GDP Is Bogus: Here’s Why

GDP Is Bogus: Here’s Why

The rot eating away at our society and economy is typically papered over with bogus statistics that “prove” everything’s getting better every day in every way. The prime “proof” of rising prosperity is the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which never fails to loft higher, with the rare excepts being Spots of Bother (recessions) that never last more than a quarter or two.

Longtime correspondent Dave P. of Market Daily Briefing recently summarized the key flaw in GDP: GDP doesn’t reflect changes in the balance sheet, i.e. debt.

So if we borrow money to pay people to dig holes and then fill them with the excavated dirt, GDP rises to general applause. The debt we took on to fund the make-work isn’t accounted for at all.

Here’s Dave’s explanation:

Once I learned about accounting, I figured out why the GDP metric wasn’t sufficient. What is missing?

The balance sheet.

Hurricanes are a direct hit to your nation’s balance sheet. The national income statement goes up because of increased spending to replace lost assets, but the “equity” part of the national balance sheet ends up taking a hit in direct proportion to the damage that occurred. Even if you rebuild everything just the way it was, your assets remain the same, while your liabilities have increased.

We know this because we use the balance sheet equation: equity = assets – liabilities. Equity is another word for wealth.

Before hurricane:

wealth = (house + car) – (home debt + car debt)

After hurricane, you rebuild your house, and buy a new car, using borrowed money:

wealth = (house + car) – (2 x home debt + 2 x car debt)

Wealth (equity) has declined by the sum (home debt + car debt)

So when you see pictures of a hurricane strike, you can now look through all that devastation and see the impact on the balance sheet. National equity (wealth) just dropped by the amount of damage inflicted by the hurricane. Whether it is ever rebuilt doesn’t actually matter; that equity is just gone. Destruction is always a downside for equity – even if there is a temporary positive impact on the income statement.

Isn’t it interesting that the mainstream economists, who don’t use banks, debt, or money in their models, largely ignore balance sheets and instead just looks at the income statement alone? Its almost as if the entire education system was organized so that people paid no attention to banks, debt, and money. Who do you think might benefit from our flock of PhD economists ignoring the extremely profitable debt-elephant in the room, and its purveyors, the banks?

Thank you, Dave, for an explanation we never see in the mainstream. And here’s a chart of our fabulous always-higher GDP, adjusted for another bogus metric, official inflation:

 

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Google And Facebook To The Moon… Or Peak Advertising?

Google And Facebook To The Moon… Or Peak Advertising?

In the late 90’s and early 2000’s, I spent a lot of time travelling through a host of the worlds airports.

This naturally meant spending an inordinate amount of time staring at random people, wandering about aimlessly (no business class lounges when you’re an impoverished backpacker living on noodles), and traipsing through duty free stores, puzzling on how it is woman can spend so much on perfume and men so much on big ugly watches.

Today, smart phones have come to rescue us but these things were far from ubiquitous back then. Instead, we had trusty newsstands. Remember them? Magazines and newspapers duelled it out for shelf space. Vanity fair, PC Magazine, New Yorker, the FT, you name it.

What kept the newsprint industry alive was advertising revenues.

When it came to newspapers, people bought them to read about the local politician caught fornicating with a ladyboy while on holiday in Bangkok… or to read about some girl named Mildred who had become a movie star after 70,000 auditions and how proud her parents were.

Nobody read them for the silly pictures of Marlboro man on a horse or for the pictures of some freshly-shaven suit flashing a Rolex while sipping champagne on a private jet. But we still had tons of ads because without them there’d have been no stories of Mildred or ladyboy antics. It’s what kept the industry alive.

At it’s peak, ad rates were astronomical, but the only way to tell people about a new computer was to buy a page in Computer Shopper. And the only way the suits at Goldman Sachs could let you know they were there to screw guide you through the complexities of the market was to buy a full page in the FT.

Then it all imploded.

The internet has been at once the greatest and the most destructive commercial invention in media history. They said it couldn’t happen. Then it did. Playboy? Dead. Rolling Stone? Buried. Citadel? Whoosh!

Two decades ago, if you were an editor at a large rag, you were king of the world. Expense accounts, lavish office space, wielding Schwarzenegger-like power with every institution grappling for your attention. Today, if you’re still alive, you’re bandaging your business together… and you’ve already taken everything online. But guess which god you’re now praying to?

The same guys who now control ad spend.

You see, advertising revenue never went away. It just changed hands.

Advertising revenue never went away — it just changed hands.Click To Tweet

This chart is a couple years old but shows the overall makeup of the ad market.

