Everyone knows that the US, China, and the EU are some of the world’s biggest economies.

But sometimes it’s difficult to visualize how these economic powerhouses look relative to other major economies.

So to represent how much each big economy matters to global growth, Charles Schwab’s Jeffrey Kleintop put together a chart showing the major economies’ share of world GDP and their 2016 growth forecast by the IMF.

It’s notable that some of the fastest growing economies like India and Indonesia have less weight on the global economy, while the US economy is growing at a slower pace but has significantly more weight.

Another interesting comparison is China versus the EU. In terms of GDP, the EU is twice as big as China, but China’s (slowing) growth rate is still much greater than that of the EU.

And while both Russia and Brazil are looking at a grim year of growth, they are significantly smaller chunks of the global economy than many of the other countries on the chart.

Putting all of these growth forecasts together, Kleintop notes that, “the IMF expects faster global growth in 2016 than last year, tying the recent drop in the stock market to a growth scare rather than an oncoming global recession.”

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Original source at: Markets | http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheMoneyGame/~3/aLV08QZ9riw/how-much-big-economies-matter-to-global-growth-2016-1

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Saudi Arabia wants to use lower oil prices to pressure Russia to change its stance on Syria, to antagonize Iran, and to force US shale gas out of the market, Pepe Escobar explains the possible blowback

Via RT,

RT: Russia’s economy is surely being hit by the falling oil prices. But what about other oil producers like the OPEC states?

Pepe Escobar: A lot of people are being hurt. There are more or less 20 nations that need oil at least for 50 percent of their budget. Among these nations we’ll find especially a mix of African countries and Persian Gulf countries, that includes Saudi Arabia and Iraq as well, Venezuela and Ecuador. So it’s very complicated, it’s not only to hurt Russia…

RT: Saudi Arabia is one of the OPEC members and it is supposed to collaborate its oil price policy with other members. Why it is acting like this?

PE: OPEC is not a moralistic organization. There has been a lot of speculation about what Saudi Arabia has been doing. In fact, their strategy is still faulty – they want lower oil prices to pressure Russia vis-à-vis Syria, change their stance vis-à-vis Damascus and they want to more or less price shale gas from the US out of the market, and also pressure Iran vis-à-vis what’s going on in the Middle East, the famous Saudi-Iranian antagonism. This is not going to work in the long run because even Saudi Arabia will be in trouble if we have a barrel of oil like it was projected for the first quarter of 2015 between $70 and $80, now it’s a round $86-87. So they will be in trouble as well, their strategy in the long run is going to backfire.

RT: So, how long are these major oil exporting countries going to follow this strategy? When will they think of their own economic interests?

PE: When we look at the breakeven for most of these countries in terms of their state budget – how much they need a barrel of oil to cost if they can more or less even their expenses? When we look at the latest table – which is a composite of indexes from the Economist, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Reuters – Venezuela and Ecuador need oil at $120 a barrel, they are going to be in a deep trouble. Iraq, for instance, needs around $106-116 – they are in trouble. The problem with Iran is that we don’t have very exact figures.

According to these indicators, Iran will need a barrel of oil between $130 and $140. That’s too much because oil is less than 20 percent of Iran’s revenues, so it’s not essential for them. Gas is much more important. In terms of Russia, we know how Russia may [be] hurt because for the State Budget of Russia for 2015 it’s around $100 a barrel. So if we have next year, according to the best projecting so far, between $70 and $80 and maybe even going down to $65-70 in the next few years, all of these countries are going to suffer. But the market is very volatile. In one year from now we could be talking about a completely different situation if we have more demands, especially from China, from the US, from Europe, supposing there is some sort of economic realignment in Europe. So this could change not just in a matter of not only days and weeks or years but very fast.

RT: Why aren’t the OPEC-states reducing the production volumes, like they normally do when prices drop?

PE: There are a lot of back-door consultations among OPEC members at the moment. Sooner or later we can expect less oil in the market, so the prices will go up. Especially, I would say from Venezuela, Ecuador… Iran – they need the revenue, so at the moment they are just starting the market flows. Obviously they have very good customers in Asia, even if they are buying less like China, they still buy Iranian oil. We have to see the US point of view, in fact, because the US doesn’t want very low oil prices to price their shale gas exploration out of the market. So there are going to be counter-moves by many OPEC and non-OPEC players as well.

