Usually we start this column with some guff about gold. And then after talking mostly about gold we may hit the other metals. Let’s face it, gold is usually the most exciting metal there is. If the world collapses about us, we will be using gold as the currency that helps us rebuild civilization. And after all, what could be more exciting than that.
But the real action has been in the silver market. Not all up, it must be said as silver took a real pounding on some days, but there’s some real excitement that J.P. Morgan may be about to bite it on silver.
|Precious Metals Prices|
|Fri PM Fix||Weekly Change|
Gold-Silver Ratio: 47.77 (was 48.83)
First let’s look at some history. Bunker Hunt and a few friends tried to corner the silver market by buying silver and buying silver futures. They drove the silver price skywards, to a level that’s not been reached since. Then the authorities did some dirty tricks with the silver futures contracts, the price of silver fell, and everyone brushed themselves off and got on with life.
Now J.P. Morgan has been accused of doing the same thing, but in reverse. Instead of buying silver they are selling it short, that is they are selling it now to buy in six months time. They have, it has been alleged, sold far more silver than they can possibly have. This has meant that the rise in the silver price is going to kill them if we all buy physical silver. You see, someone may want to see all this silver they’ve been sold, and then J.P. Morgan will have to buy it and up shoots the price.
The core idea here is that the gold silver ratio is ridiculously high. Historically (going back to Biblical times) it has been 16:1, now it is around 48:1, although this week it fell quite fast. A return to historical norms would mean that silver would get to $87 per ounce.
So there’s some correction that’s due. Now, this doesn’t necessarily mean that silver has to go up. There could be a new paradigm, or if not, the correction could be postponed for a very long time. If the correction does happen, then it could be that gold would go down to around $500 – where it was only a few years ago.
Gold could keep going down, but there’s enough uncertainty and inflation to suggest that it won’t get all the way to $500 per ounce. The correction could be delayed by decades or muted, but the collection will come. You could still lose money betting on it.