Saturday, December 11, 2010
NIA is deeply disturbed by how U.S. politicians and the mainstream media have been calling for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to be charged with treason. Some people in Washington are even calling for the assassination of Assange like he is some kind of a terrorist, all because he helped spread the truth about our country's foreign policy and other sensitive topics. The U.S. is in very serious trouble if it has now become a crime to speak the truth......read on
The scramble for physical gold and silver is intensifying. People increasingly want to own the real thing, and not some paper substitute, all of which comes with counterparty risk. This conclusion is apparent from the fact that the futures prices for gold and silver have moved into "backwardation."
Allow me to explain...
Because gold is money, gold almost always trades in "contango," meaning that the future prices - i.e., forward prices - are higher than the spot price. The percentage difference between gold's spot and forward price is gold's "interest rate." So in this regard, gold is not different from other moneys, except gold's interest rate is lower than those of national currencies.
But supply and demand dynamics also influence the differential between the spot price and forward prices. And this is where our story gets interesting...
If the forward price is lower than spot - a condition called backwardation - you can sell your metal in the spot market, invest the dollars you receive to earn interest, and then buy your metal back in the future at a lower price and profit the difference. But there is another important factor to consider outside the math of this formula.
If you sell your physical metal in the spot market and at the same time agree with someone to buy it back at a future date, you are now holding someone's paper promise instead of physical metal. In other words, you have counterparty risk, which, of course, is avoided when you hold physical gold or physical silver.
Normally, few people worry about counterparty risk. So bullion dealers and other institutions that deal in the precious metals watch for opportunities to profit from backwardation, with the result that gold rarely trades in backwardation, which explains why the chart below is so extraordinary.
Gold for 1-month and 3-months forward has been mainly in backwardation for more than one year. Even more exceptional is that gold 6-months forward has been in backwardation since November 5th. To show how rare this event is, I checked the LBMA database, which goes back to 1989. There is not one instance of 6-month forward gold being in backwardation, which confirms my own experience. I've been trading the precious metals since the 1970s, and I can't recall any time before this year when 6-months forward gold was in backwardation. The current and continuing backwardation is truly incredible.
12-month forward gold is also approaching backwardation. These downtrends make clear that the demand for physical gold is intensifying.
The picture is even starker in silver. Silver 6-months forward has been continuously in backwardation since June 2nd and mainly in backwardation for more than one year. What does it all mean?.........read on
Gold has had an incredible year. The price on the last trading day of 2009 stood at $1,085 an ounce; it has since risen to about $1,380, a rise of 27pc.
It has been higher still: the gold price struck its highest ever level of $1,421 on November 9.
There doesn't seem to be much doubt about the cause of this bull market. All the analysts we spoke to agreed that "quantitative easing" – or printing money – by central banks had sparked fears over the value of paper currencies, spurring investors to switch to more tangible assets....read on