A ‘Lehman moment' will ensure gold and silver will soar again

According to many experts, large amounts of money printing will soon occur in both Europe as well as in the United States. This is what gold speculators have been waiting for in order to drive up gold prices and many are predicting that gold will continue its uptrend soon enough.

Author: Lawrence Williams
Posted: Thursday , 28 Jun 2012
Mineweb

Nowadays it seems that every time there is inaction, or minimal stimulative action, by the Fed that gold - and silver - take a dive. It appears to be long forgotten by the markets that gold performed extremely well throughout most of its bull run without overt Fed stimulus - but then gold investors on the fringe tend to be fickle animals increasingly overtly swayed by short term pronouncements with little cognisance taken of many of the underlying changes in the marketplace that have to be extremely bullish for precious metals. Not least of these factors include declining gold output in most of the world's major gold producing nations, hugely increasing Chinese demand - and perhaps most of all the fact that the global economy and banking system is teetering on the edge of a cliff with only a slight push needed to make it plunge to who knows where.

In his latest commentary on gold, Jeff Nichols - Managing Director of American Precious Metals Advisors and Senior Economic Adviser to Rosland Capital ponders on gold's performance vis-a-vis U.S. Fed pronouncements. "Gold shed more than $50 an ounce in a blink following last Wednesday's news from the Federal Reserve that America's central bank would not, at least not now, initiate another round of quantitative easing, opting instead for more muted monetary stimulus by extending its "Operation Twist" through year-end"

As Nichols then notes, "the recent correction in gold and silver prices has some precious metals pundits already writing obituaries for these metals. Last week, gold in New York was off more than three percent, falling from a recent high near $1,627 to $1,570 - just about giving up all of this year's gains and, worse yet, down some 18 percent from its all-time high last September. Meanwhile, silver fell by more than six percent from $28.75 an ounce to $26.90 - and at week's end silver was off some 3.4 percent for the year to date and more than 45 percent from its April 2011 peak."

But, Nichols avers, "This backtracking in gold and silver does not signal a new bearish phase for precious metals prices. At worst, it calls for more patience from investors and savers holding these metals as they await the next major move up in a still very much intact bull market. More importantly, the current weakness in gold and silver prices simply gives smart investors and fearful savers more time to buy the protection and financial insurance offered by these metals."

Most long term holders of gold invest in the knowledge that over time gold has proved to be a great wealth protector. In bull markets, yes it can generate short term gains and it is the prospect of these that brings in the speculators and leads to the kind of volatility which is currently affecting the gold and silver markets. Even the out and out gold bulls who predict soaring prices do so not in the belief that gold will provide speculative gains per se, but that fiat currencies will collapse and that say a 50% increase in the gold price will be due, in effect, to a 50% corresponding fall in the purchasing power of their local currencies. Indeed the real gold bulls believe that the increase will be far greater than 50% as fiat currency purchasing power collapses totally.

So what really is the chance of this ‘worst case' scenario taking place? Unpleasantly and worryingly near. A sovereign default in Europe would not be purely a local phenomenon but would have global repercussions. A Greek default for example - which ultimately looks to be inevitable - if it happens soon will likely bring down some major European banks with it. The knock-on effect across the global financial system will be far worse with governments finding it increasingly difficult to find the wherewithal to meet their guarantees to major bank investors - and Greece is only a tiny economy. If much larger economies like Spain, or Italy, were to default, the impact on the global banking system would be truly horrendous.

All the European Community is really doing with its Greek bailouts is buying time in the hope that the banks will be able to make arrangements in the meantime to mitigate the impact of the pending default.

And the American investor can't just sit back in the hope that a European meltdown won't affect the U.S. economy and its banking system. It will. The global banking system is completely interconnected and bank failures in Europe will trigger similar failures in the U.S. Like it or not the U.S. Fed will likely need to help out Europe by pumping money into the system to prevent the dominoes starting to fall - a possibly futile gesture in the long term. The next dose of real QE from the Fed may thus not be to prop up the U.S. economy, but the European one too - and could be the biggest injection of new money into the economy yet.

Nichols puts it succinctly: "The timing of more monetary stimulus from the Fed - and the next major upward move in gold and silver prices - depends either on the economic news here in America (with bad news raising the chances of more quantitative easing sooner rather than later) or an impending financial disaster in Europe."

However he expects a round of QE in the U.S. regardless of the European situation - perhaps as soon as August given the continuing failure of the U.S. economy to show any real growth and unemployment remaining unacceptably high.

Nichols goes on "Despite yet another round of funding for Europe's sickest economies and banks - and regardless of whatever decisions are taken at the European summit this week - the Eurozone will continue to unravel. There's just no way that citizens of the peripheral economies will continue to accept austerity, collapsing economies, rising joblessness, and deteriorating living conditions for years to come."

"Sooner or later, I expect an impending if not actual default by one or another sovereign borrower or failure of one or another major European bank (what some are calling a "Lehman" moment recalling America's 2008 banking crisis) will trigger an unprecedented flood of new money from the Fed, the European Central Bank, and other central banks in Europe and Asia - assuring that gold and silver once again shine brightly."

This is perhaps an understatement. If this degree of monetary stimulation does come about the impact on gold and silver prices would be immense, and way beyond the power of governments, compliant central banks and their banking sector allies to maintain any degree of control of what is seen as the ultimate standard against which fiat currencies are measured.

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