Best of the Week
Most Popular
1.Putin’s World: Why Russia’s Showdown with the West Will Worsen - John_Mauldin
2. Stocks Bull Market Grinds Bears into Dust, Is Santa Rally Sustainable? - Nadeem_Walayat
3. Gold and Silver 2015 Trend Forecasts, Prices to Go BOOM - Austin_Galt
4.Gold Price Golden Bottom? - Toby_Connor
5.Gold Price and Miners Soar on Huge Volume - P_Radomski_CFA
6.Stock Market and the Jaws of Life or Death? - Rambus_Chartology
7.Gold Price 2015 - EWI
8.Manipulated Stock Market Short Squeezes to Another All Time High - The China Syndrome - Nadeem_Walayat
9.Gold, Silver, Crude and S&P Ending Wedge Patterns - DeviantInvestor
10.Is the Gold And Silver Golden Rule Broken? - Michael_Noonan
Last 5 days
Outrage at Taliban Islamic Fundamentalists Massacre of 132 Pakistani School Children in the Name of God - 18th Dec 14
How Inflation Changes Retirement Benefit Choices - 17th Dec 14
The Real Reason It's Tough to Beat the Stock Market - 17th Dec 14
Russian Currency Crisis and Debt Defaults Could Create Contagion in West - 17th Dec 14
How to Profit From Russia's Stock Market Crash - 17th Dec 14
Russia Crisis - If You Put Your Money in the Bank Will You Get it Back? - 17th Dec 14
Crude Oil Price Crash, U.S. Employment and Economic Growth - 17th Dec 14
Opposing Forces At Play In Gold and Silver Precious Metals Complex - 17th Dec 14
Wall Street Will Always Find An Excuse For Not Raising U.S. Interest Rates - 17th Dec 14
Torture, Terror And Elite Schizophrenia In The UK - 16th Dec 14
Eurozone Conflict Will Bring a Major Stocks Buying Opportunity - 16th Dec 14
Viewing Russia From the Inside - 16th Dec 14
Gold and Silver Stocks Bottom - Are We There Yet? - 16th Dec 14
The Financial Industry Pigmen Win Again - 16th Dec 14
Crude Oil Price Epic Blowout - 16th Dec 14
Asian Stocks Markets: Sand In The Gears Of The Bull Market - 16th Dec 14
U.S. Dollar Trend Forecast 2015 - Video - 16th Dec 14
Silver Price Bottom? - 15th Dec 14
Gold Price Base Building Bullish Pattern - 15th Dec 14
Stock Market Probable Pop-n-Crash Today - 15th Dec 14
Stock Market Time for a Bounce - 15th Dec 14
Stock Market Euphoria: The Mother of All Ponzi Schemes - 15th Dec 14
Gold - The Weight of Time as Trend - 15th Dec 14
U.S. Dollar Collapse? USD Index Trend Forecast 2015 - 14th Dec 14
The Rushing Stocks Bear Market and How to Prepare - 14th Dec 14
Gold and Silver Dreaming of a White Christmas - 14th Dec 14
Cyprus-style Bank Bail-ins to Take Deposits and Pensions - The Global Bankers' Coup - 13th Dec 14
How To Renounce Your US Citizenship And Become Stateless - 13th Dec 14
Stock Market Downtrend Underway - 13th Dec 14
Gold And Silver - Wall Street, aka United States, Pulls Off Another Destructive Coup - 13th Dec 14
U.S. Congress Has Guaranteed the Secular Stocks Bear Market is Not Over - 13th Dec 14
Gold and Silver Starting to Show Bullish Signs - 13th Dec 14
Arab Spring II is Coming Fast - The Unintended Consequences of Lower Oil Prices - 13th Dec 14
Commodities - Is Inflation Oversold? - 12th Dec 14
Stock Market SPX Top Valuations - 12th Dec 14
Scary Stocks Investors Should Shun in 2015 - 12th Dec 14
New York Times on Benefits of Gold in Currency Wars - 12th Dec 14
Will Crude Oil Kill The Zombies? - 12th Dec 14
Largest Financial Bubble in History - 10 years of 'Why Sell Now?' - 12th Dec 14
How the Rising U.S. Dollar Could Trigger the Next Global Financial Crisis - 12th Dec 14
Central Banks and Government Policies Control the Markets Myth - 12th Dec 14

Free Instant Analysis

Free Instant Technical Analysis


Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Dramatic Stock Market Selloff

Why Gordon Brown Sold England's Gold on the Cheap to the Bailout the Banks

Commodities / Gold and Silver 2012 Jul 07, 2012 - 12:41 AM GMT

By: Jesse

Commodities

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleAlthough this is nothing new, as I and several others have reported this several times in the past, with a very nice documentary on it having been done by Max Keiser, this is still a very important article for two reasons.

First, it lays out rather nicely the gold panic of 1999 and Brown's Bottom, which is the low in the price of gold achieved by the dumping of 400 tons of gold into the world market at an artificially low price by the British government.


This was done apparently to bail out a bullion bank or two who were enormously and irretrievably caught short of gold by the carry trade.

Second, it provide a good description of the gold carry trade. When gold is leased out by a central bank, the bullion bank takes possession of it and sells it into the market, and invests the proceeds. At the end of the lease period, the bullion bank buys the gold bank in the open market and returns it to the central bank.

Although the gold likely never changes physical location in this process, the claim or title to the gold does change hands, although that change in claim may not be adequately reflected in the public records.

