Outside Economics

Bit Of What?  Bitcoin

Posted by Wendell Brock, MBA, ChFC on Fri, Jun 03, 2016

A new form of digital currency has received tremendous media coverage this past year, Bitcoin, which is essentially virtual money that is traded digitally by exchanges. Bitcoins can only be purchased and sold with legitimate currency, such as dollars or euros making it available worldwide. The total estimated value of Bitcoins worldwide is about 9 ½ billion dollars.

Bitcoins exist as software, not physical currency, and are not regulated by any country or banking authority. Even though U.S. Senate hearings disclosed that Bitcoin could be a means of exchange, it gave no assurance that it would actually become an accepted medium of exchange. Government regulations would need to be created and then enforced in order for Bitcoin to become accepted by other government entities. The currency can be traded without being tracked, thus raising the potential for illicit activity, such as involving weapons, drugs, and prostitution. Bitcoins are not illegal, but it is also not legally recognized by governments as a currency. bitcoin-image-small-file-1024x1024.jpg

In late December, the price of Bitcoins fell more than 50% from recent highs as the world's biggest bit coin exchange, BTC China, said it would stop allowing its customers to use the Chinese currency to buy the virtual currency. This in turn removed a big source of cash that had been fueling Bitcoin prices. At one point in November 2013, the price of one Bitcoin was almost identical to the price of one ounce of gold, both being valued at approximately $1200.

The price appreciation of Bitcoin has been a result of speculation, and hasn’t been used as a store of value or as a medium of exchange to any extent. Some compare Bitcoin to the tulip craze in Holland of 1637, when speculators pushed the price of tulip bulbs to incredible levels, followed then by a collapse in the tulip bulb market.

Bitcoin has surged on speculation that perhaps one day digital money will eventually become a legitimate global currency, and even replacing currencies from certain countries.

Bitcoins are mined by powerful computers that calculate complex, mathematical functions. Total Bitcoin quantity is capped at 21 million, and currently there are about 12 million that exist worldwide. Circulating physical coins only represent Bitcoin, and are not a store of value as is legitimate currency.

The growing mobile payment industry could be a big benefactor to the acceptance of Bitcoin, as new and creative applications are being devised to accept digital currency. Bitcoin transactions are very popular among mobile users, where rather than using a credit card or cash to make a purchase, all you’d need is your phone.

Bitcoins emerged in 2008 designed by a programmer or group of programmers under the name of Nakamoto, whose real identity remains unknown. New Bitcoins can only be created by solving complex math problems embedded in the currency keeping total growth limited.

The value of Bitcoins fell by about fifty percent in mid December following remarks by China and Norway to not recognize the digital currency as legal tender. The government of Norway ruled that Bitcoin does not qualify as real currency, but rather qualifies as an asset, producing taxable capital gains. Norway said that Bitcoins don’t fall under the normal definition of money or currency.

More and more nations have been taking an official stance as the popularity of Bitcoins has evolved. The European Banking Authority has warned about the risks of trading digital money and being subject to losses where consumers are not protected by any government entity or authority.

As digital currency evolves, some believe that it will eventually be accepted as a legitimate currency. But for the time being, others believe that its time hasn’t arrived yet. Various studies have recently emerged with different opinions, such as

a Stern School of Business study conducted by David Yermack, which concluded that Bitcoin behaves more like a speculative investment than a currency, and has no currency attributes at all. For additionall information on bitcoins read Understanding Bitcoin.


Sources: Bloomberg, Reuters



"What we plant in our subconscious mind and nourish with repetition and emotion will one day become reality" - Earl Nightningale

Topics: Gold, money, Bitcoin, Currency, taxable, digital currency, capital gains

Now What’s Floating to the Top: Oil, Gold, Equities, or Bonds

Posted by Wendell Brock, MBA, ChFC on Thu, Feb 11, 2016

Talk is, that one of the reasons the market is falling right now is because it was overpriced, which may be the case, however another part of the problem has been that when considering options, where else can you put your money?