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Original source at: zero hedge - on a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero | http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-10-21/saudis-policy-downplaying-oil-prices-will-backfire-them

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Submitted by Chris Hamilton,

What do Sovereign bond interest rates represent???

If I knew nothing about the growth, the debt, the inflation, the exporters vs. importers, the serial defaulters, currency manipulators, hot-money or conversely deflation fighters, etc. etc. and simply grouped the nations of the world by interest rates paid on 1yr and 10yr sovereign debt…well I’d get a funny feeling the rates paid have a stronger correlation to the relationship of the nations to the US than any other variable.  I’d wonder if your status with the central bank cabal was more important than your ability to repay the loaned money?  Luckily I know better!

Some very notable rates…

  • PIIGS are amazing and now thanks to the EU’s LTRO are dirt cheap…(PIIGS 1yr / 10yr yields)= Portugal 0.05% / 3.75% , Ireland 0.12% / 2.18%, Italy 0.27% / 2.74%, Greece 2% / 6.3%, Spain 0.13% / 2.50%…Serial defaulters need not pay more for lending ever again!?!
  • Italy with the world’s 3rd largest aggregate debt, no growth, and no enforceable tax laws have blended rates that are ludicrous and indicative of institutional fraud…in fact, that can be said of nearly all these rates.
  • Australia and New Zealand are the only “outliers” paying up on yields and generally sitting in the wrong classifications.

1 yr interest rates

US Pals and/or “deflation-istas”:

Belgium 0.02%, France 0.024%, Netherlands 0.03%, Germany 0.036%, Switzerland 0.05%, Japan 0.055%, Czech Rep 0.09%, US 0.09%, Ireland 0.12%, Spain 0.13%, Hong Kong 0.14%, Sweden 0.25% Denmark 0.25%, Italy 0.27%, Latvia/Lithuania 0.3%, Singapore .0.35%, UK 0.41%, Portugal 0.5%, Israel 0.53%, Taiwan 0.6%, Austria 0.7%, Qatar 0.7%, Canada 1%, Saudi Arabia 1%, Bulgaria 1.26%, Norway 1.33%,

US “fence sitters”:

Hungary 1.98%, Greece 2%, Philippines 2.07%, Thailand 2.14%, Poland 2.31%, S. Korea 2.37%, Australia 2.5%

US naughty list and/or importers of US inflation:

Mexico 3%, Chile 3.1%, Malaysia 3.3%, China 3.74%, New Zealand 3.9%, Vietnam 4.6%, Colombia 5%, Iceland 5%, S. Africa 6%, Sri Lanka 6.4%, Indonesia 7.25%, Russia 8.6%, India 8.7%, Venezuela 9.7%, Turkey 9.75%, Pakistan 10.1%, Kenya 10.27%, Brazil 11.2%, Egypt 12.2%, Argentina ???, Ukraine 20%

10 yr interest rate

US Buds and/or “deflation-istas”:

Switzerland 0.44%, Japan 0.51%, Germany 1.06%, Finland 1.23%, Netherlands 1.26%, Austria 1.34%, Denmark 1.42%, Czech Rep 1.45%, France 1.46%, Belgium 1.47%, Taiwan 1.59%, Sweden 1.62%, Hong Kong 2.02%, Canada 2.09%, Ireland 2.18%, Norway 2.35%, Singapore 2.38%, US 2.43%, UK 2.49%, Spain 2.50%, Latvia/Lithuania 2.6%, Israel 2.72%, Italy 2.74%, Qatar 3.04%,  S. Korea 3.06%, Poland 3.37%, Australia 3.40%, Portugal 3.75%

US “fence sitters”:

Thailand 3.4%, Bulgaria 3.5%, Malaysia 3.89%, New Zealand 4.2%, Philippines 4.33%

US “haters” and/or importers of US inflation:

Chile 4.24%, China 4.3%, Hungary 5.07%, Peru 5.2%, Mexico 5.71%, Greece 6.3%, Colombia 6.66%, Iceland 7.28%, Sri Lanka 7.5%, S. Africa 8.14%, Vietnam 8.21%, Indonesia 8.25%, India 8.85%, Argentina 9%?, Turkey 9.32%, Russia 9.38%, Venezuela 11.7%, Brazil 11.97%, Kenya 12.1%, Pakistan 13.2%, Egypt 15.9%

