As we pointed out in an article last week, the US federal government has added $1.5 trillion to the national debt over the last 12 months. As a result, the US Treasury Department is flooding the market with bonds. Meanwhile, the biggest buyers of US debt – China, Japan and the Federal Reserve – are shrinking their Treasury holdings. For the past several months, we’ve been saying this is a big problem for the US government that most people are overlooking. And we aren’t the only ones sounding warning bells.
Gold is on a nice little bull run. The yellow metal is up almost 3% since the first of the year and nearly 13% since touching one-and-a-half year lows last summer. But as a recent article in Barron’s pointed out, the relative strength of the dollar has disguised an even more substantive bull market for gold.
Sharps Pixley CEO Ross Norman told Barron’s that gold has seen a widespread, strong and sustained value appreciation around the globe against 72 currencies.
During a speech at the lower house of the Russian parliament, the CEO of the country’s key trading floor suggested Russian investors should replace investments they’ve made in dollars with gold.
“Let’s offer an alternative to the US dollar in the form of Russian gold, which we produce… investment gold,” Moscow Exchange (MOEX) CEO Alexander Afanasiev said.
China officially added gold to its reserves last month for the first time in two years. Meanwhile, the Chinese have been shrinking their holdings of US Treasuries. According to the Nikkei Asian Review, the moves are intended to reduce dependence on the US dollar.
According to data released by the People’s Bank of China, the country’s gold reserves totaled 1,862 tons at the end of 2018. That represents a 10-ton increase from the previous month and the first rise in the country’s hoard since June 2016.
Russia added another 36.6 tons of gold to its reserves in November, according to the latest data released by the World Gold Council.
This follows on the heels of a 29.9-ton increase to its hoard in October and a 37.8-ton increase in September.
How much gold does China really have?
The short answer is we don’t really know.
Officially, the Chinese central bank’s reserves stand at 1,842.6 tons. But the People’s Bank of China has not announced an increase in its gold hoard since October 2016. But it has almost certainly added gold to its reserves since then. Just how much is anybody’s guess.
Peter Schiff appeared on RT America Friday to talk about the big stock market selloff in the wake of the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, a Chinese businesswoman accused of violating US sanction laws. The markets reacted negatively, fearing the arrest could derail apparent progress in the trade war.
Peter said Wanzhou’s arrest may have provided the catalyst sparked the sell-off, but it wasn’t the underlying cause.
This is a bear market. That’s why the market went down. If it wasn’t that, they would have found another excuse. If we were in a bull market, I think the market would have shrugged it off. So, we’re going lower.”