And here’s the stellar growth of ad revenue for Google.


Google revenue growth

It’s been a helluva run for both:

For their part, investors clearly aren’t paying for revenues. A forward price to cash flow of 19.71x? Ouch!

And the big boy, Alphabet:

Based on the numbers…investors are buying “Growth”.

Benjamin Graham wouldn’t be turning over in his grave. He’d be backflipping.

Where to Now?

So are we to sail into the sunset with Google and Facebook leading the charge in the advertising space? For how long?

Or is there a coming pressure on ad revenue, meaning millennials will find themselves carrying catheters around and playing bingo to a different world… one not ruled by these two? Or could it all happen even sooner than that?

Ad growth can take place by acquiring new markets as well as maintaining existing revenues. If you’re adding new customers while existing ones are dropping off faster or even at the same pace as additions, you’re a hamster on a wheel, and that “growth” that investors are currently paying such a premium for risks being repriced.

Here at Capitalist Exploits HQ there isn’t a week that goes by without Natasha, or Henry, or Alec (this week’s one) hitting me up with the promise that I can grow my business much faster with SEO/UX/CRM and ad spending with Google, Facebook, and a bunch of other “social media” juggernauts”.

I don’t begrudge these folks. They’re just trying to make a crumb. But unfortunately that usually means promising me they know just the tricks of the trade, and I can pay them to place ads for me and “manage” my online presence. The ROI will come, I just need to be patient. Maybe they’re right, but I doubt it. Know why?

I’ve spoken with many others running online businesses, and you’d have more luck finding the yeti than anyone who’s had the ability to say with certainty that any of their ad spend is driving meaningful numbers over and above dollar spend. Site hits? Sure. But no conversions.

It’s a world of obfuscation with the promise of gold always lurking over the horizon… but never in reach.

A while ago a company run by some friends spent a godawful amount with what is the equivalent of Google’s SAS.

The promise from the Google boys was it’d pay off in a big way — just be patient — and it required a substantial downpayment.

That was nearly a year ago, and the patience has long since worn off. For an excellent breakdown on the murky world of ad trading, I’d strongly suggest Raoul Pal’s GMI report on the topic, which you can find by signing up to Real Vision TV.

I agree with Raoul when he says:

I think that as this story develops, Google and Facebook will begin to come under pressure. They are making super – normal profits based on total sham. They aren’t the villains but they own the eco-system and they clearly can’t be left in charge of it.

I’ve had similar experiences.

In the past, I hired an advertising agency who were considered “best in biz” to build a landing page for me and run a campaign complete with targeting traffic (which I paid for separately) for an event I was hosting.

The results where absolutely hopeless, and after three months and about US$15,000 down it was clear to me there was only one group making money on this gig… and it wasn’t the guy I saw in the mirror.

I fired them, took down the landing page, sat down, and wrote a short message to my existing list. No special copywriting skills, or emotional wording. Nothing. Just what I was up to. Bam! Success. Weird, heh?

Now, I realise that my data sample is admittedly tiny in the grand scheme of things, but the thing is I’ve enjoyed substantial organic growth (thanks to you readers for sharing my content with friends). But the targeting ad side, while only done a couple of times, has been spectacularly useless 100% of the time.

I remembered all of this when last week I came across this article about Procter & Gamble’s dialling back on ad spend.

The world’s largest advertiser slashed spending on ‘crappy’ digital ads by over $100 million — and still saw sales increase

We will vote with our dollars and will not waste our money on a crappy media supply chain—so we can invest in what really matters—better advertising and innovation to drive growth.

You may be thinking that US$100m is a drop in the bucket for the duopoly of Google and Facebook, and you’d be right. What isn’t a drop in the bucket, however, is Procter & Gamble entire annual marketing budget. A whopping US$2.4 billion!

P&G’s Marc Pritchard was pretty frank in a speech given at the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s annual leadership meeting in Hollywood earlier this year.

Frankly, there’s, we believe, at least 20 to 30 percent of waste in the media supply chain because of lack of viewability, nontransparent contracts, nontransparent measurement of inputs, fraud and now even your ads showing up in unsafe places,

He has given the duopoly a one year ultimatum to clean up their act or risk losing P&G’s 2018 budget.

P&G are not the only ones as they’re joined by Unilever and Bank of America to name a few.

Digging deeper I found this from a few months back:

French advertising giant pulls out of Google and YouTube

Havas becomes first major global marketing company to pull entire ad spend after talks with tech company break down.