*  *  *

Extra credit:

1 mo interest rates

Germany  <-0.025%>, Switzerland <-0.015%>, France 0.008%, US 0.03% (US was 5.22% in Feb ’07), UK 0.031%, Russia 9.55% – but these rates are only for central banker pals worldwide…

Consumer Rates

While consumer rates in America for non-bankers are a little higher…

  • Credit card rates are a minimum of 10.5% easily up to 30%
  • Auto loan (60mo, new car) @ 3.2%
  • Mortgage (30yr fix) @ 4.3%
  • Stafford student loan @ 4.66%

And poor, poor savers…not quite keeping up with inflation (somewhere between 2% and 10%…like the Fed you can pick the rate that suits you best)…

  • 1yr CD @ 0.6%
  • Savings accounts @ 0.1% – 0.3%

So does that mean that US savers and credit card spenders are 'friend' or 'foe'?

 

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Original source at: zero hedge - on a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero | http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-08-12/how-value-sovereign-bonds-2-words-us-friend-or-foe

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Inflation is hot property today, hyperinflation is even hotter! We think we are modern, contemporary, smart and ready to deal with anything. We’ve got that seen-it-all-before, been-there-done-it attitude. But, we are not a patch on what some countries have been through in the worst cases of hyperinflation in history. Here’s the top 10 list of worst cases in history. We’ll start with the worst first…let’s think positive!

Hungary 1946

Inflation at its peak reached a staggering figure of 13.6 quadrillion % per month! That’s 13, 600, 000, 000, 000, 000%. The largest denomination bill was a 100 Quintillion note. Prices ended up doubling every 15 hours at the time.

Zimbabwe 2008

Prices doubled here every 24.7 hours in November 2008 and inflation reached levels of 79 billion-odd %. They eventually stopped using the official currency and switched to the South African Rand or the $US. A loaf of bread ended up costing $35 million. This is the most recent case. It was Mugabe’s land-redistribution program that caused this.

Yugoslavia 1994

In just the one month of January 1994 inflation rose by 313 million %. Prices doubled every 34 hours (which is nothing compared to Hungary). The currency ended up getting revalued 5 times in all between 1993 and 1995, all to no avail. The cause? A recession triggered by overseas borrowing and an on-going political struggle in the 1980s and the following decade.

Germany 1923

Adolf Hitler rose to power as a consequence of hyperinflationary pressure (at least one of the reasons). Prices doubled every 3.7 days and inflation stood at 29, 500%. Germany was crippled with the reparation payments after the Treaty of Versailles and the end of World War I.

Greece 1944

Prices started rising by 13, 800% in October 1944 and they doubled every 4.3 days. The trouble was the debt incurred by World War II.

Poland 1921

Prices rose in 1921 by 251 times in comparison with those of 1914. They doubled every 19.5 days. The Zloty was introduced as the new currency in 1924 in an attempt to start afresh. Inflation stood at 988, 233% in 1924.

Mexico 1982

Mexico had a rate of inflation of 10, 000% in 1982 (due mainly to too much social expenditure).

Brazil 1994

Inflation was 2, 075.8% at its worst in 1994. The Real was adopted in 1994 and it managed to calm inflation down.

Argentina 1981

The highest denomination bill was the one million pesos note. The Peso was revalued three times.

Taiwan 1949

This was a knock-on effect from China and the Chinese Civil War. The New Taiwan Dollar was issued in June 1949. The monthly rate of inflation stood at 399%

Inflation can be creeping (mild or moderate inflation) or galloping. We can talk of Hyperinflation and stagflation (inflation and recession). Deflation is not better. We have so many names for it.

Hyperinflation means prices doubling in such a short space of time that we can’t keep up with it all. Hyperinflation comes about at times of trouble, war, conflict, upheaval, change on unprecedented levels. It comes about because we still haven’t learnt how to control it. History repeats itself, we hear people say. Thankfully, it doesn’t repeat itself too often. Fingers crossed.

