Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. The Trump Stock Market Trap May Be Triggered - Barry_M_Ferguson
2.Why are Central Banks Buying Gold and Dumping Dollars? - Richard_Mills
3.US China War - Thucydides Trap and gold - Richard_Mills
4.Gold Price Trend Forcast to End September 2019 - Nadeem_Walayat
5.Money Saving Kids Gardening Growing Giant Sunflowers Summer Fun - Anika_Walayat
6.US Dollar Breakdown Begins, Gold Price to Bolt Higher - Jim_Willie_CB
7.INTEL (INTC) Stock Investing to Profit From AI Machine Learning Boom - Nadeem_Walayat
8.Will Google AI Kill Us? Man vs Machine Intelligence - N_Walayat
9.US Prepares for Currency War with China - Richard_Mills
10.Gold Price Epochal Breakout Will Not Be Negated by a Correction - Clive Maund
Last 7 days
Stock Market Increasing Technical Weakness - 22nd July 19
What Could The Next Gold Rally Look Like? - 22nd July 19
Stock Markets Setting Up For A Volatility Explosion – Are You Ready? - 22nd July 19
Anatomy of an Impulse Move in Gold and Silver Precious Metals - 22nd July 19
What you Really need to Know about the Stock Market - 22nd July 19
Has Next UK Financial Crisis Just Started? Bank Accounts Being Frozen - 21st July 19
Silver to Continue Lagging Gold, Will Struggle to Overcome $17 - 21st July 19
What’s With all the Weird Weather?  - 21st July 19
Halifax Stopping Customers Withdrawing Funds Online - UK Brexit Banking Crisis Starting? - 21st July 19
US House Prices Trend Forecast 2019 to 2021 - 20th July 19
MICROSOFT Cortana, Azure AI Platform Machine Intelligence Stock Investing Video - 20th July 19
Africa Rising – Population Explosion, Geopolitical and Economic Consquences - 20th July 19
Gold Mining Stocks Q2’19 Results Analysis - 20th July 19
This Is Your Last Chance to Dump Netflix Stock - 19th July 19
Gold and US Stock Mid Term Election and Decade Cycles - 19th July 19
Precious Metals Big Picture, as Silver Gets on its Horse - 19th July 19
This Technology Everyone Laughed Off Is Quietly Changing the World - 19th July 19
Green Tech Stocks To Watch - 19th July 19
Double Top In Transportation and Metals Breakout Are Key Stock Market Topping Signals - 18th July 19
AI Machine Learning PC Custom Build Specs for £2,500 - Scan Computers 3SX - 18th July 19
The Best “Pick-and-Shovel” Play for the Online Grocery Boom - 18th July 19
Is the Stock Market Rally Floating on Thin Air? - 18th July 19
Biotech Stocks With Near Term Catalysts - 18th July 19
SPX Consolidating, GBP and CAD Could be in Focus - 18th July 19
UK House Building and Population Growth Analysis - 17th July 19
Financial Crisis Stocks Bear Market Is Scary Close - 17th July 19
Want to See What's Next for the US Economy? Try This. - 17th July 19
What to do if You Blow the Trading Account - 17th July 19
Bitcoin Is Far Too Risky for Most Investors - 17th July 19
Core Inflation Rises but Fed Is Going to Cut Rates. Will Gold Gain? - 17th July 19
Boost your Trading Results - FREE eBook - 17th July 19
This Needs To Happen Before Silver Really Takes Off - 17th July 19
NASDAQ Should Reach 8031 Before Topping - 17th July 19
US Housing Market Real Terms BUY / SELL Indicator - 16th July 19
Could Trump Really Win the 2020 US Presidential Election? - 16th July 19
Gold Stocks Forming Bullish Consolidation - 16th July 19
Will Fed Easing Turn Out Like 1995 or 2007? - 16th July 19
Red Rock Entertainment Investments: Around the world in a day with Supreme Jets - 16th July 19
Silver Has Already Gone from Weak to Strong Hands - 15th July 19
Top Equity Mutual Funds That Offer Best Returns - 15th July 19
Gold’s Breakout And The US Dollar - 15th July 19
Financial Markets, Iran, U.S. Global Hegemony - 15th July 19
U.S Bond Yields Point to a 40% Rise in SPX - 15th July 19
Corporate Earnings may Surprise the Stock Market – Watch Out! - 15th July 19
Stock Market Interest Rate Cut Prevails - 15th July 19
Dow Stock Market Trend Forecast Current State July 2019 Video - 15th July 19
Why Summer is the Best Time to be in the Entertainment Industry - 15th July 19
Mid-August Is A Critical Turning Point For US Stocks - 14th July 19
Fed’s Recessionary Indicators and Gold - 14th July 19
The Problem with Keynesian Economics - 14th July 19

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

Top AI Stocks Investing to Profit from the Machine Intelligence Mega-trend

Gold Culture - The Eastern Lust For Gold

Commodities / Gold and Silver 2013 Dec 04, 2013 - 05:17 PM GMT

By: Peter_Schiff

Commodities

Having replaced savings with debt on both the national and individual levels, I think it's well past time for Westerners to take a few lessons from our creditors in the East. Many Americans consider gold a "barbarous relic," but in Asia, the yellow metal remains the bedrock of individual savings plans. This means that either greater than half of the world's population are barbarians, or they've held onto an important tradition that our culture has forgotten.


