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gold news & views - charts & more
not so much a forum but rather a news archive




GATA -- Sharefin, 19:50:42 01/18/04 Sun

A SUMMARY OF GATA'S WORK

The Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA) believes that central banks, acting through certain investment banks, have surreptitiously manipulated the price of gold. Such activity appears to have started in the mid-1990s and continues to this day. Prominent entities involved include J.P. Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, the Federal Reserve, the Bank of England, and the Bank for International Settlements. GATA specifically alleges that the U.S. Treasury's Exchange Stabilization Fund has been used, contrary to official denials, for gold market interventions. Furthermore, GATA believes that the official sector intervened in the late 1990s to prevent an impending gold derivative crisis, the result of excessive short positions accumulated over many years.

These claims are based on analyses of publicly available government documents and statistics, trading abnormalities, and material presented in a GATA-backed lawsuit. Howe vs. Bank for International Settlements et al. accused the BIS, Federal Reserve, U.S. Treasury, and four bullion banks of gold market manipulation. Though the suit was dismissed in 2002 on two technicalities, the evidence presented in it is recognized by many knowledgeable observers as having sufficiently proven the price-fixing allegations. Nonetheless, important questions remain unanswered about the gold market activities of the investment banks and monetary authorities.






Gold -- Sharefin, 10:02:42 01/18/04 Sun

How Americans Lost Their Right To Own Gold And Became Criminals in the Process






Gold -- Sharefin, 09:40:05 01/18/04 Sun

Hands off Russian gold

MOSCOW - Parliamentary sources have confirmed that an official letter from the Federation Council, the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, was sent last month to Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov, requesting the government's action to exclude foreign mining companies from the bidding to develop Sukhoi Log, Russia's largest unmined gold deposit, and one of the largest in the world.

The move has been made to prevent Barrick Gold, and other international goldminers, from forming local partnerships and bid for the chance to develop the project.






Gold -- Sharefin, 09:36:33 01/18/04 Sun

Despite Drop, Signs Look Good for Gold

INVESTORS who poured more than $1.5 billion into gold and precious
metals mutual funds in the last year got a shock last week. The
price of gold plunged 3.2 percent on Thursday and was down 4.6
percent for the week, to $407. For the year, gold has fallen 2.2
percent.What happened to gold stocks was even more painful. Even
before the price of gold plunged on Thursday, two leading precious-
metals indexes fell sharply. By the end of the week, the gold index
of the Chicago Board Options Exchange and the gold and silver index
of the Philadelphia Stock Exchange were each down more than 10
percent. That led to an average loss of 10.4 percent through
Thursday for the precious-metals funds followed by Lipper Inc.

Despite this sell-off, investors kept moving money into precious
metal funds, adding $53 million in the week ending Wednesday,
according to AMG Data Services. Investors, in this case, seem to
know what they are doing. Though gold has stumbled, the gold rally
won't fade for good until the dollar stops declining.The dollar
rallied briefly last week, setting off the decline in gold prices,
but mixed signals from the Bush administration, the Federal Reserve
and European central banks and finance ministers suggest that
nothing fundamental has changed.






Gold -- Sharefin, 09:31:25 01/18/04 Sun

Gold's glossy again and Newmont says it's no flash in the pan

The surging gold market is being driven by a range of economic factors as the metal regains its place as a safe port in financial storms and the good times will flow on for years, according to Newmont Australia chief executive John Dow.
~~~
The strength of the gold market is not a flash in the pan, Dow says. Important economic factors are now driving the market.

"There are important weaknesses in the US economy. The structural problems of public and private debt are almost unsustainable."

Investors have noted this and as a result the US dollar is weakening, making gold a more attractive store of value, he says.
~~~
The cuts to gold exploration and development in the slump following the Asian economic crisis of the late 1990s mean that supply will take five years to catch up with demand, Dow says.






Gold -- Sharefin, 08:41:56 01/17/04 Sat

Dollar freefall = gold surge

"A fall in the dollar from its pedestal with no substitute to replace it would … support the theory that we may be entering a period of currency chaos and a global economic contraction," warned economist Antony Mueller. "In the final stages of the currency crisis, the dollar will most likely devalue not so much against the euro and the yen, but, instead, most of the currencies combined will devalue drastically against gold."

But even if you don't buy this "final stages of the currency crisis" scenario, even if you're a "glass half full" kind of person about the dollar, gold still remains a wise choice for investors wondering how they'll diversify their portfolios in this quixotic year. There are currently more predictions for $500 gold in 2004 by credible analysts than can adequately fit in this article. Nevertheless, there remains an inexplicable bias against the precious metal that borders on the astounding.






Exploration -- auspec, 21:23:51 01/16/04 Fri

GOING OUT ON A LIMB WITH GOLD AND SILVER MINING STOCKS??

1-16-04

Gold and silver mining stocks are reportedly the most volatile shares on the market….right? Extreme risk coupled with extreme reward potential….right? Let's delve into that premise a little.

The gold mining professionals commonly state that “80% of the exploration plays DON'T work out” or “one out of 300 drill plays end up in success”. They repeat these phrases partly because of historical accuracy and partly for reasons of dampening excessive speculative fever, both understandable reasons, but exactly how accurate is this advice for our current market environment? Could it be that today's mining exploration market is actually an historic anomaly in which the deck is stacked in FAVOR of the speculator? I believe that to be the case and will shortly make my argument in the form of a challenge as you shall soon see. Fair enough?

Let's discuss some factors that increase the odds of success in relationship to resource exploration. Competent management absolutely has to be first and foremost on any list of attributes followed by properties with high potential. The wisest explorers have multiple properties and induce majors companies to spend their cash in the expensive exploration process. It is also essential to have companies with healthy treasuries as well as the ability to promote their particular “story”. These factors are all elementary in resource investing….ignore them at your own peril.

The most rudimentary issue in successful investing is “buy low-sell high” and the proven way to buy low is to recognize value in sectors that few people are interested in. Today's gold & silver market are perfect examples of this “value” issue. The gold bear market post-1996 and the Bre-X scandal pretty much decimated the entire sector, being historically brutal and leaving relatively few survivors in the mining industry. Exploration budgets were severely curtailed and numerous gold exploration companies even converted into technology companies just in time to experience the Tech bust also. Only the best managed mining companies survived to participate in the 2001 to current date gold and silver bull market & I believe it is these companies that present us with opportunities for speculation that are truly extraordinary.

This leads us to my rationale for writing this article. I'm going to list 40 stocks which I follow that are involved in gold, silver & in some cases base metal exploration. Each and every one of these 40 stocks largely qualify as having the previously listed important qualifications for success, in my humble opinion. Most all have treasuries that are cashed up with the renewed recent enthusiasm that currently resides in this niche. The 40 stocks will first be listed & then followed by a challenge to any interested stock pickers.



Stocks are listed with Canadian prices as of 1-16-04

1-Afriore AFO .80
2-Altius ALS 2.60
3-Almaden AMM 2.25
4-Amera AMS .85
5-Anatolia ANO.U 1.20
6-Aurora Plat ARP 2.92
7-ATTAC ATC .39
8-Bralorne BPN .69
9.Bitterroot BTT .53
10-Cardero CDU 2.47
11-Coral CLH .43
12-Canalaska CVV .385
13-Eagle Plains EPL .40
14-Excellon EXN .26
15-Farallon FAN .98
16-Gammon Lake GAM 5.80
17-Great basin GBG 3.03
18-Gabriel GBU 4.35
19-IMA IMR 2.18
20-Intl Northaire INM 1.10
21-Kirkland Lake KGI 3.65
22-Mag Silver MAG 2.10
23-Nevsun NSU 4.98
24-Orezone ORZ 1.21
25-Pacific Ridge PEX .26
26-Pilla Gold PRI .91
27-Radius RDU 1.34
28-Rimfire RFM .90
29-Sunridge Gold SGC 2.90
30-Spectrum Gold SGX 3.46
31-Sterling Res SLG 3.46
32-Spur Ventures SRL 5.03
33-Silver Stand SSRI 14.07
34-Strategic Met SMD .36
35-Spur Ventures SVU 1.60
36-Southwestern SWG 35.27
37-Virginia VIA 1.36
38-Wolfden WLF 5.60
39-X-Cal XCL .85
40-Vista VGZ 4.09 {US}


That's a fairly broad spectrum list of exploration/development companies wit a fertilizer co thrown in for good measure. These are supposedly the riskiest of the risky according to the professional gold analysts, stock brokers & newsletter writers; approximately 80% of these companies should end in failure because of the inordinate odds against exploration success. I'm going to go out on a limb with these mining stories and predict that the vast majority of these plays will, in fact, work out quite successfully, just exactly the opposite of the official mantra. Why? Because I'm convinced we are currently presented with an unique opportunity in this market niche, truly a once in a lifetime situation for the previously mentioned reasons. Most of these stocks have already experienced significant upside movement so this list doesn't in any way represent ‘bottom picking'.

Here's the challenge—issued to professional as well as everyday gold and silver investors. Your task is to select any ten of the aforementioned exploration stocks that you deem are NOT headed for significant success in the coming twelve months. “Success” will be defined as appreciating by 50% or more or making a meaningful resource discovery by 1-16-05. Pretty rash, no? Your ten picks must average less than 50% in appreciation for you to “win”. Maybe I'll make a complete fool of myself & in the process end up lonely and destitute, but I doubt it.

You may e-mail me at rtmauspec@hotmail.com with your ten selections and I will follow up with a six month update and a twelve month final outcome.

The entire purpose of this essay is to portray what an incredible opportunity exists in today's resource sector. This is not investment advice & I do happen to own many of the listed stocks.






Fiat -- Sharefin, 19:57:03 01/16/04 Fri

Low rates and deflation

Yes, the government's debt becomes more serviceable as rates move lower. However, every short-term piece of paper printed makes it more a difficult policy questions of when to raise interest rates. Thus, interest rate policy locks itself into an environment of zero percent return (and chronic negative real return) until liquidity becomes unavailable.

Currently, an inflationary bias is also reflected in the weakening dollar and rising gold prices. But it is the long term interest rate that provides clues as to whether or not we will experience a deflationary depression, stagflation (deflation-inflation), or hyperinflation.

A deflationary depression would be the worst scenario possible.






Gold -- Sharefin, 08:02:46 01/16/04 Fri

Gold slump seen as a temporary weakness

Despite the correction, industry analysts expect gold to remain a hot property during the first half of 2004.

A report from London-based Barclays Capital predicts gold will probably hit US$470 an ounce before June 30. Barclays expects the price of bullion to average US$420 an ounce for the entire year.

"The rally in gold has been increasingly fuelled by the depreciating [U.S.] dollar," said Kamal Naqvi, Barclays Capital's precious-metals analyst. "Over the course of 2004, the risks are biased to the downside, with the potential for dollar recovery."

A second report, this one from London-based gold market consultants GFMS Ltd., predicts the price of bullion will surpass US$450 an ounce by June 30.

GFMS predicts the volatile swings along the way and expects the price of bullion to average US$437 an ounce over the first six months of 2004.
~~~
Bruce Alway, an analyst with GFMS, yesterday told a seminar in Toronto the rising gold price will cause more miners to back away from hedging policies. Hedging is the practice of signing contracts that lock in future gold sales at fixed prices.






Gold -- Sharefin, 07:45:46 01/16/04 Fri

Gold prices tumble 3.2%

Gold prices tumbled 3.2 per centyesterday, giving up much of the gains of recent weeks and posting the biggest one-day decline in three months.

Analysts said the precious metal's steep decline reflected profit-taking by big investment funds and the U.S. dollar's rise against the euro, which has gained 20 per cent against the greenback over the past year.
~~~
While the correction brought gold uncomfortably close to the psychological benchmark $400-an-ounce mark, analysts said conditions are still in place for the metal to trade above $400 this year.

"The basic factors that have taken gold to where it is in U.S.-dollar terms still exist," said Andrew Montano, a director of ScotiaMocatta, the precious metals trading arm of Bank of Nova Scotia.

Mr. Montano and other analysts say the factors that have contributed to a higher gold price -- steep U.S. deficits, geopolitical jitters and reduced hedging by gold producers -- remain in play.

The U.S. current account deficit was $135-billion in the third quarter, the third largest on record. The deficit represents money the United States must borrow to pay for imports and to finance investment not covered by U.S. savings. At the current pace, the United States needs to attract about $1.5-billion a day to fund the deficit and keep the value of the dollar steady.

In an update on the gold market, London-based consulting firm GFMS Ltd. yesterday said it expects the gold price to continue rallying over the first half of this year, perhaps surpassing $450, but it also said a correction is possible.

Analysts said gold could come under further pressure if the U.S. dollar continues to gain ground against the euro.

GFMS said investment demand -- rather than jewellery fabrication or industrial demand -- helped drive gold prices higher in 2003 and will be key to the precious metal's fortunes this year.

The firm estimates that $10-billion flowed into gold investments last year from investors and speculators, roughly double the value of comparable demand in 2002.






Fiat -- Sharefin, 07:43:46 01/16/04 Fri

1 Euro will cost 1,4 USD by the end of the year

European Central Bank (ECB) has expressed its concern for the first time on Monday in regards to the increasing Euro rate, especially after it beat a new record of 1,289 USD.

Last week, Commissar of the Eurocommission Pascal Lami has expressed his worries regarding the Euro's rate. He called that rate of 1,28 dollars as "critical".






Fiat -- Sharefin, 07:41:57 01/16/04 Fri

Greenspan hears dollar concerns

BERLIN Alan Greenspan, the U.S. Federal Reserve chairman, discussed the surging euro with Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of Germany on Tuesday, but declined to comment on whether governments should step in to halt a climb that some fear may dampen growth in Europe.
.
"I regret that the American government has appointed the secretary of the Treasury as the sole spokesman for currency policy," Greenspan said, "and as an economist I find that frankly frustrating but I will adhere to that."
~~~
Schröder said he and Greenspan, who was giving a speech at an event organized by the Bundesbank, discussed "the development of the American and the global economy, and the relationship between the euro and the dollar."
.
But Schröder said the question of how to react was up to the European Central Bank, the chief monetary authority for the 12 countries using the euro.
.
On Monday, Jean Claude Trichet, the president of the ECB, said "brutal moves" in the 12-nation currency were unwelcome, ratcheting up more benign rhetoric he used last week that suggested the central bank was not strongly concerned about the rise in the currency.
.
The ECB is coming under greater pressure from industry groups and politicians to prevent euro gains from hampering an economic recovery.
~~~
Finance Minister Francis Mer of France called on the Group of 7 industrialized nations Tuesday to take action to stem the euro's gain against the dollar, saying it threatens the economy of the dozen countries sharing the currency. Mer said he expected ministers attending a meeting in February to "send a proper signal" of the risks posed by the dollar's sharp decline."
~~~
Last week, the International Monetary Fund issued a sharp warning that the United States, with its rising budget deficit and ballooning trade imbalance, was running up a foreign debt of such record-breaking proportions that it threatened the financial stability of the global economy.
.
On Tuesday, the former U.S. Treasury secretary, Robert Rubin, added his voice to the chorus of speakers warning that U.S. budget deficits pose a significant danger to long-term economic growth if left unchecked.
~~~
"If you get to the point where markets begin to believe that government is going to resort to inflation rather than reestablish fiscal discipline as a way of dealing with projected long-term deficits," he said, "then you have a risk that markets will begin to demand a whole other level of higher interest rates to compensate them for the risks of inflation that they see."






Fiat -- Sharefin, 07:38:30 01/16/04 Fri

The flight of the Indian market

Stock markets in India have generally been the purveyors of bad tidings: financial losses, corporate frauds, even suicides by brokers. But over the last few months, the benchmark Sensex (Sensitivity Index), hosted by the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), the country's oldest and largest bourse, has been a cause of celebration among brokers and investors alike.

Nearly two years ago, in April 2002, the Sensex hovered at around the 3,300 mark. It then began a gradual slide, touching 3,181 and 3,070 in August 2002 and December 2002, respectively, before bottoming out at 2,959 in April 2003. A few market pundits warned that this signaled a long bear phase, attributing it to Indo-Pakistan tensions over Kashmir and uncertainty over the results of the general elections scheduled for later this year.

But the bulls took over and, since then, have pushed stock prices up with a vengeance. The Sensex touched 3,607 points in June 2003, 4,453 in September 2003, 5,838 in December 2003, and on the afternoon of January 9, it closed at 6,112 points.

In the process, it shattered a number of records. Last year, the Sensex broke an 18-year benchmark by closing 59 percent higher than the total trading days in a calendar year. Over 18 continuous trading days - between August 12, 2003, and September 5, 2003, - the Sensex equaled its earlier record of successive higher openings set in February 2000. The Sensex had opened higher for 18 straight trading sessions between February 17 and March 3, 2000. Market sources said higher openings this time around were a sign of the inherent bullishness of the market.






Mahendra -- Sharefin, 07:20:44 01/16/04 Fri

Dear Friends,
Many of you may have been enjoying my latest book “2004 World & Financial Prophecies”. I thank those of you who have purchased the book and for the subsequent comments that you have sent me. I also appreciate your messages of congratulations and goodwill.

I would like to share something very special with you and show in detail how you should plan for the year 2004. I shall endeavour to give you maximum information about what I see and feel concerning the future through astrology. Do not expect that I shall be 100% right, but at the end of the year, I am confident that you shall smile and say in your heart, ‘thank you astrology…thank you Mahendra'. Most of my clients have gained from my work for a long time now. After careful study, research and to talking to my clients, I can say that out of 100 people, 99 of them have gained.

It has taken a long time of struggle and hard work to build faith in my work. Initially, not many people showed any attention when I said that I was predicting the future. However, hard work and patience has seen banks, institutions, funds, corporations and asset management firms become my clients while other players in the world economy closely follow my work. After research, we have found that $5-7 Billion move or shift on long term investments or strategies on the basis of my predictions.

I will recommend a few areas where one can put money as well as highlight important points which will play a key role in world financial markets in 2004.

Currencies
Those who have read my book are aware that I am predicting the Japanese Yen to gain against major world currencies. Since 2002, the British Pound and the Euro have been my favourite currencies. This year, the Yen will gain up to 60 -80 against the US Dollar as well as the Euro and the British Pound. Last week when I predicted the gain of the Dollar against the Pound, Euro, Ausi, Rand etc, I recommended to my clients not to sell the Japanese Yen and they listened. In fact, they bought more Japanese Yen and heeded my recommendation to sell the Euro and the Pound.
Watch list should be – Yen and Russian Rubble

Silver
Many people in the world investor community have closely been following my gold predictions. Those who have read my book will notice that I am more exciting in my silver predictions, even though gold is my favourite metal according to astrology. For 2004, silver will yield unforgettable returns in the short term. I do not intend to give my price projections here because some may think that I am crazy or drunk.

The current level of around $6.20 is a great opportunity to buy silver and the first price target that I am predicting is $7.95, after which unbelievable prices will be attained if silver remains above this level for two days. Previous historic price levels may be reached in the next two years.