Originally posted: Hyperinflation – 10 Worst Cases

You might also enjoy: Death of the Dollar | You’re Miserable USA! | Emerging Markets: Lock, Stock and Barrel | End of the Financial World 2014 |  Kristallnacht on Wall Street? Bull! | China’s Credit Crunch | Working for the Few | USA:The Land of the Not-So-Free  

 

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Original source at: zero hedge - on a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero | http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2014-02-06/hyperinflation-%E2%80%93-10-worst-cases

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We’ve all done it, haven’t we? Chucked something in the wash and turned it on too high, only to see it pop out at the end of the cycle and it ends up the size of your hamster. Well, Obama has been doing the same. Except this time it’s not your winter woollies that he’s shrinking, it’s the greenback.

The US currency is shrinking as a percentage of world currency today according to the International Monetary Fund. It’s still in pole position for the moment, but business transactions are showing that companies around the world are today ready and willing to make the move to do business in other currencies.

The US Dollar has long been the world’s number one denomination in world currency supply. It represents 62% of total holdings in foreign exchange in central banks around the world. But, it is in for a tough race from up-and-coming strong currencies. The Japanese Yen and the Chinese Yuan are both giving the Americans a good run for their money. The Swiss franc is too (surprisingly). There is $6 trillion in foreign exchange holdings around the world at any given time, on average and the US Dollar represents almost two-thirds of that.

The fact that Brazil and China have also just signed a currency-swap deal worth something to the tune of $30 billion stands as living proof that the dollar may be further on the wane. China will exceed all expectations in the future as the world’s largest economy. The US will be overtaken. The Chinese currency will one day overtake the Dollar too. Has to be!

Although, it’s not quite there for the moment. China is not near being the world’s reserve currency yet. In order to be the world’s reserve currency there would be the need to produce enormous quantities of what the world wants. China has got that one off pat already. Then, countries holding the reserve currency would need to be able to spend that currency elsewhere in other countries or find a place to put it while waiting to do so. World capital markets are currently in dollars (40%), which means that there would be no possibility of using the Chinese currency. But, that’s only a matter of time. Some are predicting this will happen pretty soon.

The Federal Reserve has come in for some strong criticism over the unconventional Quantitative Easing methods that have resulted in 3 trillion spanking new dollars rolling off the printing presses. This has certainly brought about some degree of worry around the world that the dollar is not quite as safe as it might have been thought to be in the past. Is the world worrying that the dollar is not as safe a bet as it used to be in world domination. Are central banks worried that it will shrink in the wash and the colors will run?

Some are predicting that the dollar will shrink rapidly over the next two years and it will lose its top place as the world’s reserve currency by 2015. In the 1950s the dollar was 90% of total foreign currency holdings around the world. The dollar has definitely lost out to other currencies that are stronger. If there is a continued move and the dollar shrinks, then the resulting catastrophe that will ensue will have a spiral effect on the already enormous US budget deficit (over $1 trillion a year on average).

The only reason the Federal Reserve has been in a position to print more money recently is simply because they are in the strong position to be able to do so as the world’s leading reserve currency. If that changes, then the Americans won’t have the possibility of just hitting the button and setting the printing presses rolling. That means the US will be in no other position than to end up having to pay their debt back.

The US economy and the market are starting to show signs of recovery. Signs. It’s not sustained, hope as they might. If the dollar loses its attraction, then it won’t be used as the international reserve currency. Businesses will start using another currency and the dollar will lose out further still.

Some experts are saying that the problems of the dollar are like a time-bomb ready to explode. Ultimately, it will bring about the death of the dollar. As we stand on and watch, huddled around the coffin as it is lowered into the ground, we know it’s all too late. The flowers have been sent and the Stars and Stripes has been played in recognition of loyal service for the nation.

The QE methods are nothing more than aiding and abetting the already problematic situation of the greenback. We might look back in years to come and reminisce over whether it was the right (long-term) solution to use QE, whether printing bucks sent the greenback to an early grave, or whether it just reached the end of its life and croaked peacefully without making too much noise.

But, criticism of and worry over the dollar and its longevity have been hot topics for years now. The US dollar is a fiat currency that can easily lose status, deriving its value from government regulation and law. But, then again, so is the Euro. So, people living in Europe shouldn’t start throwing stones…they live in glass houses too…and that’s before they start.

