Investment prospects for 2018

Predicting the future is a mug’s game, and in financial markets we simply cannot know tomorrow’s prices. All we can do is make assessments of the factors that can be expected to influence them.
Economists’ forecasts today, with very few exceptions, are a waste of time and downright misleading. In 2016, we saw this spectacularly illustrated with Brexit, when the IMF, OECD, the Bank of England and the UK Treasury all forecast a slump in the British economy in the event the referendum voted to leave the EU. While there are reasonable suspicions there was an element of disinformation in the forecasts, the fact they were so wrong is the important point. Yet, we still persist in paying economists to fail us.
With the novation from the old year into the new, it is the time of year when highly paid, highly qualified investment analysts and strategists, many of them professing to be economists, come out with their forecasts. And here again, there’s another problem. Very few analysts have the confidence, or even the imagination, to make a forecast without regard to those of their peers. There is a feeling of safety in moderation, which, if you think about it, means adjusting forecasts without regard for true conclusions and inferences.

This post was published at GoldMoney on December 28, 2017.


ACCORDING TO THE FATHER OF PROPAGANDA AN INVISIBLE GOVERNMENT CONTROLS OUR MINDS WITH A THOUGHT PRISON

‘Who are the men who without our realizing it, give us our ideas, tell us whom to admire and whom to despise, what to believe about the ownership of public utilities, about the tariff, about the price of rubber, about the Dawes Plan, about immigration; who tell us how our houses should be designed, what furniture we should put in them, what menus we should serve on our table, what kind of shirts we must wear, what sports we should indulge in, what plays we should see, what charities we should support, what pictures we should admire, what slang we should affect, what jokes we should laugh at?’ ~ Edward Bernays, Propaganda
Authored by Edward Bernays and published in 1928, the book Propaganda still holds its position as the gold standard for influencing and manipulating public behavior. Drawing on his expertise in psychology while using the language of manipulation, Bernays pioneered social engineering via mass media, and his work lives on in the distorted, statist, consumer world we have today.
But who are the ones behind the curtain telling us what to think by directing our attention onto the things which serve interests?
Interestingly, chapter III of Propaganda is titled, ‘The New Propagandists, and is devoted to explaining why the controls for mass manipulation are so closely guarded by a relatively tiny elite who sit in the shadows, out of the public eye, choosing what we are to see and to think, even controlling the politicians we elect to represent us.

This post was published at The Daily Sheeple on DECEMBER 21, 2017.


WGC: 2018 Set To Be A Positive Year For Price of Gold and Investors

WGC: 2018 Set To Be A Positive Year For Price of Gold and Investors
– Gold expected to build on 2017 gains into 2018 despite headwind conditions
– Gold has gained more than 9% in the year-to-date
– Monetary policy and policymakers will continue to be ‘significant drivers of gold demand’
– Physical and structural market changes will support gold into 2018
– Goldcore has been at forefront of reporting on major developments in gold market and price
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Gold’s had a tough year. This isn’t in reference to price. After all, it has made double-digit gains in some currencies and US Gold futures are up more than 9%. The precious metal has had some harsh criticism from the mainstream media and unfair comparisons to bubblicious assets, such as bitcoin and US equities.

This post was published at Gold Core on December 15, 2017.


Is Bitcoin Demand Hurting The Price Of Gold?

The popular narrative that has gripped the financial media searching for reasons that the price of gold is sluggish for reasons other than overt western manipulation, is that Bitcoin interest is diverting cash that would otherwise be going into gold. However, I would argue that the type of trading funds playing in the cryptocurrency ‘sandbox’ is little more than ‘action junkies’ looking for anything to buy with high upside velocity. These ‘investors’ never buy gold other than perhaps chasing gold-related securities when the price of gold speeds higher in price (like from early 2016 through August 2016). In fact, a recent report attributes a large amount of recent volume in Bitcoin trading to Japanese retail traders / Japanese men dominate Bitcoin trading (Deutshe Bank)
Seeking Alpha has published my analysis explaining just some of the reasons that the idea that cryptocurrencies are diverting capital away from going into physical gold is little more than anti-gold propaganda.