After 21st January, the relationship between silver and gold will be broken and for the first time in history, silver will move on its own strength and power. Henceforth, it does not mean that silver will automatically go up whenever gold does.

This is a similar situation to the past when I predicted that the Dollar would go down but the USA stock markets would go up. Therefore, do not make the mistake of basing your silver investments on the gold movements.

The interlinked relationship of the Dollar and metals will also break in the last week of January. If the Dollar gains, it does not mean that metals will go down.

Stock Markets
I have been predicting the downfall of the American stock market for the last two months but the opposite has occurred. However there is an astrological reason behind my prediction. The market has come out of the Bull Run cycle which I predicted for 2003. When one is outside the cycle then it is very dangerous to play. Therefore when I see a risk, I warn well in advance as this is my work's specialty. I do not emerge on the day when the market has tumbled 500 points and declare that the market has gone down AND FROM HERE NOW LOOKS BAD. This is what the technical analysts and chartists do. I am neither of these and my predictions are wholly based on energy and astrological waves.

From this point, a manipulator could even take the market up a little bit. I will however not advise my close followers to remain in the market because one of these fine days the market will decline slightly and then collapse 500-700 points by the close of the session. I do not want any of my followers to be trapped in such a situation. I also do not believe in making some little money in one or two month's temporary upward trend only to be later trapped and losing all the gains made as well as your hard earned money.

And yes, I once again predict that the worst decline will be witnessed in the market and that a horrible scenario will unfold after 21st June 2004. This will precipitate widespread panic in the world stock markets but surprisingly, the South African and Russian stock markets will be on an upward trend in 2004. Investors should therefore watch these markets and make appropriate decisions.

Oil
As I have already mentioned in my book, I see a great rise in the prices of crude oil, natural gas and gasoline. Indeed, all energy products will remain very high in 2004. This is the one area that one should not ignore as I see a great rise in energy products. During this year, crude oil prices could go up to $50 to $60.

Property Market
I see a great crash in the land and property markets in Great Britain (London) and in North America. Therefore, do not engage in land and property speculation after March 2004. There will be many reasons that will account for the drop in prices, one of which shall be the hiking of interest rates in Britain and the USA.

Important Note
I know that short term and long-term traders gain and lose large sums of money even in a single day. The gain or loss is based on the individual's investments. Some take risks for $100, $500 or even $5 million but when it comes to participating with the disadvantaged in society, most people will only commit a minimum amount while many ignore. Whereas they would be willing to risk huge amounts on the prospects of gain, they are reluctant to make a sacrifice for helping those who really need their assistance and find themselves in deplorable situations through no fault of their own. Wherever you are situated in the world, please contribute to charity in your area or anywhere else in aid of those who are in want and needy of your help.

For the short term, a good opportunity to buy gold is between $404 and $408 while for silver it is between $6 and $6.20. One should sell in the stock markets and buy the Japanese Yen. Though the Dollar will attempt to make gains but it will fluctuate a lot now in the next 30 days.

I have decided to be placing updates and write-ups on my website twice a week. They shall cover various issues in the world financial markets as well as other topics of global concern. Therefore, I shall soon be posting my next update in the following ten days.

Weekly information will be available in newsletter but unfortunately you have to subscribe for it. If I give every thing for free then soon I may have to close down my office, internet and website because of non-payment.

Thanks and God Bless,
Mahendra Sharma.
www.mahendraprophecy.com

------
I guess he's been hanging around the goldbug forums.(:-)))






Fiat vs Gold -- Sharefin, 00:19:34 01/16/04 Fri

OCC Derivatives

Total gold derivatives rose by 17% for the quarter - from 72.9 billion to 84 billion
Gold derivatives with a maturity under one year rose a huge 26% - from 37 billion to 45 billion
Gold derivatives with a maturity of one to five years rose 11% - from 27.6 billion to 30.7 billion

Total Notional Tonnes rose from 5873 tonnes to 6846 tonnes for a 15% increase
You can see the rise here shown in the charts.
OCC Gold Derivatives

So much for hedging closing out the contracts between the Miners/Bullion Banks/Central Banks

It's blatantly obvious the Bullion Banks are not closing out their side of the positions but letting the positions build as the miners are reducing their hedges. This infers that the closing out of hedges is not removing supply from the system nor replacing gold borrowed from the Central Banks. Which in turn implies that the Bullion Banks are adding risk to their positions which must be blowing out with the rising gold price. They are using Greenspan's fiat to paper over what must be sizable losses.

As usual we know who to blame, & thanks to the work previously done, why.








Gold -- Sharefin, 20:44:30 01/15/04 Thu

NY gold drop pulls down precious metals as dollar rises

COMEX gold fell 3.15 percent to a one-month low on Thursday, dragging down silver and mining stocks, as a firming dollar spooked speculators out of the long positions booked in gold's rise to 15-year highs last week.

Hedge funds and commodity trading advisors -- their more regulated cousins -- had been holding one of the largest-ever bullish bets and used the dollar's recovery as an excuse to take profits before too much of their windfall evaporated.
~~~
"There is long liquidation. No featured names, no producers really. It just looked like fund-type of business," said a bullion dealer.
~~~
"As the perception emerged in the market that the dollar was not a one-way street, that a rally in the dollar was possible, a small movement upward in the dollar caused a significant downdraft in precious (metals)," said Leonard Kaplan, president of Prospector Asset Management.
~~~
Though analysts see a risk of further gold selling, they remain optimistic about prices. In a Reuters survey released Thursday, analysts forecast an average price of $419.50 for 2004, which would mark the third straight year of double digit gains since gold was languishing near 20-year lows in 2001.

Consulting firm GFMS Ltd. also released an update to its 2003 Gold Survey, predicting prices would average $437 an ounce in the first half of the year.






Gold -- Sharefin, 20:42:44 01/15/04 Thu

Miner Cambior adds glitter to gold target

Cambior Inc. has increased its gold-production target 35 per cent as a result of the start-up of the company's Rosebel mine in South America next month.

The Longueuil-based miner plans to produce 705,000 ounces of gold at an estimated operating cost of $221 (U.S.) an ounce, the company said yesterday.






Gold -- Sharefin, 20:41:30 01/15/04 Thu

Europe gold pressured by dollar, profit-taking


Gold bullion slid below a $417 support
level in Thursday's European trade, under pressure from profit taking and a strengthening dollar
after the release of unexpectedly narrower U.S. trade deficit figures, analysts said.

The yellow metal has been gradually slipping from a 15-year high reached in a steep run last
week, but analysts said it is working its range and expect another rally in the longer term.

"The currency market continues to impact the dollar gold price and with a combination of
better U.S. data and verbal intervention against the rise in the euro, gold's recent profit taking
may be extended over the next few days," analyst John Reade of UBS Investment Bank said in a
daily report.






Fiat -- Sharefin, 20:39:56 01/15/04 Thu

The Greatest Depression Is Coming

That's no exaggeration. It will be worse in many respects than the Great Depression of 1929-1939. But those who are prepared will prosper.

The First Signs Are Already Here
~~~
We're seeing deflation for the first time since the 1930s. That's right: downright deflation. Look at the list compiled by Comstock partners: PCs and peripherals; butter; TVs; toys; long-distance charges; used cars and trucks; audio equipment; women's underwear, nightwear, sportswear and accessories; milk; men's pants and shorts; pork chops; airline fares; new cars; electricity; ship fares; and kitchen, living room and dining room furniture. In most areas of the country, housing prices have started to drop. Rents are dropping. “For Rent” or “For Sale” signs appear at nearly every office building we look at, whether it's here in Colorado, San Francisco, or anywhere. There are very few prospective tenants who are shopping for space. In fact, the only area where any inflation still exists is in health insurance and energy costs.

We have experienced several periods of disinflation since the Great Depression, but never downright deflation: that is, until now. In a period of disinflation, there's no inflation or deflation. Prices remain stable.

The Federal Reserve Board is obviously concerned about deflation. In November 2002, Federal Reserve Board Governor Ben Bernanke made a now-infamous speech to a group of economists in Washington on his version of a remedy for deflation. Bernanke is quoted as saying:

"The U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press - or today, its electronic equivalent
- that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost.”

He was right, but his comments led investors to sell dollars and buy Euros and gold. Moreover, Mr. Bernanke forgot one minor detail: Germany, faced with huge deficits caused by reparations requirements after World War I, tried the same thing in the 1920's. Pictures soon appeared worldwide, showing people with wheelbarrows full of Reichmarks lining up to buy a loaf of bread. The country was still in a Depression, despite the printing presses having worked overtime. This led in large part to the rise of Adolf Hitler.

What else can the Fed do? They have already knocked the Fed Funds rate from 6% to 1.25%, the lowest rate since 1962, and it hasn't worked. Japan has knocked short-term rates down to 0.25%, and that country has been in a deep slump for most of the last 11 years. But we'll be lucky if we go down Japan's road: at least Japan is a country of savers. We are a country of spenders.






Fiat -- Sharefin, 20:37:45 01/15/04 Thu

Saddam's Face Ceases to Be Legal Tender in Iraq

Bank notes printed with the face of Saddam Hussein ceased to be legal tender in Iraq on Thursday, wiping out another memory of the former dictator as thousands of tonnes of old money were sent to the central bank furnaces.

The introduction of new banknotes, which are less prone to counterfeiting, and general confidence in the Iraqi economy have pushed the dinar to new postwar highs against the dollar, forcing the Central Bank to intervene in the market on Thursday.
~~~
BANK INTERVENES

The Central Bank of Iraq said it had intervened to counter the dinar's swift rise, buying dollars at 1,350 dinars each after the currency hit 1,100 on Wednesday -- from 1,500 last week and a low of 2,200 last year.

Iraqi Central Bank Governor Sinan Shibibi told reporters the strength was "not justified."

"There's probably some kind of speculation, people have bright prospects for the Iraqi economy...It is now a trustworthy currency, but it's not justified because it's a big jump, you really want something smooth," he said.

The British Treasury's Jacob Nell, a policy advisor in Iraq, said the central bank thought the dinar's recent appreciation was unwarranted by any political or economic developments.

"Today (the bank) bought dollars in the auction at 1,350 and it stands ready to intervene further in order to ensure it meets its primary objective of exchange rate stability," Nell said.
~~~
In the streetside money markets, currency vendors were at a loss to explain the dinar's volatility. There are rumors of interference from outside, of Kuwaitis or Jordanians trying to play the markets and line their pockets.





Money changer Abbas Feilih sat between the puddles and exhaust fumes of Baghdad's Firdous Square, a calculator and a pile of bright new notes sitting on his wooden table.

"I don't really understand why it's changing so much," he said. "Yesterday 1,100, today 1,300...It's not clear why, maybe there are people outside our borders playing around. But people seem to think the economy will get better, that's a good thing."






Gold -- Sharefin, 07:45:22 01/15/04 Thu

Gold can rally to $450/oz in first half '04--GFMS

Gold can extend last year's scorching rally in the first half of this year to $450 an ounce after a possible profit-taking pullback from 15-year highs hit earlier this month, GFMS Ltd. said Thursday.

In an update to its Gold Survey 2003 report, the London-based commodity research and consultancy forecast a first-half average price of $437 thanks to speculative and investment demand and more portfolio diversification into commodities. The price of gold rose 20 percent last year.






Gold -- Sharefin, 04:37:55 01/15/04 Thu

Gold stocks slip with bullion price

Gold stocks fell yesterday as the price of bullion dropped to its lowest point in two weeks and the U.S. dollar rose against the euro.
~~~
Despite the selloff in gold shares and the weakness in bullion, the prevailing sentiment among market watchers was that yesterday's activity in the gold markets was a short-lived correction, and that the factors that have contributed to the precious metal's rise, including pressure on the U.S. dollar, are still in place.

"This is a long-awaited correction," said John Ing, president of Maison Placements Canada Inc. "We have had almost 13 weeks of up momentum and generally speaking, up moves last only seven to nine weeks."

Despite the rally in the U.S. dollar yesterday, which gained 0.9 per cent against the euro, the fundamental outlook for the once-might currency remains bleak, Mr. Ing said, as a result of steep budget and current account deficits in the United States.

The U.S. dollar's rise yesterday followed reports that European central bankers are concerned by the euro's rapid gains against the dollar, and may consider currency sales to temper what European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet on Monday described as "brutal moves" in the 12-country currency.






Gold -- Sharefin, 21:47:02 01/14/04 Wed

Gold: $2,000 An Ounce Or Bust

When something like a handwritten song sheet by John Lennon sells for nearly half a million dollars, you know that the U.S. dollar is no longer worth hanging on to. The buyer of that sheet music may end up regretting his purchase, or he might be able to trade the music for even more worthless dollars in the future. Who knows? I do know that tangible assets are better than dollars, which lost 20% of their value in 2003. This is where we have been directing your investment efforts over the past two years. There is no change in that advice for 2004.
~~~
I have already outlined the energy avenue, but you should also own some gold. Gold bullion has solid support at $400/ounce basis February futures. I have said that I think gold will eventually reach $2,000 to $2,500. This elicits some surprise. If you think back at the house you bought 20 or 30 years ago, this number is not surprising. In 1971, I bought the house we still live in, which is modest by modern standards. It cost $37,000, and I had no idea how I would pay for it.

I also owned an XKE Jaguar roadster, which I had purchased a couple of years earlier for $2,000. I was more naive then, but I joked that when the Jag was worth enough to pay off the mortgage, I would sell it and do just that. I still have the house, and it would likely sell for some $350,000, maybe more. I still have the Jag, and once the current restoration is finished, it could sell at auction for perhaps $80,000.

If anyone had suggested 30 years ago that either the Jag or the house would be worth this much, I would not have believed them. The secret to this is not that the value of the house has gone up that much. I have to live somewhere. The secret is that the value of the house is the same. The value of the house in dollars is greater because the dollars are slowly becoming worthless. Gold at $2,000 will be no big deal. You should not be surprised at the value of gold this time a year from now, but you will be surprised at the value of the dollar.
~~~
One big change I see coming in 2004 is a serious correction in the stock markets. I believe that our energy and precious metal investments will weather the storm just fine, as they will profit from one of the basic causes of the next market decline. That is a weak dollar and its ramifications.






Fiat -- Sharefin, 22:13:49 01/13/04 Tue

Greenspan Gives Himself An Unjustified Pat On The Back

“There is currently a $3 trillion dollar bubble in the housing market, which when it breaks could have an effect similar to the bursting of the stock market bubble. Mr. Greenspan has encouraged the growth of this bubble by publicly denying its existence.
But this unprecedented run-up in home prices -- more than 40 percentage points above the overall rate of inflation over the last 8 and a half years -- has no plausible explanation other than being the result of a speculative bubble. Mr. Greenspan should tell the truth about this bubble -- this time before, rather than after, it has done its damage.”
-Mark Weisbrot
~~~~

There are signs that the rest of the world is unprepared to join in the ovation which Greenspan clearly thinks is justified under the current circumstances. In spite of the best efforts of Asia's central bankers, it is highly telling that the dollar has continued to sell off and gold continues to rise. More significantly, is that such dollar depreciation, although accompanied by some hand-wringing amongst French and German industrialists (who perceive their export markets under collective threat as a consequence of the euro's record-breaking strength against the greenback), is not engendering any significant reaction from Euroland's monetary authorities. They appeared prepare to let the dollar's freefall continue indefinitely. If anything, recent comments by European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet, who said the euro's 22 per cent gain in the past year would not prevent the region's exports from increasing, appear a rebuttal to Mr Greenspan, especially as such remarks came on the heels of the Greenspan and Bernanke speeches. In effect, Trichet appears to be telling American policy makers, “You're on your own.”


It is worth remembering that the new ECB President is the same man who was synonymous with the Banque de France's “franc fort” policy throughout the 1980s and 1990s – in spite of persistent devaluation pressures which arose at that time – in order to force structural economic reforms on the French economy. Although expressing some concern at the pace of the rise, rather than the absolute level of the euro per se, it does not appear just yet that the ECB is prepared to play the game of competitive currency devaluations, although that may come later. However, what does ring clear in remarks by former ECB President Wim Duisenberg, chief economist Otmar Issing, and now Trichet, is that ECB authorities continue to exhibit concerns about the stability of the global financial system in a manner somewhat at variance with Mr Greenspan's own optimistic assessment.






Fiat -- Sharefin, 22:09:54 01/13/04 Tue

Transatlantic rift grows over falling dollar

France is co-ordinating efforts with Germany to ensure that next month's meeting of Group of Seven finance ministers sends a strong signal on the need for stability in the currency markets.


But both countries are facing an uphill task in persuading the US administration of the need for G7 action to correct the steep decline in the dollar against the euro.

European officials said the two sides were holding increasingly antagonistic views. European governments and central bankers are increasingly concerned about the problem while US officials insisted there were no grounds to act.

The growing rift was highlighted on Tuesday when Alan Greenspan, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, played down the dollar's weakness and repeated his view that he saw no problem in funding US deficits.

His comments came just a day after Jean-Claude Trichet, the European Central Bank president, signalled his disquiet at the euro's rise against the dollar, insisting it had been "brutal" and a sign of "excessive volatility".
~~~
Most analysts believe the Bush administration favours a weaker dollar to help domestic exporters and narrow the ballooning trade deficit. It would be loath to see a dollar rise just ahead of the presidential election.

"It will be pretty hard to get the US on board [at the G7]," said Mark Cliffe of ING. "The US is on a global growth campaign and the ball is now very firmly in Europe's court."

He said the ECB might have to cut interest rates before the US was prepared to sanction any G7 concern about exchange rates.






Fiat -- Sharefin, 22:08:18 01/13/04 Tue

Greenspan admits US deficit could run out of control

Alan Greenspan, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, tried yesterday to downplay the size of America's trade imbalances but admitted it was difficult to tell whether the current account deficit had spiralled out of control.

European leaders, who blame the deficit for the dollar's recent dive, called upon the European Central Bank to cut interest rates, as Mr Greenspan acknowledged that the weak greenback had already put "considerable pressure" on European exporters.

Mr Greenspan said many thought the deficit was no longer capable of being financed but added that he saw "little evidence of stress in funding US current account deficits.






Gold -- ShareLynx Gold email news & snippets, 21:31:43 01/13/04 Tue

Bullion banks and central banks struggle with explosive gold

Gold's fundamentals may be even better than they were
at the outset of the 1970s, a decade that saw a 20-fold
increase in the price

The gold picture in a word: explosive
~~~~
There is no better example than what is now going on
as gold struggles to break away from the
US$400-per-ounce area. With the fundamentals looking
superb and the technical position shaping up even better,
any free market would be exploding to the upside.

However, whenever gold begins to surge, the usual
suspects -- Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, Morgan
Stanley et al. -- show up on the floor of the Comex and
sell until the upward momentum has been reversed.
They did it aggressively prior to the December options
expiry to keep gold under US$400 so the December
$400 call options would expire worthless. And then,
when gold moved through US$400 subsequently, they
sold aggressively again to prevent the price from
accelerating upward.