The problem that humans have is that we need data to understand and make rational decisions.

The entire digital advertising industry has been so new and so fast-moving that businesses haven’t had the time to accumulate meaningful data on which to make calculated rational decisions.

Additionally, the dynamic has been changing so quickly that what may have worked for a few months suddenly no longer works. It’s been like trying to fit a hubcap on a moving car. You just get chewed up.

The rush to get, gain, and retain “online presence” has led to a FOMO and subsequent massive boom in ad agencies and, of course, social media companies themselves.

Attempting to value the ad spend companies have opted to just spraying money at ad agencies in the hope that they know what the hell they’re doing. Investors, finding it impossible to value companies such as Google and Facebook, have chosen instead to just spray money at them buying the “growth”.

Speed Bumps

There are a couple that spring to mind:

1. More government regulation

It’s coming and here’s why.

Whether or not you believe that the Russians are hacking US elections or not is missing the point. Believing that foreign governments don’t or aren’t trying to influence elections is naive at best and deluded at worst. And this goes for all governments.

That manipulation no longer takes place via newsprint journalism. Today it’s Twitter, Facebook, and Google where the battleground lies. Right now, it’s the Wild West.

That’s unlikely to remain unregulated.

China has already banned and regulated both. Facebook isn’t allowed and Google is hamstrung. In Europe, Zuckerberg is increasingly regulated. The US remains relatively untouched, but I think the trend will assert itself. Importantly, as an investor, it’s clear to me that right now none of this is priced into these stocks all the while they’re sporting valuations that cause blood to shoot from the eyes of value investors.

2. Hard data spoiling the party

As mentioned above, the industry chorus is growing louder and louder.

Every business model matures, and Google and Facebook’s is no different. Businesses have had over a decade now to analyse ad spend and ROI. When entire industries find they can no longer square spending with ROI, we’re likely to see them seeking alternatives. It’s tough to envision this being good for either of these two.

Question


– Chris

“Customers will realise that the elusive holy grail of digital advertising nirvana is a total sham where everyone is being scalped, returns are virtually non-existent, the system is totally rigged against them and everyone else is getting rich off the back of it.” — Raoul Pal

Mad, Mad, Mad, MAD World: News in Charts

Mad, Mad, Mad, MAD World: News in Charts

Global Outlook – Mad, Mad, Mad, MAD World: News in Charts

by Fathom Consulting via Thomson Reuters

Alarm bells are ringing for economic fundamentalists such as Fathom Consulting.

Asset prices look increasingly out of step with fundamentals, and in some cases they look downright bubbly. And other geopolitical developments are similarly alarming. One might even describe them as…

Mad:

Equity prices in developed economies, and specifically in the US, are more than one standard deviation higher than their long-run average in relation to nominal GDP.

Mad:

The Nasdaq has again played its part, posting an even greater degree of fundamental overvaluation than the S&P 500. Its degree of overvaluation in relation to nominal GDP is now close to its dotcom bubble high.

Mad:

Government bond prices across the developed world are at all-time highs. Bond prices have been increasing consistently since the 1980s, with a series of global shocks driving that move.

Total central bank assets across the developed world now stand at over $14 trillion, having increased by about $10 trillion since the recession.

Over the same period, the new issuance of government debt has increased dramatically right across the G5. All else the same, you would expect such an increase in government debt to result in higher government bond yields (lower prices).

However, short rates have fallen to the lower bound and QE has been introduced, mopping up almost all of the value of new issuance of government debt across the major developed economies. It is no surprise, therefore, that the price of government bonds has increased over the same period, by around 18%.

Click here to read full story on GoldCore.com.

Important Guides

For your perusal, below are our most popular guides in 2017:

Essential Guide To Storing Gold In Switzerland

Essential Guide To Storing Gold In Singapore

Essential Guide to Tax Free Gold Sovereigns (UK)

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SDR: The New Global Currency

SDR: The New Global Currency

Bollocks!

Hi there,

I’ve been hearing a lot from private bankers lately (they’re always trying to flog you product), though the topic being discussed amongst themselves is that of the SDR going mainstream, and they’ve been asking my opinion.

We don’t have to look far to understand why.

End of the US Dollar Rally says HSBC’s Bloom, Cuts Forecasts for USD

Bearish bets on dollar rise ahead of Fed meeting

Here’s the dollar index going back to December 2016.

Which itself has brought a not unsurprising but potentially valuable (depending on how you position) setup.

Here’s COT positioning.

