The only serious declines this week were in precious metals and gold stocks. The largest gains were once again in Bitcoin, which rose 11.7% to a new all-time high of 32.7 grams, so that 1 BTC can now buy more than one ounce of gold. Gold stocks again fell more than any other asset-class, dropping 5.1% to close at 4.9 grams. The Dow Jones Industrials were headline news again, as the the Dow broke through the 21,000 mark as measured in US Dollars. More on the Dow and Bitcoin stories below.
A generally positive week for all asset types, with only coffee, down 2.3%, gold stocks, down 1.6%, and the JPY, off 0.5%, showing losses. The big winner was copper, which after catching it's breath last week, continued to skyrocket, gaining 10.4% this week. The major stock indexes were all higher, led by the Dow Jones Industrials, which gained 3.5% to close at 501.6 grams. Financial headlines have been filled with stories about this recent series of "highest ever" dollar prices for the Dow… but readers of Priced in Gold know that the Dow has yet to equal it's 2015 high of 523.5 grams, or it's 2007 high of 652.6 grams. And to really get into all-time high territory, the Dow will have eclipse its August 1999 high of 1393.2 grams – 2.8 times higher than today's price. Could that happen? Maybe some day, but probably not soon, and probably not without seeing considerably lower prices first.
This week had every single asset category showing a loss. The smallest drop was in the Canadian Dollar, while the largest drops were in coffee, down 9.0%, and gold stocks, off 3.9%. Meanwhile, the mainstream media has been full of articles trumpeting new all-time highs for the Dow Jones Industrials and the S&P 500 stocks. Of course, these are meaningless statements, as the dollars used to define these markets are heavily manipulated by the Federal Reserve. As the chart below shows, stocks in the real world are nowhere near new highs; in fact, despite a very good year in 2013, they are about 30% below their 2007 highs, and a whopping 70% down from their 2001 highs.
Over the last week, and over the last month, assets have followed the same basic pattern: stocks mostly higher and currencies, bonds, and commodities mostly lower. Bitcoin has been the biggest winner by far, rising 29% in the last week and 179% over the last month. In addition to the fast rising price, global trading patterns are shifting as well. Read more below.
Although nobody wants to use the "N" word, more and more economists, including Nobel Prize winners, are saying that this is really our only choice. Of course it will only be "temporary". Maybe it will be "partial". But any way you slice it, it will be ugly. Thanks to a tip from Seeker Blog editor Steve Darden, I recently came across a great opinion piece in the Financial Times called "To Save the Banks We Must Stand Up to the Bankers". In this article, Peter Boone, a researcher at the London School of Economics and Simon Johnson, former IMF chief economist, and professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, give us the following memorable quote:
Gold is a type of money, just like Dollars, Euros, Pounds and Yen. Unlike these other forms of money, gold has been around for thousands of years, while many fiat systems have come and gone. Because the amount of gold in the world cannot be increased without finding and mining more of it, its value is fairly constant. This is in stark contrast to the fiat monies which can be created on command by governments and central banks.
Recently I was in Vancouver, BC for the Agora Financial Symposium, which carried the tagline "A View from the Peak". There were many peaks discussed and analyzed: oil, food, water and debt, to name a few. The price of gold and silver got a lot of discussion, and forecasts abounded. Discussions and opinions were not limited to the speakers, of course – the hallways, restaurants and sidewalks were filled with animated discourse, colorful scenarios and useful information. As you can guess, I loved every minute of it!
The first part of this interview covered Paul van Eeden's background and laid out his views on gold, inflation and interest rates. In this final segment, we'll discuss what to do about this situation – how to translate this view of the world into investment action.