Banks aren’t much of an option – at the continuously low rates it makes it pretty painful to leave money there. At least when rates were higher and a depositor could get 4%-6% at a bank you had a fairly good risk free option. Too much cash on the sidelines will certainly cause the market to be bid up. Maybe it’s an issue of supply and demand – there aren’t enough shares to go around, so the prices get bid up.Oil_gold.jpg

Insurance companies, which are very long-term investors, are currently running about 2-4X or more the rate banks are offering. These rates are certainly going to help folks get better returns, with little to no risk. But when chasing performance even those stable rates don’t appeal to everyone. So this week I thought we would look at one reason why the market has tanked over the past several weeks, and consider the option of putting more money in the market – after many of the stocks and bonds are clearly on sale!

Below is a look at why the markets are falling, what is up with bonds, and a check on precious metals.

Why Stocks Went Down When Oil Went Down – Domestic Equities

Equity markets descended in January alongside oil prices, while testing new lows with a visible increase in volatility. Oil’s dramatic price drop has been a catalyst for stock prices heading lower, a so-called correlation that has actually existed for years.

There are various theories as to how oil and stock prices might be correlated, yet one of the most accepted revolves around macro economic global dynamics.

Oil is the most traded and actively utilized commodity in the world whose consumption represents the economic activity worldwide. So when oil supplies grow and demand drops, markets interpret that as an economic slowdown. Such a slowdown thus migrates into the equity markets, where economic activity and growth is essential for expansion and higher equity prices.

Lower oil prices can also be beneficial for certain sectors, such as consumers, transportation and airlines, whose primary expenses are fuel. Economists expect a possible lag effect with recent low oil prices, which may eventually appear on corporate income statements. Obviously, lower oil prices are not conducive to oil industry sector companies, whose margins shrink as oil prices drop.

Some fixed income investors now view U.S. energy stocks as opportunities to earn higher yields on dividends compared to where they were months ago. Lower valuations on energy stocks have led to higher stock dividend yields as prices have fallen.

Does this mean that the markets won’t recover until oil prices go up? For that answer only time will tell…

Fixed Income – Global Bond Markets

The Fed is now at odds with nearly every other developed country central bank as others employ a rate decrease and stimulus strategies.

In its latest FOMC meeting in January, the Fed decided to leave its rate hike plans intact, disappointing markets and lifting U.S. rates slightly. The Fed did acknowledge slightly lower economic growth and volatile equity market conditions as variables to monitor.

International rates fell in January as central banks moved forward with stimulus efforts aided by lower borrowing rates. The ECB and Japan both reduced their key lending rates enough to drive markets in both regions towards risk assets. Japan’s central bank surprised markets by lowering one of its main lending rates into negative territory for the first time in order to stimulate its sagging economy.

Gold and Silver - What's Up?

Considering the markets and the downward trend, it seems that Gold and Silver (precious metals) have come off the winner over the past couple months. Both gold and silver are up, about 14% and 10% respectively. It makes sense to own some precious metals, but as with any investment how much higher will it go? Typically, people own precious metals as a balance to inflation but it can be a stabilizer to an investment portfolio.

With that news, it looks like for the time being, Gold is floating to the TOP! So does this mean we are at the bottom of the current sell off? No, perhaps but not likely. Does it mean its time to put more money in the market and buy while things are on sale? Maybe. Many of these answers are particularly personal to your current situtation that is why a good comprehensive evaluation is valuable.

Sources: Federal Reserve, Bloomberg, Economic Premise #150 World Bank, IMF Research Bulletin, Federal Reserve System Perspective


"The hardest thing in the world to understand is income tax." - Albert Einstein


Topics: Gold, Oil, Silver, Bonds, equities, banks, Insurance Companies

Correlation of Commodities

Posted by Wendell Brock, MBA, ChFC on Thu, Nov 20, 2014

Commodities, such as oil or gold, typically follow an inverse, or negative relationship with the value of the dollar. A stronger dollar makes oil a less attractive commodity on dollar-denominated exchanges, especially in the eyes of investors holding other currencies. When the value of the dollar weakens against other major currencies, the prices of commodities generally move higher.

