ZeroHedge.com By Terry Cozon Of Casey Research
When to Sell Gold
By now you have plenty of reason to congratulate yourself for having boarded the gold bandwagon. The early tickets are the cheap ones, and you’ve already had quite a ride. The best of the ride, I believe, is yet to come, and it should be very good indeed. It should be so much fun that your wallet may start to feel a bit giddy – which can be dangerous. So it would be wise to consider, now, how things will be and how they will feel when the current bull market in gold reaches its “end of days.” Because it will end.
Buying at the right time is the key to building profits. Selling at the right time is the key to collecting them.
The 1980 Peak
In 1980, gold briefly touched the then record price of $850 per ounce. In terms of purchasing power, that would be $2,400 in today’s dollars. And for the value of the world’s entire gold stockpile to attain the same share of the world’s total wealth that it represented at the 1980 peak, the price would need to reach $5,800 per ounce.
But so what? Before you can look to those numbers for guidance about what the peak in gold’s bull market will look like, you need to consider how the process that drove the earlier bull market compares with what is happening today.
The earlier bull market was driven by price inflation in the world’s reserve currency, the dollar, that reached an annual rate of 14%. The more expensive it became to use dollars as a store of value (i.e., the more rapidly the dollar’s purchasing power was declining), the more attractive gold became as an alternative way to store value.
The dollar is still the world’s reserve currency. (And not just for central banks. Among individuals and private businesses that want to diversify out of their home currency, the dollar is still Number One.) And the force driving the bull market in gold is once again price inflation. But this time it isn’t actual price inflation that is on the mind of gold buyers around the world. It is the potential for price inflation that is building up. That build-up is coming from:
- Rapid expansion in the U.S. monetary base through the Federal Reserve’s asset purchases. Most of that expansion has yet to be reflected in a growth in the U.S. money supply. It is still sitting, like a charge in a capacitor, waiting for something to set it off. There was no similar liquidity bomb stored in the U.S. economy’s closet during the years leading up to 1980.
- Unprecedented growth in federal government debt, which adds to the political attractiveness of price inflation. There were federal deficits during the 1970s, but nothing like today’s – just enough to give the party out of power at any time something to talk about.
- The accumulation of U.S. Treasury debt and privately issued dollar debt in the hands of foreign investors. U.S. debt to foreigners wasn’t a factor in the years leading up to gold’s 1980 peak. This time around, it could be a powerful force for accelerating inflation. Even moderate inflation could spook foreign investors. Their sales of Treasuries and other dollar-denominated IOUs would push down the foreign exchange value of the dollar, which would raise the cost of imports coming into the U.S., which would further stimulate price inflation. A nasty feedback.
And foreign holdings of U.S. debt operate as a second vector feeding the political attractiveness of dollar price inflation. Depreciation of the dollar can be framed as a clever way to shortchange foreign creditors. “It hurts THEM, not US” would be the slogan.
All those factors are working to make price inflation distinctly more severe than it was in the 1970s, which argues for a higher peak price for gold. When the metal does surpass its 1980 peak in purchasing power, the event is likely to be widely reported in the press. I suggest that you not attach any significance to the event. It won’t be time to sell.
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