Originally posted: Death of the Dollar

You might also enjoy: You’re Miserable USA! | Emerging Markets: Lock, Stock and Barrel | End of the Financial World 2014 |  Kristallnacht on Wall Street? Bull! | China’s Credit Crunch | Working for the Few | USA:The Land of the Not-So-Free  

 

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Original source at: zero hedge - on a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero | http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2014-02-05/death-dollar

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Download GoldCore Outlook For 2014

CONTENTS
– Introduction
– Review of 2013
– Gold and Silver Have Torrid Year – Fall 27% and 35% Respectively
– Year Of Paper Selling But Robust Physical Demand – Especially From China
– Highlights Of Year – German Gold Repatriation, Record Highs In Yen, Huge Chinese Demand
– Lowlights Of Year – Massive Paper Sell Offs in April/June and Cypriot Deposit Confiscation
– Syria and the Middle East
– U.S. Government Shutdown and $12 Trillion Default Risk
– Continuing Central Bank Demand
– Regulatory Authorities Investigate Gold Rigging

Outlook 2014
– Geopolitical Tensions – The Middle East, Russia, China, Japan and the U.S.
– Ultra Loose Monetary Policies Set To Continue with Yellen as New Federal Reserve Chair
– Eurozone Debt Crisis Again – UK, U.S. Japan and China Also Vulnerable
– Enter The Dragon – Chinese Gold Demand Paradigm Shift To Continue
– Death Of Indian Gold Market Greatly Exaggerated
– Long Term (2014-2020) MSGM Fundamentals

Conclusion

Introduction
Happy New Year. We would like to take this opportunity to wish our clients and subscribers a prosperous, healthy and happy 2014.

With 2013 having come to a close, it is important to take stock and review how various assets have performed in 2013, assess the outlook in 2014, and even more importantly, the outlook for the coming years.

2013 was the year of the speculator and the year of the risk asset, such as equities, with global stocks doing well in the sea of liquidity and cheap money created by central banks.
Surprisingly to many gold bulls, these favourable monetary conditions did not lead to higher precious metal prices. Gold and particularly silver had a torrid year and significantly underperformed the vast majority of equity and bond markets.

The MSCI World Index was up 23% and the S&P 500, the Nasdaq and the FTSE were up 32%, 35% and 14% respectively.

MSCI World Index – 1970 to January 3, 2014 – Bloomberg

Bond investors did not fare as well as interest rates began to rise from all-time record lows. As bond prices fell, interest rates rose. The bellwether 10-year Treasury note closed the year at 3.028%, which was up from 1.76% at the start of 2013 and the highest since July 2011.

US 10 Year Note – 1964 to January 3, 2014 – Bloomberg

The Barclays US Aggregate bond index, which is dominated by Treasury, mortgage and corporate bonds and is the leading benchmark followed by institutional money, is set to record its first negative year of total returns since 1999. The bond market’s major benchmark registered a total return of minus 2.1% for 2013. It is only the benchmark’s third annual negative total return since 1976, according to Barclays.

REVIEW OF 2013

Gold and Silver Have a Torrid Year – Fall 28% and 36% Respectively
Gold fell in all major currencies in 2013 and fell 28% in dollar terms for its first annual price fall since 2000. Gold fell 40% in pound terms, 45% in euro terms. Gold fell much less in Japanese yen terms and was 16% lower in yen as the yen continued to be devalued and debased.

Silver was down by 36% in dollar terms and by more in the other currencies; silver had its poorest annual performance since 1984.

Gold came under pressure in the first half of 2013 and saw falls from near $1,700/oz at the start of the year to $1,180/oz by mid-year. Indeed, gold’s low for the year took place on June 28th, which was the last day of trading in Q2, and an important time frame for those evaluating gold’s longer term performance.

The price falls in the first half took place despite a positive fundamental backdrop and despite the risk of contagion in the Eurozone – especially from Spain, Italy and Greece. This risk was so great in the early part of the year that it led George Soros to warn in February that the Eurozone could collapse as the U.S.S.R. had.

In March, Cyprus was the first country to experience a bank bail-in of depositors, where both individual and corporate account holders, experienced capital controls and a confiscation of nearly 50% of their deposits. In June and then again two weeks ago, the EU confirmed that depositors will be bailed in when banks are insolvent.

International monetary and financial authorities globally, including the ECB, the Bank of England and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), have put in place the regulatory and legal framework for bail-in regimes in the event of banks failing again.

Are Your Savings Safe From Bail-Ins

Gold saw a bit of a recovery in the third quarter with gains in July and August as gold interest rates went negative, bullion premiums in Asia surged and COMEX inventories continued to fall. Silver surged 12% in 5 trading days in mid August due to record silver eagle coin demand and ETF demand.

