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The path to monetary collapse

The path to monetary collapse

Few mainstream commentators understand the seriousness of the economic and monetary situation. from a V-shaped rapid return to normality towards a more prolonged recovery phase.

The fact that a liquidity crisis developed in US money markets five months before the virus hit America has been forgotten. Only a rising gold price stands testament to a deeper crisis, comprised of contracting bank credit while central banks are trying to rescue the economy, fund government deficits and keep the market bubble inflated.

The next problem is a crisis in the banks, wholly unexpected by investors and depositors. At a time when lending risk is soaring off the charts, their financial condition is more fragile than before the Lehman crisis. Failures in European G-SIBs in the next month or two are almost impossible to avoid, leading to a full-blown monetary and credit crisis which promises to undermine asset values, government financing and fiat currencies themselves.

We can now discern the path leading to the destruction of fiat currencies and take reasonably guesses as to timing.

How central banks view the current situation.

The financial world is bemused: what is it to make of the economic effects of the coronavirus? The official answer, it seems, is on the lines of don’t panic. The earliest fears of millions of deaths have subsided and in the light of experience, a more rational approach of easing lockdown rules is now being implemented in a number of badly hit jurisdictions. Whether this evolving policy is right will be proved in due course. But the motivation is moving from saving lives to restricting the economic damage.

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Globalization and Financialization Are Dead, and so Is Everything That Depended on Them

Globalization and Financialization Are Dead, and so Is Everything That Depended on Them

Financialization was never sustainable, and neither was the destructive globalization it enabled.

All the happy-story analogies to past pandemics being mere bumps in the road miss the mark. A popular claim is that the 1918-1919 flu pandemic killed millions but no biggie, the Roaring 20s started the following year. It’s onward and upward, baby, once we toss the masks.

Wrong. Completely, totally, dead wrong. The drivers of the past 75 years of growth– globalization and financialization–are dead, and so is everything that depended on them for “growth”. (Growth is in quotes because once external costs and currency arbitrage are factored in, most of what’s been glorified as “growth” is nothing but losses covered by accounting trickery.)

Here’s what’s poorly understood: globalization and financialization die when they stop expanding. Just as a shark dies if it stops swimming forward, globalization and financialization die once they stop expanding, because their viability depends on expansion.

Globalization and financialization have been losing momentum for years. Under the guise of “opening markets,” globalization has stripmined every economy that can’t print a reserve currency and hollowed out economies globally as only globally competitive sectors survive globalization. The net result is that once vibrant, diversified economies have been reduced to fragile monocultures completely dependent on global flows of capital and spending for their survival.

Tourism is a prime example: every region that has seen its local economy crushed by global arbitrage and corporate hegemonies, leaving global tourism as its sole surviving sector, has been devastated by the drop in tourism, which was always contingent on disposable income and credit expanding forever.

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It’s Only Paper

IT’S ONLY PAPER

The response to the virus has added a new mechanism of capital consumption to the many we have documented over the years. Businesses are shut down, yet they continue to incur expenses. There is a popular misconception out there that this is merely a paper loss. One can almost picture a neutron bomb that somehow wipes out only paper, leaving all the physical assets and plant unscathed. It’s a pleasant fantasy. And it’s quite a popular one—not only amongst all the usual suspects, but even an Austrian school economist of our acquaintance asserted it.

As an aside, this illustrates that, too often, economists are unfamiliar with business. The economist looks at a closed restaurant and thinks there’s no reason why this restaurant can’t be mothballed for a day, a week, a month, or a year. The owner of the restaurant would object that he’s still paying certain expenses, even if he’s laid off all of his staff. And the economist retorts, “That’s just paper!”

The economist—and politicians—are tempted to think that the government and its central bank can restore the lost paper capital by extending a loan, or even doling out free money. This is simply not true.

One thing should be bloody clear: whatever expenses this restaurant pays, is a transfer of real resources from the restaurant to the recipients. Those recipients are buying food, fuel, clothing, shelter, etc. It’s not just paper.

Looking deeper into the restaurant, we see that, even when it’s closed, it’s still burning some electricity (even if not as much as when it’s operating). There’s insurance premiums. And building maintenance. Over time, exposure to sun, wind, rain, and snow damages the roof, windows, and even the walls.

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Time to learn about money

Time to learn about money

An unexpected destruction of fiat currency has been advanced by the monetary and fiscal response to the coronavirus. Financial markets have yet to discount the possibility of such an outcome, but in the coming months they are likely to awaken to this danger.