Certainly, one of the primary reasons for this behavior
is the existence of an enormous short position, which is
going further and further off-side. The entities that are
short gold are feeling the pain, and it is requiring an
immense amount of capital to sustain their positions.
So just who are those entities that are on the wrong
side of the market?

To begin with, the so-called commercials, the
aforementioned bullion banks that have capped the
market, no doubt with the acquiescence and
assistance of their central bank associates, are the
principal culprits. They increased their shorts by
23,000 contracts in the successful effort to hold
gold under US$400 prior to the December options
expiry. That's not chicken feed as it represents 2.3
million ounces, worth more than US$900 million.
They are now hugely off-side on a substantial short
position.

Secondly, we have the remnants of the carry trade,
all the "smart guys" who thought they couldn't lose
by borrowing gold from the central banks through
their bullion-bank friends, selling it in the spot market,
and reinvesting the proceeds in a financial instrument
to secure a large spread.
~~~
The next group is the gold-mining companies that
hedged aggressively and didn't implement risk-control
programs as the price began to rise. The poster boy
for this category is Barrick Gold, which is short roughly
16 million ounces, or three years of production. After
bragging for years about how much money it made
with its premium hedging program, Barrick now stands
to lose far more than it ever made if the gold price
continues to rise. Barrick may have finally come to
its senses, as both the chairman, Peter Munk, and
the CEO, Greg Wilkins, have now renounced hedging.

Lastly, there are the gold-derivative dealers, led once
again by Morgan Chase, which has a ridiculously high
gold-derivative exposure, particularly when viewed in
the overall context of the physical gold market.

The one thing that has become abundantly clear is that
this is the largest short position that has ever existed in
gold, and when measured in terms of annual production
levels, it might best be described as ludicrous.

When one realizes that, without even considering the
short position, the current gold market fundamentals
may be even better than they were at the outset of the
'70s, a decade that saw a 20-fold increase in the price,
one can garner some insight into the potential for the
yellow metal.






Fiat -- Sharefin, 21:12:21 01/13/04 Tue

OPEC mulls move to euro for pricing crude oil

OPEC is considering a move away from using the U.S. dollar — and to the euro — to set its price targets for crude oil, the highest-profile manifestation of the debilitating effect of depreciation on the greenback's standing as the currency of international commerce.

Several members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries are seeking formal talks on using the euro, as well as the U.S. dollar, when determining price targets for crude, a senior oil minister within the cartel said Monday. “There are countries that are proposing this,” Venezuela's Oil Minister Rafael Ramirez said in Caracas. “It's out there, under discussion.”

Mr. Ramirez did not specify which OPEC members are pushing the proposal, but much of the impetus is believed to come from Persian Gulf producers.

They have seen their purchasing power in Europe pinched as the U.S. dollar loses ground against the euro — including touching a record low Monday.

Any move to water down the use of the U.S. dollar as the currency would have enormous symbolic impact, said one prominent Canadian energy analyst.

“On a symbolic level, I think it's huge, not only for what it says about the U.S. dollar, but also the implied change to the nature of energy trading worldwide in the future,” said Wilf Gobert, vice-chairman of Peters & Co. Ltd.






Fiat -- Sharefin, 20:57:16 01/13/04 Tue

China's banking system a ticking time bomb

China's banking system is like a ticking time bomb. Saddled by mountains of bad loans and insufficient capital base, collapse of the state banks will cause an implosion of the Middle Kingdom, predict many doomsayers. Many say time is running out as foreign competitors are slated to pry open the banking sector in 2006, as China pledged to open up the sector as part of its commitment to the World Trade Organization (WTO).






Fiat -- Sharefin, 04:59:55 01/13/04 Tue

The $44 Trillion Abyss

The baby-boomers are about to retire, and it's going to cost us—big. Here's what the government doesn't want you to know.

Last fall Paul O'Neill, then Secretary of the Treasury, wanted a simple answer to a thorny question: How prepared was the nation today to pay all its future bills? Two government experts worked for months to calculate the answer. Their findings, which shocked even them, were never published—the Bush administration made sure of that. The reason for the silence was that by the time the two researchers had completed their study, O'Neill had been thrown out of the Treasury and replaced by the more politically astute John Snow. No savvy administration power player would dare point out, right in the middle of tax-cut season, that there was a huge hole in the country's finances—a $44 trillion hole.

The first massive wave of baby-boomer retirees will hit five years from now. That will leave fewer workers to pay for ballooning Social Security and Medicare bills.

How the expected budget shortfall of $44.2 trillion* breaks down
Source.................. Amount
Social Security....... $7 trillion
Medicare........... $36.6 trillion
Other................. $0.6 trillion

*Based on current government revenue and spending.
Sources: Census bureau; Smetters and Gokhale






Fiat -- Sharefin, 04:55:39 01/13/04 Tue

BEIJING, Jan. 13, (Xinhuanet) -- China will make a one-off revaluation
of the yuan within the first quarter of the year and move to a
trade-weighted basket of currencies to set its exchange rate by the
second half, investment house Goldman Sachs said.

The measures will lead to a five percent cumulative appreciation
over the next 12 months, it said.

With low interest rate expectations and yawning current account and
budget deficits, the US dollar has been hitting fresh lows against the
euro and other major currencies on an almost daily basis.

This is pressuring China to address its exchange rate policy, the
investment bank said in a client note.

Although a 10 percent revaluation would be needed to bring the
currency to fair value, it expects China to revalue the yuan by 2.5
percent against the US dollar in a "prudent first move" towards a more
flexible exchange rate regime.

Goldman Sachs said that China is then likely to move from a direct
US dollar peg to a crawling basket of trade-weighted currencies.

It cited a recent mainland media report which said that the
government was considering linking the yuan to a basket of 11
trade-weighted currencies.

It noted, however, that because many of these were either managed
against or pegged to the dollar, its composition would be 63 percent in
dollars and the remainder split between the euro and yen.

Goldman Sachs said that the move to a managed basket of currencies
would lead to a one percent appreciation against the basket in six
months and 1.5 percent in 12 months, totaling a five percent rise in
value overall.

It said that this implies an exchange rate of 8.07, 7.68 and 7.54
yuan to the dollar in three, six and 12 months respectively. The yuan
will be valued at 13.00, 12.38 and 12.60 yen over these periods, it
said.






Fiat -- Sharefin, 04:53:00 01/13/04 Tue

MoneyFiles








Gold -- Sharefin, 04:51:40 01/13/04 Tue

Prechter on gold - and more

A Prechter point penetrated? Many readers want to know what the Elliott Wave guru has to say now that gold has closed above $422.

Robert G. Prechter's lieutenants, Steve Hochberg and Peter Kendall, conceded in their most recent Elliott Wave Financial Forecaster that "a close beyond $422 would cause them to re-evaluate the long-standing official Prechter position that gold was just in a peaking bear market rally. (See my Jan. 5 column).

Gold promptly closed above $422, several times. And as I write this (too late on Sunday night), it is above $426 in the Asia-Pacific markets.

Now the Big P himself has pronounced in his big-picture Elliott Wave Theorist, just to hand.

This is Bob Prechter's statement on gold, in its entirety:

"No one wanted gold at the February 2001 low, when it was $255/oz. Since it rose above 360, it has been in demand. The hype in the gold market is tremendous, and even local newspapers talk about it. Gold has been losing momentum for several months. It has reached the low 400s, the upper end of our target range for this wave pattern, as cited in the October 3, 2003, issue of EWT. Commercials, typically savvy players, hold a record short position in gold."

OK, I admit my journalistic antennae are twanging, even allowing for EWT's snail-mail lead times. This simply isn't an adequate response to gold's crossing of the line so specifically drawn -- particularly after so many Prechter retreats.






Gold -- Sharefin, 04:26:38 01/13/04 Tue

Where Are the Bond Market Vigilantes!?

As we all know with the benefit of hindsight-but as many predicted a year or more ago-the great short sale of 2003 was the U.S. dollar. The greenback surrendered roughly 15% of its value as measured by the U.S. Dollar Index-and more against some currencies, including the euro.

Virtually everything that should have accompanied the decline in the dollar did so. Gold, oil and other commodities denominated in the world's shrinking reserve currency rose. Easy, and fairly safe, double-digit returns were reaped in virtually all manner of overseas bonds, with the biggest returns being turned in by emerging market debt. Stock markets rose at a healthy clip, both due to needing to bounce (if only temporarily) from a three-year bearish grip and due to their choosing to focus on the beneficial effects of monetary easing. Corporate bonds-the junkier the better-turned in great years as well.
~~~
Bond market bears-of which I am unabashedly one longer-term-have again watched this all in amazement, and wondered aloud, where are the "bond market vigilantes?" Over the last year, we've seen a torrent of news and developments that should have resulted in soaring yields for Treasuries, as investors tripped over one another to get out, just like rats jumping off a sinking ship. The dollar is being trashed. An allegedly conservative Bush Administration is borrowing and spending money at a clip to make Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson blush. Commodity prices are soaring, guaranteeing a future surge in consumer price inflation, a plunge in corporate profits or both. Last but not least, the fact that the U.S. is in an uncertain and likely open-ended conflict against the more radical elements of the world's billion and a half Muslims also casts aspersions against the stability of the dollar.

Certainly this week should have seen the current owners of Treasuries get the willies. Federal Reserve Governor Ben Bernanke told us that the futures markets-which had priced in a 50 basis point increase in the federal funds rate (currently one percent) by the middle of 2004-were dead wrong. Seeming to take back the baby step the Fed made last month toward acknowledging the inflationary implications of its policies, Bernanke intimated anew that the Fed would not raise short-term rates again until The Second Coming. The dollar promptly-and predictably-sold off more, and gold's price reached new bull market heights above $430 per ounce last seen 15 years ago.
~~~
All this explains why-for now-Treasuries are strong, even as the dollar sinks virtually every day. It explains why Fed officials like Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Snow are so smug in making dollar-wrecking statements that some of us think are delusional, if not insane. It explains why the Fed may end up not raising rates for most (or all) of 2004 after all-and why for the most part they just might get away with it. But especially if they do, this all also means that the aftermath of the Fed's latest-and arguably grandest-moves to postpone the inevitable will be that much worse for the central bank to have to deal with.






Gold -- Sharefin, 04:20:29 01/13/04 Tue

Gold holding thumbs for weak euro

Tanrange Resources chief executive Jim Sinclair said the gold price would not break the critical $500/oz level this year but would peak between $470 and $480 an ounce. “I would rather hope that would be the high of gold and that in fact will correlate to a level of the euro,” he said.

Sinclair said he hoped that was where gold would cap its gains because a move to $529/oz would move the metal out of a normal bull market into a wild situation similar to what the market experienced late in 1979, when gold began its run to over $800/oz. Sinclair said most of the major global investment houses around the world now which are predicting higher levels for the euro, were also predicting somewhat higher levels for gold.
~~~
Castle sees gold peaking this year at the $450/oz - $470/oz level, purely on the back of a weakening dollar. “Its not rocket science, its purely a regression (analysis) if you trace where gold is now and take a view that the euro will go to $1.40, gold should peak this year at $470/oz,” Castle said.






Gold -- Sharefin, 04:18:43 01/13/04 Tue

Barrick's golden boy

After a year at the helm, Greg Wilkins is bullish about bullion giant's prospects

The days of beating up on Barrick Gold Corp. are over, says its new chief executive, who has cleaned house and is set to launch a building boom unlike anything the company has seen in its 21-year history.

Canada's largest gold miner is expected to invest about $750 million (U.S.) this year in capital spending — its highest ever — to start construction on three of its four new mines in South America and Australia, and intends to rebuild bridges back on Bay St. along the way.

In his first major interview since taking the helm last February, Greg Wilkins reflected on a tough first year in which he spent most of the time digging the company's battered reputation — not to mention its stock — out of a sizable hole.
~~~
Every gold firm wants to see the commodity price take off. Barrick's problem is that it has always been the most high profile hedger out there, particularly because it was the recipe for the company's success when gold was in the doldrums. The hedging program was a winner in the precious metal's lean years, generating an extra $2.2 billion in revenues by locking in future sales of gold at then-current prices.

But after a 20-year bear market, bullion started to rally last year and the market turned sour on hedgers since forward selling is a strategy that protects companies from a declining spot price.

Enter Wilkins' new "market-friendly" no-hedging policy, in which he announced Barrick will no longer sell production forward given the current investment climate. But they're not unwinding it immediately, since it would cost the company $1 billion.






From Gata -- Sharefin, 04:08:48 01/13/04 Tue

Bundesbank Agrees to Sell
Up to 600 Tons of Gold, Bild Reports

NEW YORK, January 10 (Bloomberg) -- Bundesbank President
Ernst Welteke and the German government have agreed to
sell as much as 600 tons of the central bank's gold to
raise as much as 7 billion euros ($9 billion) for a fund
to promote education and research, Bild am Sonntag said,
citing unidentified government officials.

No one at the Bundesbank was available for comment on the
report when called by Bloomberg News.

From this year on, Germany will sell between 400 tons and
600 tons of the bank's 3,440 tons of gold at metal exchanges,
the Sunday newspaper said in an advance copy of an article in
tomorrow's edition. The interest on expected revenue of
between 4 billion euros and 7 billion euros will go to universities, it said.

The government expects the fund to generate interest income
of between 250 and 300 million euros a year, the paper said.
Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has made improvements in
education one of his main goals for this year.

An agreement limiting central bank gold sales to 400 tons a
year, which has helped to stabilize prices, expires in eight
months. Welteke in September said he wants the option to sell
some of Germany's gold reserve, which equals 16 months of
global production and is second only to the U.S.'s 8,135 tons.

-END-

Hopes of gold bears and The Gold Cartel were dashed within
24 hours as Chris noted with this follow up to his
GATA email group:

Date: 1/11/2004 5:01:27 PM Central Standard Time

BASEL, Switzerland, Jan. 11 (Reuters) -- Bundesbank President
Ernst Welteke said on Sunday Germany had made no decision
to sell gold yet but that it would seek an option under a new
gold agreement.

"This doesn't mean we will sell gold. It means we want an
option to sell gold. Whether we exercise it or not is another question," he told reporters.

The German central bank president said there was no
agreement with the government to sell gold as a newspaper
had reported on Sunday.

Bild am Sonntag reported that the German government and the
central bank wanted to sell between 400 and 600 tonnes of
gold from this year onwards to raise between 4.0 and 7.0
billion euros.

These proceeds would be put into a fund which would bear
between 250 to 300 million euros in interest per year that
would be used for research projects, the newspaper said,
quoting government sources.

Welteke said on the sidelines of meetings at the Bank of
International Settlements that if there were any agreement
on gold sales he would know about it.

European central banks are expected this year to renew
a gold sale agreement that expires in September that for
five years has specified the amount of gold each bank can
sell. The accord succeeded in helping to stabilise the gold price when it was falling.






Gold -- Sharefin, 04:06:37 01/13/04 Tue

Japan to sell Treasuries for intervention

Japan plans to sell several trillion yen worth of U.S. Treasuries as early as next week to make cash available for its massive dollar buying intervention, Nikkei's Nihon Keizai Shimbun Friday edition reported.

The reported sale of Treasuries appears to be a stop-gap measure for the Japanese Ministry of Finance to bolster its foreign exchange account until new legislation, due in late January, provides them with more cash for intervention.

The Nikkei report said the government would buy back the bonds later in such a manner that the central bank will not suffer any losses from the arrangement.

Japan has intervened frequently in recent months in an effort to stop the yen from rising against the dollar with the hope of protecting its fragile export sector.

On Dec. 26, the MOF, in an effort to quell speculation it would run out of cash to intervene, said it could now raise funds by selling up to 10 trillion yen (about $94 billion) worth of foreign bonds -- namely U.S. Treasuries -- to the Bank of Japan in the form of repurchase agreements, Reuters reported.






Gold -- Sharefin, 04:04:43 01/13/04 Tue

Andy Smith gives gold 'more respect'

MINEWEB: Well, we go across to the bear of the gold market now, Andy Smith, precious metals analyst at Mitsui Metals. You've crossed swords with Jim Sinclair in the past – and Andy, I know you were not on the line when he was giving his forecast for the year 2004. Just to recap, Jim believes that the gold price will get to a level of $470 to $480 an ounce, based largely on dollar weakness and euro strength and thereafter would retrace some of its gains. Where are you standing at this point?

ANDY SMITH: I've got an average of only 10% above the average of last year so I've got an average of $395 and I've got a high for this year of $435 – and I think it will continue to retrace next year and year after.






Gold -- Sharefin, 04:00:27 01/13/04 Tue

Jim Sinclair, one on one

JIM SINCLAIR: In order to answer that question – and the answer to the question is yes, we are – you need to define why that happened. And what's taken place is that there is an entire new group of analysts and of investment firms that have taken an interest in gold that didn't exist the last time we spoke. And that interest hasn't come directly out of gold. Rather, if you track those major firms around the world now who are predicting higher levels for the euro, it is an inescapable conclusion that they're also predicting somewhat higher levels for gold. And to a degree they're many of the clients of the next speaker, who have publicly come out, such as Merrill, Goldman, Lehman, Stearns and firms of that ilk – international investment firms that have recognised the inherent weakness in the dollar and also the fact that the dollar is a tool both of a disinflationary nature and a tool for having a bargain sale on everything grown, manufactured and serviced in the USA as part of an economic package along with tax cuts for political expediency. The price of gold in this year, in my opinion, will not break the $500 level but rather will find a high level between $470 and $480 per ounce, and I would rather hope that would be the high of gold and that in fact will correlate to a level of the euro. If you have created a hypothetical euro you'd go back in time into the 70s and equate the level of the euro to the level of gold, and have the direct relationship in a productive sense. The price of gold, as we discussed the last time, can be simplified in saying it's all in the dollar.
~~~
MINEWEB: You talk $470 to $480 and ounce. Would that be the end of it? Would that be the end of gold's run this time around?

JIM SINCLAIR: We would hope so, because if gold moves above $529 then it moves out of a normal bull market form into a runaway market, similar to what occurred in late 1979. And any rational analyst understanding the reasons why gold would do something like that would not be necessarily wanting to predict that. So I'd rather stay with the high estimates made for the euro, create the hypothetical euro, move back in time to general trading range of gold, and suggest that if gold was the trade into the $470 to $480 level that it would fulfil the high estimates made by the most accepted analytical firms that exist now, the international investment firms.






Gold -- Sharefin, 03:53:58 01/13/04 Tue

Gold funds still may glitter for investors

It could see further gains, said Rob McEwen, chairman and chief executive of
Goldcorp Inc., a Toronto-based consortium that owns the Red Lake mine in Ontario, the world's richest grade gold mine.

"It looks like we're in the first phases of a multiyear bull market,' said McEwen, who thinks gold will trade in a range between $375 and $450 over the next year. "I'd say you'd want to stage your investments out; there will be pullbacks and consolidation. ... and we are in an election year, so that will have a bearing on the market and on gold and on the dollar.'