This inverse relationship also happens when countries devalue their currencies through inflation. This is one argument for the gold standard, it is said to keep monitary policies honest.


There are many reasons why the value of the dollar has an impact on commodity prices worldwide, namely commodities are typically priced in dollars. When the value of the dollar drops, it will take more dollars to buy the same amount of commodities. Commodities are traded in dollars because currently the dollar serves as the world’s reserve currency. Some countries, like the BRIC’s (Brazil, Russia, India and China are trying to change that and use the Chinese Yuan as a reserve currency or a basket of currencies from other countries rather than simply the US dollar.

Another reason is that commodities are traded around the world; foreign buyers purchase our commodities: corn, soybeans, rice, wheat, oil, etc., with dollars they have received in trade as we have purchased products they have manufactured. When the value of the dollar drops, they have more buying power and simple economics tells us that demand typically increases as prices drop.

Commodity traders often keep a close eye on the value of the dollar. An easy way to monitor the dollar is to watch the price quotes on the Dollar Index on the ICE Futures Exchange. It is an index of how the dollar is valued against a group of other major currencies around the world. The price of the index is traded like any other futures contract and you can get quotes throughout the day.

Commodity prices don’t necessarily tick higher for every tick lower in the Dollar Index, but there is a strong inverse relationship over time. Individual commodities can also buck the trend if other over whelming forces are causing the price to move along with the dollar.

Lately the dollar has gained strength against a backdrop of many countries whose currencies are weakening. This has been a factor in the lower prices we have seen at the pump. This strengthening has also had an impact on other commodities, precious metals, gold, silver, platinum, etc.

Typically, gold is seen by investors as a backup for the dollar. As the dollar weakens, the price of gold increases. As the dollar gains strength, gold prices drop. It is similar to the relationship between the dollar and oil. Which begs the question, is there a correlation between oil and gold?

There are a couple ideas that try to explain the correlation between gold and oil. One is that prices of crude oil partly account for inflation. Increases in the price of oil result in increased prices of gasoline at the pump. If fuels (gasoline, diesel oil, and aviation fuel) are more expensive, then it’s more costly to transport goods and those prices go up. The final result is increased prices – in other words, inflation.

The second thought on the oil-gold link is the fact that precious metals tend to appreciate when inflation is rising (especially in the current fiat monetary environment). So, an increase in the price of crude oil can, eventually, translate into higher precious metals prices resulting in oil becoming a new economic bench mark similar to gold.

While it usually takes some time for higher commodity prices to materialize as higher prices in goods and services, however for precious metals they trade daily in your portfolio and may trade in line with oil immediately. One explanation can be that, once oil appreciates, precious metals investors correlate the expected future higher prices of goods in the price of gold and it generally goes up.

However, even though the general price level of gold moves in a similar direction to oil, the relationship may not be trade-able based on data for the long term. While the correlation is positive, over longer periods of time and on average, this relationship does not always translate the same for gold and oil returns.

In 2000 oil was trading around $32 per barrel and gold was around $292. Currently oil is trading around $75 and gold at $1,183. Which translates for oil a 134 percent gain over the past 14 years and 305 percent gain for gold. (Obviously, these are low compared to recent highs in the past few years when oil hit around $140 per barrel and Gold was up around $1,800 per ounce.) By comparison, in January 2000 the CPI was at 168.800 and January 2014 the CPI was 233.916 or an increase of 38.6 percent. The low inflation rate compared to the increase cost of oil and gold can partially be explained by the number of times the Government has revised the method of calculating the CPI.

Having said that, it’s still possible for short-term patterns to emerge occasionally. So, even though there seems to be no relationship between gold and oil returns over the long term, it may happen that a relationship unveils itself in a short period of time offering trading opportunities.

In summary, while oil prices do not drive gold prices and gold does not drive oil prices, the main reason the two markets have similar long-term trends, as well as other commodities, is that they have one important long-term driver in common: monetary inflation.