The question arises as to what will replace fiat currencies. In the past the answer has always been gold but today there are cryptocurrencies as well, whose enthusiasts are more aware than most of fiat money’s failings.

This article describes the basics about money, what it is and the role it plays in order to understand what will be required by the eventual replacement for fiat. It concludes that gold will return as the world’s medium of exchange, and secure cryptocurrencies, unable to provide the scalability and stability of value required of a medium of exchange will be priced in gold after the demise of fiat. But then the rationale for them will be gone, and with it their function as a store of value.

The destruction of fiat money

These are strange times. Circumstances are forcing governments to destroy their money by debasing it to pay for their obligations, real and imagined. If central bankers had a grasp of what money really is, they wouldn’t have got into a position where they are forced to use their seigniorage to destroy it. They are so ignorant about catallactics, the fundamentals behind economics, that they cannot see they are destroying the means of exchange they have imposed upon their citizens with far worse consequences than the abandonment of the evils they are trying to defray.[i]

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Finally, It Matters What The Fed Can And Can’t Print

Finally, It Matters What The Fed Can And Can’t Print

Sound money advocates have been proclaiming that “the Fed can’t print gold” pretty much since the end of the last gold standard in 1971. But no one outside our little echo chamber paid attention, fixating instead on what the Fed could print: trillions of dollars that were perfectly fine for buying anything a creditworthy person could want. To paraphrase the old Saturday Night Live skit, “Fiat currency has been berry berry good to me.”

But the reaction of the world’s central banks to this latest crisis – effectively unlimited currency creation to buy up/bail out everything everywhere – seems to have rattled people who in the past have viewed aggressively-easy money as an unequivocally good thing:

‘The Fed can’t print gold’: How the yellow metal could hit $3,000 — 50% above the current record

(Financial Post) – Bank of America Corp. raised its 18-month gold-price target to US$3,000 an ounce — more than 50 per cent above the existing price record — in a report titled “The Fed can’t print gold.”

The bank increased its target from US$2,000 previously, as policy makers across the globe unleash vast amounts of fiscal and monetary stimulus to help shore up economies hurt by the coronavirus.

“As economic output contracts sharply, fiscal outlays surge, and central bank balance sheets double, fiat currencies could come under pressure,” analysts including Michael Widmer and Francisco Blanch said in the report. “Investors will aim for gold.”

BofA expects bullion to average US$1,695 an ounce this year and US$2,063 in 2021. The record of US$1,921.17 was set in September 2011. Spot prices traded around US$1,678 on Tuesday and are up 11 per cent this year.

To be sure, a strong dollar, reduced financial market volatility, and lower jewelry demand in India and China could remain headwinds for gold, BofA said.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Weekly Commentary: When Money Died

Weekly Commentary: When Money Died

Sitting at the dinner table, our eleven-year old son inquired: “If a big meteor was about to hit the earth, how much money would the Fed print?” I complimented his sense of humor. Yet it was a sad testament to the historic monetary fiasco that will haunt his generation.

Federal Reserve Assets surpassed $6.0 TN for the first time, having inflated another $272 billion for the week (to $6.083 TN). Fed Assets inflated an astonishing $1.925 TN, or 46%, in only six weeks. Bank of American analysts this week suggested the Fed’s balance sheet could reach $9.0 TN by year-end.

M2 “money supply” surged another $371 billion for the week (ending 3/30) to a record $16.669 TN. M2 expanded an unprecedented $1.136 TN over five weeks (up $2.123 TN, or 14.6%, y-o-y). For some perspective, M2 has expanded more during the past six months than it did the entire nineties (no slouch of a decade in terms of monetary inflation). Not included in M2, Institutional Money Fund Assets expanded an unparalleled $676 billion in five weeks to a record $2.935 TN. Total Money Fund Assets were up $1.375 TN, or 44%, over the past year to a record $4.473 TN.  

There was a sordid process – rather than a specific date – for When Money Died. But it’s dead and buried. There are a few things that should remain sacrosanct. Money is absolutely one of them. Money is special. Sound Money is precious – to be coveted and safeguarded. As a stable and liquid store of value, Money is the bedrock of Capitalism, social cohesion and stable democracy. Society trusts Money – and with that trust comes great responsibility and risk.  