The weakening dollar, which has spiraled to new lows against the euro and other major currencies for months amid growing concerns about the U.S. budget and trade deficits, remains the biggest factor propelling gold's current rise.

Another driver is that U.S. interest rates have fallen to 45- year lows, and policy makers with the Federal Reserve have signaled they're not likely to raise them anytime soon.

A third factor is that China is opening up its markets and demand for precious metals like gold is on the rise.

"That's a new source of demand that hadn't been there before,' said Conti. "There's not that much to go around. The market is very, very tight.'






Gold -- Sharefin, 03:50:56 01/13/04 Tue

Consider Adding Gold to Your Portfolio

Analysts expect precious metals to continue their appeal as solid investments.


One of the biggest surprises on Wall Street during 2003 was the extraordinary performance of gold-oriented mutual funds — investments that normally fall as the stock market rises.

The deteriorating dollar, concerns about rising interest rates and inflation and global terror fears contributed to solid gains in gold stocks and, in turn, gold funds. And analysts say gold may well continue to be a good choice in the coming months.






Gold -- Sharefin, 03:34:02 01/13/04 Tue

Time's ripe to invest in gold

2004 will again be a golden year. And this is a bus not a single investor should miss.

This year's bull run in gold markets represents a rare opportunity to participate in a methodical wealth-building process where significant amounts can be made.

However, this is not a get-rich-quick scheme. But the choice is in investors' own hands.

A serious investor willing to sink a portion of his time to study the gold market and learn how to develop a buy or sell strategy in the spot or the derivatives market, can grow wealth in a conservative and orderly, but sure fashion.

The success of a methodical investor will depend on the time and effort he puts in understanding the market and the disciplined investment strategies he adopts.






Gold -- Sharefin, 03:30:58 01/13/04 Tue

Another Gold Rush?

High-flying gold prices are causing a flurry of activity in Canada as companies look for new deposits and blow the dust off old ones.
~~~
"We're holding our breath that it stays high," said Mike Vaydik, general manager of the Northwest Territories-Nunavut Chamber of Mines. "Anything north of $400 is a big source of inspiration for exploration. A lot of projects have got a shot in the arm."

Unlike diamonds, where economics mean exploration is a big-company business, high gold prices bring in everyone from large companies to individual prospectors, Vaydik said.

And with analysts predicting gold will remain relatively high into 2004, financing is much easier to come by. "You only have to look at how much some of these companies have raised in the last few months to realize how much activity is going on."






Gold -- Sharefin, 03:20:46 01/13/04 Tue

Indians cash in on gold's high price

Gold prices may be at six-year highs, but some long-time investors in the precious metal certainly seem to think it has climbed far enough.
India is the world's largest consumer of gold and drives world demand for the precious metal.

But people there are queuing up to sell their jewellery and imports of the metal have dropped.

Gold traders in India have reported that the supply of scrap gold has risen sharply in recent weeks as consumers were tempted into selling their old jewellery by their high prices.
~~~

Last year India imported 825 tonnes of gold.

"India usually takes about a quarter of physical gold demand - it's actually buying zero now," said Andy Smith at Mitsui Global Precious Metals.






Fiat -- Sharefin, 03:18:02 01/13/04 Tue

IMF Researchers: US Budget Gaps Endanger Global Economy

Economists at the International Monetary Fund on Wednesday expressed alarm at growing U.S. budget deficits, saying continued deficits could hurt the global economy by roiling currency markets and driving up interest rates.


In a report on U.S. budget outlook, IMF researchers described the state of government finances as "perilous" in the long run and urged Congress and the White House to take steps to quickly rein in the deficits. Although federal tax cuts and spending increases since 2001 bolstered the global economy in the short run, the report said "large U.S. fiscal deficits also pose significant risks for the rest of the world."


A key risk is that the recent slide of the U.S. dollar against other major currencies could become "disorderly," the researchers said. The dollar has declined sharply since early 2002 against both the European common currency and the Japanese yen, complicating the task of European and Japanese monetary policymakers, said Charles Collyns, who heads the IMF team that monitors the U.S. economy.


"We feel there is a substantial risk that the foreign investors' appetite for U.S. assets, and in particular U.S. government assets, will over time diminish," Collyns said in a news conference. "We think to some degree over the past year this has occurred, and this is one of the reasons why there has been weakness in the U.S. dollar." So far, he said, the decline hasn't jeopardized the economic recoveries in Europe and Japan, but the danger to the global economy could grow if the U.S. budget deficits aren't shrunk.
~~~
But the IMF researchers said that won't be enough to address the government's long-term fiscal problems - including financing the Social Security (news - web sites) and Medicare programs over the next 75 years. In their report, they said the government faces a $47 trillion shortfall in its ability to pay for those and all other long-term obligations. Closing that gap would require "an immediate and permanent" federal tax increase of 60% or a 50% cut in Social Security and Medicare benefits.






Gold -- Sharefin, 03:15:42 01/13/04 Tue

Richard Russell's 2004 Take On Gold

My real emphasis has been, and still is - the precious metals. Gold has been in a 19-year bear market, and by 1999 gold was selling 70% below its 1980 high. Gold was ridiculously cheap in 1999-2000-2001, and I said so - literally, I said that gold was selling like "dirt." As I see it, gold is still cheap. Gold would have to rise to 550 to recover just half of its bear market losses. Will gold do it? Can gold do it? I believe it can - and will.

As with the early part of all bull markets, the public and most professionals relate with both ignorance and fear. But despite this gold continues higher. This morning gold was up over 7.00 with most of the gold stocks following the lead of the metal.

As for the gold action, I like it. A powerful upward surge, a spike in gold, would bother me. The best action for those of us who hold gold and gold shares is a measured, cautious, step-by-step rise. Nothing to excite the retail public. Nothing to make the pros feel that they are missing anything. So far, that's what we've got. So far, that's the way both gold and silver are "playing the game."






Fiat -- Sharefin, 01:45:52 01/13/04 Tue

Blair: I'll take Britain into euro by 2007

Tony Blair has set a target of 2007 to take Britain into the euro, and wants the Government to agree to a public pledge to secure membership by that date.






Gold -- Sharefin, 01:41:37 01/13/04 Tue

Analysts predict weak U.S. dollar will continue to drive gold rally

Gold broke through $425 (U.S.) this week, a level last seen in 1988, and many analysts say they expect the metal's two-year-old rally to continue through this year.

They expect weakness in the U.S. dollar will be the main factor driving up gold prices, which in turn will help maintain interest in gold stocks and exploration projects.

"I would say gold is going to be consistently above $400 [an ounce] in 2004," said Martin Murenbeeld, president of Victoria, B.C.-based research firm M. Murenbeeld & Associates Inc.

Factors that helped drive gold prices up in 2003, including a faltering U.S. dollar, steep government deficits and renewed interest in commodities, still exist and could become more prominent this year, Mr. Murenbeeld said.






Gold -- Sharefin, 01:40:05 01/13/04 Tue

Nick Goodwin: Gold analyst

MONEYWEB: Towards the end of last year, you gave me a big wad of information on Suzie – your gold index signals. I had the opportunity during our break around Christmas and New Year to go through all that information and it's been uncannily accurate. Just explain to us what Suzie does – why did you call your vehicle Suzie, in the first place?

NICK GOODWIN: Well, the model had been going since 1980 and it's named after Suzie Wong. She was a Chinese prostitute in London, and the reason is that you must not fall in love with gold just as you mustn't fall in love with a prostitute, because tomorrow night she will forget who you are and she's got a new boyfriend.

MONEYWEB: Are you serious, Nick – is that where the name comes from?

NICK GOODWIN: Yes. Absolutely.

MONEYWEB: So treat gold like a prostitute?

NICK GOODWIN: Absolutely. Don't ever fall in love with gold, because gold doesn't love anyone, and many, many people do fall in love with it and they fall in love with it at the wrong time. They fall in love with it when gold is very active, and then they get sort of head over heels over it, and then it hurts them. And so that's basically the story. It took me something like 15 years to understand that. And basically what Suzie does, it doesn't try and predict the gold price or the rand or anything, it just looks at the relationship between the share prices and the gold price and the currencies, and it decides whether the shares are expensive or cheap.
~~~
MONEYWEB: But it all comes back to that eventually, doesn't it, Nick? You can have volatility in between, but are people buying the actual metal? And if they're not buying the metal, and in particularly the jewellers, you are heading for some kind of a problem?

NICK GOODWIN: Yes. At the end of the day, somebody has got to take possession of the metal. Now what's been happening, the jewellery demand has been coming off, but the investment demand has rocketed. For instance, in 2001 there was a net sale by investors who actually sold gold. In 2002, they bought 148 tons, and in 2003, they bought 580 tons. So between 2002 and 2003, the investment demand has increased fourfold.
~~~
The only thing at the moment is that the amount of indefinite demand is huge, and you're starting to get a lot of hedge funds buying. And one of the reasons they can buy into gold is that interest rates are so low. There are very little opportunity costs, because you are not earning money on call. So your opportunity cost of holding gold is very, very low at the moment.






Gold -- Sharefin, 01:33:50 01/13/04 Tue

Gold set for massive 2004 gains

Gold may be headed as high as $600/oz by the end of the year as the dollar sustains its current weakness and the market continues to push the metal higher in wild, uncertain market conditions.
~~~
Hart said the bull trend should be viewed in terms of years, not months, as the horizon for dollar weakness was two years. “Gold will have to show major losses before the bull trend can be questioned. The twin deficits in the US – on the current account and the budget deficit will not be resolved for some time, and this is an election year – I can see the problems continuing,” Hart said.

He said there was also a danger that the key central banks which have been supporting the dollar – Japan and China, will exhaust their capacity to support the greenback.

Tradek gold analyst Nick Goodwin said the market could push gold as high as $460/oz, as the markets continued to push the metal higher, building on the momentum that gold had developed over the last few days.

But he warned that as the rate of change in the price increased, so did the risk. “The market is dangerous, its very difficult to say where to turn,” Goodwin said. “Both the dollar and gold have been driven too far, too fast.”






Fiat -- Sharefin, 01:32:21 01/13/04 Tue

No end in sight to dollar's descent

Federal Reserve's insistence on rock-bottom interest rates triggers currency rout

Traders dumped the greenback after Ben Bernanke, a member of the Federal Reserve Board, told a weekend meeting of American economists that the Fed had "the luxury of being patient".
~~~
The low level of American rates has reduced the appeal of investing in the dollar at a time when the US needs to attract growing sums of over seas investment to fund its current account deficit. "If the Fed does not see a weak dollar as an inflationary threat, it has little reason to raise interest rates and the trend of dollar weakness will continue," said Shahab Jalinoos, a senior currency strategist at ABN Amro.

Analysts said that the greenback's decline was likely to continue, with the US authorities apparently relaxed about the currency's fall and worries about the country's ballooning current account deficit weighing on the market.

"There is a general feeling in the market that there is little to stop the dollar's fall," said Adam Cole, a senior currency strategist at Crédit Agricole Indosuez.
~~~
"The dollar's fall has been orderly so far, but if it breaks through technical support levels at around $1.28, it could easily accelerate," said Nick Parsons, a currency strategist at Commerzbank.

"If it starts to hit the stock or bond markets, the US attitude would turn on a dime," he added.

Mr Bernanke said it was a mistake only to look at the dollar's sharp drop against the euro, adding that the greenback's fall against a broad basket of currencies had been much smaller. The risk of a "dollar crisis" was low, he maintained.






Fiat -- Sharefin, 01:29:52 01/13/04 Tue

'Father of the euro' calls for global currency

Robert Mundell, a nobel-prize winning economist, often credited with paving the way to the European single currency, has called for a global currency.

In an interview with French paper Libération, Mr Mundell said, "with the emergence of the euro and its instability against the dollar, Europe, the US and the Asian powers should come together and create a new international monetary system".

However, this would not mean the end of the euro and the dollar. Mr Mundell continues, "Of course, one would keep the dollar and the euro. This international currency would be used in the large international exchanges, for movements of capital and commercial transactions".






Gold -- Sharefin, 01:14:08 01/13/04 Tue

Mineweb Jumps the Gun on GBS

On December 22nd, Mineweb ran an article entitled, "Gold Bullion Fizzles Out" in which Stewart Bailey made a great deal over the fact that after the initial week of growth of Gold Bullion Securities on the LSE that new gold deposits had declined to zero. Bailey's article then went on to suggest that this might be a bad omen for other gold ETFs such as the planned Equity Gold Trust.

Many readers might have been misled by the article to think that trading volume of GBS had fallen close to zero when that was not the case. What Mr. Bailey failed to mention was that total daily trading volume has persisted above 1 million units per day (over 100,000 ounces) since the fund was listed in mid-December. However the article does quote Dr. Robert Weinberg, CEO of Gold Bullion Securities, as saying that things had slowed down for the holidays.

The reason for the apparent discrepancy in new gold purchases versus total trading volume is at least partially found in the structure of the security itself. Registered shareholders may only purchase new GBS shares in blocks of 4,000 shares by depositing 400 oz gold bars with the Trustee for GBS (HSBC USA in London).

Therefore GBS, like most securities, has a wholesale-retail structure, where institutional investors and brokerage houses deposit gold bars in exchange for shares, and then hold the shares, or resell them to their own clients, or other brokerages through the London Stock Exchange.






Gold -- Sharefin, 01:08:21 01/13/04 Tue

Dollar Slide Accelerates; Risks of Rout Increase

NEW YORK -- The relentless dollar selling showed no sign of letting up in New York Tuesday, with the dollar sinking to new lows across the board.
~~~
If anything, the dollar's slide was accelerating along with the increase in trading volume as investors return to the market after the holiday period. With very little to convince them otherwise, certainly not official rhetoric from U.S. or euro-zone policymakers, they're simply putting on fresh short dollar positions, en masse.

The euro was printing fresh all-time highs and zoning in fast on $1.30, the market's next big psychological target. Meanwhile, sterling was up around two whole cents on the day at new 11-year highs.

The dollar's malaise is widespread, with only official buying -- mainly from Japanese monetary authorities -- and a sprinkling of corporate demand appearing to stand in the way of the current run on the dollar turning into a rout.

Certainly, Japan's position differs from the official line coming out of the U.S. and euro zone, which is one of relative and potentially damaging nonchalance. For example, Federal Reserve (news - web sites) Governor Ben Bernanke said Sunday that the risk of a dollar crisis is "quite low," and on a historical measure against a basket of currencies, the dollar isn't actually all that weak.

In this context, it's difficult to see what will, in the very near term, prompt a shift in market opinion and spark a dollar rally. Positive U.S. economic data clearly aren't doing it.
~~~
The stark difference in official rhetoric between Japanese officials on the one hand and U.S. and euro-zone policymakers on the other was highlighted Tuesday by Japanese Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki. He warned that the MOF will "take proper action when the market moves rapidly."

His comments are in stark contrast to Mr. Bernanke's, and appear to be backed up by firm action. Dealers estimate the MOF bought around $5 billion or more Monday to prevent the dollar from falling below 106 yen, and have bought at least another $2.5 billion Tuesday.






Gold -- Sharefin, 01:03:40 01/13/04 Tue

A Solid Year for Base Metals

Base metal producers provided investors with terrific returns in 2003, can we expect the same in 2004? The outlook is good
~~~
"There was a lack of supply basically in a lot of the base metals and there hasn't been a lot of capacity additions in the last few years."






Fiat -- Sharefin, 01:01:12 01/13/04 Tue

John Embry: Outlook on Gold

The price for bullion will increase more than the price of gold stocks this year. But with expectations that gold will hit $500 an ounce this year, gold stocks will still do pretty well, says Sprott Asset Management President and Portfolio Manager John Embry
~~~
"I think it'll be better than this year in terms of the gold bullion. I'm not so sure that the stocks will necessarily reflect it to the same degree as they did."
~~~
Summary

The growing debasement of the U.S. dollar is setting the stage for gold to be increasingly recognized as returning to currency status.

And since the gold market is small compared to the paper money market, the impact on gold can be dramatic. According to Embry, we haven't seen anything yet.

He says the U.S. dollar will remain weak. He is bullish on gold in part because other countries don't want their currencies to rise against the U.S. dollar.

To date, the leading consumer of physical gold is India.

But going forward the Chinese will be the ones to buy gold. Chinese consumers are now allowed to buy gold, and the Chinese central bank would like to back the currency, the renmimbi, with gold.

Mr. Embry has stated previously, and still holds the view that gold production around the world will fall over the next few years.

It doesn't necessarily mean more consolidation in the gold sector. He says everyone thinks their properties are worth more than the others, so when they try to put them together, they can never reach an agreement.

He doesn't like Barrick, as he says it's too hedged. Even though they are getting out of using hedging, Embry says getting out will be costly.

Investors, he says, are best to look at quality junior players, and the bullion itself.

2004 will be better in terms of bullion price (he says it will go to $500 an ounce) but gold stocks won't likely see the same kind of appreciation they've had over the past couple of years.






Fiat -- Sharefin, 00:57:22 01/13/04 Tue

Gold Fever 2003

Year 2003 passed under the sign of consolidation of Russian gold producing assets. Privatization of Matrosov mine (Magadan Region) and Lenzoloto (Irkutsk Region) earned $186 million for the budget. Norilsk Nickel that bought them entered the top ten of international gold producers.
In 2003, world gold prices grew by almost 30% exceeding $400 per ounce. Against this background interest of investors in Russian gold production, a non-consolidated industry with turnover of about $2 billion grew tremendously. Privatization auctions became events of the year. In August, the Russian Federal Property Fund sold a 51% stake in Matrosov mine, the main value of which was the license for the Natalkinskoe deposit with gold reserves of about 250 tons. Norilsk Nickel and another consolidator of the gold industry, the alliance of Susumanzoloto (Magadan Region) and British Peter Hambro Mining producing about 10 tons of gold a year together, struggled for this asset. Norilsk Nickel finally won having offered $34 million or 1,100% more than the stating price.

In September, the struggle for a 51% stake in Lenzoloto was even more bitter. This is not only Russia's third largest gold producer (about 9.4 tons a year) but also owns the infrastructure necessary for development of Eurasia's largest gold deposit Sukhoi Log with reserves exceeding 1,000 tons. The government plans to announce the tender for development of Sukhoi Log in the first half of 2004. Understanding that Lenzoloto may become the entrance ticket in gold production, Basic Element, Sovlink belonging to shareholders of SUAL and Nafta-Moscow participated in the auction too. Norilsk Nickel won again having offered $152 million for the state-owned stake in Lenzoloto.






Fiat -- Sharefin, 00:55:55 01/13/04 Tue

Gold hits 15-year high

Gold prices rose to their highest level in 15 years in Europe Tuesday as the U.S. dollar continued to flag against the euro.
~~~
The greenback's latest woes come after a string of comments from Federal Reserve officials indicating that U.S. interest rates likely won't rise any time soon, despite the broader economic recovery in that country.

