Best of the Week
Most Popular
1. Stock Markets and the History Chart of the End of the World (With Presidential Cycles) - 28th Aug 20
2.Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook... AI Tech Stocks Buying Levels and Valuations Q3 2020 - 31st Aug 20
3.The Inflation Mega-trend is Going Hyper! - 11th Sep 20
4.Is this the End of Capitalism? - 13th Sep 20
5.What's Driving Gold, Silver and What's Next? - 3rd Sep 20
6.QE4EVER! - 9th Sep 20
7.Gold Price Trend Forecast Analysis - Part1 - 7th Sep 20
8.The Fed May “Cause” The Next Stock Market Crash - 3rd Sep 20
9.Bitcoin Price Crash - You Will be Suprised What Happens Next - 7th Sep 20
10.NVIDIA Stock Price Soars on RTX 3000 Cornering the GPU Market for next 2 years! - 3rd Sep 20
Last 7 days
US Housing Market House Prices Momentum Analysis - 26th Feb 21
FOMC Minutes Disappoint Gold Bulls - 26th Feb 21
Kiss of Life for Gold - 26th Feb 21
Congress May Increase The Moral Hazard Building In The Stock Market - 26th Feb 21
The “Oil Of The Future” Is Set To Soar In 2021 - 26th Feb 21
The Everything Stock Market Rally Continues - 25th Feb 21
Vaccine inequality: A new beginning or another missed opportunity? - 25th Feb 21
What's Next Move For Silver, Gold? Follow US Treasuries and Commodities To Find Out - 25th Feb 21
Warren Buffett Buys a Copper Stock! - 25th Feb 21
Work From Home Inflationary US House Prices BOOM! - 25th Feb 21
Man Takes First Steps Towards Colonising Mars - Nasa Perseverance Rover in Jezero Crater - 25th Feb 21
Musk, Bezos And Cook Are Rushing To Lock In New Lithium Supply - 25th Feb 21
US Debt and Yield Curve (Spread between 2 year and 10 year US bonds) - 24th Feb 21
Should You Buy a Landrover Discovery Sport in 2021? - 24th Feb 21
US Housing Market 2021 and the Inflation Mega-trend - QE4EVER! - 24th Feb 21
M&A Most Commonly Used Software - 24th Feb 21
Is More Stock Market Correction Needed? - 24th Feb 21
VUZE XR Camera 180 3D VR Example Footage Video Image quality - 24th Feb 21
How to Protect Your Positions From A Stock Market Sell-Off Using Options - 24th Feb 21
Why Isn’t Retail Demand for Silver Pushing Up Prices? - 24th Feb 21
2 Stocks That Could Win Big In The Trillion Dollar Battery War - 24th Feb 21
US Economic Trends - GDP, Inflation and Unemployment Impact on House Prices 2021 - 23rd Feb 21
Why the Sky Is Not Falling in Precious Metals - 23rd Feb 21
7 Things Every Businessman Should Know - 23rd Feb 21
For Stocks, has the “Rational Bubble” Popped? - 23rd Feb 21
Will Biden Overheat the Economy and Gold? - 23rd Feb 21
Precious Metals Under Seige? - 23rd Feb 21
US House Prices Trend Forecast Review - 23rd Feb 21
Lithium Prices Soar As Tesla, Apple And Google Fight For Supply - 23rd Feb 21
Stock Markets Discounting Post Covid Economic Boom - 22nd Feb 21
Economics Is Why Vaccination Is So Hard - 22nd Feb 21
Pivotal Session In Stocks Bull Bear Battle - 22nd Feb 21
Gold’s Downtrend: Is This Just the Beginning? - 22nd Feb 21
The Most Exciting Commodities Play Of 2021? - 22nd Feb 21
How to Test NEW and Used GPU, and Benchmark to Make sure it is Working Properly - 22nd Feb 21
US House Prices Vaccinations Indicator - 21st Feb 21
S&P 500 Correction – No Need to Hold Onto Your Hat - 21st Feb 21
Gold Setting Up Major Bottom So Could We See A Breakout Rally Begin Soon? - 21st Feb 21