A Culture of Gold

One of the most important elements of Eastern gold demand is that it is not limited to educated investors or the higher classes, as often seems to be the case in the West. Throughout Asia, no matter one's social status, precious metals are the first assets people choose to protect their wealth. There is not even a glimmer of doubt about the enduring value of hard money.

A recent Bloomberg article quotes a Chinese woman, "I don't know anything about the stock market and I don't have enough money to buy property, so I figured gold is the safest choice."

Some might write off this philosophy as naïve, but her logic is founded in centuries of tradition, borne of hard-won experience. The same goes in India and across South Asia, where gold is an essential part of local religious customs. From wedding dowries to temple offerings, gold carries a cache in Asia that most Westerners can't fathom.

Consider the US as a comparison. Here, newlyweds are more likely to receive a house full of fancy appliances than any assets that might form the foundation of long-term financial independence.

After a couple of generations of US-dollar dominance, Americans have become lazy with our wealth. While we exploit our economic power by going into debt for fancy cars, big-screen TVs, and expensive smart phones, our creditors are steadily stockpiling gold.

A River of Gold from West to East

Asia's love affair with gold became worldwide news when the price of the yellow metal dropped last April. Asian consumers saw the price drop as a fortunate buying opportunity, and metals dealers were swamped with orders for both bullion and jewelry. Premiums skyrocketed across the continent, but this did not slow demand.

With all this demand, shouldn't gold's global spot price have continued rising? Unfortunately, many Westerners were selling into the Eastern demand. In fact, the stagnant spot price concealed a historic transfer of real wealth.

The rising price of gold over the past decade had lured many Western investors into the paper gold market through precious metals exchange-traded funds (ETFs). To ETF investors intent on fast growth rather than long-term capital preservation, the recent drop in price was viewed as a sell signal, not an opportunity.

By the end of September, gold ETFs had sold off about 700 metric tons of physical gold - more than half of it in just the second quarter. The World Gold Council reports that the majority of these outflows have been absorbed by Asian demand.

However, Western selling was enough to keep the global spot price from recovering. Instead of more capital flowing into gold, it was the gold itself which was flowing from Western financial institutions to Eastern households.

The latest data shows that consumer demand for physical gold in the first three quarters of 2013 hit a historical record of 2,896.5 metric tons. 90% of the year-over-year increase in this demand came from Asia and the Middle East.

Meanwhile, Americans have been distracted by one record high after another in the domestic stock market.

Governments Intervene

When reporting on Asian gold demand, the Western media tends to focus on nations like India, which has practically declared war against gold buyers this year in a misguided attempt to curb its trade deficit.

The Indian government raised tariffs on the metal to a record 10%, and now requires importers to re-export 20% of their gold. India's central bank even went as far as asking temples around the country to divulge how much gold they were storing, though many refused.

Thailand and Vietnam have taken similar steps to subdue their populations' gold demand, even though the primary outcome has been to increase gold smuggling.

These governments' measures have received the most attention because they fit nicely into the Western narrative that gold is an old-fashioned asset that does more harm than good in modern economies. But the truth is that the only ones harmed by gold are Western governments!

China Rising

Last month, China officially surpassed India as the world's largest consumer of gold. Unlike New Delhi, Beijing is encouraging its citizens' gold lust by easing restrictions on the gold trade. The People's Bank of China (PBOC) is preparing to expand the number of businesses allowed to import and export gold on a large scale. It has also increased the amount of tax-free gold citizens are allowed to bring into the country.

Meanwhile, China is finally pulling away from the US dollar. A month after China's government news agency called for a "de-Americanized world," a deputy governor at the PBOC said, "It's no longer in China's favor to accumulate foreign-exchange reserves."

Simply put, China is planning to wind down its own stimulus program of buying US dollars, and instead allow the value of the yuan to appreciate. In preparation for this shift, China has been diversifying its foreign exchange reserves into gold. The PBOC has not released official numbers on its gold reserves since 2009, but experts have begun to speculate that its current holdings are far larger than previously estimated.

A Rude Awakening

This is the time when the West realizes that its great reservoir of wealth has run dry, as the gold has all flowed East.

When China stops buying US Treasuries, the Fed will remain the only major buyer of US debt. This will drive interest rates up, thereby sticking the US government with obligations it cannot possibly fulfill. Ultimately, this will be the death knell for the dollar, as the Fed will be forced to significantly expand its QE program to assume the role as Treasury-buyer of last resort.

Mom-and-pop gold buyers throughout the East probably do not understand all the subtleties of the foreign exchange markets, but an undying appreciation for gold is built into their culture. Make no mistake: the East is the engine of the 21st century global economy - and it is riding on rails of gold.

This holiday season, consider breaking with our recent Western tradition of giving gifts of no enduring value. Instead, take the opportunity to turn some of your paper dollars into gifts that will still have value when your kids are grown.

Peter Schiff is CEO of Euro Pacific Precious Metals, a gold and silver dealer selling reputable, well-known bullion coins and bars at competitive prices.

Click here for a free subscription to Peter Schiff's Gold Letter, a monthly newsletter featuring the latest gold and silver market analysis from Peter Schiff, Casey Research, and other leading experts.

And now, investors can stay up-to-the-minute on precious metals news and Peter's latest thoughts by visiting Peter Schiff's Official Gold Blog.

Peter Schiff Archive

© 2005-2019 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

6 Critical Money Making Rules