Putin Stockpiles Gold as Russia Prepares for Economic War

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Courtesy of Andrew Critchlow @ The Telegraph:

Russia has taken advantage of lower gold prices to pack the vaults of its central bank with bullion as it prepares for the possibility of a long, drawn-out economic war with the West.

The latest research from the World Gold Council reveals that the Kremlin snapped up 55 tonnes of the precious metal – far more than any other nation – in the three months to the end of September as prices began to weaken.

Vladimir Putin’s government is understood to be hoarding vast quantities of gold, having tripled stocks to around 1,150 tonnes in the last decade. These reserves could provide the Kremlin with vital firepower to try and offset the sharp declines in the rouble.

Russia’s currency has come under intense pressure since US and European sanctions and falling oil prices started to hurt the economy. Revenues from the sale of oil and gas account for about 45pc of the Russian government’s budget receipts.
The biggest buyers of gold after Russia are other countries from the Commonwealth of Independent States, led by Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.
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In total, central banks around the world bought 93 tonnes of the precious metal in the third quarter, marking it the 15th consecutive quarter of net purchases. In its report, the World Gold Council said this was down to a combination of geopolitical tensions and attempts by countries to diversify their reserves away from the US dollar.

By the end of the year, central banks will have acquired up to 500 tonnes of gold during the latest buying spell, according to Alistair Hewitt, head of market intelligence at the World Gold Council.

“Central banks have been consistently adding to their gold holdings since 2009,” Mr Hewitt told the Telegraph. In the case of Russia, Mr Hewitt said that the recent increases in its gold holdings could be a sign of greater geopolitical risk that has arisen since it seized Crimea sparking a dispute with Ukraine and the West. Continue reading

Russell Napier Declares November 16, 2014 The Day Money Dies

Courtesy of Russell Napier @ ERIC:

It is with regret and sadness we announce the death of money on November 16th 2014 in Brisbane, Australia

‘A mark, a yen, a buck, or a pound
A buck or a pound
A buck or a pound
Is all that makes the world go ’round;
That clinking, clanking sound
Can make the world go ’round.’

“Money” from Cabaret by Kander & Ebb

In the musical Cabaret, Sally Bowles and the Emcee sing about money from the perspective of those witnessing its collapse in value in real terms in the great German hyperinflation of 1923.

Less than a decade later, and a continent away, a young lawyer from Youngstown, Ohio noted on July 25th 1932 how money’s value could also fall in nominal terms:

“A considerable traffic has grown up in Youngstown in purchase and sale at a discount of Pass-Books on the Dollar Bank, City Trust and Home Savings Banks. Prices vary from 60% to 70% cash. All of these banks are now open but are not paying out funds.”
The Great Depression – A Diary: Benjamin Roth (first published 2009)

In Youngstown the bank deposit, an asset previously referred to as “money”, had fallen by up to 40% relative to the value of cash. The G20 announcement in Brisbane on November 16th will formalize a “bail in” for large-scale depositors raising the spectre that their deposits are, as many were in 1932, worth less than banknotes. It will be very clear that the value of bank deposits can fall in nominal terms.

On Sunday in Brisbane the G20 will announce that bank deposits are just part of commercial banks’ capital structure, and also that they are far from the most senior portion of that structure. With deposits then subjected to a decline in nominal value following a bank failure, it is self-evident that a bank deposit is no longer money in the way a banknote is. If a banknote cannot be subjected to a decline in nominal value, we need to ask whether banknotes can act as a superior store of value than bank deposits? If that is the case, will some investors prefer banknotes to bank deposits as a form of savings? Such a change in preference is known as a “bank run.”

Each country will introduce its own legislation to effect the ‘ bail-in’ agreed by the G20 this coming weekend. The consultation document from the UK’s Treasury lists the following bank creditors who will rank ABOVE depositors in a ‘failing’ financial institution: Continue reading

ECON 101 – LECTURE 2

GOLD STANDARD UNIVERSITY

Summer Semester, 2002

Monetary Economics 101: The Real Bills Doctrine of Adam Smith

Lecture 2

DON’T FIX THE PRICE OF GOLD!

July 8, 2002

– Let the Gold Eagle Coin Soar without the Heavy Baggage of Dollar Debt –
– Don’t Let the Banks Sabotage the New Gold Coin Standard – – The World without Banks –

Courtesy of Antal E Fekete @ Professor Fekete.com:

I extend a hearty welcome to my audience at the first university course offered in the 21st century on the gold standard, made possible by Gold-Eagle University, an educational website to offer you knowledge put under taboo by mainstream/establishment universities. Taking this course will not get you a degree, but it may get you something more precious: a better understanding of the world, its past, present, and future.

