Four signs gold prices are being suppressed

Here are four signs that gold price suppression is actually happening — no matter what the media might have you think.

Recently, I blogged about why the U.S. government has a vested interest in keeping gold prices low (see my post What is gold price suppression? for more). Today, I offer up four signs that gold price suppression is actually happening:

1) Swiss miss? One of the strangest impacts of the news that Switzerland was pegging its currency to the Euro was the downward pressure it put on the price of gold. Before the news, the Swiss franc was generally regarded as one of the last strong currencies in the world, and the fact that it would no longer serve as a safe haven should have pushed gold up according to Hinde Capital CEO Ben Davies.

“Why was (gold) selling off just ahead of a really bullish announcement?” Hinde asked in an interview with King World News. “You have to believe that there was some coordinated action. When I say that, the central banks will all have been in on knowing ahead of time that the Swiss were going to announce this. So there was central bank selling because they really didn’t want the price of gold to skyrocket on what is incredibly bullish news for gold.”

Even Goldman Sachs’ head gold trader Zak Dhabalia was perplexed. “The immediate aftermath was in complete contradiction to prior recent episodes of intervention and what anyone would have expected,” he said (per Fool.com). “Instead of spurring a further gold price rally on the basis that it was one of the few remaining safe haven ‘currencies’ we saw a USD$50 collapse in minutes.”

2) Collusion among central banks. GATA.org is one of the most forceful advocates for transparency in the gold markets. And they’ve been trying for years to draw attention to comments by William S. White, former head of the monetary and economic department at the Bank for International Settlements. At a convention of central bankers in Basel, Switzerland, in 2005, White declared that a major purpose for cooperation between central banks is “the provision of international credits and joint efforts to influence asset prices – especially gold and foreign exchange.” GATA’s went as far as taking out a $264,000 full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal re-printing White’s comments (along with a few others).

3) Gold margin requirements. I constantly go back and forth on whether or not the COMEX is attempting to manipulate commodity prices by raising and lowering gold and silver margin requirements. On the one hand, the COMEX exists to make money for its parent company, the CME Group. When prices get too volatile the CME Group tries to shake out weak hands (and protect itself from losses) by raising margin requirements.

On the week of Sept. 19, though, news leaked out that the COMEX would be raising margin requirements on gold at the close of trading on Sept. 23. This information got out even after gold prices were already falling rapidly (and the rumors likely accelerated those losses dramatically). Having followed the gold and silver markets closely for four years, this is the first time I’ve heard of the COMEX “leaking” news about margin requirements. Granted, it could have been an accidental leak by a rogue insider, but the whole thing feels fishy – particularly since it helped contribute to one of the biggest sell-offs in gold since 1987.

4) The Chinese have figured us out. It’s interesting that gold price suppression gets sneers in the U.S., but the U.S. embassy in Beijing was alarmed enough by a newspaper editorial in China to forward it to the U.S. State Department. That happened in 2009 (according to a cable leaked by Wikileaks). The Embassy forwarded on the following snippets from the editorial that ran in a State-sponsored newspaper in China:

“The U.S. and Europe have always suppressed the rising price of gold. They intend to weaken gold’s function as an international reserve currency. They don’t want to see other countries turning to gold reserves instead of the U.S. dollar or Euro. Therefore, suppressing the price of gold is very beneficial for the U.S. in maintaining the U.S. dollar’s role as the international reserve currency.”

It’s important to remember why central banks want gold prices suppressed: they need investors to maintain their faith in fiat currencies. Without that faith, an economy collapses, and few things erode faith in fiat currencies like a rapidly rising gold price.

Related

What is gold price suppression?

A few weeks ago, I might have argued that gold price suppression is a myth. The more I learn about it, though, the scarier I find the concept.

A few weeks ago, I might have argued that gold price suppression is a myth. The more I learn about it, though, the scarier I find the concept.

Gold price suppression refers to coordinated efforts to lower the price of gold. On the face of it, that sounds like a meaningless goal. Dig deeper, though, and you’ll see there’s a whole lot at stake; namely, the future of the U.S. economy.