Topics: Gold, Oil, Precious Metals, Commodities,

Unproductive Rock or Real Value - The Gold Standard

Posted by Wendell Brock, MBA, ChFC on Wed, Nov 12, 2014

Authorities – monetary authorities, political authorities, economists – seem to know less about money than our forebears did. We’re approaching the centennial of the beginning of the First World War. From the late 18th century through the First World War we had the greatest increase in human wealth in history; in that one and a quarter centuries we created more wealth than all the previous centuries put together! And from about the First World War until now, the economy has been tinkered and toyed with so much that it is on the verge of a world-wide collapse!


A key element to the success of those 125 years was stable money, starting with the British pound. Before that you had the Dutch, but they didn’t have quite the global influence that the Brits ended up having, especially with the industrial revolution. The United States under Alexander Hamilton put in a very sound money regime that made the United States standout, especially in relation to the Latin American republics which achieved their independence in the following decades, but have been troubled ever since by chronic monetary instability.

Yes, the US had boom and bust cycles during those years, but most were related to normal business cycles and speculation, not due to the collapse of our currency – of gold and silver – the currency was always stable.

Money is a simple subject – however, the money authorities want to surround it with a lot of jargons and equations. They want to make it appear that even if you master brain surgery or nuclear science, you are incapable of understanding money, which is ridiculous. People instinctively understand that stable money is good and that a weak dollar is not good for the United States. Great countries don’t have a weak currency. Overall, people understand the stabilizing effect of a gold standard.

The last hundred years have seen a gradual withdrawal from the gold standard until in the early 70's, America went off it completely. This allowed for an expansion in the economy since money was no longer tied to anything and could simply be printed at will. Although the 70's were distinctively marked by the Misery Index, we had a decent time of it in the 1980s and ’90s when we had a semi-stable monetary policy, but we still haven’t recovered from the early 2000s.

Crises often leads to reform. Well, we did not return to a gold standard in the 1980s. Neither have we returned to a gold standard today. This nation is beginning to recognize that the Fed is floundering and that the central banks cannot manage economies.

Enter China.

China recently created the new Shanghai gold exchange. One of the purposes behind this new gold exchange is to eventually take global price controls for monetary metal away from the Comex, and then force a global currency reset by raising the price of gold to its true or actual value.

China plans to re-price gold to near or above twice the current price. This will have a devastating effect on derivatives and ongoing use of the Comex futures market to suppress gold prices, and protect the dollar.
Based upon supply details for the Comex over the past two years, America's primary gold exchange no longer settles their contracts through the delivery of physical gold, but instead settles in cash payments or through the hedging of gold using derivatives. Subsequently, once this failure to deliver takes place, then China, through the Shanghai gold exchange, will become the default market for price discovery. At that point they will re-adjust gold to its true value, instantly causing massive chaos in the fiat currency markets and leaving the world little alternative but to implement a complete currency reset.

Since the middle of 2012 or so, the Comex has been forcing gold contracts to settle not in metal, but in cash. If you don't like it, they will ban you from the Comex. There's been very little if any settlement of gold futures contracts for two years in gold metal. They're not a gold market anymore, they're a derivative market for gold instruments. And since late September, Shanghai has been offering a gold and futures contract, and they're settling in metal.

Several economic analysts, including John Williams, Peter Schiff, Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, and Gerald Celente all gave predictions earlier this year that a global currency reset event would take place in 2014, with most believing it would come before the end of summer. However, the U.S. is not on board with the rest of the world, preferring instead to seek military conflicts in order to delay the end of the petro-dollar system. Meanwhile, both Russia and China have accelerated their efforts to create infrastructures that will allow a more fluid transition for global trade once a currency reset actually takes place.US_Gold_Certificate

1922 US $20 Gold Certificate

Over the past several weeks, the dollar has grown in strength while the rest of the world's currencies have been collapsing. Because of this, global accumulation of physical gold at depressed levels is running near historic highs in an attempt to hedge sovereign currencies that have depreciated from years of low interest rates and slow money velocities.

As several global financial indicators are more intertwined and threaten to bring the world into an economic crisis, China has recognized that physical gold is the ultimate catalyst to force an end to the domination of purely fiat finance, and that revaluing gold to its rightful price will have the effect of both protecting their own currency, and wresting financial control away from the West and the system of dollar hegemony.