UK gold ‘exports’ to Switzerland increased greatly during the year due to demand for allocated gold in Switzerland due to Switzerland’s tradition of respecting private property throughout the centuries and its strong economy. However, more importantly, UK gold exports to Switzerland were due to the significant increase in store-of-wealth demand from China and many countries in Asia.

Institutional gold in the form of London gold delivery bars (400 oz) was exported to Swiss refineries in order to be recast into one kilogramme, 0.9999 gold bars used on the Shanghai Gold Exchange and in the Chinese market.

However, this was not enough to prevent further falls in the final quarter and in recent days when gold has again tested support at $1,200/oz.

Year Of Technical, Paper Selling But Robust Physical Demand

German Gold Repatriation
The year began with a bang, when news broke on January 17 that the German central bank was attempting to repatriate Germany’s gold reserves. The Bundesbank announced that they will repatriate 674 metric tons of their total 3,391 metric ton gold reserves from vaults in Paris and New York to restore public confidence in the safety of Germany’s gold reserves.


Bundesbank – Goldbarren

The repatriation of only some 20% of Germany’s gold reserves from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Banque of Paris back to Frankfurt was meant to allay increasing German concerns about their gold reserves. But the fact that the transfer from the Federal Reserve is set to take place slowly over a seven year period and will only be completed in 2020 actually led to increased concerns. It also fueled concerns that the unaudited U.S. gold reserves may be less than what is officially recorded.

What was quite bullish news for the gold market, saw gold quickly rise by some $30 to challenge $1,700/oz. The news was expected to help contribute to higher prices but determined selling saw gold capped at $1,700/oz prior to falls in price in February.

Paper Selling On COMEX
Gold’s falls in 2013 can be attributed in large part to paper selling by more speculative players on the COMEX. This was graphically seen in April when there was a selling raid on the COMEX which led to a huge price fall of nearly 15% in two days prior to the emergence of “extraordinary” demand for gold internationally.

The sell off came as demand in Europe began to pick up due to concerns that the Cypriot deposit confiscation may be a precedent that could be seen in other EU countries.

The speed and scale of the sell off was incredible and even some of the bears were surprised by it. Many questioned the catalysts for the $150 two day sell off. The sell off was initially attributed to an unfounded rumour regarding Cyprus gold reserve sales – this was soon seen to be a non-story. The Cyprus rumour did not justify the scale of the unprecedented sell off.
Reports suggested that a single futures sell order worth $6 billion, equal to 4 million ounces or 124.4 tonnes of gold, by a large investment bank sent prices plummeting. The futures market then saw a further wave of selling of contracts worth some $15 billion, equivalent to 10 million ounces of selling or 300 tonnes, in just 35 minutes.
Gold futures with a value of over 400 tonnes were sold in a handful of trades in minutes. This was equal to 15% of annual gold mine production. The scale of the selling was massive and again underlines how one or two large banks or hedge funds can completely distort the market by aggressive, concentrated leveraged short positions.

Investment banks and hedge fund speculators can manipulate the paper or futures gold price in whichever direction they want in the short term due to the massive leverage they can utilise. The events in April further bolstered the allegations of manipulation by the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA).

Significant Demand For Physical Gold Globally
Gold prices fell very sharply despite very high demand. However, the gold price decline was arrested by the scale of physical demand globally. This demand was particularly strong in the Middle East and in Asia, particularly China but was also seen in western markets with government mints reporting a surge in demand in 2013.

This demand for physical gold was seen in western markets throughout the year. In April, the US Mint had to suspend sales of small gold coins; premiums for coins and bars surged in western markets due to high demand.

Mints, refineries and bullion brokerages were quickly cleared out of stock in April and COMEX gold inventories plummeted. There were gold and silver coin and bar shortages globally.

This continued into May as investors and savers globally digested the ramifications of the Cypriot deposit confiscation. The crash of the Nikkei in May also added to physical demand in Japan and by nervous investors internationally.

This led to all time record gold transactions being reported by the LBMA at the end of May.

Chinese demand remained very robust and Shanghai Gold Exchange volumes surged 55% in one day at the end of May – from 10,094 kilograms to 15,641 kilograms. There were “supply constraints” for gold bars in Singapore and bullion brokers in Singapore and India became sold out of bullion product at the end of May.