This post was published at Investment Research Dynamics on December 15, 2017.


Retail Sales: When The Government ‘Goal-Seeks’ Economic Reports

The headline retail sales report, released today by the Census Bureau, showed a rather unexpectedly large 0.8% jump from October. The Wall Street brain trust was expecting a 0.3% increase. Of course, 99% of stock market investors and 100% of the financial media never looks at the details below the headline reports. To do this, one has make an effort to scroll down to page four of the report. There you will find this table (excerpt):
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You’ll note that I highlighted this ‘(*)’ in yellow. From the footnotes to the report, this ‘(*)’ means this: ‘Advance estimates are not available for this kind of business.’ For purposes of the advance estimate, the Census Bureau ‘imputes’ the data. In other words, the CB fills in a guesstimate. According to the CB propaganda, over 30% of the data used in the monthly estimate is a guess ‘imputed.’ The beauty of this is that the CB has leeway to report a fictitious number for the advance estimate and then revise the original estimate when it reworks its numbers in the annual ‘benchmark revision’ of the data,. By then no one bothers to look or even cares the degree to which the original advance estimated was flawed. The market only cares about the headline number when it’s reported. I would bet a roll of American Silver Eagles that CNBC’s Steve Liesman has no clue about this aspect of the retail sales report.

This post was published at Investment Research Dynamics on December 15, 2017.


Is Bitcoin, Millennial’s “Fake Gold”?

I’ve been asked about Bitcoin a lot lately. I haven’t written anything about it because I find myself in an uncomfortable place in agreeing with the mainstream media: It’s a bubble. Bitcoin started out as what I’d call ‘millennial gold’ – the young (digital) generation looked at it as their gold substitute.
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Bitcoin is really two things: a blockchain technology and a (perceived) currency. The blockchain element of Bitcoin may have enormous future applications: It may be used for electronic contracts, voting, money transfers – and the list goes on. But there is a very important misconception about Bitcoin: Ownership of Bitcoin doesn’t give you ownership of the technology. I, without owning a single bitcoin, own as much Bitcoin technology as someone who owns a million bitcoins; that is, exactly none. It’s just like when you have $1,000 on a Visa debit card: That $1,000 doesn’t give you part ownership of the Visa network unless you actually own some Visa’ stock.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 11, 2017.


Cometh The Hour, Cometh An Insane Cash-Hating Fed Governor – Nobody’s “Goodfriend”

Marvin Goodfriend is not a Fed governor yet, but it’s likely asking far too much to expect US lawmakers to block President Trump’s nomination.
Unfortunately for the American citizenry, Goodfriend (not) has all the establishment credentials which will likely see the nomination rubber-stamped: economic advisor to the White House (1984-5), director of research at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond (1993-2005) when he ‘regularly attended meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee”, and currently Professor of Economics at Carnegie Mellon University. Watching the mainstream media’s response to Goodfriend’s nomination gave us a wry smile, as he is being portrayed as conservative. This was Reuters commenting on the news last week…
A former economic adviser in the administration of President Ronald Reagan and research director of the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank from 1993 to 2005, Goodfriend is arguably the most conservative of Trump’s Fed appointments yet. He has been critical of some recent Fed practices including the purchase of mortgage backed securities.
He has also argued that the central bank should invite more oversight from elected officials, including getting a congressional sign off on its 2 percent inflation target and more discussion of how its policy decisions line up with a ‘reference rule.’ Those ideas are likely to find favor among conservatives on Capitol Hill who feel the Fed has accumulated too much influence.
Although some of Goodfriend’s views, which he’s no doubt enthusiastic about implementing, would be disastrous, Reuters argues (our emphasis).

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 6, 2017.