Friday, April 27, 2012

Mainstream Economist Turned GoldBug? About Time

A plea for sanity


DollarAn article by Professor Lew Spellman has caught the attention of the sharp-eyed, and may indeed be important. Spellman, who in the past has been an economist at the Fed and served as an assistant to the Chairman of the President’s Council of Advisors, makes the point that gold is quietly becoming a core banking asset for collateral purposes, at a time when the alternative, sovereign obligations, is becoming dangerously unstable as a bedrock of value. This is an establishment economist suggesting that gold is being chosen by markets as an alternative to money issued by government diktat.
He even suggests that ownership of gold would allow banks to increase leverage of their balance sheets. The London Bullion Market has been lobbying for this for the last six months, and at government level the Chinese have long pressed for gold to have a monetary role on a supra-national basis. Powerful forces recognise the benefits, and if the Basel Committee which is considering the matter agrees to banks using gold as Tier 1 Capital, it would create substantial demand for physical bullion, for any such gold would have to be physically held on an allocated basis.
Anyone who understands gold’s historic role will grasp the importance of the argument behind extra bank leverage. Direct ownership of bullion by a bank is superior to holding the fiat money issued by a central bank. It should increase confidence in any bank and the system as a whole. Given relative values, bank purchases of bullion will drive the value of gold as Tier 1 Capital up relative to other qualifying assets, increasing its desirability for regulatory purposes further without a gold-owning bank doing anything.
The fly in the ointment is politics. Ever since the Nixon shock in 1971, the US Government has tried to convince the world that gold has no monetary role. It would require the US Treasury to accept that gold might be superior to the paper dollar after all. No doubt that U-turn can be performed, but the concern would be that gold being officially recognised as a form of money would disadvantage the dollar and hand substantial power to the Chinese, who have been accumulating gold from their own mines.
This raises the question about how much gold the Chinese actually own. They have been mining the stuff for over a thousand years, and if Marco Polo is to be believed, seven hundred years ago there were enormous quantities of gold throughout both the Chinese Empire and Japan. This is certainly under-recorded by the World Gold Council, and while it and subsequent production may be tucked away, it won’t have been destroyed. It is a fair bet that some of it is still in China, under the control of the government, the ultimate inheritors of the dynastic legacies.
Why does this matter? It matters because if gold is accepted as the ultimate collateral, the balance of monetary power shifts from the US to China. China is already angling to conduct Asian trade settlements without using the dollar, and is ready to start using gold for settling her trade balance with Iran. This is an important development, the predictable result of US attempts to dictate terms of trade.
China is ready to use gold for monetary purposes, as is much of Asia and the Middle East. Europe is falling apart and needs gold as collateral for its banking system. Central banks everywhere, from Mexico to the Ukraine, are adding to their gold reserves, and according to the IMF in March alone twelve of them added 58 tonnes to their reserves, presumably in anticipation of its monetary return. The official price of $42.22 is an old joke that no longer amuses. How about it, Mr President?
Buy Gold With The Most Trusted Bullion Dealer - GoldMoney

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Is Developed Country Sovereign Debt Really "Riskless"?

The myth of riskless debt


Falling plot line over Europe Much has been learned from the ongoing financial debacle that has been painfully rattling the world’s financial structure in recent years. Foremost among these valuable lessons is the realization that all financial assets have risks.
Even the bonds of many sovereign nations are being called into question, and rightly so. Though often deemed to be “riskless” because of a country’s ability to extract tax from its citizens, logic tells us that nothing in life is risk-free. This conclusion can also be reached by even a cursory reading of monetary history, or in a more meaningful and instructive way, just by closely observing financial events in recent years. Unquestionably, sovereign bonds have risks.
In fact, there are three of them. Each of these risks needs to be seriously considered and analysed before purchasing the bond of any sovereign nation.
1) Currency risk – There are two types of currency risk. The first is inflation, which has been eroding the purchasing power of currencies ever since governments abandoned the classical gold standard decades ago. This risk is particularly acute in today’s environment in which continuous central bank intervention manipulates artificially low interest rates, with the consequence that the interest income earned on a bond is not likely to completely offset the loss of purchasing power of the currency in which the bond is denominated. The other currency risk comes from fluctuating exchange rates. A declining exchange rate will reduce the value of bonds denominated in a foreign currency. For example, any euro-based investor who owned bonds denominated in British pounds saw their wealth eroded when the pound’s exchange rate collapsed against the euro a few years ago.
2) Interest rate risk – Although central banks have been actively intervening in the credit markets to keep interest rates low, it is inevitable that interest rates will again rise. Rising interest rates mean that bond prices will fall. Bond prices will fall so that the yields of the bonds’ coupons will always equal the prevailing interest rate.
3) Counterparty risk – Most devastating of all is the risk of default. A country will repay its bonds only if it has both the financial capacity and the willingness to repay. In this regard, investors are learning from recent events that many countries have exceeded the ability to repay its debts, even if they want to do so.
Despite these recent events, many bondholders still believe that they can achieve a favourable risk/return ratio by owning a government bond. While that assertion may have been true in the past, most governments today are over-leveraged and stretched to the limit. It is no longer reasonable to expect that a government bond can be bought and held to maturity. They have become a trading vehicle, to be bought and sold like commodities in an attempt to profit from price fluctuations. This task requires unique skills, so it is best to leave the ownership of sovereign bonds to professional traders and speculators.
As a consequence of countries living far beyond their financial capacity, many promises made by politicians are going to be broken. This will include the insincere promise to always honour a country’s debts. The plain truth is that many governments around the world are running out of money, and in that environment, sovereign bonds are not risk-free.
Author: James Turk

Monday, April 23, 2012

New Banc De Binary Review - Now Updated For 2013

Authoritative Binary Options Website, Binary Options Reviews Has Bestowed An Award Of Best Broker Of 2012 To Popular Binary Options Broker Banc De Binary.

In operation since 2009, Banc De Binary is a privately held trading and investment firm with operations in over 80 countries throughout Europe, North America, the Middle East, Asia, and India. Banc De Binary was also the very first binary options broker to locate headquarters in the US financial center of Wall Street, New York. Thus voluntarily subjecting themselves to the stringent US regulatory apparatus. Banc De Binary has committed itself to filling a void left by other binary options brokers for US-based binary options enthusiasts.

banc de binary review of resources

Binary options are uncomplicated financial products which usually return either a high, fixed amount or nothing at all. There is only two possible outcomes: success, or failure. And for this reason binary options/digital options are known as "all-or-nothing" trades. With risk comes the potential for great reward. Trade smart, practice sound money management, and trade with the right broker.

banc de binary review of the banc de binary demo