Owning Real Assets Amid Surreal Financial Markets - 21st Feb 21
Great Investment Ideas For 2021 - 21st Feb 21
US House Prices Momentum Analysis - 20th Feb 21
The Most Important Chart in Housing Right Now - 20th Feb 21
Gold Is the Ultimate Reserve Asset - 20th Feb 21
Is That the S&P 500 And Gold Correction Finally? - 20th Feb 21
Technical Analysis of EUR/USD - 20th Feb 21
The Stock Market Big Picture - 19th Feb 21
Could Silver "Do a Palladium"? - 19th Feb 21
Three More Reasons We Love To Trade Options! - 19th Feb 21
Here’s What’s Eating Away at Gold - 19th Feb 21
Stock Market March Melt-Up Madness - 19th Feb 21
Land Rover Discovery Sport Extreme Ice and Snow vs Windscreen Wipers Test - 19th Feb 21
Real Reason Why Black and Asian BAME are NOT Getting Vaccinated - NHS Covid-19 Vaccinations - 19th Feb 21
New BNPL Regulations Leave Zilch Leading the Way - 19th Feb 21
Work From Home Inflationary House Prices BOOM! - 18th Feb 21
Why This "Excellent" Stock Market Indicator Should Be on Your Radar Screen Now - 18th Feb 21
The Commodity Cycle - 18th Feb 21
Silver Backwardation and Other Evidence of a Silver Supply Squeeze - 18th Feb 21
Why I’m Avoiding These “Bottle Rocket” Stocks Like GameStop - 18th Feb 21
S&P 500 Correction Delayed Again While Silver Runs - 18th Feb 21
Silver Prices Are About to Explode as Stars are Lining up Like Never Before! - 18th Feb 21
Cannabis, Alternative Agra, Mushrooms, and Cryptos – Everything ALT is HOT - 18th Feb 21
Crypto Mining Craze, How We Mined 6 Bitcoins with a PS4 Gaming Console - 18th Feb 21
Stock Market Trend Forecasts Analysis Review - 17th Feb 21
Vaccine Nationalism Is a Multilateral, Neocolonial Failure - 17th Feb 21
First year of a Stocks bull market, or End of a Bubble? - 17th Feb 21
5 Reasons Why People Prefer to Trade Options Over Stocks - 17th Feb 21
The Gold & Gold Stock Corrections Are Normal - 17th Feb 21
WARNING Oculus Quest 2 Update v25 BROKE My VR Headset! - 17th Feb 21
UK Covid-19 Parks PACKED During Lockdown Despite "Stay at Home" Message - Endcliffe Park Sheffield - 17th Feb 21
How to Invest in ETFs in the UK - 17th Feb 21
Real Reason Why Black and Asian Ethnic minorities are NOT Getting Vaccinated - NHS Covid-19 Vaccinations - 16th Feb 21
THE INFLATION MEGA-TREND QE4EVER! - 16th Feb 21
Gold / Silver: What This "Large Non-Confirmation" May Mean - 16th Feb 21
Major Optimism for Platinum, Silver, and Copper - 16th Feb 21
S&P 500 Correction Looming, Just as in Gold – Or Not? - 16th Feb 21
Stock Market Last pull-back before intermediate top? - 16th Feb 21
GAMESTOP MANIA BUBBLE BURSTS! Investing Newbs Pump and Dump Roller coaster Ride - 16th Feb 21
Thinking About Starting to Trade This Year? Here Are Some Things to Keep in Mind - 16th Feb 21
US House Prices Real Estate Trend Forecast Review - 15th Feb 21
Will Tesla Charge Gold With Energy? - 15th Feb 21
Feeling the Growing Heat and Tensions in Stocks? - 15th Feb 21
Morgan Stanley Warns Gasoline Industry Is About to Become Totally Worthless - 15th Feb 21
Debts Lift Gold - Precious Metal Prices Will Rise on a Deluge of Red Ink - 15th Feb 21
Platinum Begins Big Breakout Rally - 15th Feb 21
How to Change Car Battery Without Losing Power, Memory, Radio Code Settings - 15th Feb 21
Five reasons why a financial advisor can make a big difference to your small business - 15th Feb 21