Although the author does not mention it here, there is some thought that the 'sale' of the centra l bank gold at private auction is in reality a paper transaction between the central bank and the bullion banks who are short leased gold from the bank, and are unable to return it without causing a price disruption in the world market.

This is something which could be easily cleared up with the kind of disclosure one might think is owed the people when their national heritage items are sold away by the government.

And again, although it is not mentioned in the article, Britain's gold depletion to save the private banks is infamous only because of the clumsy manner in which it was conducted. It is thought that several other European central banks have gold listed on their books which they no longer have, because of this pernicious habit of lending out the gold on the cheap to the banks, only to have it sold off in the market, never to return, leaving only a stack of paper promises.

And finally, the most intractable problem which the bullion banks face today is that no central bank has a stockpile of silver left which with to bail them out. So they are caught playing a shell game, robbing Peter to pay Paul, and living in dread of the day of reckoning when their schemes will be exposed, and the markets will go into default.
Telegraph UK
Revealed: why Gordon Brown sold Britain's gold at a knock-down price
By Thomas Pascoe
5 July 2012

A great deal of Gordon Brown’s economic strategy would strike a sane man as troubling. Not a great deal was mysterious. The orgy of consumption spending, frequent extensions of the cycle over which he would “borrow to invest”, proclamations of the “end of boom and bust”: these are part of the armoury of modern politicians, of all political hues.

One decision stands out as downright bizarre, however: the sale of the majority of Britain’s gold reserves for prices between $256 and $296 an ounce, only to watch it soar so far as $1,615 per ounce today.

When Brown decided to dispose of almost 400 tonnes of gold between 1999 and 2002, he did two distinctly odd things.

First, he broke with convention and announced the sale well in advance, giving the market notice that it was shortly to be flooded and forcing down the spot price. This was apparently done in the interests of “open government”, but had the effect of sending the spot price of gold to a 20-year low, as implied by basic supply and demand theory.

Second, the Treasury elected to sell its gold via auction. Again, this broke with the standard model. The price of gold was usually determined at a morning and afternoon "fix" between representatives of big banks whose network of smaller bank clients and private orders allowed them to determine the exact price at which demand met with supply.

The auction system again frequently achieved a lower price than the equivalent fix price. The first auction saw an auction price of $10c less per ounce than was achieved at the morning fix. It also acted to depress the price of the afternoon fix which fell by nearly $4.

It seemed almost as if the Treasury was trying to achieve the lowest price possible for the public’s gold. It was.

One of the most popular trading plays of the late 1990s was the carry trade, particularly the gold carry trade.

In this a bank would borrow gold from another financial institution for a set period, and pay a token sum relative to the overall value of that gold for the privilege.

Once control of the gold had been passed over, the bank would then immediately sell it for its full market value. The proceeds would be invested in an alternative product which was predicted to generate a better return over the period than gold which was enduring a spell of relative price stability, even decline.

At the end of the allotted period, the bank would sell its investment and use the proceeds to buy back the amount of gold it had originally borrowed. This gold would be returned to the lender. The borrowing bank would trouser the difference between the two prices.

This plan worked brilliantly when gold fell and the other asset – for the bank at the heart of this case, yen-backed securities – rose. When the prices moved the other way, the banks were in trouble.

This is what had happened on an enormous scale by early 1999. One globally significant US bank in particular is understood to have been heavily short on two tonnes of gold, enough to call into question its solvency if redemption occurred at the prevailing price.

Goldman Sachs, which is not understood to have been significantly short on gold itself, is rumoured to have approached the Treasury to explain the situation through its then head of commodities Gavyn Davies, later chairman of the BBC and married to Sue Nye who ran Brown’s private office.

Faced with the prospect of a global collapse in the banking system, the Chancellor took the decision to bail out the banks by dumping Britain’s gold, forcing the price down and allowing the banks to buy back gold at a profit, thus meeting their borrowing obligations.

I spoke with Peter Hambro, chairman of Petroplavosk and a leading figure in the London gold market, late last year and asked him about the rumours above.

“I think that Mr Brown found himself in a terrible position,” he said.

“He was facing a problem that was a world scale problem where a number of financial institutions had become voluntarily short of gold to the extent that it was threatening the stability of the financial system and it was obvious that something had to be done.”

While the market manipulation which occurred when the gold reserves were sold was not illegal as the abuse at Barclays may have been, the moral atmosphere in which it took place was identical.

The crash which began in 2007 and endures still was the result of an abdication of responsibility across the financial sector. This abdication ranged from the consumer whose thirst for goods pushed him beyond into grave debt to a government whose lust for popularity encouraged it to do the same.

Responsibility is evaded by all bar those on whose shoulders it ought to rest. The gold panic of 1999 was expensively paid for by the British public. The one thing politicians ought to have bought with that money was a lesson in the structural restraints which needed to be placed on banks now that the principle that they were ultimately public liabilities had been established.

It was a lesson which could have acted to restrain all players in the credit market boom of the 2000s. It was a lesson which nobody learnt.



By Jesse

http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com

Welcome to Jesse's Café Américain - These are personal observations about the economy and the markets. In plewis

roviding information, we hope this allows you to make your own decisions in an informed manner, even if it is from learning by our mistakes, which are many.

© 2012 Copyright  Jesse's Café Américain - All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors.


© 2005-2014 http://www.MarketOracle.co.uk - The Market Oracle is a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting online publication.


Post Comment

Only logged in users are allowed to post comments. Register/ Log in

Free Report - Financial Markets 2014