Alan Greenspan, who served at the helm of the Federal Reserve for nearly two decades, recently wrote an op-ed for the Council on Foreign Relations discussing gold and its possible role in China, the world’s second-largest economy. He notes that if China converted only a “relatively modest part of its $4 trillion foreign exchange reserves into gold, the country’s currency could take on unexpected strength in today’s international financial system.”

In a world filled with fiat currencies, how important is gold’s role in the financial system? Proponents often view the precious metal as a hedge against economic chaos, while critics typically claim gold is hardly more than an unproductive rock. Interestingly, some countries appear to believe gold is quite important.

On November 30th the Swiss people will vote to return their currency to a gold standard, making their currency the first to be partially backed by gold since the US went off the gold standard in 1971. Maybe other countries will soon follow or they may be forced to by China.

Do you think the US should return to a gold standard? Is gold and/or silver a part of your Security Plan? 

Free Information about including Precious Metals as part of your Security Plan,  Click Here.

Topics: Gold, Precious Metals, Gold Standard, Security Plan

Swiss Gold Opportunity

Posted by Wendell Brock, MBA, ChFC on Thu, Sep 11, 2014

One of the very few remaining proper democracies in the world will vote on bringing the Swiss Gold back to Switzerland on November 30. In order to have a national referendum on an issue in Switzerland, 100,000 supporting signatures are required. The ‘Swiss Gold Iniative" already achieved this requirement in early 2013.

Swiss Franc gold coins1

Luzi Stamm, who is an influential member of parliament, representing the biggest Swiss party SVP (Swiss People’s Party) started this initiative with two other parliamentarians. A growing number of Swiss citizens have joined in the attempt to force the Swiss central bank to halt all sales of current gold reserves, repatriate all gold back home, and to back any further money printing with 20% of gold purchases- the three major points of the Swiss Gold Initiative. 

Of course, the politicians and bankers of Switzerland are squarely against this initiative as it greatly diminishes their hold on power and restricts their ability to continue to debase the Franc by freely printing money and manipulate the markets.

Most governments and central banks officially dislike gold because it reveals the decline in the value of paper money. Since 1913 when the Fed in the USA was founded, all major currencies, including the Swiss Franc, have lost between 97% and 99% of their value against gold.

Voltaire said in 1729: “Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value – ZERO.”

Swiss monetary policy used to be the soundest in the world, but in recent years Switzerland has joined other countries in abandoning a policy of sound money. Switzerland had 2,600 tons of gold in 1999 which was a significant amount in relation to the size of the country. At that time it was decided by the Swiss National Bank- not the people or parliament- to sell 50% of the holding. Most of this was sold at the low of the market just like in the UK.

A major result of this initiative against the central banks would be if they insist on printing massive amounts of money, as the Fed in America does, as the central bank of Europe does, then they are at the same time forced to buy a certain percentage of gold.

Of course we don’t know what the outcome will be, but Luzi believes that if Switzerland passes this initiative and takes the lead in backing their currency this will lead to a chain reaction in the central banks of other European nations, like Germany and Austria, to do the same. Perhaps the populations of those countries would also start to complain, “Why isn't our money backed with gold like Switzerland?” Perhaps this trend may eventually reach our shores here in America...

In some circles this is a real heated debate, should we or should we not use a gold standard to help stabilize our currency and control inflation. And yet at times our current system seems so easy to use, why complicate things? It’s what we grew up with. A gold standard is so long ago it is ancient history. Perhaps a gold standard would help us take our country back from the politicians and put the power back in the hands of the people? What do you think? Gold or no gold?