Speculators haven’t been this short since 2014— back when… oh, never mind. This time is different, right?

Global Players Circumventing the Dollar

Fuelling this narrative has been talk about those sneaky Chinese and their moves to disintermediate the dollar through the development of gold contracts and oil traded in yuan.

All of this appears to be painting a particularly nasty picture for the greenback, and the bears, as we can see, are all in and betting on black.

This is the backdrop to the discussions those private bankers are having around the SDR. After all, if one hegemonic currency is to go away, it surely can’t do so without another replacing it.

Enter the SDR.

Let’s briefly define what an SDR exactly is so we know what we’re talking about.

Think of it as an ETF of international currencies which adjusts its weighting according to the prominence of currencies in terms of international trade and FX reserves. It’s currently made up of the following five currencies: USD 41.73%, EUR 30.93%, RMB 10.92%, JPY 8.33%, and GBP 8.09%

It is the brainchild of the IMF, an organisation that should be taken outside and shot. No trial, no last meal, and no flowers, please. The ideas coming out of this creature pretty much guarantees they should be avoided like a bubonic rat. 

And speaking of the IMF, we have the head, one Christine “I’m a wretched old goat” Lagarde riding the coattails of the crypto currency boom.

LONDON (Reuters) – Global usage of the International Monetary Fund’s in-house currency, the special drawing right (SDR), could get a boost from the growth of digital currencies, the Fund’s managing director, Christine Lagarde said on Friday.

Like I said. Bollocks!

Let Me Explain

What do all of these have in common?

  • Bretton Woods
  • USD reserve status
  • The formation of the United Nations
  • The IMF and,
  • The IMDB and,
  • The World Bank
  • The Gold standard, and lastly….
  • Quantitative easing

The answer to this question explains why we’re extremely unlikely to see any SDR implemented — at least not yet… and not particularly soon.

All of these organisations, except for QE which isn’t an organisation at all (and I’ll get to it in a minute), were formed at the end of World War 2.

How do you get 44 nations, whose people speak different languages, pray to different gods, eat different foods, and have completely different domestic laws, to agree on one set of rules?

Rules such as a dollar standard backed by gold. Organisations such as the UN, IMF, the World Bank, and others.

You have a great big shocking brutal war. So devastating, so exhausting, and so physically and mentally sickening that in desperation society strives to create something that will create stability, peace, and an end to the mayhem. There is a cohesiveness in shared tragedy and by 1945 there was a helluva lot of tragedy going around with entire cities left in smouldering ruins, nations bankrupted, leaving society poor, desperate, and exhausted.

Nearing the end of WW 2 we all looked at one another and basically said, holy cow, let’s not do THAT again. In fact, let’s make damned sure it never happens again, heh folks.

The European Union itself was setup with the purpose of ending the frequent and bloody conflicts of European neighbours which culminated in World War 2. Many of the institutions and social structures of any scale were birthed in crisis.

The USSR

Never worked. That it all ended up with people eating grass never stopped society from giving it a jolly good whirl — 1922 to 1991 is still 69 very long years. Imagine those were YOUR 69 years. Then they’d certainly have mattered.

That it failed as miserably as the euro will surely fail is missing the point. The collective decision to give communism a go was a by-product of World War 1, beginning with the Bolshevik seizure of power in Petrograd in October 1917.

Good ideas, bad ideas. Any ideas implemented at scale across political divides are more often than not achieved during and often after a crisis.

The bigger the crisis the greater the probability of something being implemented. A domestic crisis can birth a large domestic response but typically it takes an international crisis together with a shared political view to birth something like the various organisations that came out of Bretton Woods.

QE

Was a coordinated effort in a time of crisis where participants from the world’s global central banks all chose to act together with self preservation being the obvious goal. That took political cohesion together with a shared crisis.

Now, this is where it’s important because a crisis where there is no global political cohesion does NOT result in coordination. All we need do is look at individual crisis which regularly take place and where global powers pay little to no attention to them, certainly not at a global coordinated level. Venezuela today, Argentina in 2003, even the Asian crisis never amounted to a true global coordinated effort to do something.

This comes back to an article I penned almost exactly a year ago on the incoming “strong men” and their impact on the global economy.

Where I stated the 3 important things to watch for.

