Written by Jeff Nielson Sunday, 20 January 2013 14:08
For those seeking economic truths (in a world saturated with corporate propaganda), it can often be useful and revealing to follow the work of the Apologists. In attempting to “explain” the transgressions of their Masters; it is nearly inevitable that details will slip out – details which their Masters would have rather remained secret.
A classic example would be when Jeffrey Christian of the CPM Group – an ex-Goldman Sachs banker and noted banking apologist – was testifying before the CFTC regarding the issue of manipulation in bullion markets. In attempting to ‘pooh-pooh’ the glaring/relentless manipulation taking place in these markets, Christian casually mentioned that “the gold market” was about one hundred times larger than the actual amount of bullion being traded.
Let me reiterate this: the actual total of assorted “paper bullion” and “bullion derivative” products in this market has leveraged the amount of real bullion being traded by a factor of approximately 100:1. Two points follow from this slip-of-the-tongue.
First, quite obviously in attempting to cover-up the serial manipulation of bullion markets the Western financial crime syndicate would have preferred that people didn’t know that every ounce of gold and silver being traded was leveraged (in aggregate) by roughly 100:1. It’s not the sort of thing which gives the Chumps “confidence” in the bankers’ paper-bullion “products.”
Secondly, given that this admission came from one of the bankers’ “friends”, and is now several years old; that 100:1 ballpark estimate must now be regarded as a very conservative figure. However, Jeffrey Christian is not the only one of the bankers’ friends to have been damning them with faint praise.
The legendary banking apologists of Bloomberg were recently attempting to stamp-out any fears that an imminent downgrade of the U.S.’s (farcical) Triple-A credit rating would lead to a plunge in U.S. bond prices – and soaring interest rates. They did this by pointing out that the credit ratings (on government bonds) made by the banking analysts at these ratings agencies are totally irrelevant. Said Bloomberg:
…Bond investors needn’t worry that a rating cut will hurt returns. About half the time, government yields move in the opposite direction suggested by new ratings, according to data compiled by Bloomberg on 314 upgrades, downgrades and outlook changes going back to 1974.
Thus according to Bloomberg, investors in government bonds could have gotten equally good “advice” on the direction of bond prices and interest rates for the past 40 years by flipping a coin – meaning that the services provided by these bankers were/are worthless (as a tautology of logic).
Of course here is where it gets interesting: credit ratings (i.e. the creditworthiness of nations) should matter in determining bond prices and interest rates. There are only two possible explanations as to how/why the credit ratings of Western sovereign debt have been totally worthless for (at least) 40 years:
1) The bankers working for the credit ratings agencies are utterly incompetent (or corrupt).
2) Western bond markets are so heavily manipulated that they simply do not respond to economic fundamentals.
Readers can choose the explanation which they find most plausible. Note that (1) and (2) are not mutually exclusive.
However, such revelations pale in comparison to the recent work of German propaganda-outlet, Der Spiegel. While Bloomberg’s apologist was merely trying to explain/defend the absurdly corrupt U.S. bond market; Der Spiegel was attempting to defend/justify “investment banking” as a whole.
Written by Jeff Nielson Thursday, 17 January 2013 13:34
Observant precious metals investors would have recently noticed a rare – almost unheard-of – occurrence: a bullion market where prices actually respond to supply/demand fundamentals. No, obviously I’m not referring to either the gold or silver market, but rather the platinum market.
Analysis was provided by a mining website. Unlike the pseudo-analytic drivel spewed by the mainstream media concerning commodity markets; this featured long-term, hard data and cogent reasoning – versus the short-term trivia, empty rhetoric, and fear-mongering we generally get from the Corporate Media.
Specifically, the article noted that recycling in the platinum market had quadrupled over the last decade. Compounding that bearish supply factor, industrial demand has softened considerably, and even jewelry demand has been shown to be more price-sensitive than previously thought.
The combination of these factors has meant that platinum inventories are abundant, and with weak supply/demand fundamentals and abundant inventories, prices have floundered; with the price of platinum now trading below the price of gold (a very unusual situation).
With a concrete example illustrating both supply/demand fundamentals and how markets are supposed to respond to those fundamentals; the extreme/serial manipulation of the silver market appears even more blatant in comparison. Now let’s look at the “fundamentals” in the silver market.
We can begin by looking at the absurdly low, current price of silver. This artificial/suppressed/manipulated price can be illustrated in several different ways. Relative to the price of gold, silver is priced at less than 1/3 of its historical average.
During the nearly 5,000 years in which humanity has been mining/refining gold and silver; the gold/silver price ratio has averaged roughly 15:1. Yet currently (and through all the recent decades of silver manipulation) this ratio has been depressed to 50:1 (or lower).
We know that this is a case of silver being under-priced rather than gold being over-priced through simply examining the supply-side of the gold and silver markets: the miners. Gold and silver miners are experiencing their second “depression” in five years – as the radical under-pricing of silver and gold has made it difficult for established miners to raise capital, and nearly impossible for the junior exploration companies who are the life-blood of the mining industry.
Indeed, silver mining is so severely depressed that despite a six-fold increase in the price of silver over the last decade most of the world’s silver is still produced as a secondary byproduct of other mining – while bankrupted silver mines remain shuttered all over the world, and new projects are extremely slow to develop.
Further proof of the suppressed/manipulated price of silver comes from the collapse of inventories, where global inventories plummeted by more than 90% over just 15 years (from 1990 – 2005). Despite the collapse in inventories, the six-fold increase in the price of silver has barely registered any reaction at all on the supply side, where mine-supply limps higher at an anemic rate of about 2% per year.
This is yet more proof of silver price-manipulation, as with any/every commodity market where prices are free to respond to supply/demand fundamentals, we would see prices rise to whatever level was necessary to fuel new supply and discourage consumption – until supply/demand equilibrium is reached. This is the literal definition of a “free market”, something which most of us have never seen in the silver market during our entire life-span.