Japanese Pension Funds With $3.4 Trillion In Assets Seek Safety In Gold

December 18, 2012

The world’s largest, most sophisticated investors are turning to gold…

These fundamentals are leading to broad based global demand for gold – from retail investors to institutions and pension funds. Japanese pension funds are increasingly looking at gold according to an article in the Wall Street Journal this morning.

Diversification into gold is taking place in order to protect against sovereign risk, debasement of currency risk and inflation risk.

In March 2012, Okayama Metal & Machinery became the first Japanese pension fund to make public purchases of gold, in a sign of dwindling faith in paper currencies. Okayama manages pension funds for about 260 small and mid-sized companies in the Okayama area.

“By diversifying currencies, we aim to reduce risks associated with them,” said Yoshi Kiguchi, the fund’s chief investment officer. “Yields become stable if you put small amounts into as many types of holdings as possible.”

Of its 40 billion yen ($477 million) in assets, the fund has invested around ¥500 million-¥600 million in gold, he said.

Initially, the fund aims to keep about 1.5% of its total assets of Y40bn ($500m) in bullion-backed exchange traded funds, according to chief investment officer Yoshisuke Kiguchi, who said he was diversifying into gold to “escape sovereign risk”.

Other pension funds in Japan are following their lead according to the Wall Street Journal.

Japanese pension funds are diversifying into gold “largely to mitigate the damage from possible market shocks”.

Japanese pension funds invest mainly in domestic stocks and bonds. Until recently, none have looked to gold or other physical assets.

Gold, whose price movement isn’t historically correlated with those of stocks or bonds, can protect portfolios from being damaged too badly in times of market stress, investment managers say. Low interest rates also justify holding non-yielding gold in place of cash.

Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation said it has secured more than Y2 billion in investments from two pension funds for a gold fund it started in March.

Gold is also used as a hedge against inflation, which is becoming a bigger concern as global central banks buy ever-more bonds, market watchers say.

Even a small allocation by pension funds internationally to gold would result in a significant new source of demand which could be a new fundamental factor which propels prices higher in the coming years.
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2012-12-18/japanese-pension-funds-34-trillion-assets-seek-safety-gold
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Dollar Falls Before Fed Considers More Pumping…Gold Rebounds

December 10, 2012

The US dollar is starting to fall against world currencies as investors anticipate more stimulus by the Federal Reserve.

The dollar weakened against most of its major counterparts today amid bets the U.S. central bank will add to monetary stimulus. The U.S. currency fell versus the euro and the yen before the Federal Reserve starts a policy meeting tomorrow amid forecasts it will expand bond-buying plans.

“People are looking ahead to the Federal Reserve this week, which should be an event that is positive for risk and negative for the dollar,”  Nick Bennenbroek, head of currency strategy at Wells Fargo & Co. in New York, told Bloomberg News this afternoon.

The U.S. currency declined versus 10 of its 16 most-traded counterparts.

The U.S. Federal Open Market Committee meets for the last time this year on Dec. 11-12. It will consider whether to expand purchases of assets after its so-called Operation Twist program of swapping $45 billion a month in short-term Treasuries for long-term debt expires this month.

“There’s a good chance that the Fed will announce a new round of money printing and bond buying,” which would be negative for the dollar, said Imre Speizer, a strategist in New Zealand atWestpac Banking Corp. (WBC).

Not surprisingly, the weakness in the dollar pushed gold higher. Spot gold was last quoted up $8.00 per ounce to $1,713.00.

Gold tends to move higher on a weaker dollar for two reasons:

1. Gold is priced in dollars, so a weaker dollar naturally pushes up the price of gold in dollars.

2. Gold is considered a main rival to the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, therefore, when confidence in the dollar wanes, demand for gold tends to rise.

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GALLUP: Unemployment rate at 8.3%…

December 6, 2012

The US economy is NOT getting better. This has serious implications for the US dollar and the financial markets. NOW is the time to stock up on hard assets as a form of financial insurance. Coin Trader can advise you on the best hard asset investments for your personal goals and needs.

U.S. Unadjusted Unemployment Shoots Back Up

U.S. unemployment, as measured by Gallup without seasonal adjustment, was 7.8% for the month of November, up significantly from 7.0% for October. Gallup’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate is 8.3%, nearly a one-point increase over October’s rate.

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http://www.gallup.com/poll/159104/unadjusted-unemployment-shoots-back.aspx


No Laughing Matter

November 29, 2012

The Weekly Standard reports that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell burst into laughter while he was attending a briefing by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner on the administration’s plan to avert the impending “fiscal cliff” that threatens the US economy and financial markets.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/mcconnell-burst-laughter-geithner-outlined-obamas-plan_664210.html

It’s disheartening for investors to hear that the two political parties are so far apart with this unprecedented set of circumstances set to converge in just one month’s time.

