With today’s FOMC announcement that a September rate hike is off the table, it looks like it will be the end of the year before Yellen and company change their monetary policy. It’s business as usual. Yesterday Peter Schiff appeared on CNBC’s Futures NOW in a raucous exchange with setting the record straight about how close his predictions have been about the Fed’s past actions. Peter also sparred with TJM’s Jim Iuorio about the deeper motivations behind the Fed’s actions.
Sunny Pannu, director of corporate development for Defiance Silver, a silver explorer and developer, recently sat down with Silver Institute executive director Michael DiRienzo for a wide-ranging discussion about the fantastic world of silver.
The discussion focused on the present state of the silver market and its future. Topics ranged from an explanation of how the silver price-fix works to the dynamics of supply and demand.
DiRienzo emphasized the dual nature of silver, noting that it serves as both an industrial metal and a precious metal for investment. He echoed the same themes as a prominent mining CEO did in a recent interview with Kitco News, saying both investor and industrial demand for the white metal is strong.
DiRienzo said silver coin sales are on a record pace, as are inflows of silver into ETFs. On the industrial side, it’s interesting to note that the demand for silver has been steady despite general sluggishness in the global economy. DiReinzo said this was due in part to the expanding and diversifying uses for the metal.
Silver is basically all around you. It’s contained in your automobile, your cell phone, your computer, solar panels, PDP televisions, and many, many, many medical uses. So, on the industrial side, you’ll find silver’s use not only a mainstay, but also its growing in many other areas as well.”
The Federal Reserve stayed pat on interest rates in its most recent meeting, but speculation continues to percolate that the central bank will possibly raise rates in September.
Peter Schiff has been saying for months that the Fed won’t raise rates. He reiterated this on his most recent podcast. (Scroll down to listen to the full podcast.)
The Fed continued to say that they believe the economy is evolving in a way that will warrant gradual rate hikes. And of course, by gradual they mean no more rate hikes…So they raised rates once in December and they haven’t raised rates since. That’s about as gradual as you can possibly get. I mean, if a snail was raising rates they would have blown past Janet Yellen…I think, again, the rate-hiking cycle ended when they raised rates. It began when they started talking about tapering. That was the whole rate cycle, and whether people want to admit it or not, we are now in the easing cycle.”
In fact, Peter has said on numerous occasions the next move for the Fed will be lowering rates back to zero and launching another round of quantitative easing.
If the actions of central banks in the rest of the world serve as any example, Peter will certainly be proven right because the world is awash in QE. In fact, Reuters reported that the amount of quantitative easing is at record levels:
A new study by the Evans School of Public Policy and Governance shows Seattle’s minimum wage increase has also increased unemployment. No surprise there given what happened in Puerto Rico. Basic economics states the higher the price of something, the less that something will be purchased. In the case of Seattle’s experiment of increasing their minimum wage to $15 an hour, it seems that something was low-skilled jobs.
Admittedly, Seattle has experienced an economic boom since the city first instigated its stair-stepped wage increase. One of the city’s biggest growth sectors is in the labor market. However, according to the Seattle Times, “Much of that success, though, can be attributed to trends separate from the minimum-wage law itself, such as the growth of Seattle’s tech sector and its construction boom.”
Over the last year, we’ve reported extensively on the growing influence of China on the world gold market, and the flow of gold from the West to the East. But with uncertainty created by Brexit, economic stagnation, and the proliferation of negative yielding bonds, it appears investors in the West have rediscovered the beauty of gold.
Western gold demand hit unprecedented levels through the first half of 2016, and according to a major precious metals research firm, that trend will continue through the second half of the year.
The highly-anticipated Rio Olympics begins next week (August 5th), and with it, a race for the gold. Soon, Olympic winners will be standing on the podium donning their gold, silver, and bronze medals and waving towards a roaring crowd. Nothing is more iconic of the Games than these medals draped around the winners’ necks. But have you ever wondered if the Olympic medals are actually made of gold at all? It turns out today’s gold medals actually contain very little gold at all.
Gold Medal History
During the Ancient Olympic Games, winders didn’t receive medals at all. Instead, they won a wreath made from olive leaves from a sacred tree near the temple of Zeus at Olympia. It wasn’t until the 1896 Summer Olympics that winners were awarded with actual hardware. However, at that time top performers didn’t win gold; they took home silver. Second place received bronze.
Between Jan. 1 and July 11, the price of silver increased 44.7%. But can the white metal maintain its bull run?
A prominent mining CEO thinks it can – and will.
Mining, Inc. CEO Mitchell Krebs told Kitco News that he expects the precious metals sector to attract even more investor interest through the second half of this year. Krebs, who also serves as president of the Silver Institute, went on to say he thinks silver sits in a unique position to outperform as it benefits both as a monetary metal and an investment metal:
I think, right now, silver is in this sweet spot and I think this trend can continue.”
After a brief pause in May, the Chinese and Russian central banks resumed their gold buying spree in June.
The People’s Bank of China added about 15 tons of gold to its stash last month. The Chinese central bank now officially holds about 58.62 million ounces of gold. China has bought gold in 11 of the past 12 months and has increased its hoard about 165 tons over the past year.
A year ago this month, the Chinese central bank announced its gold holdings had grown by 57% to about 1,658 tons. It was the first official update to China’s gold reserves since 2009. Many analysts believe the Chinese actually own more gold than the official numbers indicate – possibly a lot more.
As the saying goes: “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer.” Here’s a quick look what the Fed’s been up to this week.
Philly Fed Shows Drop in Manufacturing
This week the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia released the results of its Manufacturing Business Outlook Survey. The Survey of regional manufacturers showed general activity falling from 4.7 to -2.9 for July. According to Market Watch, this is the “ninth month of declining activity of the past 11 months and the slowest pace in six months” for the region. These numbers represent what Peter’s said about the economy in the past: “The Actual picture [the Fed paints] is an economic recovery that is over, if it ever happened.”
Fed Officials Tell WSJ Rate Hike Likely this Year
Some centrist Fed officials told the Wall Street Journal a rate hike is likely this year if the economic outlook continues to look positive. Timelines were thrown out, with a possible hike as soon as the September meeting. But that’s eight weeks away, and there are two job reports and other economic data to consider. A slim majority of surveyed economists are betting on a December hike instead.
Peter Schiff recently participated in a panel discussion in Las Vegas with Goldmoney co-founder, Josh Crumb and CEO Darrell MacMullin, along with best-selling author George Gilder.
During the discussion, Peter got down to the very basics, answering the question: what is money? He explained the important distinction between currency and money, pointing out that gold is money. Paper backed by gold is true currency. The government prints fiat currency – which is nothing but paper backed by nothing.
Peter said the time to return to gold has arrived:
Today, in the 21st century, this is going to be the real century of gold. And it’s not going to be because governments decide to go back to the gold standard…but because the public rebelled against fiat money and reclaimed honest money – money that holds its value and in fact gains value.”