  1. Political cohesion and stability can no longer be relied upon as politics becomes inward looking with everything from trade deals to central bank swap lines being renegotiated or cancelled altogether.
  2. Global coordinated central bank action. The era of global coordinated monetary policy which we’ve been experiencing since the GFC, especially with the three largest players (ECB, FED and BOJ), will be looked back upon with nostalgia by the current clutch of central bankers who muddy the halls of power. Policy will increasingly be driven with greater sensitivity to nationalist rather than international concerns, which brings me to…
  3. Liquidity in the financial system which has stemmed from easing monetary policy is already contracting. In a world where derivatives traverse borders, connecting financial systems like never before, a liquidity crisis presents enormous tail risk in a leveraged world.

Over the last decade, we’ve been moving rapidly towards a world of “us vs. them”. A world of insular inward looking politics, xenophobia, rising nationalism, rising religionism, and an increase in secessionist movements.

Catalonia is simply the most recent example, though preceded by Brexit.

When I look around the world today, I just don’t see the political cohesion necessary to implement the SDR.

Today’s fragmented world lacks the political cohesion required to implement the SDR.Click To Tweet

Unless someone rounded up the existing political elite from all over the world and severely and heavily medicated them, their interests are simply not aligned for this to take shape. Barring the snapping of some anchoring ligament in their current psyche, there exists no political will to act in a coordinated fashion.

The trend is, dare I say it, quite firmly in the other direction, and unless that changes, the implementation of the SDR at scale grows increasingly unlikely with each day.

Oh, and one last thing.

Let me ask you a question: If Europe has had such trouble managing a monetary policy amongst the Eurozone, which incidentally is a basket of countries with similar social, political, and economic structures, then how the heck does one manage such things on a global scale, across countries with distinctly different social, political, and economic structures?

– Chris

“We are met here in Bretton Woods in an experimental test, probably the first time in the history of the world, that forty-four nations have convened seeking to solve difficult economic problems. We fight together on sodden battlefields. We sail together on the majestic blue. We fly together in the ethereal sky.” — Fred Winson, U.S. delegate at the Bretton Wood conference

A Golden Sunset & Silver Ripples Mean One Thing: SURFS UP

A Golden Sunset & Silver Ripples Mean One Thing: SURFS UP

Today started out like all BLS Jobs Report Fridays. As the Nonfarms Payrolls Report was released, gold had an exceptionally rough time:

$2,605,900,000 worth of paper gold traded within just four minutes (20,600 contracts).

That was not the first hit, however:

Gold got a second helping of smashed potatoes when the markets officially opened.

Silver had the same hit in the morning as the first negative jobs number in seven years was released:

The second helping was also served shortly after the markets opened:

 

However that all changed as the morning went on. By the time it was all over, and while it may be hard to believe, silver was actually up on the week:

How convenient that both the ADP and the BLS jobs numbers hit he tape a full hour before the markets open. This gives the cartel plenty of time to see test the waters. In silver, those waters were tested, but even though it has not been easy to watch all week long, silver has actually held up rather nicely, all things considered:

Sure, we dipped into the $16.50s a few times this week. No, I was not able to time the exact bottom. Timing exact bottoms and tops is not the best strategy, because it rarely works out to be so exact. Yet this week with silver, any day this week was a good day to buy. Silver has traded in the $16.50 to $17 range all week, mostly on the lower side of that range, and on the daily, that is one heck of a bullish engulfing candle which is signalling strength going into next week.

Why wouldn’t there be a massive surge in the silver price? Silver started the most recent downtrend on September 8th, and after three weeks of grueling losses, here is silver on the weekly looking perky:

We have been watching the GSR for over a week now, and sure enough, silver is starting to come back down as we expected it to:

All things considered, who would have thought we would hold up so nicely on the week? I sure didn’t. I was looking for a trip down to $16. For a brief period this morning we dipped into all the way down to $16.34, but the dip was very short lived. There is certainly an overwhelming amount of physical silver demand in the lower $16s, and the cartel knows it. Perhaps that is the reason why silver held on so, systematically, all week long. The dials and gauges may be working well now, but we shall see for how long.

Gold did not far as well as silver on the week:

This is no reason to get alarmed, however. It is actually very healthy. We have been looking for gold to catch down to silver, and we have been looking for silver to catch-up to gold, and this week, we got both. Gold was slightly down and silver was slightly up.

All of these factors show that while on the surface, the precious metals have been performing weak on the price action, they are, for all intents and purposes, setting up for a massive rally. It is almost too textbook to be true.