Topics: Gold, Switzerland, Gold Standard

The New Cold War

Posted by Wendell Brock, MBA, ChFC on Wed, Sep 03, 2014

Economic WarfareThe Economic Cold War or Financial Cold War has begun slowly over the past several years and the current administration has added fuel to the fire. China and Russia both know it would be extremely difficult to win a ground war against the United States, but a financial war? Maybe not so hard, with our excessive national debt and endless printing of money by the Federal Reserve, they have a real shot at giving the US a serious black eye and maybe even a few broken bones. How will they do this? By knocking out the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. Here is a sharp hit:

Beginning Last week, Russia’s started selling oil in both Rubles and Yuan, which have great ramifications to the United States. In a new announcement from the Russian business media source, Kommersant, Gazprom has conducted the first sale of oil in a currency other than the dollar, and will henceforth open their purchase window to accept both Rubles and Yuan for the exchange of oil and gas products.

Although this is not the first real transaction for oil done outside the petro-dollar, as this occurred covertly by Iran for gold during the days of economic sanctions, it is the first official global offering by a major oil producer and will likely bring an end to the solitary system of nations being forced to buy dollars first before buying oil from producers such as OPEC and Russia. According to the Kommersant,

“The Russian government and several of the country’s largest exporters have widely discussed the possibility of accepting payments in rubles for oil exports. Last week, Russia began to ship oil from the Novoportovskoye field to Europe by sea. Two oil tankers are expected to arrive in Europe in September. The payment for these shipments will be received in rubles.

Gazprom Neft will not only accept payments in rubles; subsequent transfers via the ESPO may be paid for in yuan, the newspaper reported. The change in currency was made because of the Western sanctions against Russia. As a protective measure, Russia decided to avoid making its payments in US dollars, which can be tracked and controlled by the United States government. - Ria Novosti”

Russia and China had already long been in the works to supply one another with oil, energy, and other trade goods outside the dollar through a historic energy agreement made in late May of this year. However, the irony in all of this is that the move to enlarge this method of payment for oil to accommodate global transactions was only accelerated because of U.S. imposed sanctions, which were done in an attempt to isolate Russia, and tear down their economy.

There is over $17 trillion in U.S. dollars afloat and in nations outside the U.S. kept on reserve for the primary purpose of buying oil and natural gas. As more and more countries migrate to the East and find it far more inexpensive and efficient to no longer use the dollar and SWIFT systems to supply their energy needs, then these dollars will soon come crashing back to American shores, and the inflation America has exported offshore for decades will come rudely back and suddenly hit U.S. consumers and our financial system.

Money manager Peter Schiff has foreseen the day when the US dollar no longer is the world's reserve currency. On this subject he has said, “I am already prepared, and what I am trying to prepare…for is the day when the dollar is no longer the reserve currency. . . . From an investor’s perspective, we are engaging Russia, not in another hot war, but in a financial cold war. That simply accelerates this process because I think that we are really unarmed to have this battle. America depends on countries like Russia hoarding dollars, accumulating dollar reserves, invoicing their customers in dollars and supplying products that we pay for with the dollars that we print. When we anger countries like Russia or other countries that may be sympathetic with Russia...(then we are) accelerating this day of reckoning.”

Schiff's insights on gold are worth contemplating. He contends that the main reason the price of gold is not much higher is not because the price is being suppressed, and maybe it is to some extent, but that it has more to do with financial ignorance. The vast majority of people who should be buying gold don’t understand that they need to be buying it now. 

“There is not a lot of understanding among the big players who manage trillions of dollars, and they are making foolish investments based on a lack of understanding of what’s happening. I think when it dawns on more investors exactly the predicament the Fed is in, that this recovery in the U.S. is a mirage. It is not real, and rather than the Fed ending QE and raising rates, it will be launching a whole new round of QE. It will be even bigger than the last one. When investors get their arms around that, they will be buying gold and they will be paying much higher prices. Then, nobody will be talking about manipulation because the price is going to be skyrocketing.”

The move made by Russia last week will have significant effects in the long term. The cold war we are now engaged in will not be easy to overcome, given the flawed financial policies the Fed has engaged in as well as the astronomical debt our government has laden us with. It is quickly becoming the perfect storm. What are you doing to prepare yourself for the times to come?