The most recent came late Monday from Atlanta Federal Reserve President Jack Guynn, who suggested tame inflation in the United States has given the central bank room to hold off on interest rate hikes.

Gold typically becomes more attractive to investors as the U.S. dollar declines. At this point, many analysts suggest that the U.S. dollar will likely continue to suffer, even as the world's biggest economy turns up.

“The greenback is under relentless downward pressure arising from the persistent current account deficit, ultra-low U.S. short-term interest rates, and the apparent nonchalance of U.S. officials to the dollar's plight,” BMO Nesbitt Burns economists said in a recent report on the dollar's plight.






Fiat -- Sharefin, 00:53:49 01/13/04 Tue

Golds help Sprott save dismal year

Hedge fund bounces back: Manager watching bond market for short-selling signals

Eric Sprott started out having a rough 2003, but has to be given credit for turning things around in the second half.

Through 2001 and 2002, Mr. Sprott was one of Canada's hottest money managers. His $342-million Sprott Hedge Fund LP rose 64% and 74%, respectively, profiting from short positions on tech stocks and long positions on gold.
~~~
In the second half, Mr. Sprott's unhedged gold stocks did much better than the first half. He also didn't get religiously attached to his tech shorts and wound up most of these positions mid-year.

Instead of going short on techs, he recognized that the market is in the midst of a cyclical bull run. This is a short-term bull market based on economic growth, a rally off a low that he realized he couldn't afford to miss.

He is still bearish on the market long-term because of the bubble in credit levels and housing. But in the meantime, he found various special-situation stocks to invest in, such as Taser International Inc. (TASR/NASDAQ). Taser makes non-lethal weapons for law enforcement and is up more than 1,800% in the past 52 weeks (it has quadrupled since July).

Mr. Sprott has also loaded up on natural gas stocks because he believes that declining production rates in North America will be positive for the commodity price.

He also is overweight on silver, uranium and oil stocks, in addition to keeping his long-time favourites, the gold stocks. These will protect him from a long-term bear market, he said.

There will come a time again to increase his short positions, but he is watching the bond market for signs of when to do that. He says he finds it hard to believe the bond market hasn't paid more attention to the falling United States dollar.

"If I saw the bond market finally taking serious either inflation or the dollar decline or both at the same time, that would tell me that economic growth would abate," he said.

"[Interest] rates would go up and the housing thing would stop in its tracks."






Fiat -- Sharefin, 00:51:34 01/13/04 Tue

Dr Faber's views on 2004

Dr Marc Faber's book 'Tomorrow's Gold' published just over a year ago was spectacularly correct in its predictions for 2003. This article updates his thoughts after another year in the financial markets.

I remain convinced that the present 'strong' recovery phase in the US economy won't last for long, as it is totally artificial.

There are simply too many imbalances in the system, as reflected by a record low national saving rate, record household debts, and record trade and current account deficits, for this recovery to lead to sustainable strong growth that would justify the present stock valuations.

I have quoted Joseph Schumpeter in previous reports, but for the benefit of some of our new readers, I quote him here once again regarding the subject of economic recoveries, that are purely a consequence of fiscal and monetary stimulus.

Schumpeter writes: 'Our analysis leads us to believe that recovery is sound only if it does come from itself. For any revival which is merely due to artificial stimulus leaves part of the work of depression undone and adds, to an undigested remnant of maladjustments, new maladjustments of its own' (emphasis added).
~~~
I hope the reader appreciates the precarious nature of this state of affairs. The entire US economy is depending on high 'asset inflation' in order to stay afloat! Only if asset prices continue to rise at high rates can consumers maintain their borrowing binge. But trouble seems to be brewing in the American wonderland. First of all, it would appear that the housing sector is slowing down.
~~~
So, we are in a situation where the imbalances are likely to worsen further until something gives. At some point, the American consumer will be forced to retrench through a rapid loss of the US dollar's purchasing power, which will lead rising inflation rates and inevitably also to higher interest rates.

Accelerating inflation will most likely also bring about falling real household income, as wage increases would unlikely match the rate of inflation, due to the overseas competition for jobs we referred to above. Therefore, a voluntary or involuntary consumer retrenchment could badly derail the Fed's inflationary monetary policies.

I am not sure exactly how the present imbalances will play themselves out, but I am certain that Peter Bernstein will be proved right when he writes (see above) that the breeze that will accompany the restoration of balance won't be 'gentle' but will likely take the form of a financial and economic hurricane.

In fact, trouble may have already started. All measures of money supply have turned negative, and MZM has declined at an annual rate of 7% in the 13 weeks ended November 10 while M3 is growing at its slowest pace since 1993.
~~~
The recent decline in money supply and bank credit doesn't bode well for either the economy or the stock market. In fact, if we look at the recent performance of consumer-sensitive shares such as airlines and retailers, one has to wonder about the wildly optimistic economic forecasts.
~~~
In sum, the stock market seems either to have had second thoughts about the sustainability of the present economic recovery, or it may already have fully discounted the recovery. In fact, in the past a high level of ISM orders, such as we had recently, has always been a reliable sell stock indicator! In short, US equities offer limited up-side potential but entail, in my opinion, high risk and should best be avoided.






Gold -- Sharefin, 00:45:14 01/13/04 Tue

Gold charges to 14-year high

LONDON (Reuters) - Gold started the first week of 2004 as it ended 2003 -- charging to its highest since February 1990 as the dollar crumbled against the euro and the yen and speculative funds maintained their appetite for precious metals.
~~~
"The precious metals are all off to the races -- they are all up on the U.S. opening," analyst Kamal Naqvi of Barclays Capital said.
~~~
"So much for profit taking on the New York open as COMEX traders drove gold and silver to fresh highs. Gold opened strongly around $418 and traders were quick to emerge on the bid, pushing gold higher and finding some stops that helped fuel the rally," James Moore of TheBullionDesk.com said.
~~~
Naqvi said the important CTAs (commodity trade advisors) would be looking to continue acquiring commodities, and that fresh funds would flow into the sector early in 2004.

"People were looking to see if that would evidence itself (today) and it did," he added.






Gold -- Sharefin, 00:40:29 01/13/04 Tue

THE MARKETS AND GOLD 2004 -THE END GAME IS IMMINENT

In US$ terms; from July 2000 to the present day; we have been witnessing the first phase of a gold bull market. However, as will be seen from the graphs presented below, this bull phase has merely reflected the collapse of the world reserve currency, the US$, against all other currencies. In terms of the Australian $, Canadian $, South African Rand and Euro one could clearly argue that the bull market is at best weak or is non-existent. Furthermore, the rise in value of the Rand and the Canadian and Australian dollars is having a substantial impact on mine costs of production in these major gold-producing nations. Nowhere is this impact more severely felt than in the deep, high cost, gold mines of South Africa, where mine grades are declining steadily, and 7 out of 12 producing mines are facing potential closure with appalling social consequences for that country.
~~~
In the case where the Fed commences raising interest rates, initial rate rises are likely to be of the order of 25 basis points. This will have little or no impact on the gold market. If the decline in the US$ is not arrested, more severe interest rate rises will be required, and in rapid succession, to restore confidence. There will come a cross over point where the dollar ceases to fall and the brakes are put on gold's relentless rise. Where and when this point will come no one can predict. However, it seems pretty obvious that gold will surpass its 1980 peak of US$ 850 per fine ounce with consummate ease.

Given the massive and ballooning US debt position, and economic structural imbalances, it is likely that this cross over point will be at interest rates of well over 10%. However, the longer the Fed postpones "the evil day" when it has to address the debt / dollar issue the chances of a hyperinflation scenario increase. The social consequences of the foregoing, given the current unprecedented debt exposure of US corporate, public and private sectors, are expected to be serious, possibly calamitous for some organisations and individuals. However, whichever way one cuts the cake, the precious metals market has a long way to go yet, and for those who have had the prudence to position themselves and thus also protect themselves againsts the ravages of inflation, the gains could be enormous.






Gold -- Sharefin, 00:36:37 01/13/04 Tue

Where Did The Money Go?

It's my belief that since the unprecedented increases in M3 continued to show diminishing returns in GDP growth, and while the Fed had the low interest rate gas pedal to the floor with a plunging M3 velocity, I can only surmise that the additional money supply found its way into the stock market fueling the current bear market rally. Lastly, notice the tail end reversal of M3. That's contraction of the money supply. With interest rates at 1%, M3 velocity grinding to a halt, and the pure liquidity injections failing to hold up M3, I believe we will see an outflow from the equity markets unless that trend can be stopped and M3 growth resumes. I don't believe they can stop it without completely debasing the dollar and risking its total collapse, therefore I believe that once the equity market outflow begins it could be quite severe.






Gold -- Sharefin, 00:34:22 01/13/04 Tue

Concerns Rising With Dollar's Continued Fall

Analysts Fear Rates Will Climb, Recovery Will Stall

With the economy expanding smartly, interest rates low and inflation in check, President Bush is sailing into the presidential election year with perhaps only a single dark economic cloud on the horizon: the shrinking U.S. dollar.

Whether that cloud produces a nourishing rain shower -- in the form of swelling U.S. exports and a recovery of manufacturing jobs -- or a deluge of rising interest rates and soaring budget deficits is the subject of increasingly heated economic debate.
~~~
But concerns are growing, especially on Wall Street, that the dollar's slide will inevitably drive up long-term interest rates, and some analysts think the decline could even force the Fed to raise the rates it targets. That could slow the nascent economic recovery, swell the already-record federal budget deficit and possibly resurrect an economic problem unseen for nearly 20 years: inflation.

In that scenario, foreign investors abruptly stop buying the ever-weakening dollar, interest rates soar to lure them back, and the budget deficit explodes as the government struggles to pay the interest on the $4 trillion debt held by the public.
~~~
As long as foreigners keep buying, the day of reckoning will be postponed, probably until later this decade, and certainly well after the 2004 presidential election, many international economists say.

"Everyone agrees these deficits are unsustainable; at some point, something has to give," said Nouriel Rubini, an international economist at New York University's Stern School of Business. "I'm not sure if it's in two years or three years, but it will be in the medium term, not around the corner."
~~~
Economist Edwin M. "Ted" Truman of the Institute for International Economics, a former senior official at both the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury, said it is impossible to predict with any precision what will happen to the dollar.

"The question is, how much of a correction do you need to have?" Truman said. "If the adjustment is $500 billion, and it all comes through the exchange rate, then there is a long way to go. Take the standard rule of thumb, a 1 percent decline [in the value of the dollar] gets you about $10 billion. If we have done 10 percent, then there's another 40 percent to go.
~~~
"Why do people want to keep buying the dollar?" Black asked. "It's been living off the vapors of its past credibility. This is mass psychology, and once everyone agrees there's a problem, there's a problem."






Gold -- Sharefin, 00:29:45 01/13/04 Tue

Have Gold and Silver Seen Tops?

That's the question everyone seems to be asking right now. After an impressive and relentless upside trend since the dominant low in July, both gold and silver have continued to make higher highs and higher low (the classical definition of a rising trend). But with gold stocks looking shaky, many traders are starting to wonder if the top if already in for the actual gold and silver markets. My answer may seem evasive but it's really the only answer one can honestly give: the trend is up until proven otherwise.






Gold -- Sharefin, 00:28:04 01/13/04 Tue

Worried metals prices might fall? Be prepared

A bull market in gold and silver is a roller-coaster. If you get lightheaded at the first curve, you need to imagine a dizzying drop and have a plan to limit your exposure.

The markets for metals and metals stocks always have attracted a tremendous amount of motion. The recent roller-coaster action may have left some folks with positions in the metals and/or metals stocks queasy and questioning what to do. Being prepared for the large swings endemic to these markets, as well as keying into one's own psychology, is to my mind the best strategy for weathering the ride.

The wild action we have seen is part and parcel of what happens during a bull market in metals. (Editor's note: Gold has moved nearly 60% since early 2001, silver 40%.) Along the way, the metals probably have attracted some hot money, and the metals stocks almost certainly have. (Editor's note: Gold stocks are up 62% since early 2001; silver stocks are up more than 135%.) These Johnny-come-latelies are fun to have around while prices are going up, but you quickly can see how violent corrections can follow. For those folks to exit as soon as the stocks don't "act well" is not surprising. It is exactly these kinds of corrections that get people shaken out of bull markets.

Perhaps we could be on the verge of a correction in the metals. I don't know. What I do know is that, in a bullish climate, the market goes up in such a way that you can lose your position in the process.






Fiat -- Sharefin, 00:24:48 01/13/04 Tue

Banks selling dollars actively

Moscow 15:32:44. The trade volume of deals with tomorrow settlements exceeded $700m at the UTS at 15:00 Moscow time, while at 13:00 about $340m were sold at a special session. One of the main reasons for this accelerated selling of US currency is a further retreat of the dollar rate against the euro on international exchanges. At the same time, this situation on the currency market has not led to the ruble's strengthening due to the Russian Central Bank's activities. Commercial bank dealers say that the Central Bank continues buying US currency at 29.245 RUR/USD. The Central Bank's ruble intervention is estimated at $700m some less than two hours before the UTS closing.






Periodic Ponzi Update PPU -- $hifty, 00:19:27 01/12/04 Mon

Ponzi Chart

Periodic Ponzi Update PPU

Nasdaq 2,086.92 + Dow 10,458.89 = 12,545.81 divide by 2 = 6,272.90 Ponzi

Up 64.64 from last week.

Thanks for the link RossL !

Go GATA !

Go GOLD !

Hi Ho Silver !

$hifty








Gold -- Sharefin, 09:41:08 01/09/04 Fri

Vietnam plans gold buying spree

Vietnam's central bank has given the go-ahead for the country to import up to 10 tonnes of extra gold in the first quarter of 2004.
The diving dollar pushed gold prices to a 15-year high on world markets two days ago, hurting business and savers in Vietnam.

Gold is used as hard currency for big business deals in Vietnam, which has a thriving black market for the metal.

The central bank hopes to push down the local price by pumping up supplies.

"This decision was made last week by the State Bank of Vietnam because of the rise in gold prices on the world market," the Agence France Presse news agency quoted a Bank official as saying.






Fiat -- Sharefin, 09:14:00 01/09/04 Fri

Global fears as US goes into the red

The huge black hole in the US budget and the country's ballooning trade deficit are threatening to push up interest rates across the globe and destabilise the international economy, one of the world's most powerful financial institutions has warned.

The budget deficit - which has swung from a healthy surplus in 2000 to a forecast blowout of more than $US400 billion ($521.2 billion) this year - was a "significant risk" for the rest of the world, the International Monetary Fund said yesterday.

"Sustained fiscal deficits lower national savings in the United States and will eventually raise real interest rates both in the United States and abroad," said Charles Collyns, deputy director of its western hemisphere department.
~~~
The fund's warning also echoes concerns raised by the Australian Treasury in its most recent economic assessment last month when it said the US's "twin deficits" - its budget and current account blowouts - were a risk to global economic stability, and therefore posed a threat to the Australia's economic outlook.

The fund said the US would soon have a foreign debt totalling 40 per cent of its gross domestic product - an "unprecedented level debt for a large industrialised country".

This could trigger a "disorderly" plunge in the US dollar - and a corresponding jump in other currencies, including the Australian dollar - rocking the global financial system.

"The possible global risks of a disorderly exchange rate adjustment . . . cannot be ignored," the fund said.






James Sinclair -- Sharefin, 21:34:15 01/06/04 Tue

General Comments

Will Capitalism Survive the Impending US National Balance Sheet Crisis that Will Occur Post November 2004?

Respectfully, I believe the answer is an unqualified "no" unless actions are taken immediately to put in place a balance sheet fix to rectify the current situation. I say this both as a market person with a practical view of economics and because I love the Constitution and respect the men who created it in order to establish the United States from its 13 original colonies.

At my family compound in Connecticut, in addition to the Stars and Stripes I also fly the flag of the thirteen original colonies and one with a curled snake on it that says, “Don't Tread on Me.” It is just this all-too-common American philosophy that bad economics is after more than 200 years going to destroy. No profit in gold without a place to spend it is worth it. So please pay attention.

Gold Above $529 is no good for Anyone or Anything.

As a market-experienced professional with 45 years of successful trading experience, I can say from a platform of proven authority that gold is going to and above $529. I have no doubt whatsoever of this. I am so convinced of this that I practice the trader rule that “You Make a Bunch and You Go To Lunch,” which means you set a trading goal you reach and you take the money off the table.

In my youthful days, my goals where many millions for each phase of a market's move. Now they are conservative. The difference today is that when I take my winnings off the table they do not go into US Treasury bills or bonds. They go directly into a gold company. I do this on a monthly basis and on a target accomplished profit basis. In my heart and mind and through disciplined market research I see gold going over $529.

What is the Implication of the Price of Gold $530?

The simple bull market target of $529 over a multi-year five phase bull market in gold is within the parameters of a normal period of asset appreciation caused by a combination of the “Five Fundamental Pillars of a long-term bull gold market.”

Assuming that the gold price breaks above $529 by 3% is to assume that gold's price is now out of the normal expectations of a normal but simple bull market and is in a run-away phase.

When gold goes into a run- away phase it will attempt to balance the balance sheet of the USA against foreign financial obligations. This is what was delivered to you in the first quarter of 1980 when the price hit $887.50. At the time, the value of US gold held in inventory versus foreign obligations was $900. Now the price is close to $1750.

Gold, if it makes that move, will disqualify itself from re-entering the US financial scene because of its price volatility. It will have simply qualified itself as the people's currency in preference to all other alternatives.

~~~~
With predictions we gave you of 1.28 to 1.30 for the Euro, gold at and above $430.30 is Duck Soup and a move into the $460's could come so fast you might get windburns as it passes you.

I gave you the maximum potential for this move that was in place when gold lifted off from the $342 level. In fact, Kenny and I yelled holy murder that we were launched for the big one. Many laughed at us and others simply farmed out their sell recommendations as gold appreciated.

Well, the old but highly paid gold advisors are out in left field as these new interests took the market away from them (if it ever was theirs to begin with). Truth be known, Andy's Army has mutinied and is more bullish than the old line gold crowd that sold into this rally.

So here it is. Gold is going to $430.30 and I believe will not stop there. Gold shares are waking up to the fact they've been had by the advisory crowd and will do catch up action. Sure a reaction will come but while you are looking for a top, so many of you will have missed the train's departure.

~~~
As long as the Federal Reserve continues to hold short term rates at or near 1%, no significant intervention can change the course of the US dollar.

This is because the mechanics of the action to maintain interest rates at this level neutralizes the mechanics of pro-dollar currency intervention.

Therefore, it is reasonable to say - as is being said by the international investment banking community - that as long as the Fed keeps the short rate artificially low, gold will go higher.

How High is High?

The reply to this question has to be stated with a time factor, so here is the answer. IMO, $465.80 before February 2nd is when gold is high enough for that period of time.