If governments, institutions and individuals lose faith in the dollar as a reserve currency, the Greenback’s value will plummet. It will be much harder for the U.S. to borrow money, and government services will have to be slashed. With 48.5% of the U.S. living in a household that receives some form of government benefits (per the Wall Street Journal), slashing benefits could collapse the U.S. economy.

Here’s what really changed my mind about gold price suppression: a single diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks (click here to see the gold price suppression cable from Wikileaks). In it, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing wrote to the U.S. State Department, warning that the Chinese government was proactively dumping dollars in favor of gold reserves in an attempt to undermine the dollar and raise the clout of the Chinese Yuan.

The cable highlighted an article titled “China increases its gold reserves in order to kill two birds with one stone” from a State-sponsored newspaper in China. It was apparently alarming enough for the U.S. Embassy to send it straight to the State Department. Here’s an excerpt from the story:

“The U.S. and Europe have always suppressed the rising price of gold. They intend to weaken gold’s function as an international reserve currency. They don’t want to see other countries turning to gold reserves instead of the U.S. dollar or Euro. Therefore, suppressing the price of gold is very beneficial for the U.S. in maintaining the U.S. dollar’s role as the international reserve currency.

China’s increased gold reserves will thus act as a model and lead other countries towards reserving more gold. Large gold reserves are also beneficial in promoting the internationalization of the RMB.

Of course, right now, the yuan is tightly controlled by the Chinese government. It’s difficult for retail investors to even invest in the yuan (see our post How to buy Chinese Yuan for more), but China’s showing signs of loosening that control.

It’s not in their interest to de-couple the yuan and dollar yet, since tying it to the Greenback keeps Chinese exports cheap. It is interesting, though, that China’s could be building up enormous leverage over the U.S.

“When they [China] want the dollar to fall, they will let it,” Mark Weisbrot, the co-director of Washington’s Centre for Economic and Policy Research, told Al Jazeera recently.

In the meantime, China’s accumulating gold, even while they realize that the U.S. could be working to suppress gold prices. Should the U.S. economy continue to stagnate, suppressing gold prices looks like a losing battle.

Related

Flattr makes micropayments easy

The WikiLeaks press has helped thrust Flattr into the public consciousness, but more importantly, it could fuel the growth of micropayments for years to come.

Flattr MicropaymentsOne of my favorite bloggers, Steve Pavlina, talks a lot about how easy it is to lose the forest for the trees when you’re trying to make money. In a great post called How to Earn $10,000 in One Hour, he urges creative people not to focus on their hourly earnings rate, but rather the big ideas that will change the world and/or change your life in a single hour.

I think Flattr is one of those concepts. Founded by one of the original creators of The Pirate Bay, Peter Sunde, Flattr charges members €2 a month for an account. Those users can then click the “Flattr” button when they’re on a Web site, listening to a song or browsing art by an artist they like online. At the end of the month, Flattr will pool all the Flattr buttons you’ve clicked and divide your €2 (minus a 10 percent fee) among all those artists, writers and bloggers, and give it to them. It’s a brilliant way to make it easy to donate to the Web sites and creatives you respect and want to reward.

Flattr was officially launched in August, and I only heard about it after reading in the mainstream press that it was one of the few remaining ways to contribute to WikiLeaks now that the dossier-dishing site has been hog-tied by PayPal, Mastercard (NYSE:MA) and Visa (NYSE:V). The WikiLeaks tie-in has helped thrust Flattr into the public consciousness, but more importantly, it could fuel the concept’s growth for years to come.

I know it’s made me into a convert. I haven’t opened a Flattr account yet, but I plan to this weekend. I’ll also explore adding Flattr buttons to TradingStocks.me, and I’ll donate to other sites whenever I get a chance to reward someone’s good work. It could be a great new source of revenue for a lot of people. Or it could go completely ignored. The important thing is, it’s evidence that truly creative people like Flattr’s co-founder Peter Sunde make it a habit of looking at old problems in new ways and attempting to find solutions. If it works, generating the idea probably took less than an hour, but it has the potential to be worth a whole lot more than $10,000.

Related