Market Oracle FREE Newsletter

FIRST ACCESS to Nadeem Walayat’s Analysis and Trend Forecasts

What's Frightening Saudis and Iranians into Buying Gold?

Commodities / Gold & Silver Nov 19, 2008 - 01:17 PM GMT

By: Money_and_Markets

Commodities

Diamond Rated - Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleSean Brodrick writes: Our oil-rich friends in the Middle East are scared. How do I know? Because they are buying gold like crazy!

First , we got the news that Saudi investors spent $3.47 BILLION on gold in a recent two-week period. On a ratio-to-GDP basis, that's like investors in the U.S. spending $131 BILLION.


Why are they doing this? The only explanation I've heard is that the Saudis are turning to gold as a safe haven in the midst of the global financial crisis. And since the financial crisis kicked into high gear in August … something must be scaring them quite a bit more right now.

Second , Reuters reports that Iran is converting some of its foreign currency reserves to gold. Iran has $120 billion in foreign currency reserves … there's no details on just how much was shoveled into the yellow metal.

Gold dealers in Dubai reported running low on gold during the recent Indian holiday, the Festival of Lights, a traditional time for Indians to buy gold.
Gold dealers in Dubai reported running low on gold during the recent Indian holiday, the Festival of Lights, a traditional time for Indians to buy gold.

Third , gold dealers in Dubai reported running low on gold during the recent Indian holiday, the Festival of Lights, a traditional time for Indians to buy gold. More than 50% of the population of Dubai originally comes from India. And about 20% of the world's gold is traded in Dubai.

The world is in the grip of economic hard times — over 40 countries are officially in a recession. Japan just joined that unhappy club. And the euro-zone nations are already there. We also know that the forces moving the market now seem to be deflationary, not inflationary. That means the value of the U.S. dollar is going up, and the price of gold is trending lower.

But could our friends in the Middle East be thinking beyond the current deflationary spiral? Gold is traditionally a hedge against calamity. So I ask again, what are the oil sheiks afraid of?

While gold prices are going lower in the short-term as deflationary forces tighten their grip, there are also longer-term forces that are quite bullish for gold …

  • Chinese investors' demand for gold is rising. Investment demand hit 38.4 metric tonnes in the first nine months of this year against 24 tonnes for the whole of 2007.
  • Demand for gold jewelry in China reached 241.6 tonnes in the first nine months of 2008, compared with 302 tonnes for all of 2007, when gold jewelry demand grew by 26%. China is the world's second-largest gold consumer.
  • Sources in the Indian market and preliminary data on Indian imports point to a strong revival in Indian jewelry demand during this year's third quarter.
  • In South Africa, gold mining output plunged 17.7% in September compared to a year earlier.
  • Global mine production of gold declined by 4% year-on-year in the second quarter to 590 tonnes, bringing output in the first half the year to 1,133 tonnes, 6% below the same period a year earlier.

Still, this long-term good news is cold comfort when prices are trending lower in the short-term. So it must be other things driving the Saudis and Iranians into gold. For example …

Shipping costs are sinking as ships sit idle

The Collapse of the Global Cargo Trade

The Baltic Dry Index sounds like a weather report, but what it really does is track the price of shipping bulk cargo — such as coal, iron ore, cotton and grain. And recently, the Baltic Dry Index has fallen through the floor.

In real dollar terms, at the peak of the market, a 170,000-tonne Capesize bulk carrier cost $234,000 to rent. Recently, it was $5,600 — that's a crash of over 90%.

Why is this happening?

Two reasons …

  1. The falling demand for products like cars. Auto sales are falling in the U.S., Germany, France, Japan and more. The pace of car sales growth is also slowing down in China.
  2. International shipping works on “letter of credit.” These financial guarantees are issued to buyers of bulk cargo by their banks. This system has greased the wheels of global trade for the last 400 years. With the collapse of the credit market — and banks now sitting on their hands, refusing to lend — the wheels of global shipping are grinding to a halt.

How bad is this?

Peter Kerr-Dineen, chairman of Howe Robinson shipbrokers, didn't mince words when he described the crisis to the British press:

“This is a nuclear bomb in the freight market and in world trade. Liquidity has to return because if there is insufficient money to provide standard finance, world trade will be sharply cut back and economic growth will implode.”

Or as the London Banker blog put it:

“If cargo trade stops, a whole lot of supply chain disruption starts. If the ore doesn't go to the refinery, there is no plate steel. If the plate steel doesn't get shipped, there is nothing to fabricate into components. If there are no components, there is nothing to assemble in the factory. If the factory closes the assembly line, there are no finished goods. If there are no finished goods, there is nothing to restock the shelves of the shops. If there is nothing in the shops, the consumers don't buy. If the consumers don't buy, there is no Christmas.”

World trade has collapsed because the demand for goods has plummeted and available credit has dried up.
World trade has collapsed because the demand for goods has plummeted and available credit has dried up.

In my view … and perhaps the view of the Saudis who are buying gold … there is an even worse risk .

If bulk shippers can't buy cargoes, then a lot of U.S. grain could end up rotting in warehouses while big portions of the world go hungry.

The Saudis, by the way, are the biggest importer of food in the Middle East. They probably have the money to pay cash for their food shipments.