Fiat vs Gold -- Sharefin, 03:01:47 01/06/04 Tue

Gold advocate Lips appeals to Switzerland to save itself from the dollar

Here is my most recent book, "The Gold Conspiracy."
First of all, let me say why a retired Swiss banker took
such an initiative and why you should study this book
in your own interest and in the interests of our country.

Since 1968, when I was part of the management team
that formed the Rothschild Bank AG, Zurich, and later
in 1989, when I formed Bank Lips AG, my main
endeavour was always to invest my clients' wealth
prudently, to maintain safety of principal, and to
achieve capital growth.

To a much greater extent, this is the task of our
Nationalbank and of our politicians, because they
are charged with the much bigger task of managing
our nation's social security systems. They are
responsible for investing the national savings for
old-age retirement and for safeguarding our nation's
patrimony, built up over many generations, in order
to transmit it to successive generations. This is an
increasingly difficult task since our current fraudulent
irredeemable-paper-ticket-fiat monetary system does
not allow for sound politics. Workers and pensioners
eventually suffer most under this regime.

An uninformed Federal Government, an uninformed
Swiss parliament, and -- either incompetent or already
involved in the international gold-price-manipulation
scheme -- the Swiss National Bank finished the job of
selling a great part of the Swiss gold reserve by
investing the proceeds mainly in soon-to-be worthless
U.S. "dollars." I put the word "dollars" in quotation
marks because they are no longer in conformity with
the dollars mentioned in the U.S. Constitution.

What were those who must have been, or who should
have been, aware of the dimension of this fatal decision
thinking?
~~~
The prosperity of the Swiss banking system, the
Swiss insurance industry, and the Swiss economy in
general was based on its currency being tied to gold.
As a consequence, the Swiss franc was considered
the strongest currency in the world. Concomitantly,
the Swiss banking industry gained international trust
and admiration. That trust is now being irresponsibly
wasted by uninformed organizations.

Russia and other oil-producing countries are beginning
to sell their oil for euros. This is extremely negative
for the dollar because it reduces demand. Furthermore,
some of the world's best-informed investors, such as
Sir John Templeton, Warren Buffett, and George Soros,
are expecting the "dollar" to lose purchasing power.

Regardless, the Swiss National Bank continues to
squander Switzerland's golden treasure, which had
been built up by generations of hardworking Swiss
under severe privations. The proceeds of the sales
are "invested" in soon-to-be worthless "dollars,"
which the U.S. banking system, thanks to its
"exorbitant privilege," as General de Gaulle called it,
is creating daily out of thin air by the billions. It is
about time that our authorities realize that the best
alternative, and the free-market choice, to
irredeemable paper-ticket-fiat money is gold.






Gold -- Sharefin, 02:54:59 01/06/04 Tue

Elliott Wavers' bearish view on gold

Prechter has consistently said that he expects gold to go down in the short and medium terms -- albeit pending an inflationary Armageddon in the long term.
~~~
But the Hulbert Gold Newsletter Sentiment Index has plunged to 11.54 percent average exposure as of Friday night. And as Mark Hulbert has said, "You will rarely see a more perfect textbook illustration of a bull market climbing a wall of worry."

So what is Prechter saying now? Interested readers (and a good few indignant ones; Prechter's record attracts controversy) want to know.
~~~
"Every major market we cover is poised for a long-term trend change," Hochberg and Kendall say flatly.

The means, stocks: down; Treasury notes: down, albeit maybe after a bounce; U.S. dollar: forming a bottom, with multi-month rally about to start; and gold and silver: "at the end of their rallies."
~~~
And for gold, that point is very close -- "a close beyond $422." (The benchmark New York Mercantile Exchange contract traded well above that level Monday, and spot gold was trading right at that level lately.)

------
Just think!!
If they are wrong they can always redo their counts.(:-)))






Fiat -- Sharefin, 02:49:20 01/06/04 Tue

Dollar Falls to Record Against Euro; Guynn Signals Inflation to Stay Tame

The dollar fell to a record against the euro in London after Atlanta Federal Reserve President Jack Guynn yesterday suggested the central bank won't raise interest rates from a four-decade low soon.

The U.S. economy may grow as much as 4 percent this year and there is little sign of a ``significant'' increase in inflation that would lead to higher rates, Guynn, who doesn't vote on Fed policy this year, told the Rotary Club of Atlanta, echoing remarks made by Fed Governor Ben Bernanke on Sunday.

``The Fed has no major concerns about the weakness of the dollar,'' said Adam Cole, a senior currency strategist in London at Credit Agricole Indosuez SA. ``This gives the markets the green flag to keep on selling the dollar.''
~~~
``We will act as needed to counter speculative movement,'' Zembei Mizoguchi, Japan's vice finance minister for international affairs, told reporters in Tokyo earlier today. ``There is a need for us to respond to this with determination.''

`Insulate Economy'

The central bank sold yen at about 7:10 a.m. London time after it rose to about 106.09, the strongest since September 2000, said the traders, who spoke on condition they not be further identified.

``If it wasn't for the Bank of Japan, dollar-yen would be something like 95,'' Steve Pearson, chief currency analyst in London at HBOS Treasury Services Plc, said in a televised interview with Bloomberg News. ``They're spending their money to try to insulate the economy from the worst effects of the bear market for the dollar.''

Demand for the dollar has waned as U.S. interest rates stay lower than in Europe, discouraging some international investors from buying debt sold to finance a record U.S. budget deficit.
~~~
The dollar fell yesterday after Bernanke on Sunday said the risk of a dollar ``crisis'' is ``quite low.'' The Fed's policy accommodation is justified by low inflation and the weakness in the labor market, he said.

``The weakness of the U.S. dollar is exactly what the Fed and the U.S. administration like and want to continue,'' said Peter Clay, currency strategist in Sydney at ABN Amro Holding NV. ``Anytime a Fed official comes out and says `time is on our side' regarding rates, it is going to weigh on the dollar.''

U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow told Bloomberg News last month the currency's drop had been ``orderly.'' While he and President George W. Bush regularly endorse a ``strong dollar'' they say they want markets to set exchange rates.
~~~
``Brutal exchange-rate fluctuations are bad for everyone,'' French Budget Minister Alain Lambert said on French radio station Europe 1. ``We're vigilant.''






Gold -- Sharefin, 02:45:59 01/06/04 Tue

Precious metals ring in new year with big gains

Gold futures traded above $425 an ounce for the first time in more than 15 years in New York on Monday, starting the new year as it ended 2003 -- rallying as investors diversified out of the crumbling dollar.

All precious metals surged on the first trading day of 2004, but only gold is considered a form of currency and thus a hard alternative to the sliding greenback.

It extended last year's 20 percent gain as the dollar hit a new low against the soaring euro and fell to its cheapest level against the yen in three years.

At the COMEX division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, February gold rose to $425.70 an ounce, its highest since 1988, after London trading closed for the day.

Funds on the floor chased it above the high from February 1990 at $425. The benchmark contract ended up $8.70, or 2.1 percent, at $424.80 an ounce.

"It ran massive stops over $420," a floor broker said, referring to pre-placed buy orders. "The dollar is there (as a factor,) but at some point it kind of was on its own."






Silver -- Sharefin, 00:04:43 01/06/04 Tue

Silver defies dire predictions

Silver is shaping up as the new safe haven for investors, hitting close to a 5 1/2-year high in spite of concerns that its main market is declining.

The white metal ended at $US5.97 an ounce on Friday, managing to match gold's climb in December.

Silver's appeal has managed to survive two big question marks hanging over it: first, will digital cameras set off an unrelenting decline in the use of film (which contains silver) and, two, will China's plans to export larger quantities of the metal undermine its market value?
~~~
In India, which is a substantial market for silver for use in jewellery and silver-plated products, the metal has now reached an all-time high through local traders.

Silver, while never having the glamour of gold, has appealed to some investors – most notably, Warren Buffet – because, unlike gold, it also has a range of industrial uses.

The price did take a hit last September when Eastman Kodak announced it would invest less in film photography, but the market no longer seems fazed by this development.

Another long-term concern is that China, as a result of greater zinc, lead and copper mining, also has more silver to release on the world market. China is expected to raise silver exports by 27 million ounces this year.

However, US metals analyst Eidetic Research notes that global consumption of silver has outpaced production for 14 straight years. It believes silver's price could accelerate faster than gold's in 2004.






Periodic Ponzi Update PPU -- $hifty, 23:12:49 01/04/04 Sun

Ponzi Chart

Periodic Ponzi Update PPU

Nasdaq 2,006.68 + Dow 10,409.85 = 12,416.53 divide by 2 = 6,208.265 Ponzi

up 59.36 from last week.

Thanks for the link RossL

Go GATA !

Go GOLD !

$hifty








Gold -- Sharefin, 06:50:06 01/03/04 Sat

At last, glitter returns to gold Metal's price highest since early 1990; bullish news for Nevada mining firms

The price brought smiles to officials at Newmont Mining Corp., the largest gold company in Nevada and in the world.

"We were very pleased," said Newmont spokesman Doug Hock from Denver. He noted that every $10 increase in the price of gold translates to $50 million in annual net income for Newmont.

"We're on target to have a good quarter and end of year, and we're pleased with how our stock performed this year," he said.

Newmont's share prices climbed nearly 70 percent during the year, starting 2003 at $29.03 per share. Barrick Gold, Nevada's No. 2 producer, closed at $22.71, up 18 percent for the year.






Gold -- Sharefin, 06:48:27 01/03/04 Sat

Gold price set for bullish 2004

The US dollar gold price is likely to continue its two-year bull trend in 2004 driven by a weak US dollar, the renewal of the Washington central bank gold agreement and the threat of renewed terrorist attacks, Switzerland-based MKS Finance analyst Frederic Panizzutti says.

Panizzutti expects gold to trade in a range between a low of US$380 an ounce and a high of $480/oz with the average price for 2004 being $440/oz.

"One of the main events in the first quarter of the year will be the long awaited announcement of the renewal of the Washington Agreement and its terms and conditions," he added.

"The established bull trend will generate broader interest and attract fresh investments in the yellow metal. The gold market will remain very volatile in the course of the year," Panizzutti predicted.






Gold -- Sharefin, 06:46:55 01/03/04 Sat

Gold romps into 2004

Gold has started 2004 trading around its strongest levels in seven years, but traders have warned that gold bugs will have to wait until next week for the first real confirmation of the metal's strength.
~~~
But he said that the current price action was not indicative of what the first few weeks of 2004 held for the metal. “Next week will be the test, a lot of traders will be back at work on Monday, and the trade for the last few weeks has been too thin for us to say if this is real strength or not,” he said.

The trader said the massive find interest in gold had not been wound up over the holidays as many had expected. He said there is anecdotal evidence to suggest that fund allocations for 2004 will see institutional investors maintaining large positions in all commodities, as the ongoing uncertainty in other asset classes continues. “They can still take gold higher, there is a lot of fund business coming into the market,” he said.






Gold -- Sharefin, 06:44:54 01/03/04 Sat

Gold bullion shines in 2003

Yellow metal up nearly 20 per cent
Further gains seen in coming months

NEW YORK—Precious metals capped a year of powerful gains yesterday and analysts said a weak U.S. dollar is likely to keep the rallies going in 2004.

Gold prices rose nearly 20 per cent on the year, while platinum jumped 36 per cent and silver finished at 5- 1/2 year highs because of a steady weakening of the U.S. dollar.

A lower greenback made dollar-priced assets like gold cheaper, while geopolitical uncertainty and stock market volatility boosted the safe-haven appeal of the yellow metal.

"The dollar is basically what it's all about," said Leonard Kaplan, president of trading firm Prospector Asset Management.

The U.S. dollar has flagged in recent months, despite fairly robust U.S. economic data, due to fears about a widening account deficit and low interest rates.

Analysts said favourable fundamentals in the gold market also contributed to the rally. Producers bought back some of their hedged future production this year, and fears of fresh attacks on civilian targets sparked buying of hard assets.
~~~
Kaplan said he believes gold will end 2004 at $460 to $480 an ounce, up about 10 per cent from end-2003 levels, with a few spikes above $500 possible during the year.






Gold -- Sharefin, 06:43:11 01/03/04 Sat

Gold glitters in bullion boom

Even as year 2003 came to an end, the rising trend in gold remained unabated on the bullion market in Mumbai when on December 30 pure gold zoomed further to close at a new record high of Rs 6,235 per ten gram due to sharp rise in the global prices.

Silver also maintained it steep upward march and shot up by Rs 100 per kilo to end at an all-time high of Rs 9,480 on firm London advices on the penultimate day of 2003.

In the Asian markets, gold shot up to near 7-year high of $416.50 per ounce on fears of a further fall in dollar against the euro, dealers said.

Both the precious metals broke all previous records during the fag-end of the current year.








Gold -- Sharefin, 06:38:35 01/03/04 Sat

Investing in Gold Stocks Analysis

In an in-depth (13,100 words) Roundtable, Forum J. Alberto Arias, a Senior Analyst at Goldman Sachs & Co., James Copland, an Analyst at Goldman Sachs & Co., Victor Flores, a Senior Analyst at HSBC Securities USA Inc., John H. Hill, an Analyst at Smith Barney and David Mallalieu, Gold Analyst for Scotia Capital examine the outlook for the sector and share specific stock recommendations.

This interview excerpt is part of an in-depth Roundtable Forum from our 66-page Investing in Gold Issue featuring in-depth interviews from five analysts and top management from thirteen sector firms discussing hedging policies, central bank activity, listing of a gold EFT in London, outlook for inflation, China as a future force in gold, economic outlook for 2004, supply and demand outlook, decrease in mine supply, jewelry demand, increased dehedging, the success of Washington Accord, COMEX fund buying, deregulation of the Chinese gold market, appreciation of the South African rand, valuation issues, future mergers and acquisitions and more.
~~~
My view is that if I were going to buy a hedged Canadian gold stock for six months, I'd buy Placer Dome, but if I were going to buy it for two years I'd buy Barrick. They owned this industry in the 1990s. I don't think we've seen the last of them. However, they do have a hedge issue to work through. My view is that there has been no change on hedging policy. None of the commentary in the media represents any change whatsoever, other than that they won't add any more contracts. What the gold bugs were looking for was an affirmation that they were going to get the checkbook out and write some billion-dollar check to buy back the hedge book, and that's just not going to happen.
~~~
Very quickly, we believe that we have two more years left of this gold rally. In more detail, we expect to see a pause in the gold price in 2004 before it rallies again in 2005. We recommend using any pause in the gold price or retreat in the price as a buying opportunity. However, as a caveat I would recommend some discrimination or conservatism with regard to how one invests in these companies. Remember that as the tide comes in, all the stocks will have a tendency to rise, but as the tide goes out some will tend to sink a lot faster than others. So remember that some gold stocks have better qualities than others. As the tide goes out, liquidity will tend to dry up. The rate at which prices can fall can be rather rapid. So be careful, enjoy the rally, but be conservative at the same time.






Gold -- Sharefin, 06:32:45 01/03/04 Sat

Fed's Folly Will Come Due in 2004

Led by the Federal Reserve, the world's central banks have spent five years pursuing some of the most reckless monetary policies ever seen in the developed world. Next year, though, their barmy bets will finally start to come undone.

The crackup won't start happening until the end of 2004 -- after George Bush, the market's favorite for president, has been safely re-elected -- but the coming deluge will usher in a period of global economic malaise and dire losses in financial markets.

The fast-declining dollar we see today is an early indicator of the reckoning that Fed Chairman Greenspan has long tried to forestall, using unsustainable measures. America will be the epicenter of the bust, because it is here that debt totals, as well as trade and fiscal deficits, have risen to historically delinquent levels.
~~~
America has no easy way out of the trap that the Fed has built for the country. No nation has splurged quite like this one without ultimately having to pay the piper. As exceptional as America is in so many ways, not even it can exempt itself from the laws of economics. And what's really scary for investors is that there is nowhere else in the developed world to flee.






Gold -- Sharefin, 06:20:57 01/03/04 Sat

A short list of very, very big losers

- The price of gold bullion soared 20% in 2003 and every gold miner in the index except two -- even those hedged against a rising gold price -- managed to cash in on the bonanza. Agnico Eagle Mines (AGE/TSX) and Meridian Gold Inc. (MNG/TSX) both lost 34% this year, with each of the miners suffering from its own nightmare.

Meridian's growth prospects were put on hold, indefinitely, as it faced its own Tambogrande in the picturesque town of Esquel, Argentina.

The company bungled its public relations efforts with the town's 30,000 inhabitants, with fears of cyanide polluting the local rivers leading to a "no" referendum on the building of a mine.

Meridian is now hoping that a change in the region's government will lead to a more accommodating treatment of its plans, although analysts are already betting whether the company will take a $340-million writedown to take the project to zero.

Agnico-Eagle proved that gold mines, even those with permits, are tough nuts from which to reap a profit. The company lowered its production estimates by 20%, citing slow progress of removing ore at its LaRonda mine, after having to stop production because of electrical problems.

Agnico also suffered from the sharp rise in the Canadian dollar, which forced its production costs up 57% to a steep US$309 an ounce, and this was further aggravated by the fact it was pulling lower-grade ore out of the ground.






Gold -- Sharefin, 06:17:57 01/03/04 Sat

The Dollar Crisis

The current international monetary system, based on floating fiat currencies, brings about tremendous distortions, which inevitably must be corrected. Egoli this week considered the sustainability of this system and the expectations of academics as to what lies ahead.

To understand how we got here requires some historical background.

Under the international gold standard, the flow of gold in and out of countries responded to relative prices between countries.

Because a country's gold reserves were finite and could be increased only by becoming a net exporter, the process of gold loss had a natural limit. But even before the gold supply was drawn down to zero, a decrease in the quantity of gold circulating within the importing country would in result in falling prices.

Eventually, a point would come where there was a discrepancy in prices between the two countries such that the goods of the chronic importer became more attractive as exports to the chronic exporter. The flow of gold thus worked to maintain rough purchasing power parity of an equivalent quantity of gold between nations.

Where trade occurs between nations, imports must ultimately be paid for with exports. This is a special case of the general principle that consumption must be funded by production.






Gold -- Sharefin, 06:12:39 01/03/04 Sat

Gold may dazzle in 2004

Gold bullion prices could mount an attack on $US500 an ounce in 2004 after cracking the $US400 barrier at the close of 2003 to reach eight year highs.

With no tonic in sight for the weak United States dollar, a potential shortfall in gold production and China's staggering demand for resources increasing, investors are likely to continue buying bullion.

Most market observers are confident gold will continue to climb, although there is the occasional voice warning that the gold surge will burst if the US economy recovers strongly.
~~~
"First gold gets to $US400, the next target's $US425 and it will keep on going on. It's too early to call $US500 but at this stage almost anything is possible," Mr Goode said.

Recently returned from South Africa, he said the rand was hurting and gold production could fall by up to 20 per cent on the back of mine closures there.

