What if We’re Wrong and Gold Starts Turning?

[Publisher’s note: So we come to an end of our Gold Week. And it’s been intense! We have but a smattering of copies of Jim Rickards’ The New Case for Gold left in our storehouse. If you want one mailed to you, at our own expense, speak now and click here. This is likely your final chance.

We finish pondering a question: what if Jim Rickards is wrong?

Gold has ridden high already in the last decade. And then it retreated. What if it does the same in the next year or so? Will it? If it does, should that even be a concern?

You’ll find Jim’s answer in his excellent new book.

But we’ll leave the final word on gold this week to Bill Bonner. This is an essay he published in 2013…when gold started its dramatic about-turn from recent highs.

‘The gold bull is over!’ people shouted, ‘The gold bulls were wrong!’

This was Bill’s response…]

Is This The End of the Gold Bull Market?

Whoa…this is getting interesting. Gold crashing on Monday…slight recovery now.

Stocks crashed on Monday too…now bouncing.

What happened to gold? No one knows. There were reports of a really big sell order on Monday. But from whom? Why? Nobody knows.

In the financial markets we spend most of our time waiting for something to happen.

Then, when years go by and nothing happens, we assume that nothing will ever happen. Then, when it does happen we are totally surprised.

Is something happening now? A major change of direction? Is another shoe dropping?

We don’t know yet.

Everyone believes the gold market has reversed direction. The bull market of the last 14 years has finally ended. It’s all downhill from here, they say.

But if that is true, what else will have to be true? The last bull market in gold ended when the Fed changed course. Arthur Burns was replaced by Paul Volcker.

A loose money policy became a tight money policy. Interest rates — which had trailed behind the inflation rate — were suddenly jacked up so high that real interest rates (the difference between nominal interest rates and the CPI) were as high as 5%.

‘Don’t fight the Fed,’ they say on Wall Street. Those who fought the Federal Reserve back in the early 80s were wiped out. The Fed was tightening up. Volcker was determined to bring inflation rates down.

That was not the time to own gold. It was the time to own bonds. You could buy a 10-year T-note with an 18% coupon. And interest rates (along with inflation rates) were headed down. Your bond would go up in value for the next 30 years.

By contrast, gold went down…down…and down. By the end of the bear market in gold there was hardly a single gold bug who was still sober or still solvent.

But what’s the Fed doing now? Has it reversed course? Has Ben ‘Bubbles’ Bernanke been replaced with a tough-as-nails inflation fighter? Has the Federal Open Market Committee vowed to stop printing money? Has the loosest monetary policy in US history given way to a tight policy?

Nope.

Has the bull market in bonds ended? Have the lowest interest rates in half a century suddenly started to turn up?

Nope again.

Has the bull market in bonds ended? Have the lowest interest rates in half a century suddenly started to turn up?

Nope again.

Then what has changed to reverse the fundamental direction of the gold market?

Nothing we know of. Instead, the Bank of Japan has recently joined the central banks of America, Europe and Britain, promising to keep printing money ‘as long as necessary’ to get the inflation rate UP!

Every major government in the Western world is running a big deficit. Every major central bank is printing money. And every saver, as David Stockman put it, is being ‘crucified on a cross of ZIRP’.

That’s right, too. Savers had a field day when the Fed changed direction in the early 80s. They were paid to save…and paid well.

Now, savers are being punished. They earn less in interest than the real rate of inflation. Is that changing?

At the time the last bull market in gold ended, everything stopped in its tracks and turned around. Stocks had been going down for at least 16 years; they suddenly started going up. Bonds had been going down too, ever since the end of the Second World War; they too started moving in the opposite direction. Savers were rewarded; borrowers were punished. And gold reversed course and began an 18-year bear market.

Is there any major turnaround now that would justify or at least signify an historic turn in the price of gold?

Nope.

Central banks and central governments are committed to a particular course of action. Does it lead to more valuable paper money? Does it lead to price stability?

Does it lead to growth and glory?

Or does it lead to bubbles, crises, booms, busts, and an eventual blow up? As far as we can tell, central banks are looking for trouble. We still want to own as much gold as possible when they find it.

Regards,
Bill Bonner

SHIPPING NOW:
Limited Special Editions of
Jim Rickards’
The New Case for Gold

James G Rickards is an American lawyer, economist, and investment banker with 35 years of experience working in capital markets on Wall Street. He is the author of The New York Times bestsellers Currency Wars and The Death of Money. Jim also serves as Chief Economist for West Shore Group.

We have printed, and are shipping, just 7,000 Special Australian Edition copies of his latest book, The New Case for Gold. (All you need is a valid Australian mailing address.) Don’t miss out. To reserve your copy, click here.


Since founding Agora Inc. in 1979, Bill Bonner has found success and garnered camaraderie in numerous communities and industries. A man of many talents, his entrepreneurial savvy, unique writings, philanthropic undertakings, and preservationist activities have all been recognized and awarded by some of America’s most respected authorities. Along with Addison Wiggin, his friend and colleague, Bill has written two New York Times best-selling books, Financial Reckoning Day and Empire of Debt. Both works have been critically acclaimed internationally. With political journalist Lila Rajiva, he wrote his third New York Times best-selling book, Mobs, Messiahs and Markets, which offers concrete advice on how to avoid the public spectacle of modern finance. Since 1999, Bill has been a daily contributor and the driving force behind Markets and Money.


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