The Dow fell 8 points yesterday. Oil slipped below $50. Gold slipped too – below $900.
What gives? As far as we can tell, the rally that began in March continues.
While it might peter out any day, we continue to believe that this market intends bloody mayhem…and that it won’t stop until it has killed both the bulls and the bears.
The bulls will be killed in the classic way. A strong rally on Wall Street…or a series of minor ones… will lead them to believe that “the worst is over.” They’ll get back into stocks after a 20% or 30% advance – hoping to recover what they lost last year.
Then, the stock market will make a new dramatic move to the downside. This will probably happen several times…each time leaving bullish investors with more losses. Finally, the bulls will give up. They will sell stocks…driving prices down and dividend yields up. By the time the bottom is reached, former investors will neither know nor care. P/Es will be scarcely more than 5. Dividend yields will rise above 5%. The Dow will sink to 3,000 – 5,000.
Then, it will be the bears’ turn. When stock prices go down, they’ll sit smugly with their cash, Treasuries and gold. But gold will not resist the deflationary whirlpool. It could get sucked down violently…or might just float down gently, remaining low for a long time. Either way, the gold bulls will give up. Only the gold bugs will hold on. Cash and Treasuries, meanwhile, will look smart – for a while. Then, suddenly, they will look like the stupidest investment on the planet. In a matter of days…maybe weeks…the dollar could lose half or more of its value. Savers will suffer staggering losses.
No, dear reader, the months ahead will be a challenge. The world economy is telling a story no one has ever read before. Every day we turn the page just to see what happens. We have no idea how the story might develop. It’s all guesswork.
Still, when the final chapter is read out…the moral of the story will probably be familiar to us. It always is.
China has increased their gold holdings 75% in the last six years. They recently announced that the gold holdings have been transferred from the State Administration of Foreign Exchange (SAFE) books to the People’s Bank of China. PBOC. Our intrepid correspondent, Byron King explains what this really means:
“China is monetizing its gold!
“This SAFE-to-PBOC transfer marks a profound decision by Chinese government leaders. Obviously, the Chinese government has bought gold over the past six years. But in keeping with a nation where youngsters get their Sun Tzu with their mother’s milk, the Chinese went through an internal debate over whether to add the gold holdings to the official Chinese monetary reserves. That is, if the gold was not “monetary,” then it was just another nonmonetary investment commodity like iron ore or copper or petroleum.
“But now, with the announcement by the Chinese Central Bank, it appears that the debate is resolved. The gold has been added to Chinese monetary reserves.
“This action by China is part and parcel of an under-the-radar global effort to rehabilitate gold as a monetary reserve asset. Gold has not been a factor in global trade and currency exchange since the late 1960s. But there’s a powerful movement afoot in the world to reestablish gold as part of an international monetary system. It’s because the U.S. dollar has been so badly mismanaged over the decades. No, you won’t read about it in your local newspaper, or even in the standard, mainstream business media. But that movement is out there. It’s happening.
“So now the Chinese are primed to begin using gold as a monetary asset. What’s the practical impact? I expect to see central banks worldwide start to add gold to their monetary reserves. The floodgates are opening. The PBOC and other central banks from here to Timbuktu are going to become net purchasers of gold in the years ahead. In the future, only central bank suckers and losers will be net sellers of gold. (Take note, IMF.)
“And people who own physical gold, as well as shares in well-managed mining companies, will benefit greatly. Need I say more?”
The plane coming back from Buenos Aires wasn’t full. Air traffic is down 11% from a year earlier.
And this was before people began worrying about swine flu.
Today, commentators are fretting about how a serious epidemic would affect the “recovery.” They needn’t worry. First, because there is no genuine recovery to worry about. Second, because if a serious epidemic were to hit the world, economic growth would be the least of our problems.
Until next time,
for The Daily Reckoning Australia