In last week’s inaugural lecture I offered a blueprint for a new gold coin standard the features of which can be summed up as follows:

(1) Open the Mint to free and unlimited coinage of gold. The one-ounce Gold Eagle coin should be adopted as a monetary unit minted for the account of anyone tendering the right amount and purity of gold, free of charge.

(2) To get the grass-root circulation of gold coins going, labor organizations (including those of pensioners and retired people) ought to be involved through their Credit Unions offering gold-coin deposit facilities. Banks must be excluded.

(3) Short-term credit to move goods from the producer to the consumer should be provided by the bill market, rather than by the banks, on the pattern of the pre-1914 way to finance world trade with gold.

(4) Long-term credit to the economy should be provided by the gold-bond market. The primary demand for gold bonds comes from financial institutions offering gold life insurance and gold annuity policies to the people. The primary supply is from the government and firms that want to operate on the basis of gold capital. Gold bonds must have a sinking fund protection. Issuers of gold bonds must see the revenues with which to retire the liability.

Parallel Monetary Standard

The first remark on this blueprint which, as far as I am aware, is new and radically different from any other that has been offered so far, is that it expressly avoids fixing the price of gold. At least for a transitional period that may last for several years, the paper dollar and the Eagle gold coins would circulate side-by side at a floating exchange rate. In other words, there would be a parallel monetary standard and the paper dollar would be free to compete with the Gold Eagle. The market should in the end decide which of the two deserved to survive. This is a major departure from historical precedents, which have all involved the stabilization of the paper currency in terms of gold. The question arises: why should we have such a complicated blueprint when a simpler one, fixing the gold price, could accomplish the same objective? Continue reading

Physical Gold Shortage Worst In Over A Decade: GOFO Most Negative Since 2001

Courtesy of The Hedge:

The last time there was an systemic physical gold shortage was in July 2013. It is then that, for the first time in 5 years, the 1-month Gold forward offered rate, or GOFO, went negative. We said:

Today, something happened that has not happened since the Lehman collapse: the 1 Month Gold Forward Offered (GOFO) rate turned negative, from 0.015% to -0.065%, for the first time in nearly 5 years, or technically since just after the Lehman bankruptcy precipitated AIG bailout in November 2011. And if one looks at the 3 Month GOFO, which also turned shockingly negative overnight from 0.05% to -0.03%, one has to go back all the way to the 1999 Washington Agreement on gold, to find the last time that particular GOFO rate was negative.

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Fast forward to today, when as noted over the past week there has been a massive shortage of precious metals – most notably silver which as of this moment is indefinitely unavailable at the US Mint – as a result of the tumble in the paper price, and following 8 days of sliding and negative 1 month GOFO rates, today the physical metal shortage surged, as can be seen by not only the first negative 6 month GOFO rate since last summer’s much publicized gold shortage when China was gobbling up every piece of shiny yellow rock available for sale, but a 1 month GOFO of -0.1850%: the most negative it has been since 2001! Continue reading

On the Payment of Interest

Courtesy of Hugo Salinas Price @ Plata:

The question of interest has occupied thinkers for more than two thousand years. Aristotle came to the conclusion that interest is illegitimate and cannot be justified, since “money cannot beget money”, unlike all living things which reproduce themselves. Since “money cannot beget money”, Aristotle argued that it is unreasonable and impossible to demand that money lent should be repaid with a greater amount than the amount of the original loan.

The thinking of Aristotle influenced the Catholic Church, which for centuries banned the taking of interest. Loans with interest were made by Jews, not subject to the laws of the Catholic Church, and by Christians who sinned in doing so, and circumvented the prohibition on interest by schemes which hid the interest under other labels. It was at least partly due to a sense of having sinned, and in atonement for it, that the heads of the great financial dynasty of the Medici of Florence contributed so heavily to the building of the Renaissance temples of that city, and paid splendidly for the beautiful religious art of that period.

There is still, today, a minority who agree with Aristotle. And of course, there is the Islamic ban on the taking of interest, which is substituted in Islamic law or sharia, by having the lender participate, according to a set of rules, in the profits expected by the borrower as a result of obtaining a loan. (Note: I am not endorsing all modern Islamic banking, because it seems to me that the Islamic bankers may be evading their religious law by various schemes, just as the Medici did in their time; one important Islamic scholar and leader has told me that Islam is flatly against all payment of interest whatsoever.)