"The other driver is going to be China, Chinese wealth is improving and they are buying gold."

UBS Investment Research's Shaun Giacomo believes positive fundamentals could see gold swing between $US380 and $US475 an ounce in 2004 with an average of $US420 during the year.

RFC Research Ltd said that with the psychological $US400 level broken, gold could move higher more rapidly "possibly spiking to $US500 an ounce in 2004 if confidence in the US dollar wanes".

Broking house Fat Prophets was the most bullish of all, tipping gold to end 2004 at $US500 or higher.






Gold -- Sharefin, 06:09:04 01/03/04 Sat

Bullion securities

The newly created Gold Bullion Securities floated last week in London weren't quite the stunning success they first appeared, according to Dennis Gartman, editor of a daily market comment newsletter from Sussex, Va. The World Gold Council initially reported 8.14 million of the new securities -- each of which represents direct ownership of 1/19th of an ounce of gold -- had traded on the first day, but it now appears the actual figure was 4.9 million. The second day's trade was only 2.2 million. "The draining of liquidity away from gold shares to the new gold fund was far less than had been rumoured, reported or hoped for on the part of the WGC," Mr. Gartman said in his newsletter yesterday.






Gold -- Sharefin, 06:06:58 01/03/04 Sat

Raised threat level buoys gold in nervous New York

COMEX gold rose slightly Monday on the back of a weak dollar and anxiety about possible attacks on the United States, bucking the year-end profit-taking that dulled the shine of platinum and silver.
~~~
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security called threat indicators "perhaps greater now than at any point" since the Sept 11, 2001, attacks which destroyed the World Trade Center in New York and damaged the Pentagon outside Washington, D.C.

Some of gold's 16-percent rally this year is risk premium, and dealers said a scary world was already built into the value of the physical asset, barring a "cataclysmic event."

"The euro is up pretty good, the dollar is down a little bit. So we're lending some support from there," said a floor broker. "I don't think the terror thing is scaring us as much as it used to, but it's still in the back of some people's minds."
~~~
On Friday, the CFTC said in its Commitments of Traders report that the net speculative long gold position rose to 116,108 contracts as of last Tuesday from 107,028 contracts the week before.

That was the largest accumulation since the record was set in early September at 122,847 contracts.






Gold -- Sharefin, 06:04:21 01/03/04 Sat

Gold - The Implications of a China-centric World

Gold broke through $400 per ounce driven by investor concerns over the health of the US balance sheet, weakened by the most stimulative set of economic policies in U.S. history. Gold and its relationship with the US dollar have been in a lockstep. Gold has risen over 60 percent since touching a twenty-year low of $250 per ounce in August 1999. The dollar on the other hand has dropped some 35 percent since reaching its stratospheric high in October 2000. The greenback is expected to fall at least another 40 per cent during the next twelve months, which augers well for gold. Gold now looks poised to test the $420 level.

We continue to believe that gold is in the early stage of its bull market following an extended two decade bear period. History shows that in a bull market staying long is the best strategy. Gold is always volatile and shakeout opportunities afford excellent buying opportunities. Noteworthy is that gold has established successfully higher major support levels and thus technically is in excellent shape. We continue to expect gold to surpass $510 an ounce and eventually a new high. We thus recommend purchases of gold and gold stocks at current levels. Gold is a good thing to have.
~~~
For thousands of years the Chinese have traditionally saved gold and worn gold ornaments. During special holidays or birthdays, the Chinese tradition gives taels as gifts. We believe that with this liberalization, China will import gold, which will have positive implications for the gold price. Outstanding individual bank savings in China amounted to $1.3 trillion at the end of July. This month an investor in Chengdu bought five ounces of gold, becoming the first to be allowed to buy physical gold in China. Some 45 percent of China's population is under age 25 and gold is a new form of wealth. China is the world's third largest gold consumer and the fifth largest producer, producing about 200 tonnes per year. China is the largest potential jewelry market in the world with currently 90 percent of the gold consumed in China used to make jewelry.

China's growing foreign currency reserves of dollars are now at levels that the government is diversifying from dollars into euros, gold and recently we understand, the Canadian dollar. After all, unlike others who bought Van Goghs and golf courses, gold and Canadian dollar have gone up against the greenback. Now that individuals can buy gold, it is believed that initial demand can amount to 300-500 tonnes. We expect China to increase their gold reserves to at least 10 per cent of total state reserves from the current 2 percent holding. China has increased its gold reserves by a third in recent years to 600 tonnes, worth about $12.4 billion. With China's economy growing and with the entry into the WTO and other global institutions, China would like to have sufficient reserves comparable to the western economies. The United States, for example, has over half of its reserves in gold, while Switzerland has over 35 per cent in gold. The European Community has more than 10 per cent of its reserves in gold, backing the Euro.






Gold -- Sharefin, 06:00:43 01/03/04 Sat

Gold as a hedge? How about a 64% return?

Is gold a good hedge? It certainly looks that way.

Let's start by considering the incredible performance of the precious metals funds.

In the 12 months that ended Dec. 12, according to category average data from Morningstar.com, the average precious metals fund blows away the competition. The category average return: 64.1 percent.

Nothing else comes close. Funds specializing in Latin America come in a distant second at 55.1 percent. Technology funds, recovering from their near-death experience, placed third at 42.3 percent.

The hedge value of gold is still clearer when you look back three years. During that miserable period, the average precious metals fund gained 44.4 percent a year, while the average domestic large blend equity fund lost 6.6 percent a year.
~~~
This isn't your usual "portfolio for the apocalypse" approach to gold. The gold bug crowd hordes its gold coins and awaits the Mother of All Economic Disasters with dreams of $5,000-an-ounce gold, worthless paper money, a devastated economy and social chaos.






Gold -- Sharefin, 05:58:37 01/03/04 Sat

Gold prices touch record high of $850 an ounce as dollar deteriorates

Washington: Gold prices have risen sharply this year and Americans are taking thousands of dollars out of their bank accounts to buy coins of the yellow metal.

In an uncertain environment of inflation and high interest rates, investors abandoned stocks and bonds and turned to gold as it rose to a record $850 an ounce, according to media reports here.

“It was like a Broadway opening last week” salesman Grimaldi was quoted as saying at the Valley Gold & Silver Exchange in San Jose, California. “People were lined up outside the building and around the corner. They'd buy whatever we had on hand — gold coins, silver or whatever.”

Many investors have heard predictions of an imminent bull market in gold for two decades from a devoted core of “gold bugs”, even though the price of gold sank sharply and languished during the stock bubble at the end of the 1990s.

The difference now is that while inflation picks up and the dollar deteriorates in value, some of the most astute international financial managers are turning to gold as well as other currencies and commodities as top investments.

Marc Faber, author of Tomorrow's Gold and editor of the Gloom, Boom and Doom Report, foresees a bull market for many commodities.

His prediction — gold could hit $1,000 an ounce, according to a report in the Morning Call, a weekly published from California.
~~~
Says Robert Mish, president of Mish International Monetary in Menlo Park, California: “It's a trend in motion. It will make new highs until the reasons why the dollar is falling and gold is rising cease to be.”

His logic is simple: of all the currencies, gold is the only one whose supply is relatively fixed.

Many central banks, especially the Federal Reserve Board in the US, have fought the post-bubble threat of deflation by printing paper money.

The market for paper money is becoming glutted, and by the laws of supply and demand, its price should decline compared with the more fixed supply of gold, Mish says.

Gold is rising in price not only as a by-product of the Federal Reserve's fight against deflation by printing money but also as the result of the record twin deficits in trade and the federal government's budget.






Gold -- Sharefin, 05:55:12 01/03/04 Sat

Precious metals funds outpace competitors

Weak U.S. dollar and symbolic gold price contribute to healthy November gain

Equity funds that invest in gold and precious metals outpaced all competing classes in November, as the price of bullion broke through the psychologically significant level of $400 (U.S.) an ounce and the U.S. dollar faltered against major world currencies.

Precious metals funds posted an average gain of 9.4 per cent last month, bringing their return for the first 11 months of the year to an eye-popping 77 per cent, according to monthly data compiled by globefund.com.
~~~
Mr. Cohen said bullion's "nice and steady" march above the $400 (U.S.) barrier late in the month was more important for its symbolism than any dramatic effect on the gold producers or the stocks, because the price didn't go screaming up. "It didn't go over with as much fanfare as one would have thought."






Gold -- Sharefin, 05:53:26 01/03/04 Sat

US catch-22 to spur gold

As gold winds up a blockbuster 2003, a year in which it gained fully $55/oz - or 19 percent - against the dollar, analysts are predicting the trend will continue, as glaring flaws in the US economy push the dollar lower and gold higher.
Victoria-based economist Martin Murenbeeld, reckons bullion will “challenge $450/oz in 2004”. Using a slightly more bullish scenario, however, Murenbeeld says gold could double this year's dollar gains, averaging as high as $496/oz in the final quarter of 2004.
~~~
In his report, Murenbeeld quotes from a recent article in the Economist on future government obligations: “embodied in current tax and expenditure policies are a lot of obligations for which governments have not yet had to make explicit provision…governments often fall into bad habits when their debts get so high, usually resorting to the printing press and using inflation to cut the real value of their liabilities.”

The essence of the matter, says Murenbeeld, is that when the Baby Boomer generation starts to retire, governments' financial obligations will mushroom.

“Given the record debt levels currently, governments will almost certainly be forced to finance the extra obligations by raising taxes, cutting services…and printing more money,” says Murenbeeld. “With gold being the traditional hard asset, and gold investment products proliferating, methinks the long term outlook is therefore quite bright.”






Gold -- Sharefin, 05:49:57 01/03/04 Sat

Investors discovering new luster in gold

Though stocks have grabbed most of the attention this year, gold has
been staging its own bull run at the expense of the dollar. The
dollar hit record lows against the euro last week while the yellow
metal rallied above $412 an ounce, its highest level in nearly eight
years and a gain of 18 percent on the year.
~~~
"We're seeing an increase in interest in both gold and silver
because of the rising prices," said Jim Cook, president of
Investment Rarities, a precious metals brokerage in Bloomington.

"The reasons for gold to increase in value are not going away. You
have a huge trade deficit and a huge government budget deficit, and
other economic aspects like unprecedented money and credit growth
and a low savings rate," Cook said. "Those cause people to worry
about the currency."

While a slowly declining dollar can be managed, some economists and
gold enthusiasts predict an eventual run on the dollar in which
foreign governments, companies and investors, frustrated by the
currency's erosion, start cashing out their U.S. investments. That
would accelerate the decline in the dollar and likely be stemmed
only by raising U.S. interest rates, which in turn would slow the
U.S. economy or even throw the country back into recession.

"I see what's happening, and I'm nervous," said Mark Lundeen of
Minneapolis, a retired Navy technician who invests in shares of gold-
exploration companies. "I think the only life raft you're going to
have in the next couple of years is gold or silver.

"As the international perception of the dollar changes, as our
trading partners become less inclined to accept American dollars in
exchange for their oil and stereos, I think the gold bugs will be
vindicated," Lundeen said.

An extended gold rally has been a long time in the making. Gold
struggled for two decades after briefly rising above $800 in 1980.
The metal traded below $300 for about five years before beginning
its rally early in 2002.
~~~
Hoes, the fund manager, said he thinks gold prices in the near term
will be tied to changes in the dollar. If inflation becomes a
problem, gold could also resume its traditional role as a hedge
against rising prices.

'Paper gold'

Hoes also noted that the recent introduction of "paper gold"
products, which open gold investing to a wider group of buyers,
could support gold prices.

"If we start getting inflation, which is probably six months to 12
months away, then we'll get larger interest in paper gold, and that
would be obviously beneficial to the gold market in general," Hoes
said.
~~~
While paper gold might suit some investors, many prefer the actual
metal.

"People have a strong affinity for it," said Cook, whose brokerage
sells more than $50 million in gold and silver coins annually. "Gold
is a psychologically satisfying metal to hold in your hand. It was
the world's money until 1932 [the year the United States and other
major countries formally abandoned the promise that investors could
exchange their currencies for gold], and it's recognized the world
over."






Gold -- Sharefin, 05:30:43 01/03/04 Sat

Gold That Glitters Not

The Bank of Canada must be really unhappy. For years, Ottawa has been dumping the nation's gold reserves with the determination of a divorced husband disposing of photos of his ex-mother-in-law. For that gold, accumulated over generations, it's been getting mostly U.S. treasury notes (on which it's losing big) and some European government debt denominated in euros (on which it's doing fine).

Most central bankers regard gold with disdain. So don't expect them to respond to US$400 gold with speeches telling us that gold, historically the most reliable of inflation indicators, is sounding the alarm. Those whose business is printing money look at gold the way manufacturers of artificial Christmas trees look at those old-fashioned, fire-prone, needle-scattering green things: we can do it better than God.

Paradoxically, the one important central banker who hasn't disputed gold's value as an inflation indicator is Greenspan. He's a disciple of Ayn Rand and has for years cited the falling price of gold as proof that his monetary policies were working brilliantly. And so they did: since he got his job in 1987, inflation has been tamed from the frightening to the worrisome to the merely negligible, as shown by the fall in gold prices from US$500 per ounce to US$250. Even when gold rebounded to US$325, we were given to understand this was a mere blip.

Maybe Greenspan should have quit while he was ahead. The paper he prints is not just losing value against gold: it's losing against almost every other currency except China's renminbi -- and that's only because China has spent more than US$100 billion buying treasury bonds to hold down the renminbi. The Alanbuck lost an embarrassing 20 per cent this year against the currency of Canada, America's biggest trading partner. That drop was a shock both to Greenspan and to those Canadian businesspeople who, just months ago, were predicting the loonie would sink to a watery grave.

Greenspan insists his policies won't bring back inflation, even though he lends out money at the unheard-of price of one-eighth the growth rate of the economy (one per cent versus the 8.2 per cent annualized growth the U.S. chalked up in the third-quarter). That is the monetary equivalent of providing virtually free booze in unlimited quantities to recently reformed alcoholics.

What makes gold's recent leap so scary for him is that it came as the dollar went to new lows despite a powerful surge in American economic activity. The Wall Street economists have long tried to soothe us by proclaiming that the descent of the dollar and the rise of gold would end, once the U.S. got back to its old robust ways. "Who," they sneered, "would want to own the euro when the U.S. is once again showing its economic heels to Europe?"

The euro has joined gold in going to a seven-year high even as the U.S. was reporting some of the best economic numbers since the Reagan recovery. At today's US$400, gold is saying that Greenspan is playing with fire by maintaining stimulus in a time of a strengthening economy. But, for now, 'tis the season to be jolly, and the friendly firewater in the Fed's punch bowl runneth over.






Gold -- Sharefin, 05:26:59 01/03/04 Sat

Still Crazy After All These Years

Les Quatre Loups
(The Four Wolves)

1948

Imagine if it were 1948, just after World War II ended, as had the Great Depression. Someone was jumping up and down asking you to buy the Dow or leading stocks when the PE ratio was below ten and their dividend yield was between six and eight percent. What would you have thought then? You would have looked at the past, extrapolated into the future and determined that person was crazy. At the time the Dow was 161, (when its previous high was 381 in 1929 and it would not hit that again until 1954). Richard Russell and George Schaefer were those persons encouraging everyone they could to get into the market.

Unfortunately, you would have made one of the greatest investment mistakes of your life by assuming Russell and Schaefer to be crazy. The Dow was about to begin its second legendary bull market of the century that would not end until 1966 at Dow 975.

1971

Imagine if someone in 1971 told you that gold, which was then at $35 an ounce, would be at $887.50 by the end of the decade. What would you have thought of them? Obviously, they were crazy, as gold had been at $35 an ounce since 1933. Again, most people extrapolated the past into the future and decided not to buy gold. Oh, yes. Richard Russell, James Dines, Harry Schultz and Jim Sinclair were those crazy people.

Well, you would have made the second greatest investment mistake of your life. In 1980 the Dow was between 800 and 850 and gold was at $887.50.

1974 or 1982

Let us move to 1974 or 1982. Imagine that someone was jumping up and down asking you to buy the Dow or leading stocks when their PE ratios were below 10 and their dividend yields were between six and eight. What would you have thought of them? You would have looked at the past, extrapolated into the future and determined that the person was crazy. Oh yes, Richard Russell was that person encouraging everyone he could to get into the market both times.

The Dow would experience the greatest bull market that the world had ever seen. It went from either 577 in 1974 or 795 in 1982 to 11,722 in 2000. Unfortunately, you once again had made one of the greatest investing mistakes of your life.

To make it worse, you got into the market starting in 1998 or 1999 and you experienced horrific losses.

Now in 2003, what should you do? Sit on your losses and hope the market comes back or look now to see where the next great bull market is? Well, most people will sit and wait for another two to seven years before they do anything and then they will sell their stocks at exactly the wrong time and buy into the peak of whatever bull market is occurring to compound their error.

Today – 2003

Once again imagine today in late 2003 if someone told you that gold, which is at just over $400 an ounce, will be at $3000 - $10,000 an ounce by the end of the decade. What would you think of them?
Obviously they are crazy, as gold has been below $400 an ounce since 1996 and below $500 an ounce since 1983. Again, most people would extrapolate the past into the future and determine that they are crazy.

Oh yes, once again Richard Russell, James Dines, Harry Schultz and Jim Sinclair are those crazy people.






Gold -- Sharefin, 05:23:11 01/03/04 Sat

Economic Meltdown, Secessionist Crackup?

I had not thought about our perilous future for some time. But a question from a reader started me contemplating again the terrible dangers lurking up ahead because our government has spent the 20th century wallpapering the world with flim-flam dollars. He asked, "What likelihood was there that the U.S. and other foreign governments would sell off significant portions of their gold reserves in order to reduce their debt, should the price of gold become tempting enough to do so?"

This would never happen, of course. America's current national debt is $6.9 trillion and its upcoming liabilities are approximately $44 trillion. So the $140 billion worth of gold in the U.S. Treasury's vault would be but a drop in the bucket in comparison. Even if gold would skyrocket to $3000 per ounce (which it could well do), it still would give us only $1 trillion to dispense toward $50 trillion in government debt. So selling off gold at higher prices would never be a workable solution to our catastrophic problems.

But the governments of the West are definitely selling off portions of their gold -- just not to pay their debts. They are doing so to try and "manage" the price of gold for as long as they can. The Fed and the U.S. Treasury know that they have no chance of keeping gold under $400 per ounce while they devalue the dollar down into the 60's on the USDX charts. But they hope that through their secret machinations with the mega-bank cartel in New York, they can keep a slowly rising lid on the price of gold and prevent a price explosion that would set off a panic amidst the world's investors. This is of crucial importance, for such an unbridled explosion would send the bond vigilantes into overdrive. U.S. Treasuries would be cast over the rail like so much flotsam at sea. Interest rates would scream. The Dow would crash. Asians would head for the lifeboats. Arabs would demand Euros for their oil. America would cease to be a superpower. The economic meltdown would flatten the world's economies like flower gardens in a hurricane.