This is certainly no laughing matter for investors. Not only might large amounts of our wealth be taken away by higher tax rates and closures of so-called tax “loopholes,” but we are also threatened by fiscal policies that could continue the devaluation of the US dollar and even accelerate what many see as inevitable high inflation. What may be even worse is that the impact could send the US economy into another recession in the process.

That combination of recession and high inflation is called “stagflation,” a phenomenon that we have written about from time to time. The last time the US was inflicted with serious stagflation in the mid-1970s, the stock market fell 45% in 21 months, the price of gold tripled and a broad index of rare coins appreciated by some 1,000%


1987 Redux?

November 16, 2012

Many investors do not remember October 19th 1987.

That was the day the stock market crashed. The Dow fell over 500 points/23% in one day. The crash was a culmination of a decline that had started in August.

It is important to note that gold served as the best source of liquidity during that crisis and increased in price between October and the end of 1987.

We bring this up because there is an important article on Marketwatch that points out distinct parallels between the conditions that existed in 1987 and today:

Current drop echoes 1987 crash prelude

By Jon D. Markman

The Dow Jones Industrials have fallen 450 points over the past two days, and a lot of the blame has been placed on the re-election of the president. But anyone paying attention to the market over the past three months recognizes that the peak was actually made the week that the Federal Reserve announced a third round of quantitative easing. That was expected to be a positive event, but in retrospect, it ushered in a rolling thunder of value-eroding news events.

Soon after began a very underwhelming earnings reporting season, word of a deepening industrial slump in China, a broadening recession in Europe and the martyrdom of Spain. And then this week it suddenly dawned on people that if U.S. lawmakers can’t stop acting like stuck-up brats, then $1.2 trillion worth of ham-handed spending cuts and tax increases are about toplotz on red states and blue states alike in the coming year.

Independent estimates suggest that would shave four percentage points off GDP faster than you can say “sequestration,” or “defenestration” for that matter, and lead to millions of lost jobs. It looks like the president would be OK with that, since he booked a tour of Myanmar for next week.

In short, the election put an exclamation mark on a parade of indignities, but it is far from the only proximate cause. Investors have liquidated U.S. assets for a while; it’s just more noticeable this week.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/current-drop-echos-1987-crash-prelude-2012-11-09?dist=afterbell


More Trouble for the Euro

November 5, 2012

Over the years, a great deal of attention has been focused on the dollar and its troubles born of feckless fiscal and monetary policies in the US.

Less attention has been paid to the euro–that common European currency started in the late 1990s. The euro is very nearly as significant to the global economy and financial system as the dollar. That’s because the combined economies that make up the European Union are on a par with the US economy in terms of size. And if you look at Europe, you see clearly that their fiscal and monetary policies are very similar to those of the US.

What all this boils down to is that both the dollar and the euro are built on shifting sands. Neither can be considered a long-term viable alternative to the other. Each may benefit in the short-term from trouble in the other, but, over the long-term both of these currencies are shackled by much more fundamental problems.

This is especially significant in view of a recent article published by The Telegraph in the UK which describes the euro’s troubles in detail and proclaims that the euro is entering an era of permanent depression:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/jeremy-warner/9647248/The-euro-is-heading-for-a-permanent-state-of-depression.html

Investors must not put their trust in man-made paper currencies. Man has the tendency to grossly overproduce when it comes to money. That is happening in the dollar and the euro right now and has been for some time. But men and governments cannot print any more gold. Gold is the ultimate form of real money and has been for 5000 years. Investors need gold to balance a portfolio overweight in paper to provide the diversification and performance potential that only gold can provide when governments undermine the value of their national currencies…


Another Buying Opportunity in Gold

November 2, 2012

The price of gold fell to a two-month low today on a stronger than expected US employment report.

The consensus forecast was for the US economy to add about 125,000 non-farm jobs in October. The actual figure was 170,000. This boosted confidence in the US dollar, which took its natural toll on the price of gold, which fell below $1,700 per ounce.

The reason that this is such a good buying opportunity for investors is that usually gold reacts positively to signs of strength in the US economy. But because so many people are concerned about the US dollar, any good economic news creates speculation that more monetary stimulus may be unnecessary.

Many economists share a different view.

They believe that the existing monetary stimulus is not in fact “working” and thus not responsible for the stronger than expected employment report.

Moreover, the conditions that truly have created a long-term crisis in the dollar are America’s monetary and fiscal policies combined. With annual federal budget deficits of $1 trillion on top of the already gargantuan federal debt of nearly $17 trillion, the world is already awash in dollars it does not want. Couple this with years of low interest rates and a weak dollar is inevitable.

One positive employment report doesn’t change that, it merely creates a correction that represents a great buying opportunity for gold investors.