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Stock-Markets / Financial Markets 2022 Mar 20, 2022 - 05:24 PM GMT

By: MoneyMetals


Dysfunctional U.S. Mint Runs Out of Silver Blanks Again, Halting Sales of Some Items - Precious metals markets sold off ahead of this week’s Federal Reserve policy meeting. But after Fed officials announced their rate hike, prices recovered somewhat.

Another market that has gone haywire is nickel. It’s not a metal that typically drives headlines, but prices swung so violently in futures markets that trading had to be halted for the first time in 24 years.

Nickel prices doubled in matter of hours last week. An institutional trader had placed big bets that nickel prices would fall and was forced to cover, or buy back, his short positions. An epic short squeeze ensued, followed by a massive sell-off this week.

Some precious metals analysts point to the potential for a similar short squeeze to play out in silver. The paper silver market is heavily shorted by leveraged institutional traders who have no intention or desire to deliver physical metal. In the event of a scramble for scarce supplies of silver, futures markets could become completely unhinged.

In other news, the big question on investors’ minds is how the Federal Reserve’s newly launched rate hiking campaign will impact markets.

On Wednesday, the Fed bumped up its benchmark interest rate by a quarter point, as expected. Both equity and precious metals markets responded positively.

Investors were relieved that central bankers didn’t opt for a larger hike. However, Jerome Powell and company promised additional hikes this year.

Powell acknowledged that monetary policy has failed to keep inflation contained within target ranges. He admitted that policymakers got it wrong in forecasting only modest price level increases. Yet he expressed confidence in the Fed’s current forecasts for inflation rates to fall.

PBS News Hour Report: The chair of the Federal Reserve, J. Powell acknowledged today that he and the wider Federal Reserve Board had underestimated the threat of inflation last year. But with the annual inflation rate now closing in on 8%, that attitude has changed and Powell committed to ramping up a fight against ever rising prices.

Jerome Powell: We understand that high inflation imposes significant hardship, especially on those least able to meet the higher costs of essentials like food, housing and transportation. The median inflation projection of FOMC participants is 4.3% this year and falls to 2.7% next year and 2.3% in 2024. This trajectory is notably higher than projected in December and participants continue to see risks as weighted to the upside.

Powell’s outlook for inflation rates to come down but remain elevated above the Fed’s 2% target was widely interpreted as hawkish. The implication is that the Fed will find reason to keep tightening into next year.

Others interpret the Fed’s inflation outlook as an admission that central bankers won’t have the will to bring inflation back below target.

They may hike rates a few times. They may try to curtail bond purchases. But they won’t take away the punch bowl completely.

And the moment the banking system, stock market, or bond market run into a crisis, the Fed will reverse course on tightening.

The recent spikes in energy and food prices threaten to bring about another kind of crisis. Although commodity prices fell sharply earlier this week, the risk of worsening supply chain disruptions and shortages still looms.

Precious metals markets certainly face scarcity issues. Relentlessly strong demand for physical bullion is straining mints and pressuring premiums higher.

The U.S. Mint announced this week that shortages of silver blanks for striking coins will force the cancellation of some planned products. The Mint will no longer be producing replica Morgan and Peace Silver Dollars for 2022 – a big disappointment for fans of these historic coins. Minted from 1878 to 1935, these one-dollar silver coins now command significant semi-numismatic premiums in the collectible market based on their condition.

Silver half-dollars, quarters, and dimes minted up until 1964 carry lower premiums over spot – though recently premiums for these no longer minted coins have risen due to strong buying pressure.

Those who prefer the iconic Morgan silver dollar design and a full-ounce unit size may want to take a look at privately minted Morgan Silver Rounds.

The name Morgan refers to George T Morgan, who served as a U.S. Mint engraver during the late 1870s.

Morgan made the bold decision to move away from Greek style figures and use an American woman to symbolize liberty. A friend recommended Anna Willess Williams from Philadelphia as the model. He declared her profile to be the most perfect he had seen.

Today’s Morgan silver rounds are an homage to the classic design of the historic one-dollar silver coins. The rounds are composed of 99.9% pure silver and are available through Money Metals Exchange at a significant discount compared to Silver Eagles especially and other government-minted coins.

On the sound money policy front, we’re pleased to report some positive results in Virginia, with an expansion of the precious metals sales tax exemption heading to the governor’s desk.

Meanwhile, the Mississippi senate ultimately failed to pass the new sales tax exemption there, but similar efforts in Kentucky, Hawaii, Tennessee, and New Jersey are still moving forward.

I want to thank our Money Metals customers in all the states I just mentioned, along with our customers in other states where we also have active legislative projects.

Thousands of customers have been responding to our emails and letters asking for them to contact their state legislators. We are absolutely certain that the politicians are hearing from tons of precious metals investors -- and this grassroots pressure is absolutely having an impact.

By Mike Gleason

Mike Gleason is President of Money Metals Exchange, the national precious metals company named 2015 "Dealer of the Year" in the United States by an independent global ratings group. A graduate of the University of Florida, Gleason is a seasoned business leader, investor, political strategist, and grassroots activist. Gleason has frequently appeared on national television networks such as CNN, FoxNews, and CNBC, and his writings have appeared in hundreds of publications such as the Wall Street Journal, Detroit News, Washington Times, and National Review.

© 2021 Mike Gleason - 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.

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