The dollar has continued to show signs of strength, however, but notice the subtle difference:

We speculated that the dollar would test the 94 resistance level, and sure enough it did. One way to look at the dollar is in relation to precious metals. It is rather interesting, that as the dollar has continued in the most recent rally, what we would consider a bear rally, gold has only traded slightly lower, and silver is actually up on the week.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury Note punched through 2.4% today for a couple of minutes. Notice the divergence the dollar and yields, however. On the chart above of DXY and TNX, yields even gaped up. We shall see if this is the start of something new, or the end of something long overdue. The overdue would refer to a massive surge in yield, as well as a serious drop in the value of the dollar, both working to offset each other. In other words, as the dollar weakens and continually loses value, interest rates will be forced up higher, much higher.

To say great shocks are coming in FX and the debt markets is putting it lightly.

But wouldn’t you know, for now, everything is awesome:

Now, take into consideration that we just has the worst mass shooting, ever, in the “modern era” as the MSM likes to put it, President Trump is ratcheting down and turning up the pressure on “Rocket Man”, Catalonia is saying they are going to declare independence from Spain on Monday, the U.S. economy just officially lost jobs for the first time in 7 years, Puerto Rico is wreaking havoc on the budget and Puerto Rico’s ability to pay it’s debt, let alone cover damages estimated at more than the entire GDP of the island, yet still, the Dow is up 440 points since last week.

Fear, however, looks to be waking up:

Just as the silver candle today is looking very, very bullish, that VIX candle is looking like it is signaling that the fear trade is on.

Here’s a question: How can the cartel manage to suppress gold and silver prices, at the same time they are able to maintain the illusion of a strong dollar, they can prop the stock markets, they can quell any “fear” in the markets, and they can arrive at employment nirvana?

That was rhetorical, but If I were answering it, I would say that they can’t. If they were able to keep gold and silver at bay all week because China was closed, then next week they just may have to direct fire elsewhere in the markets, and this could mean that they have to let gold and silver prices rise. We shall see.

If platinum is any indication, however, it does look like the precious metals have found their short term bottom here:

Platinum is up ever so slightly on the week, and that is a good thing. Recall that platinum has officially been in a correction, and we needed to stop the bleeding and stabilize the patient. It looks like the markets have done just that.

Even if copper and crude are sending mixed signals:

Copper has clawed it’s way back above $3.00, yet crude has fallen under $50 as we thought it would. From mid-June and on, however, it is hard to make the case that prices are not going higher. Prices for Dr Copper and Black Gold may have diverged this week, but, at least on the daily chart, the trend is clear. Once the dollar weakens even more, the trend will be absolutely clear. Higher prices for two of the most basic and essential of materials in all things.

Translation: Get ready to pay more for everything, from those Oreos in NY which must be trucked in from Mexico due to outsourcing, to the cost to wire a house during the construction phase. The next commodities bull market is getting it’s footing.

BOTTOM LINE:

With gold down slightly on the week and with silver up on the week, now come the waves that we have been waiting for.

But she’s not going to wait for you, so grab you’re board and get in already…

 

Insider Weekly: Commodity Investors Waving A White Flag

Insider Weekly: Commodity Investors Waving A White Flag


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Russia Gold Rush Sees Record Reserves For Putin Era

Russia Gold Rush Sees Record Reserves For Putin Era

Russia Gold Rush Sees Record Reserves For Putin Era

by Yuliya Fedorinova of Bloomberg via Irish Indepedent

Vladimir Putin is doing his part to keep the upswing in gold alive.

Since the Russian president went on a geopolitical offensive in Ukraine in 2014, the haven asset had its first annual gain in four years in 2016 and is on track for another in 2017.

Click to enlarge. Russia added another 500,000 ounces of gold to it’s reserves in August. Source: Goldchartsrus.com

A beneficiary of economic and political perils from North Korea to Brexit, it’s among the top-performing commodities this year.

Meanwhile, the Bank of Russia has more than doubled the pace of gold purchases, bringing the share of bullion in its international reserves to the highest of Mr Putin’s 17 years in power, according to World Gold Council data.

In the second quarter alone, it accounted for 38pc of all gold purchased by central banks.

The gold rush is allowing the Bank of Russia to continue growing its reserves while abstaining from purchases of foreign currency for more than two years.

But what may matter most is that gold is as geopolitics-proof an investment as any in the age of sanctions and a deepening rift with the US.

Click here to read full story on GoldCore.com.

Important Guides

For your perusal, below are our most popular guides in 2017:

Essential Guide To Storing Gold In Switzerland

Essential Guide To Storing Gold In Singapore

Essential Guide to Tax Free Gold Sovereigns (UK)

Please share our research with family, friends and colleagues who you think would benefit from being informed by it.