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.
December 11, 2012
America’s fiscal health is becoming unsustainable. Sooner or later there will be negative economic and financial market ramifications from this situation. When that occurs, only gold investments will provide safety for investors.
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.
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%
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.
November 13, 2012
As many readers already know, due to long-term irresponsible fiscal policies, the US government finds itself headed to the edge of a so-called “fiscal cliff.”
Policymakers in Washington are trying to strike a deal to head off the carnage, but their track record is awful on such deals. What we are soon to be faced with is a combination of large budget cuts and sizable tax increases, which will kick in if nothing is done.
Faced with the possibility of tax hikes, America’s wealthy investors are taking action ahead of time and it isn’t good news for the markets; wealthy investors are liquidating stocks, real estate and even whole businesses to avoid higher tax rates in the future. This is obviously terrible news for the stock market, the real estate market and the economy as a whole, creating the type of environment in which hard assets, such as gold coins, thrive.
Meanwhile, long-time market analyst, Marc Faber of The Gloom Boom and Doom Report actually says that there will be no fiscal “cliff.” Nevertheless, he predicts that corporate profits are certain to disappoint, resulting in a stock market decline of 20% or more. Faber points to Apple Computer as a leading indicator; Apple’s stock has fallen 20% in recent months already.
November 7, 2012
The US stock market appeared to have an allergic reaction to the results of yesterday’s presidential election, with the Dow falling some 313 points, or 2.36%, today. The S&P 500 slid 34 points, or 2.37% and the Nasdaq Composite fell 75 points, or 2.48%.
Actually, it wasn’t just the outcome of the election that stocks were reacting to, there were other factors in play.
Traders were very concerned about the approaching fiscal “cliff” and fear that the sharply divided government and country will be unable to come to terms to deal with it as 2012 winds down.
In addition, traders are once again worried about Europe. Greece is set to have another parliamentary vote on yet another austerity package designed to prevent a frightening default and there is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding whether that vote will produce a favorable outcome.
What all this indicates is that the US and Europe are both awash in debt and the financial world is skeptical that either will take meaningful steps to solve their problems. This is an environment fraught with risk and, in a risky environment, there is no better safe haven than gold.