A popular argument against the Western banking system is frequently expressed as “the banks make loans and in doing so, create money; but they do not create the money to pay the interest. Therefore, the system is unsound and must collapse eventually.” This would appear to be a variant of the Aristotelian objection.

The argument that “banks make loans and thus create money, but do not create the money to pay the interest on the loan” is a specious and confusing argument because, on the one hand the power which modern banking systems have to create money out of nothing by granting credit is an anti-social power based on fraud, since real money can only be gold and silver and these cannot be created out of nothing. And on the other hand, the idea that “there is not enough money in existence at any moment to pay the interest due on loans” is fallacious, because all interest does not come due at any given moment; the payment of interest takes place over time as debts mature and become payable. Continue reading

The Insurance Industry and Gold

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Courtesy of Sandeep Jaitly @ New Austrian School of Economics:

Abstract

Can we assume that insurance companies will be able to do what they claim they will do under the ideology of fiat? If it seems not, what can be done to improve the situation? This essay aims to investigate the general situation of the insurance industry, likely problems that might evolve and potential remedies.

How does a general (non-life) insurance company operate? Say our company, InsureCo., provides automobile and housing insurance. InsureCo. takes in premium from their clients and pays out when required. The sum of premium earned but not required for pay outs comprises what is known as InsureCo.’s ‘float’ (or reserves.) The judicious investment of the float would give the management extra leeway in pricing v. peers. Without the imposition of fiat ideology, the float would most likely be invested in (gold coin) bills of exchange – a good that can be exchanged at ease for gold coin if required for pay-outs in order to compensate the insured for losses incurred at any moment and ahead of the bill’s maturity. If InsureCo.’s float became much larger than any pay- out that could be required, longer maturity assets such as (gold coin denominated) equity or property might be considered.

General situation

Under the imposition of fiat ideology, premium is taken in fiat and the float invested – on the whole – in government securities. InsureCo. is regulated and must keep a strict percentage of their total assets in ‘riskless’ government bonds. InsureCo. subscribes to government bonds at issue, holding to maturity earning fiat income in the interim and reinvesting the proceeds in the next issue. In a falling rate environment, each successive purchase of government bonds generates successively less income. InsureCo.’s are open – meaning the fiat ‘value’ of goods insured isn’t capped.

At some point, as fiat ideology precipitates market closures (beginning with the most marketable good; gold) InsureCo. will not be able to pay-out on claims for lack of ability; the fiat government bonds or fiat deposits on InsureCo.’s ‘asset’ ledger cannot be exchanged for the [combination of marketable] goods required for the pay- out. This is not likely to be because the fiat ‘price’ of the goods required is too high but because they’re unavailable for fiat at all.

Disappearing markets Continue reading

And The Gold Bank Appears: following Fekete, China is embracing New Austrian Economics as the foundation for the new International Monetary System

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Courtesy of Conscience Sociale blog:

You might already know that China aims for Official Gold Reserves at 8500 tonnes.

But you surely not know about the golden treasure embedded in the original opinion editorial by Song Xin, General Manager of the China National Gold Group Corporation, Party Secretary and President of the China Gold Association, 07/30/2014.

He spoke about the strategic role of gold, and new institutions needed for gold circulation, precisely in the logic based on New Austrian Economics that I’m using in my articles on Conscience Sociale and elsewhere since 2011. [articles in english ; en français].

His sentences about the GOLD BANK is truly one of strong evidence of what I called the ‘Grande Renaissance’ which will transform the whole world in the following decades (another one is the growing interest in Agile Democracy).

Chosen excerpts of Xin’s editorial [Translation by BullionStar], with emphasis mine :

“For China, the strategic mission of gold lies in the support of RMB internationalization, and so let China become a world economic power and make sure that the “China Dream” is realized.

Gold is the only thing carrying the dual mantels of a commodity as well as a monetary substance. It’s both a very ‘honest’ asset and forms the very material basis for modern fiat currencies. Historically, gold has played an irreplaceable role in responses to financial crises and wars as it comes to protecting a country’s economic security. Because of this, gold carries with it an honored and divine-given strategic mission in the ascend of the Chinese people and the pursuit of the “China Dream”.

The Important Function Of Gold.

Gold is the world’s only monetary asset that has no counter party risk, and is the only cross-nation, cross-language, cross-ethnicity, cross-religion and cross-culture globally recognized monetary asset. Gold is the last protection for a country’s economic security; it safeguards a nations sovereignty in times of crises. […] Continue reading