The Russians are dumping US Treasuries and buying gold.
As we reported earlier this week, the three largest holders of US Treasuries are not in a buying mood. In fact, they’re selling. The Japanese disposed of $12.3 billion in US debt. Meanwhile, Chinese Treasury holdings fell by $5.8 billion. The Federal Reserve has shed about $70 billion in US bonds since launching its tightening program last fall. So far, individual and institutional investors have picked up the slack.
Lost in the latest data about Treasury holdings was the fact that Russia dumped nearly half of its US debt in April. But even as it divests itself from US bonds, Russia’s total reserves have grown as the country adds to its gold holdings.
The Japanese and Chinese aren’t buying US Treasuries. In fact, both countries reduced their holdings in April.
According to the US Treasury Department, the Japanese disposed of $12.3 billion in US debt. Meanwhile, Chinese Treasury holdings fell by $5.8 billion.
This could be a troubling development for the US government as it scrambles to fund its massive deficits and ever-growing debt.
The Chinese gold jewelry market reversed three years of declines in 2017, marking its first gain since a 2013 boom. According to a report released by the World Gold Council, the modest increase in gold jewelry demand last year could mark a return to sustained growth thanks to continued efforts to reinvigorate the industry through innovation, along with growing Chinese incomes.
The Chinese jewelry market is an important component in the overall global demand for gold. Jewelry accounts for more than half the yearly gold demand, and the Chinese make up about 30% of the gold jewelry market.
World Gold Council chief market strategist John Reade recently talked to Commodity TV about the current state of the gold market and what he sees in the future.
Reade cast an optimistic tone, saying the supply and demand fundamentals point toward a healthy, growing gold market moving forward.
Last week, we explained how economic sanctions on Iran could boost the price of gold as Iranians turn to the yellow metal as a way to skirt restrictions. In a recent article published by the Daily Reckoning, financial expert Jim Rickards put this in a broader context. He described an evolving “axis of gold” as a number of countries, including China, Russia, Turkey and Iran increasingly use physical metal to create an offensive counterweight to the dollar.
This gold-based payments system will dilute and ultimately eliminate the impact of US dollar-based sanctions.”
Just like that, it appears the trade war is over. Although, as Peter Schiff pointed out in his latest podcast, it wasn’t really much of a war.
I don’t think I should call it a ceasefire because nobody actually fired a shot, and it’s been more of a war of words than a real conventional battle. I mean, basically a lot of saber-rattling, not a lot of fencing. But I think what happened today is we called a truce. Both sides sheathed their sabers and agreed that there’s not going to be a war.”
Chinese and Indians love gold. It is not only considered an investment and a way to protect wealth. The yellow metal also weaves itself into the cultural fabric of both countries. Gold is often given as gifts at weddings, and during other holidays and festivals. This affinity for gold has led some to dub a major component of overall demand for the yellow metal in India and China the “love trade.”
According to an article published in Forbes, the love trade is looking pretty good for the rest of 2018. This bodes well for overall gold demand, as China and India rank as the No. 1 and No. 2 gold markets in the world.