When Will Silver Make Its 'Move'?
Jeff NielsonInvestors familiar with the precious metals sector are used to seeing a pattern in each short-term rally in this market. Silver begins these rallies especially undervalued versus gold, then gains back much of its lost ground by outperforming gold for the duration of the rally.
November 9, 2009
However, with gold's recent surge we have not seen this typical pattern repeat, which begs the question: why not? Clearly, investors need to gain some understanding of this new, recent behavior in order to decide when/if to increase their investment in what is arguably the most under-priced commodity on the planet.
The easy "answer" is that silver has been held back by its additional status of being an "industrial metal". Copper, often referred to as an indicator of the strength of the global economy, has leveled-out over the past few weeks - after marching steadily higher for most of the year. By itself, this answer seems inadequate, as silver's superior performance (versus gold) in past rallies has occurred irrespective of moves in the copper market, yet in the current precious metals rally silver is only outperforming gold on days where there is a broader rally in commodities.
I recently saw some interesting speculation from precious metals commentator, Jim Willie - who reported a rumor that India had paid the IMF for its 200 tons of gold with silver. However, on the surface at least, this rumor seems to lack any plausibility. If the purpose of selling some of the IMF's gold was to increase liquidity for its lending programs, then simply swapping gold for silver would be an utterly pointless exercise.
Perhaps the appropriate way to view this recent scenario is not that silver has under-performed, but rather that gold has over-performed (over the immediate term). It is interesting to note that prior to the announcement of the IMF sale of gold to India that several (legitimate) precious metals commentators had been predicting short-term weakness for gold - after India's gold-buying holiday ("Diwali") passed on October 17th , and before Indian buying for its "wedding season" heats up in the 4th quarter.
With the "surprise" sale of gold to India, some commentators are suggesting that the surge in gold is not so much a matter of the sale being seen as a "bullish indicator" for the sector, but rather that it caused some panic, short-covering - as there remain a group of foolish traders who seek to emulate the shorting behavior of the infamous bullion-banks (but lack the governmental "backing" which props up that crime syndicate).
This interpretation of the market would seem to provide the most cohesive explanation of recent price movements. Rather than gold behaving as expected, and silver under-performing, it is silver which has behaved predictably, while gold has defied expected behavior due to the consequences of the IMF gold-sale.
Before leaving our analysis of what has happened to focus on what will happen, I would like to make a few more observations about recent market behavior - for markets as a whole. The vast majority of the market is apparently accepting the recently-announced U.S. GDP estimate of +3.5% for the 3rd quarter, despite the inherent absurdity of the U.S. experiencing strong "growth" in GDP while its economy continues to collapse (see "U.S. Economy is NOT Growing").
However, since that announcement, we have seen both commodities and equities markets deteriorate slightly - rather than the news igniting more manic buying, as has been the pattern earlier this year each time the U.S. announced "good news" for the economy. This atypical behavior suggests two possible scenarios, but unfortunately they have opposite implications for the precious metals market.
The first scenario is that Wall Street banksters have begun bailing out of the market with their ill-gotten gains. This entire "rally" has been artificial in every sense of the word. Not only do real economic fundamentals support little if any of the improbable gains in U.S. equities, but (as regular readers have heard on several occasions) insiders have been increasing their selling throughout this huge "rally". Thus we have one of the fastest, steepest "rallies" in U.S. market history at the same time that the people running U.S. corporations have little faith in their own companies and the economy continues to steadily deteriorate (although admittedly at a slower pace).
Keep in mind that with the wealthiest 1% of U.S. society holding 55% of all stock, that Wall Street literally controls a majority of all U.S. equities. Indeed I've seen estimates that Wall Street controls as much as 70% or more of all U.S. equities trading. All it takes is for this cabal of oligarchs to conspire to buy at the same time (after loading up on taxpayer hand-outs) and the markets go up irrespective of what is actually taking place in the real world.
Naturally, the reverse is true as well. An agreement by the oligarchs that now is the time to sell means that U.S. markets (and likely global equity markets) are heading lower. If a sell-off has been secretly decreed by Wall Street, we can certainly expect spill-over into the commodities markets - as the "fast" hedge-fund money which piled into commodities can be expected to (temporarily) flee from these sectors once these Pavlov's Dogs get their cue from Wall Street.