But for the approximately 2.7 billion people in the world who spend 80% of their income on food, a disruption in the global shipping trade could mean the difference between quiet poverty and all-out rioting.

In addition, the Saudis are also worried about …

The Collapse of U.S. Oil Imports

The oil producers are used to a world where U.S. oil imports always go up. But that world has been turned on its head. In September, crude oil imports dropped to 8.4 million barrels per day, down a whopping 16.5% from the average of 10.1 million barrels registered a year earlier.

U.S. crude oil tumbles.

This is helping the U.S. trade deficit, but for all the wrong reasons. I've often said the way to get lower oil prices is through conservation. Now though, Americans are being forced to conserve by economic hardship.

And since the U.S. uses one-fourth of the world's oil, our falling imports are a major driver of cratering oil prices …

There is strong support for oil at $50. But you know that the Saudis, Iranians, Venezuelans and other OPEC heavyweights made their budget plans based on much higher prices. And cheap oil means the only way they can make up revenue is by pumping more oil … which should weigh on prices even more.

Looking forward, it gets worse for the oil producers …

Crude broke a major uptrend

Just last week, the Energy Information Agency projected that OPEC could earn $595 billion in 2009. That's way, way down from projections of $979 billion of net oil export revenues in 2008, and even lower than the $671 billion it earned in 2007.

Saudi Arabia earns 29% of OPEC's total revenues. If their revenues go back to 2006 levels, what will that do to the political situation in a country that is already sitting on a fundamentalist Islamic powder keg?

Yeah, that might be a really good reason for the Saudi fat-cats to buy gold!

These are just two of the world-class problems that may be scaring Middle East investors into gold.

I could go on. There are plenty of good reasons people might want to buy gold. Sure, deflation is putting downward pressure on gold … on paper. But just try buying physical gold anywhere near the paper price.

Pricing in a Government Default?

While gold is traditionally a haven of safety, that's not how it played out over the past couple months. Instead, we saw risk-adverse investors dump gold along with other asset classes and flee to the safety of cash.

Maybe the mighty dollar has more upside. But remember that the U.S. dollar is backed by “the full faith and credit of the U.S. government.”

Do you have a lot of faith in the U.S. government? I'd say the faith of the world has been shaken by recent events.

And apparently I'm not the only one who thinks that. Take a look at my next chart, which shows the 10-year credit default swap spread on U.S. Treasuries — a form of insurance contract against issuer default.

U.S. 10 year cds spread

The cost of insuring against a U.S. government default is soaring. And similar trends exist in the bond markets of Germany and Britain.

I think this is because investors are pricing in the massive bailouts that central banks are throwing at their markets. For instance, the U.S. bailouts will add enormously to our country's already staggering national debt. According to CNBC data, the cost of all the bailouts that have been going on for months has now hit a total of $4.2 TRILLION!

In fact, Morgan Stanley recently estimated that the 2009 fiscal deficit in the U.S. would reach 12.5%. That's more than twice the previous record of 6% set in 1983.

As a percentage of GDP, the U.S. national debt should pass 70% next year. That's lower than the 122% at the end of World War II. Yet we aren't fighting World War II, are we? That ended rather abruptly — this crisis won't. And the odds are our fiscal picture will get worse, not better.

Under the circumstances, maybe investors in Saudi Arabia and Dubai may just be ahead of the curve. Maybe having some gold — the ultimate safe haven against troubled times — is the right thing to do.

I'm not saying the U.S. government is going to default … I'm saying the possibility of that happening could be priced in more ways than one. And that's the kind of environment where gold could really shine.

Consider Buying Gold on Dips … And Hold for a Wild Ride

Physical gold is always nice. But exchange-traded funds have made gold buying a lot easier.

I'm talking about the SPDR Gold Shares ETF (GLD) and the Barclays iShares Comex Gold Trust (IAU). They are fixed at 1/10th the price of gold, minus a small amount to account for fees.

That means if gold is trading at $730 an ounce, you can buy the GLD or the IAU for about $73. And they are backed up by gold bullion in a vault.

There are scary forces on the march in the global economy. A little golden insurance may help you sleep a whole lot better.

All the best,

Sean

This investment news is brought to you by Money and Markets . Money and Markets is a free daily investment newsletter from Martin D. Weiss and Weiss Research analysts offering the latest investing news and financial insights for the stock market, including tips and advice on investing in gold, energy and oil. Dr. Weiss is a leader in the fields of investing, interest rates, financial safety and economic forecasting. To view archives or subscribe, visit http://www.moneyandmarkets.com .

Money and Markets 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