This, and concerns about a very poor current account deficit and a possible run on the Indian rupee, prompted the Indian government to bring in quasi capital controls and punitive taxes on gold in June. Ironically, this led to even higher demand for gold in the short term and much higher premiums in India. Longer term, it has led to a massive surge in black market gold buying with thousands of Indians smuggling in gold from Bangkok, Dubai and elsewhere in Asia.

June saw another peculiar sudden 6% price fall in less than 24 hours. This again contributed to increased and very robust physical demand. U.S. Mint sales of silver coins reached a record in the first half of 2013 at 4,651,429 ounces and the UK’s Royal Mint saw a demand surge continuing in June after demand had trebled in April.
Asian markets continued to see elevated levels of gold buying. Gold demand in Vietnam was so high that buyers were paying a $217 premium over spot gold at $1,390/oz. Premiums surged again in China as the wise Chinese ‘aunties’ and wealthy Chinese continued to buy gold as a store of wealth.

Despite very high levels of demand for gold, in Asia especially, gold languished and sentiment in western markets continued to be very poor with gold falling to the lows of the year on June 28th.

July saw continuing strong demand for gold internationally as volumes surged to records on the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE). Premiums rose and feverish buying left many of Hong Kong’s banks, jewellers and even its gold exchange without enough gold bullion to meet demand.

In August, demand remained elevated and gold forward offered rates (GOFO) remained negative and became more negative. This showed that physical demand was leading to supply issues in the highly leveraged LBMA gold market or the institutional gold bar market.

Today, as we enter the New Year gold, forward offered rates (GOFO) remain negative, meaning banks, which had lent their customers gold to obtain a positive return, and therefore increase the “paper” gold supply, will take the gold back. This should limit the amount of gold on the market and increase the gold price.

Chinese buyers are of increasing importance but it is important to note that physical demand rose significantly throughout the world in 2013 despite falling prices. This is seen in the levels of demand experienced by leading bullion dealers, refiners and government mints. This is clearly seen in the data released by the Perth Mint and the U.S. Mint which both saw increased demand for physical gold coins and bars in 2013. Other mints have yet to report their numbers.

The Perth Mint of Western Australia reported yesterday that they saw a very significant increase in sales in 2013 despite the falling prices. Gold sales from the Perth Mint, which refines most of the bullion from the world’s second-biggest producer Australia, climbed 41% last year.

Sales of gold coins and minted bars totalled 754,635 ounces in 2013 from 533,333 ounces a year earlier, according to data from the mint.

Silver coin sales surged 33% to about 8.6 million ounces from 6.5 million ounces in 2012, according to the Perth Mint.

Gold bullion sales expanded 12% to 58,944 ounces in December from 52,700 in November and about 51,778 ounces in December 2012, according to data from the mint. Gold sales fell to as low as 30,430 ounces in August and peaked at about 112,575 in April, when gold was hammered 14% lower on the COMEX in just two days.

Silver coin sales were 845,941 ounces last month from 807,246 in November and 452,389 a year earlier, it said.

The U.S. Mint also saw an increase in physical gold sales and sold 14% more American Eagle gold coins last year and sales climbed 17% to 56,000 ounces in December from November, according to data on the mint’s website as reported by Bloomberg.

Syria and the Middle East
Even bullish developments such as the prospect of war in Syria at the end of August, only led to small, short term price gains. War in Syria and in the Middle East, pitching the U.S. and western allies against China and Russia was expected by many to lead to “market panic” and to propel gold “much, much higher,” in the words of astute investor Jim Rogers.

Only the fact that President Obama and the U.S. were confronted with opposition by people internationally against another war and were outmaneuvered diplomatically, prevented the war with Syria.

The war had the potential to destabilise the region with ramifications for oil prices and the global economy.

U.S. Government Shutdown and $12 Trillion Default Risk
Another very bullish development for gold came in late September and early October with the U.S. budget negotiations and government shutdown.

They highlighted the dire U.S. fiscal position and the complete failure of the American political and economic class to deal with their extremely precarious financial position in any meaningful way. The U.S. government is essentially bankrupt with a national debt of over $17 trillion and unfunded liabilities of between $100 trillion and $200 trillion.

