emerging credit crisis we face a problem upon which almost no formal research has been done, so it is not something that even far-thinking analysts have considered. To my knowledge, no mainstream economist has pointed out the lethal mix these two dynamics together present. Very few even recognise the existence of a credit cycle, traditionally called a trade or business cycle. Not even the great von Mises called it a cycle of credit, having identified and described it with great accuracy in his The Theory of Money and Credit, first published in 1912. But a spade must be called a spade: it is in its fundament a credit cycle.

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