The other interpretation of events is quite literally a totally opposite perspective. Instead of recent market behavior being an "early warning sign" of another orchestrated manipulation by Wall Street oligarchs, we could view recent behavior as the beginning of a collapse in confidence of the economic fantasy-world depicted by both Wall Street and the U.S. media propaganda-machine.
Supporting this view is the fact that we have recently seen U.S. markets weaken when "bad news" is announced. This is a total break from the pattern of the previous eight months, where the propaganda-machine managed to "sweep" one item of bad news after another "under the carpet" - with the U.S. equities juggernaut steaming higher irrespective of such news. It was only terrible news which derailed that "rally" - and even then, only for one or two days.
If, in fact, the markets are beginning to reject/disbelieve the "don't worry, be happy" message of market charlatans like "Helicopter" Ben, and Tim-the-tax-cheat, then the upcoming sell-off in U.S. markets will likely not be duplicated across all other markets. Specifically, if the markets are starting to shrug off U.S. propaganda, it also implies a further erosion of confidence in the U.S. dollar.
In this scenario, what we should expect is some bona fide "decoupling" of markets. The U.S. dollar will move lower with U.S. equities - reversing the pattern which has been seen for most of the year. Not only will this escalation in dollar-weakness be good for all commodities, but it would further cement the status of the U.S. dollar as the new "carry trade" currency.
With the carry-trade being a vehicle which supports greater economic activity and thus tends to push markets higher, we could finally witness a genuine demarcation between the equity markets of the weakest economies (i.e. the U.S., the U.K., and a few other developed economies) and the strongest - such as Brazil, China and India.
This scenario would provide a dual "push" higher for precious metals. Rising commodities-inflation would be certain to push precious metals higher, while an acceleration in the collapse in confidence in the U.S. economy would also be very bullish for gold and silver.
As a matter of personal disclosure, I added to my own holdings of silver bullion this week, in some respects following my own advice. In "Gold: Is NOW the time to buy?", I suggested to readers that while from a long-term perspective gold should still be viewed as "cheap", that with silver being dramatically under-priced versus gold (along with the shares of precious metals miners), that investors may want to channel their current investments in this sector into the areas which currently have the best risk/reward profile.
I also based my decision to add to my own holdings on the extremely bullish behavior of precious metals throughout most of the year. The normal sell-off which takes place in this sector during the "seasonal weakness" of late spring and summer never materialized this year, while the fall rally began weeks earlier than normal.
Given that fundamentals for precious metals continue to get stronger week-by-week, I see no reason for the pattern this year of superior performance to end. Thus, even in the face of a potential (short-term) bearish scenario for precious metals, my own view of the risk/reward parameters is that the risk of being "underweight" in this sector (and ending up "chasing" the market) exceeds the risk of buying prematurely.
As always, I'm comforted by the knowledge that even if I'm currently misreading the market - and precious metals should weaken over the short-term, that I can rely upon our morally- and intellectually-bankrupt "leaders" to continue to take the easy way out: continuing their utterly reckless monetary policies, which can only end in a devastating wave of inflation (and long-term strength in gold and silver).
Continuing with this longer term perspective, for reasons I've itemized in many previous commentaries silver is certain to rise to many multiples of its current price. Given the extremely fragile and over-leveraged position of the anti-gold cabal, the likelihood is that either the silver market or the gold market (or both) will finally shake-off decades of manipulation in dramatic fashion: with some form of major default in either the fraudulent, COMEX market or with the equally-tainted bullion-ETF's.
Such an event can never be predicted through "technical analysis". As a result, those investors sitting on the sideline holding money which they want to invest in this sector, but waiting for the "perfect" buying opportunity are likely to be their own worst enemies. Given that much of the pain which investors have experienced in markets recently is a direct result of greedy behavior, investors cannot allow a continuation of that greed to prevent them from taking prompt action to repair their damaged portfolios through adding to their precious metals holdings.
While even pension funds like CALPERS have responded to their portfolio-losses through increasing their amount of high-risk investing, this is not the time for sane investors to mimic such recklessness. Even if we accept the U.S. economic fantasy-world depicted by the media propagandists, their own forecasts call for a very uneven "recovery" in the months ahead.
Investors are currently presented with a rare opportunity in markets. The safest form of investment (precious metals) also represents the sector with the most-favorable parameters for real gains. Take advantage of this "golden opportunity" while it lasts - and buy some silver.
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