Topics: Gold, Economic Cold War, Financial Cold War, Oil

Economic Bubbles and What to Do

Posted by Wendell Brock, MBA, ChFC on Fri, Aug 08, 2014

Is there any doubt that we are living in a bubble economy? At this moment in the United States we are simultaneously experiencing a stock market bubble, a government debt bubble, a corporate bond bubble, a bubble in San Francisco real estate, a farmland bubble, a derivatives bubble and a student loan debt bubble.

carbon bubble

Another very troubling bubble that is brewing is the massive bubble of consumer credit in the United States. According to the Wall Street Journal, consumer credit in the United States increased at a 7.4 percent annual rate in May. That might be okay if our paychecks were increasing at a 7.4% annual rate, but that is not the case at all. Instead, median household income in America has gone down for five years in a row.

This pattern of bubbles is not isolated to the United States alone. In fact, the total amount of government debt around the world has risen by about 40% just since the last recession. It is never sustainable when asset prices and debt levels increase much faster than the overall level of economic growth. At some point a massive correction will happen. History has shown us that all financial bubbles eventually burst.

You know that things are serious when even the New York Times starts pointing out financial bubbles everywhere. Their definition of a bubble is “when the price of everything blasts upwards, obliterating the previous ceilings of historical benchmarks, it's a pretty good indication that you're in a bubble.”

The bubbles in the financial markets have become so glaring that even the central bankers are starting to warn us about them. For example, just consider what the Bank for International Settlements is saying:

“There is a common element in all this. In no small measure, the causes of the post- crisis malaise are those of the crisis itself – they lie in a collective failure to get to grips with the financial cycle. Addressing this failure calls for adjustments to policy frameworks – fiscal, monetary and prudential – to ensure a more symmetrical response across booms and busts. And it calls for moving away from debt as the main engine of growth. Otherwise, the risk is that instability will entrench itself in the global economy and room for policy maneuver will run out.”

This is quite a harbinger coming from the BIS. As for the “room for policy measures running out,” according to Jim Rickards, author of Currency Wars and The Death of Money, the Fed has two options at this point, they can continue to taper off the mass printing of money, which he says will lead to another recession within this depression. Or if they don't continue to taper, perhaps have a pause in printing and they increase their asset purchases, then that will signal to the market that the Fed must keep on printing and it will trigger hyper-inflation. This will cause the dollar to collapse and gold prices to increase.

According to the minutes from the Fed's June 17-18 meeting, the Federal Reserve is leaning towards ending the economic stimulus in October. Fed policymakers have been tapering their government bond purchases in $10 billion increments at each meeting since December, cutting them to $35 billion a month from $85 billion. At that pace, the Fed would be buying $15 billion in Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities by its October meeting.

Yet while Fed officials are planning on halting the bond buying, closing out the program will have another side-effect. The bond purchases have held down long-term interest rates for several years, spurring purchases of homes and factory equipment. The Fed has been planning on increasing the interest rates sometime in 2015, after all, they can't stay suppressed forever.

With all the bubbles that are out there, what will happen once the interest rates increase?

Is this sustainable?

Of course not.

None of these financial bubbles are.

So, what to do?

Now is a good time to be considering other options such as precious metals. Precious metals have always been an important part of a well-rounded portfolio. But with all the economic uncertainty out there, many people are beginning to insist on having some sort of precious metal not just in their portfolio, but in their hands. There are even a few states who have recently voted to accept gold and silver as legal tender. There is a reason why these precious metals have been the currency standard since Biblical times. In short, they don't lose their value.gold vs silver

There are many naysayers out there arguing that buying gold and silver is a foolish investment. Perhaps as an investment, they are right. But as a type of insurance against the consequences of the monetary manipulations and bubbles that are within our economy, maybe having some gold or silver in your hands becomes wisdom. How much to have dependes on your personal situation, 

We really don't know what the economy will look like in the next few years. We can look at history to see what typically happens when this type of mix of bubbles and monetary manipulation come in to play. We would be foolish to think that the results that happened then could never happen to us. Common sense tells us to be prepared. What does being prepared look like for you? I believe it is far easier to be prepared than to try and predict the future.

Topics: Economy, Gold, Precious Metals, Silver, Economic Bubbles


Wendell W. Brock, MBA, ChFC

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