Analysis I read some years back on the Gold Standard resonates even more strongly today: Limiting the capacity for inflating its supply, the structure of backing Money with the precious metal worked to promote monetary and economic stability.

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London Gold Pool Collapse 2020s (VIDEO)

London Gold Pool Collapse 2020s (VIDEO)

To better understand where Gold is going, you have to know where it has been (gold price suppression history).

Especially in the context of our last 50+ full fiat currency regime years as only for a small single-digit percentage in that time was gold allowed to do its freaking premiere money job.

Given the ridiculous situation, central banks and fiat financialization has gotten us to in 2020, it’s only a brief time from now where the ultimate final bubble of this debt supercycle shows up in gold.

Here we dig through in detail how the City of London has often been at the center of rigging gold prices for the benefit of fiat financiers.

Such frauds and those who learned volatility injection from them (COMEX) are losing effect as the run on gold bullion have begun.

What you’re looking at in the chart above, is the inevitable free-market repricing higher, after pegging and suppressing the price of premiere money, gold bullion near $35 oz for some 35 years of time.

After the original multinational London Gold Pool price rigging operation collapsed in 1968, the fiat Federal Reserve note became the anchor to all fiat currencies everywhere (August 1971).

Last time London was at the center of politely rigging the gold price, France’s Charles de Gaulle decided to break up the price rigging party with his Exorbitant Privilege (1965) speech

The then French President spoke, in a similar tone to how a modern Vladimir Putin or a perhaps a Chinese Nationalist might today.

As you can see in that 1970-1980s gold price chart above, the yellow precious metal went to work repricing some 24Xs higher following the conspiratorial price rigging collapse.

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A primer for gold newbies

A primer for gold newbies 

The purpose of this article is purely educational. Increasingly, the wider public is turning to gold in a spontaneous reaction to financial and economic problems that have become suddenly apparent, hastened by the spread of the coronavirus. For everyone now thinking of buying gold it is a leap into the unknown, so they should know why.

It is not just the financially inexperienced, but investment managers and financial advisors are equally unaware of what is happening to money and capital markets. We are in the early stages of a radical debasement of state-issued currencies which is on course to collapse the entire financial system.

I explain the two phases of this destruction of fiat money, the one experienced so far and the one we are about to suffer. I explain why sound money has always been physical gold and silver, returned to by the people after government and banks have collectively destroyed state-originated unsound money.

Introduction

Suddenly, there is increasing public interest in gold. The financially aware will be scratching their heads over what’s going on in financial markets in the broadest sense and might have heard some unintelligible chatter about what is going on in gold. They are asking, why does gold matter? Isn’t gold just an old-fashioned hedge against risk and the true safe haven investment today is US Treasuries? Then there’s the mass of financially unknowledgeable investors who are used to leaving investment matters to their financial advisers, and until recently have viewed the rise in the gold price as an opportunity to sell unwanted jewellery for scrap.

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Red Gold: China’s Stealth Plan to Use Gold for World Domination

Red Gold: China’s Stealth Plan to Use Gold for World Domination

China gold

Gold used to be important.

During and after World War II, every major developed country amassed as much physical gold as they could. It stabilized currencies and signaled independence.

But with the end of the gold standard in 1971, most countries began to sell off their reserves.

So much so that in 1999, an agreement was formed to limit the amount of gold that central banks could sell. Fast forward to today, and Canada’s central bank owns ZERO gold.

Despite the agreement, most countries continued to shed their gold reserves as fast as possible.

Central bank gold reserves

That is until a few years ago, when a handful of countries reversed course. Central Banks started buying gold with fury, and they haven’t let up since.

In the final quarter of 2018, central banks purchased more gold than in any other quarter on record.

By the end of the year, central banks collectively held around 1.064 billion ounces of gold (equivalent to 33,200 tons).

That’s about one-fifth of all the gold ever mined.

In the first half of 2019, central banks purchased 11.97 million ounces of gold (374 tons). Once again, that was far more than ever before. And it’s equivalent to one-sixth of total gold demand in that period.

And total central bank gold purchases for 2019 were the second highest they’ve been in the last 50 years (2018 being the first).

The Unusual Suspects in Central Bank Gold Purchases

And the Keyser Söze of gold is Vladimir Putin.

I’ve been very quiet about Russia and Putin the last few years as I’ve been swamped with media requests following the success of my NY Times Bestseller The Colder War.

