A cursory glance at the various financial news media this morning shows nothing particularly unusual for these unusual times. The ECB have paraded a list for stress tested banks and the market shrugged. However, there is a disturbing thread running through most of the stories to which we have become immune but which would have been considered highly unusual at almost any time in the twentieth century. And that thread is the influence of the Federal Reserve in practically every key market in the world.
The markets have become increasingly captured by Federal Reserve policy, watching what might be and what might change. “Schrodinger’s Cat” is the name given to the idea that the observer (Federal Reserve) of an experiment can by virtue of their very presence affect the subject (Markets) being observed. The Federal Reserve is far, far from a passive influence within the markets, poised to prop up the market should an unthinkable catastrophe threaten, no, now they are THE market.
They control almost every facet of the market directly or in most cases indirectly. They have almost limitless power to monetise debt and force their will on the market for as long they wish or along as enough people believe in them in the absence of alternative. And therein lies the keys: market confidence and acceptable alternative monetary systems.
Reuters report that, among other factors, last week’s slight weakness in gold was caused by fears that the Fed might signal their intention to raise rates at the conclusion of their two-day meeting tomorrow. This, despite the Fed signalling last week that rates may have to remain at their current rate in light of the situation in Europe. Bloomberg reports that the Fed is expected to keep rates stable. The Wall Street Journal doesn’t offer an opinion on the outcome but regards the issue as one of great importance.
What we find odd is how a central bank, whose function is to act as lender of last resort to banks in times of crisis has expanded its mandate to micromanage the economy itself. During the twentieth century such a scenario could never have occurred in the U.S. and Western Europe. It would have been equated with the Marxism and central planning of the Soviet Union.
Robert Fitzwilson defined capitalism succinctly in his interview with KWN on Sunday: “Capital used to be derived solely from hard work, ingenuity and productivity as a surplus after costs. That surplus capital was utilized for reinvestment by the owner or sent through financial intermediaries such as banks to people in need of capital for productive purposes.” He went on to explain how this principle has been undermined: “That centuries-old system has been virtually made irrelevant by the modern ability of the central banks to create and supply unlimited amounts of what serves in our day as capital, fiat currency.”
Now, this new style of capitalism may be viable – we wouldn’t claim to know – but it depends entirely on the honour and integrity of the people managing the system. Marxism was similarly dependent. And if “by their fruits you shall know them” then it is quite clear that the system is being managed by oligarchs on behalf of their cronies. Noam Chomsky muses over how the cures prescribed by the rich for the poor always fail but still seem to have the unforeseen consequence of making the rich even more wealthy. Over the weekend Hillary Clinton echoed the claim made by president Obama that it was the federal government and not businesses who create employment as reported by Zerohedge. Are we in the midst of the transition from free-market economy to a centrally planned one? Is this the dawn of the U.S.S.A.?
In Europe the situation is no different. The experience of peripheral nations like Ireland and Greece show that the so-called troika have taken upon themselves the job of managing national economies (while reneging on their duties such as acting as a lender of last resort). The ECB removed democratically elected scoundrel Berlusconi from office in Italy only to replace him with a former Goldman Sachs banker.
So what does this mean for owners of gold and those considering acquiring it? We cannot begin to speculate. But we would look at the experience of every other centrally planned economy in history and note that it ended in currency collapse, massive wealth destruction and tears. Our usual prescription still applies. We advise clients to own gold in fully segregated and fully allocated accounts in ultra-secure vaults in the safest jurisdictions in the world.
GOLDCORE MARKET UPDATE
Today’s AM fix was USD 1,228.25, EUR 967.58 and GBP 762.23 per ounce.
Yesterday’s AM fix was USD 1,230.50, EUR 970.58 and GBP 764.29 per ounce.
Gold and silver both finished last week down at 0.53% and 0.52%.
Spot gold closed at $1,226.38 yesterday and spot silver closed at $17.11 per ounce. A Bank Holiday was observed in Ireland on Monday.
Investors and traders are focused on the U.S. Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) regular meeting today and tomorrow. Wednesday afternoon’s policy statement will be very closely scrutinized by the market place. Most believe the Fed will formally end its monthly bond-buying program, called QE(quantitative easing)3.
A delay in any interest rate rise by the U.S. Fed could boost gold, a non-interest-bearing asset.
In London, gold in Swiss storage traded up 0.2% at $1,227.86 an ounce by 1033 GMT, off an early low of $1,222.20 an ounce, its lowest since October 15th. U.S. gold futures for December delivery were down $1.40 an ounce at $1,227.90. In other precious metals, spot platinum was up 0.3% at $1,251.90 an ounce and spot palladium gained 1% to $785.25.
Data reported yesterday showed China’s net gold imports from Hong Kong jumped to a six-month high in September as purchases ramped up ahead of its National Day holiday.
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