Posts Tagged ‘central banks’
This morning we learned sales for this year’s Black Friday weekend declined for the first time since 2009. I have been warning my readers for months that falling consumer confidence would result in a pullback in consumer spending—and that’s exactly what’s happening this holiday shopping season.
According to the National Retail Federation, consumers spent an average of $407.02 from Thursday through Sunday, down about four percent from what they spent last year. (Source: National Retail Federation press release, December 1, 2013.)
The first decline in holiday spending since 2009 does not bode well for the economy, and as far as I’m concerned, it is an early indication of a weakening economy going into 2014.
But there is one place people are spending. In fact, you can say they’re spending so much here, they’re borrowing to buy more!
Investors have borrowed more money to buy stocks than at any other time in history!
The chart below shows the use of margin debt on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). It stands at the record-high level.
Yes, NYSE margin debt stands above the level it stood at just before the peak in stock prices in 2007 and much higher than it was when the Tech Boom bubble burst in the year 2000. The risk with margin debt is that it can turn a minor stock market sell-off into a major one for key stock indices as investor loans are called.
And while investors are borrowing like drunkards to buy stocks, earnings of companies that trade in key stock indices are anemic. In the third quarter of this year, the “surprise” rate … Read More
As gold bullion prices continue to take a beating because of the belief that the easy money policies of the Fed won’t go away anytime soon, silver prices have fallen into the same rut. Just like gold bullion, the silver market has also become a place where bears prevail.
But in the midst of the negativity towards silver, I see that the fundamentals that ultimately drive silver prices higher are getting stronger.
Demand for silver is robust. Sales of one-ounce silver coins at the U.S. Mint have reached a record for the year, and 2013 still isn’t finished! The table below shows how demand for silver (coins in ounces) has increased at the U.S. Mint since 2007.
Yearly Demand for Silver Coins in Ounces at the U.S. Mint
|Year||Sales in Ounces||% Change|
|Total % change since 2007||316%|
* Data as of November 28, 2013
Data Source: U.S. Mint, Sales & Figures, last accessed November 28, 2013.
Notice on the table above how demand for silver coins at the U.S. Mint this year has already surpassed the level seen in 2011—a time when silver prices were at about $50.00 an ounce.
Rising demand for silver is just one reason why I am bullish on silver prices. But I have another reason, too, as to why I expect silver prices to rise ahead.
Investors are getting too bullish on stocks (an omen of lower stock prices ahead), as seen in the American Association of Individual Investors (AAII) Investor Sentiment Survey. It shows 48% of investors were bullish towards key stock indices on November 7. Going back to just June of this year, the number of bullish investors stood at 32.97%. (Source: American Association of Individual Investors web site, last accessed November 11, 2013.)
Investors are flocking towards key stock indices, buying stocks in hopes they will go up in value. According to the Investment Company Institute, long-term equity mutual funds have been seeing inflows since the beginning of this year. (Source: Investment Company Institute, November 6, 2013.)
To me, this sounds all too familiar. I don’t have to go very far back to see what happened when the majority of investors turned so bullish. Remember 2007? Or the Tech Boom? In both of those situations, the common notion was that key stock indices would continue to soar and those who talked against it were ridiculed.
The reality is that the risks on key stock indices continue to increase. And the higher this market gets, I question how bad the market sell-off is going to be when it finally hits.
I’d say the “bubble” in the stock market has become the biggest I’ve seen in years, as evidenced by the amount of money investors are borrowing to buy stocks, which is often referred to as margin debt.
Leverage is a double-edged … Read More
It’s “fairly good protection against fluctuation of the Dollar and risk diversification,” said the President of the European Central Bank (ECB), Mario Draghi, about gold bullion recently at Harvard University. He added, “Central banks which had started a program of selling gold a few years ago substantially stopped; by and large they are not selling any longer. Also the experience of some central banks that have liquidated the whole stock about ten years ago was not considered to be terribly successful from a purely money viewpoint.” (Source: “Central banks are unwise to sell their gold: ECB president Mario Draghi,” Mining.com, October 17, 2013.)
At the very core, the President of the ECB reiterated the point I have been trying to make in these pages for some time now: central banks are in dire need of gold bullion because the fiat currency they have created provides them with nothing but uncertainty. Gold bullion, on the other hand, keeps central banks’ reserves in check.
Dear reader, it’s a fact: central banks around the global economy are in a race to devalue their currencies to the bottom. They are printing money and keeping easy monetary policies in place to make sure that their currency value is suppressed. They think this act brings prosperity in the form of export demand. The central banks are wrong.
Our own central bank, the Federal Reserve, is printing $85.0 billion a month to bring economic growth to the U.S. economy. The Federal Reserve has also kept interest rates at artificially low levels for years. But if we take out the strengthening of big banks and the rally in … Read More
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