In the coming months and years, it will lead to a lower dollar and much higher gold and silver prices.

However, in the year of paper gold selling that was 2013, even this did not lead to higher gold prices.

Continuing Central Bank Gold Demand 
All year, central banks continued to accumulate gold with Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyz Republic, Turkey and other central banks continuing to diversify their foreign exchange reserves.


U.S. Federal Reserve employees in underground vault holding monetary gold

Central banks continued to be strong buyers of gold in 2013, albeit the full year data may show demand was at a slightly slower rate than the record levels seen in recent years. Q4 2013 will be the 12th consecutive quarter of net purchases of gold by central banks.

Total official central bank demand continued at roughly 100 tonnes every single quarter. However, this does not include the ongoing clandestine and undeclared purchases of gold by the People’s Bank of China. Conservative estimates put PBOC demand at 100 tonnes a quarter or at over 400 tonnes for the year. More radical projections are of demand of over 1,000 tonnes from the PBOC in 2013.

Regulatory Authorities Investigate Gold Rigging
Peculiar, single trade or handful of trades leading to sudden gold price falls were common in 2013 and contributed to the 28% price fall.

Therefore, those who have diversified into physical gold will welcome the move by the German financial regulator BaFin to widen their investigation into manipulation by banks of benchmark gold and silver prices. In December, the German banking regulator BaFin demanded documents from Germany’s largest bank, Deutsche Bank, as part of a probe into suspected manipulation of the gold and silver markets.

The German regulator has been interrogating the bank’s staff over the past several months. Since November, when the probe was first mentioned, similar audits in the U.S. and UK are also commencing.

Precious metal investors live in hope but their experience of such investigations is that they are often very lengthy affairs with little in the way of outcome, disclosure or sanction. The forces of global supply and demand, one anemic, the other very high, are likely to be more important and a valuable aid to gold and silver owners in 2014 and in the coming years. As ultimately, the price of all commodities, currencies and assets is determined by supply and demand.

Janet Yellen Becomes Fed Chair

At year end came confirmation that cheap money uber dove Janet Yellen was set to take over from Ben Bernanke as Chair of the Federal Reserve. Gold bulls cheered loudly at her appointment thinking that Yellen’s appointment would lead to a recovery in oversold gold prices. However, even this bullish development did not help embattled gold prices.

OUTLOOK FOR 2014

Introduction

2013 was a year of calm in the world of finance. 2014 may not be so calm and there is a risk of renewed turbulence on global financial markets. There are many unresolved risks which were present in 2013 but did not come to the fore and impact markets as they could have.

The Eurozone debt crisis is far from resolved and there remains an underappreciated risk of sovereign crises in other major industrial nations.

There are far more positives for gold than negatives and the positives include ultra-loose monetary policies, risk of sovereign and banking debt crises and systemic or contagion risk, the increasingly uncertain political and military situation globally and of course increased demand for gold from the Middle East, much of Asia and particularly China.

Download GoldCore Outlook For 2014

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Original source at: zero hedge - on a long enough timeline, the survival rate for everyone drops to zero | http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2014-01-04/good-bad-and-ugly-gold-2013-and-outlook-2014

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Chinese data has been improving lately, but some have expressed concern that this is only because the government is pumping more credit into the system, and engaging in infrastructure investment at a time when there’s already too much spare capacity.

That may be an issue, but as Markit’s Chris Williamson notes on Twitter, Chinese exports are back on the rise, per the latest Flash PMI survey.

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This certainly suggests there’s more to the recovery than just adding more capacity on top of idle capacity.

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Original source at: Markets | http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/TheMoneyGame/~3/ErIjwqZmJQE/a-good-sign-that-chinas-recovery-is-real-2013-9


Oil prices slid on Tuesday, mirroring a slump for equities, following a major downgrade to a key Chinese economic indicator and after the release of weak Japanese data, analysts said.

Read more here: Oil prices slide amid weak Asian data

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Discussions about the Yuan-Dollar exchange rate will not be on the agenda at the Group of 20 meeting in Canada next week, Chinese officials said Friday.

Zhang Tao, director of the international department of the People’s Bank of China, the nation’s central bank, said at a press conference that Chinese leaders will not engage in talks about its currency with other world leaders at the Summit…..

Read the original post: China declares Yuan vs. USD is Off Limits at G-20 Summit…

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