Don’t underestimate what the Russians are doing, as others are starting to follow…

While the world focuses on China, Russia has positioned itself at the center of the global political chessboard.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Peter Schiff Doubles Down on the Dollar

Peter Schiff Doubles Down on the Dollar

Last year at the Vancouver Resource Investment Conference, Peter Schiff bet Brent Johnson a gold coin that the Fed’s next move would be a rate cut. At this year’s conference, Peter collected his gold coin.

Brent and Peter went on to debate the future of the US dollar. Brent says the dollar will go up this year. Peter thinks it’s going down. Peter put his money where is mouth is and went double or nothing against the dollar. 

Peter’s Highlights from the Discussion

“The central bankers are going to continue pursuing this policy as long as they can do it without some type of a crisis that intervenes. But the problem is the longer they do it the worse it’s going to be.”

“I don’t think it can go on that much longer. Decades – no way! I mean, can it go on four more years. Sure.”

“The US market has never been this overvalued, overpriced as far as I’m concerned. You know, people were optimistic in 2000.”

“The market is very, very dangerous. It can easily go down. Trump will tweet as much as he can to try to prop it up. But whether that and the Fed’s printing press is going to be enough, we’ll see.”

“I think the whole fiat system that we have is nearing the end of its life. And the fact that were at these zero percent rates or negative rates, and all the stuff that’s going on is the death knell of this system, which was doomed from the start.”

“I think gold is going to reassert itself as the primary reserve monetary asset in the world for central banks and that threatens the dollar.”

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Gold’s outlook for 2020

Gold’s outlook for 2020 

This article is an overview of the economic conditions that will drive the gold price in 2020 and beyond. The turn of the credit cycle, the effect on government deficits and how they are to be financed are addressed.

In the absence of foreign demand for new US Treasuries and of a rise in the savings rate the US budget deficit can only be financed by monetary inflation. This is bound to lead to higher bond yields as the dollar’s falling purchasing power accelerates due to the sheer quantity of new dollars entering circulation. The relationship between rising bond yields and the gold price is also discussed.

It may turn out that the recent extraordinary events on Comex, with the expansion of open interest failing to suppress the gold price, are an early recognition in some quarters of the US Government’s debt trap. 

The strains leading to a crisis for fiat currencies are emerging into plain sight.

rum 1

Introduction

In 2019, priced in dollars gold rose 18.3% and silver by 15.1%. Or rather, and this is the more relevant way of putting it, priced in gold the dollar fell 15.5% and in silver 13%. This is because the story of 2019, as it will be in 2020, was of the re-emergence of fiat currency debasement. Particularly in the last quarter, the Fed began aggressively injecting new money into a surprisingly illiquid banking system through repurchase agreements, whereby banks’ reserves at the Fed are credited with cash loaned in return for T-bills and coupon-bearing Treasuries as collateral. Furthermore, the ECB restarted quantitative easing in November, and the Bank of Japan stands ready to ease policy further “if the momentum towards its 2% inflation target comes under threat” (Kuroda – 26 December). 

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Fiat’s failings, gold and blockchains

Fiat’s failings, gold and blockchains 

The world stands on the edge of a cyclical downturn, exacerbated by trade tariffs initiated by America. We know what will happen: the major central banks will attempt to inflate their way out of the consequences. And those of us with an elementary grasp of economics should know why the policy will fail.

In addition to the monetary and debt inflation since the Lehman crisis, it is highly likely the major international currencies will suffer a catastrophic loss of purchasing power from a new round of monetary expansion, calling for a replacement of today’s fiat currency system with something more stable. The ultimate solution, unlikely to be adopted, is to reinstate gold as circulating money, and how gold works as money is outlined in this article.

Instead, central banks will struggle for fiat-based solutions, which are bound to face a similar fate with or without the blockchain technology being actively considered. The Asian and BRICS blocs have an opportunity to do something with gold. But will they take it?

Introduction

Central banks around the world are praying that there won’t be a recession, and if there is that a further monetary stimulus will ensure economic recovery. Their problem is Keynesian theory says it will work, but last time it didn’t. In fact, it has never worked beyond a temporary basis. The big surprise this time was the lack of officially recorded price inflation. But this is due to the system gaming the numbers, making it appear there has been some moderate growth when a proper deflator would confirm most Western economies have been contracting in real terms for the last ten years. 

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Fed Fears Next Crash Fatal – John Rubino

Fed Fears Next Crash Fatal – John Rubino

Financial writer and book author John Rubino says he can see the end of the economic expansion fueled by massive debt creation. Rubino explains, “Every sector of the U.S. economy is so over indebted I don’t see how we go on much longer. The Fed is desperately trying to prolong this thing. We are running trillion dollar deficits now, and what that is for is to keep the system from falling apart. We are 11 years into an expansion, a record. This is the longest bull market in history, and this is the longest economic expansion in history. . . . These guys don’t know exactly what’s going to happen in the next recession, but they are afraid that the system is so highly leveraged that even a garden variety three quarters of a percent of negative growth and a garden variety of 20 % drop in stock prices might be fatal. The system might not be able to handle that because it would cause so much damage and there are so many different places that can blow up that the system would spin out of control. We would get 2008-2009 again but on steroids because the numbers are so much bigger this time around. So, they want to avoid that at all costs.”

Rubino points out, “Fear is the enemy in a fiat currency system. Everything is based on our assumption that the guys in charge know what they are doing and that the confidence in them is good. You take that away, and they let us see them sweat, and it’s over. There is no real bottom for the dollar, euro or the yen. Their intrinsic value is zero.

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Central Bank Issues Stunning Warning: “If The Entire System Collapses, Gold Will Be Needed To Start Over”

Central Bank Issues Stunning Warning: “If The Entire System Collapses, Gold Will Be Needed To Start Over”

It’s not just “tinfoil blogs” who (for the past 11 years) have been warning that a monetary reset is inevitable and the only viable fallback option once trust and faith in fiat is lost, is a gold standard (something which even Mark Carney hinted at recently): central banks are joining the doom parade now too.

An article published by the De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB), or Dutch Central Bank, has shocked many with its claim that “if the entire system collapses, the gold stock provides a collateral to start over.”


Wow

Dutch National Bank goes ‘Big Reset’:

‘Aandelen, obligaties en ander waardepapier: aan alles zit een risico [..] Als het hele systeem instort, biedt de goudvoorraad een onderpand om opnieuw te beginnen. Goud geeft vertrouwen in de kracht van de balans van de centrale bank’.

View image on Twitter

While gloomy predictions of a monetary reset are hardly new, they have traditionally been relegated to the fringe of mainstream financial thought – after all, as Mario Draghi stated on several occasions in recent years, the mere contemplation of a “doomsday scenario” is enough to create the self-fulfilling prophecy which materializes it. As such, it is stunning to see a mainstream financial institution open up about the superior value of limited supply, non-fiat, sound money assets. It is also hypocritical given the diametrically opposed Keynesian practices regularly engaged in by central banks and official institutions worldwide: after all, just a few months back, the IMF published a paper bashing Germany’s adoption of the gold standard in the 1870s as the catalyst for instability in the global monetary system.

Fast forward to today, when the Dutch Central Bank is admitting not only did gold not destabilize the monetary system, but it will be its only savior when everything crashes.

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Monetary failure is becoming inevitable

Monetary failure is becoming inevitable 

This article posits that there is an unpleasant conjunction of events beginning to undermine government finances in advanced nations. They combine the arrival of a long-term trend of rising welfare commitments with an increasing certainty of a global-scale credit crisis, in turn the outcome of a combination of the peak of the credit cycle and increasing trade protectionism. We see the latter already undermining the global economy, catching both governments and investors unexpectedly.

Few observers seem aware that an economic and systemic crisis will occur at a time when government finances are already precarious. However, the consequences are unthinkable for the authorities, and for this reason it is certain such a downturn will lead to a substantial increase in monetary inflation. The scale of the problem needs to be grasped in order to assess how destructive it will be for government finances and ultimately state-issued currencies.

Introduction

Water graph

Listening to recent commentaries about the repo failures in New York leads one to suppose there is insufficient money in the system. This is not the real issue, as the chart below of the fiat money quantity for the dollar clearly shows. 

The fiat money quantity is the amount of fiat money (in this case US dollars) both in circulation and held in reserve on the central bank’s balance sheet. Before the Lehman crisis, it grew at a fairly constant compound growth rate of 5.86%. Since the Lehman crisis, it has grown at an average of 9.45%, even after the slowdown in its rate of growth that started in January 2017. FMQ is still $5 trillion above where it would have been today if the massive monetary expansion in the wake of the Lehman crisis had not happened. If there is a shortage of money, it is because the process of debt creation to fund current expenditure is spiralling out of control.

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Olduvai IV: Courage
In progress...

Olduvai II: Exodus
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