Fiat -- Sharefin, 04:29:36 01/03/04 Sat

Gold rises, and ….?

Many gold bugs are cheering gold on to $3,000 an ounce and, yes, I can envisage a situation where that outcome may arise. What scares the hell out of me is that this event - if it occurs - will not occur in a vacuum.
~~~
In the end analysis, that is why the Gold Price is so important. It monitors the efficiency of the highly complex economic machinery that has been put in place - one finely machined piece at a time - over generations; and it warns us when the risks of economic down-time are approaching.

Dear readers, believe me when I say that you do not want to see the Gold price getting to $3,000 an ounce in a hurry - because the implications are that we will be experiencing a failure in the world's financial infrastructure which, in turn, will lead to excruciatingly painful down time in the world's economy.
~~~
If the gold price rises to $3,000 in the "near" future, there will be un-intended, and excruciatingly painful consequences.






Fiat -- Sharefin, 04:23:26 01/03/04 Sat

A Bit of History

Gold is the first metal mentioned in the Bible; before iron, silver, copper, or even stone or sand. It is the first inorganic material specifically referred to by name. A short trip down the road from paradise to the gold mines? Gold was used as a primitive "money," value, or a store of value, long before coins and bars were even thought of, in other words. Gold beads have been found in Sumerian excavations, dating back to 4000 BC. Egyptian sculpture and reliefs have been found, which picture gold mining and forming, dating back to about 3000 BC. Pharaohs and other Egyptian royalty, insisted on having gold placed in their tombs, and when King Tut's tomb was uncovered, his remains were encased in a casket of solid gold, which weighed in at 2400 pounds. At today's gold prices, that casket had over $14 million in gold. That gold still exists, as does virtually all gold ever mined.






Fiat -- Sharefin, 04:15:27 01/03/04 Sat

Why a Major Bottom is Still Ahead

We are not waiting for good news to call a major market bottom. Rather, we are looking for a set of conditions that has typified virtually all past major bottoms. Every major market bottom has been accompanied by low P/E multiples, high dividend yields, low price-to-book value and low price-to-sales ratios. Prior to the late 1990's bubble P/E ratios averaged about 15.5 over time, with bear market lows generally ranging
between 8 and 12. Dividend yields averaged about 4% with 4.5 to 7% typical at major bottoms. In contrast the P/E ratio of the S&P 500 for 2003 is about 23, even assuming a strong fourth quarter for profits, while the dividend yield is still less than 2%. As for your bond comparison, double digit yields are a rarity, and have occurred only for a short time after the Civil War, and during the severe inflation of the late 1970's and early 1980's. As you may know we were extremely bullish on bonds in the early 1980's.

Another missing condition for a major market bottom has been the lack of a major selling capitulation on the part of investors at any time following the late 1990's bubble. So taken were most investors with the concept of long-term investing that most held on to their stocks with the misplaced confidence that the market always comes back to new highs within a short time. We think that a major selling climax is still ahead of us and that it will result in disastrous losses. Indeed, the lesson learned from the recent market collapse is not to stay in too long, and knowing when to throw in your hand. Unlike the last time, we think investors be far more willing to sell into the next downturn.






Fiat -- Sharefin, 04:13:57 01/03/04 Sat

As The Greenback Slides

The dollar slid to record lows today after a government report showed that foreign purchases of U.S. assets, such as Treasuries and agency securities, fell to the lowest level in five years.

The Treasury Department said foreign investors bought $4.19 billion in September, down from $49.9 billion in August -- a 92% drop! The September figure represents the smallest tally since September 1998 when foreign investors bought $1.7 billion in U.S. securities.

As fewer foreign investors buy less stocks and bonds, the harder it is for the United States to finance the burgeoning current account deficit.






Gold -- Sharefin, 04:12:18 01/03/04 Sat

Gold glitters again in investors' eyes

Vince Grimaldi remembers Jan. 21, 1980, the final day of the last big gold bubble. "It was like a Broadway opening," said Grimaldi, a salesman at the Valley Gold & Silver Exchange in San Jose. "People were lined up outside the building and around the corner. People were taking $1,000, $2,000 out of their bank accounts and running in to get some gold coins, silver, whatever. They'd buy whatever we had on hand."

In that uncertain environment of inflation and high interest rates, investors abandoned stocks and bonds and turned to gold as it rose to a record $850 an ounce.

The current environment would seem to be the exact opposite, except for one item: Gold prices have risen sharply this past year. "It's a trend in motion," said Robert Mish, president of Mish International Monetary in Menlo Park, Calif. "It will make new highs until the reasons why the dollar is falling and gold is rising cease to be." Many investors have heard predictions of an imminent bull market in gold for the past two decades from a devoted core of "gold bugs," even though the price of gold sank sharply and languished during the stock bubble at the end of the 1990s.

The difference now is that some of the most astute international financial managers are turning to gold, as well as other currencies and commodities, as top investments while inflation picks up and the dollar deteriorates in value. Marc Faber, author of "Tomorrow's Gold" and editor of the Gloom, Boom and Doom Report, foresees a bull market for many commodities. His prediction: Gold could hit $1,000 an ounce. His logic is simple: Of all the currencies, gold is the only one whose supply is relatively fixed.

Many central banks, especially the Federal Reserve Board in the United States, have fought the post-bubble threat of deflation by printing paper money. One broad measurement of the supply of dollars is up 16 percent in the past two years. The market for paper money is becoming glutted, and by the laws of supply and demand, its price should decline compared to the more fixed supply of gold, he said.
Other basic economic forces are favoring gold as well. It is rising in price, not only as a byproduct of the Fed's fight against deflation by printing money, but as the result of the record twin deficits in trade and the federal government's budget.

"All the currencies are being diluted and will fall against
commodities," Mish said. "The dollar will just fall faster."






Gold -- Sharefin, 04:08:09 01/03/04 Sat

Gold to touch $450/oz in 2004, says Deutsche Asset

A weak U.S. dollar and volatile stock markets will push the gold price to a 12-year high of $450 an ounce in 2004, a leading fund manager said on Tuesday. "It is highly probable that gold pushes $450 an ounce," Darko Kuzmanovic, portfolio manager at Deutsche Asset Management in Sydney, said by e-mail.

"The U.S. dollar has already tried to rally a number of times but lost steam very quickly," said Kuzmanovic, who helps manage Scudder Gold and Precious Metals Funds, a U.S. mutual gold fund which has about $250 million in assets.
~~~
Kuzmanovic said it was difficult to see the dollar strengthening given the "very difficult" economic background of consumer debt, government deficits and a property "bubble".






Gold -- Sharefin, 04:06:42 01/03/04 Sat

Bugs proclaim bear market dead

Bullion above US$400 for first time in seven years

A 400-ounce gold bar, worth US$163,640 at yesterday's price. Gold bugs claimed victory in 2003.Last month, bullion broke through the psychological barrier of US$400 an ounce for the first time in more than seven years.

Gold fans say 2003 was the year that broke the back of a bear market in gold stretching back to the early 1980s. Moreover, they're confident the metal will perform strongly during the next few years, causing a re-evaluation of the wisdom of hedging. Take Goldcorp Inc., the Toronto-based owner of what is arguably the world's most profitable gold mine, Red Lake. The company argues gold is money, so there's no urgent need to sell mine output. Goldcorp holds back about 10% of its mine production and stores it in bank vaults in Toronto and New York. At last count, it had 250,000 ounces of bullion stashed in the bank -- a hoard bigger than the Bank of Canada's 175,000 ounces. Since Goldcorp hasn't sold that gold to anyone, it is not yet required to count that production as revenue. That means Goldcorp can defer income taxes on it until it converts that bullion to cash. What's more, the company believes the bullion price is on the rise. Why sell production at today's spot price if you think gold will be worth more down the road? Robert McEwen, the chief executive, has said he thinks gold could hit US$800 in the next decade. This attitude explains why Goldcorp avoided hedging, which is what less-bullish gold miners do when they worry the price might drop. And 2003 was the year hedging definitely fell out of fashion. Barrick Gold Corp. made waves earlier this month when founder and chairman Peter Munk announced the company, long a poster child for hedging, would do away with it entirely. Rising gold prices have rendered Barrick's hedging system irrelevant, Mr. Munk explained.
~~~
What everyone wants to know now is: Will the bull market
continue to charge ahead?
The consensus seems to be no. A survey of 15 gold analysts in November found their average price forecast for 2004 was US$380 an ounce.On the other hand, there is the system used by the late Harry Bingham, a famed U.S. fund manager. He used to say the value of an ounce of gold should be the same as the price of a good suit. According to the Brooks Brothers Web site, a two-piece suit sells for just under US$600.






Gold -- Sharefin, 04:02:26 01/03/04 Sat

Gold miners cautious in gold price estimate

Consensus US$337 an ounce: Price is used to calculate reserve estimates

Gold miners are taking a cautious approach to the gold price in their 2003 yearend reserve calculations, a survey
reveals. Pricewaterhouse Coopers contacted 46 gold miners around the world and asked what price they will use to calculate their reserve estimates in upcoming 2003 annual reports. The results, released yesterday, show the average price will be US$337 an ounce. That is about 10% higher than the average of US$305 that was used in respondents' 2002 annual reports. At US$337 an ounce, the 2003
estimate is rather conservative given current gold prices of more than US$400 an ounce. "The industry probably feels comfortable that there's a certain amount of conservatism in its numbers," said Paul Murphy, leader of the Canadian mining practice at Pricewaterhouse Coopers.






Gold -- Sharefin, 03:58:22 01/03/04 Sat

Don't be fooled, this run in gold is real

Gold has had a banner year. The stuff that glitters jumped by $US4.70 an ounce overseas on Friday to $US410.10 and has now risen by $US87.35, or 27 per cent, since April 8, when it hit $US322.75.

Gold was $US351.60 at the start of the year, almost 17 per cent below its current level, and is trading at prices last seen at the end of the 1980s.

The technical pivot of the rally has been the decline of the US dollar, which produces a virtually automatic increase in the $US gold price.

The greenback hit record lows against the euro on Friday and is now about 30 per cent below its peak in the first quarter of 2002: the $US gold price has risen by the same amount over the same time.

But there are reasons to believe that this is not a fool's gold rally.

The US dollar is not expected to recover strongly anytime soon, for one thing. The US domestic and trade deficits are running at a combined $US1.5 billion ($2 billion) a day, and America's cash interest rate of 1 per cent is half that of Europe's, 2.75 percentage points below Britain's and 4.25 percentage points below Australia's, and unlikely to change in the near future.

The US Federal Reserve is not signalling an imminent rise, and the market believes the Bush Administration is happy to have a weaker currency buttressing its attempt to kick-start the economy.

There also have been some fundamental changes in the gold market itself. Chief among them is the decline of the gold hedging "contango" by goldminers, a practice which, perhaps not coincident-ally, began in the late '80s when gold was last above $US400.

The forward-selling contango works best when there is a wide gap between market interest rates and the rate that central banks charge to lend gold.






Gold -- Sharefin, 03:56:14 01/03/04 Sat

Investors in gold need ounce of sense

Most of us have only a vague idea what frankincense and myrrh are, but we would all be happy to have gold as a present. The latter-day wise men are those who bought the metal in August 1999, when the price in dollars hit a 20-year low. Since then, gold has risen by 60 per cent while the FTSE 100 index of leading shares has fallen by around a quarter.
This Christmas, investors have a new way to buy gold following the launch of Gold Bullion Securities (GBS) on the stock market. Promoted by the industry's trade body, the World Gold Council, each share in the GBS company is equivalent to a tenth of a troy ounce of gold.

The metal will be stored in the vaults of HSBC bank so investors will have only a certificate to show for their investment, rather than a krugerrand or a gold bar. The aim of GBS is to allow private investors to trade in the precious metal cheaply and easily. The up-front charge is 0.1 per cent and there is an annual fee of 0.3 per cent. But, with the price at a 14-year high, is this a good time to buy gold?

Hugh Hendry of hedge fund manager Odey thinks you have to go back 300 years, when the first hedge fund made its fortune, for the answer to that. That is when Scotsman John Law persuaded the French to replace gold with paper money. The French liked the idea so much they printed masses of it, helping to inflate the South Sea Bubble. An investor called Richard Cantillion, recognising that paper money without backing was worthless, took his profits, invested in gold, and shorted the French stock market. When the market collapsed, the French tried to buy their way out by printing more money, but to no avail. The markets collapsed and the gold price soared.

Hendry believes that, for the South Sea Bubble, we should substitute the bull market of the 1990s; for France, substitute the US and Japan; for Cantillion, substitute hedge funds such as his and other contrary investors who are worried about the huge worldwide expansion of credit. The US is expected to have a budget deficit of $500 billion (£295bn) this year while Britain's is a relatively large £37bn Add in record personal borrowing both here and in the US, and it is not hard to paint a bleak picture of the credit explosion.






Fiat -- Sharefin, 03:53:51 01/03/04 Sat

Precious metals advice: Buy silver bullion

Excitement continues to grow in the gold world, with the
gold price reaching seven-year highs and challenging the
US$400 per ounce level. There are many reasons
advanced for the move, with the primary one focusing on
the weakness of the U.S. dollar. While that is no doubt an
important factor, the real reason, I believe, is that the world
is waking up to the fact that we are on the cusp of serious
global monetary debasement.

The U.S. currency is in deep trouble as a result of America's
remarkable financial profligacy, which has manifested itself
in unthinkable levels of debt and humongous fiscal and
current account deficits. No thinking person doubts that.
~~~
As a result, people throughout the world are stepping
up their gold purchases to protect themselves from the
flood of paper money being created. This increased
buying of physical gold is putting relentless upward
pressure on the price of bullion. This represents a
major change in the market. Previously, when the
anti-gold cabal (central banks, bullion banks, et al.)
launched one of their frequent selling attacks on the
floor of the Comex, the long speculators would panic
and run for cover, leading to another victory for the
bad guys.

Now, however, with the mounting physical demand
creating a floor under the gold price, the long
speculators are emboldened. They're prepared to
stand their ground and increase their positions in the
face of increased selling pressure from the anti-gold
crowd.
~~~
All you have to really know is that all the gold mined
since the beginning of time is worth approximately
US$1.5 trillion, and the value of all the world's publicly
traded gold stocks is less than US$100 billion.

Total U.S. debt at all levels -- government, consumer,
and corporate -- is at least twenty-fold greater than all
the world's gold assets, and is growing rapidly. Which
would you rather own, a tangible like gold that has
held its value through centuries, as paper money came
and went, or a U.S. debt instrument?

To make your choice easier, be reminded once again
of the comments of Federal governor Ben "Weimar"
Bernanke, who has publicly stated that the U.S.
government has a printing press and will use it to
print as many U.S. dollars as necessary to forestall
deflation. He has also alluded to dropping money from
helicopters if need be. A very encouraging development
from the perspective of gold enthusiasts occurred in the
last month, and that was the news that the Blanchard
and Co. lawsuit against Barrick Gold and J.P. Morgan
Chase would be proceeding to the discovery phase.

After the initial ruling several months ago, the defendants
attempted to have the case dismissed, but the Louisiana
federal court judge, Helen Berrigan, held firm.

If I were Barrick and Morgan Chase, I would be very
concerned because Blanchard is a Louisiana-based coin
dealer and the case is going to be heard on its home field.

There have been ongoing allegations of manipulation in
the gold market for years, and now we are going to have
some potentially embarrassing questions asked and the
defendants are going to have to answer them under oath.
Should be interesting.
~~~
Accordingly, I would prefer to recommend silver bullion
(US$5.30 per ounce) as an investment this month. Silver
historically has traded at a 40-to-1 ratio with gold (for
example, it would take 40 ounces of silver to buy an
ounce of gold), but today the ratio is 75-to-1, implying
that silver is seriously underpriced. In addition, there is
a huge supply-demand imbalance, with silver demand
far outstripping mine supply.

Above-ground stocks, much of which resulted from the
Hunt brothers' abortive attempt to corner silver in 1979,
are rapidly disappearing, and several new intriguing
applications for silver are on the horizon. In addition,
silver is a small market that has been severely abused
by the same paper players who have suppressed gold,
and large short positions are being protected with many
of the same tricks that have plagued the gold market.

When silver breaks free, many people are going to be
shocked by how fast and far it goes.






Fiat -- Sharefin, 03:46:49 01/03/04 Sat

Bank of Japan Sold Yen, Bought Dollars, Traders Say

The Bank of Japan sold yen and bought dollars in Tokyo, said traders at financial institutions that deal with the nation's central bank, marking the third consecutive day of currency sales.

Japan sold its currency at about 108.30 per dollar, said the traders, who spoke on condition they not be identified.
~~~
``Japan's going to put up a hell of a fight'' to keep the currency from appreciating, said Greg McKenna, head of currency strategy at National Australia Bank Ltd., Asia's largest lender outside Japan by assets. ``Japan is still on a recovery track, so the yen is still going to go up.'' He predicted the dollar would fall to less than 100 yen in the next 12 months.

Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki and Bank of Japan Governor Toshihiko Fukui have said they are concerned that a swift rise in the yen will hurt an economy pulling out of a 12- year slump by making its exports more expensive.

A Ministry of Finance official declined to comment on whether Japan sold its currency today. The ministry directs the central bank to buy or sell yen in the currency markets.

The Bank of Japan has sold a record 17.8 trillion yen ($164 billion) this year through Nov. 26, according to government figures.

The central bank may have sold as much as 1 trillion yen yesterday in an effort to stem the advance in the Japanese currency, the Nihon Keizai newspaper reported, citing ``market sources.''






Fiat -- Sharefin, 03:44:26 01/03/04 Sat

Gold reaches 7-year high

Pogue believes gold will continue to increase and could double in value within the next two years, as the dollar keeps dropping against foreign currencies. If that happened, it would put gold close to values in 1980, when inflation drove an ounce of gold as high as $850.
~~~
"Some of my customers don't trust that the government is always going to be there, so they want to keep their money in gold," he said.

Because gold is tangible, it is considered a "safe-haven" investment.

Fluctuations in the U.S. currency directly affect gold because the metal is priced in dollars. When the dollar falls, gold becomes cheaper on foreign markets.

Gold prices have increased more than 18 percent in 2003.

Demand for gold also has risen as U.S. investors seek alternative places to park their money in response to scandals at U.S. mutual-fund companies and rock-bottom interest rates for bank accounts.

Some also are jittery that, with stock markets already up by double-digit percentages, stock prices might be poised for a stall, or worse.






Fiat -- Sharefin, 03:42:10 01/03/04 Sat

The Basics of Foreign Trade and Exchange - Role of Central Banks

Exchange Stabilization Fund

The legal basis of the ESF is the Gold Reserve Act of 1934. As amended in the late 1970s, the Act provides in part that "the Department of the Treasury has a stabilization fund …Consistent with the obligations of the Government in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on orderly exchange arrangements and an orderly system of exchange rates, the Secretary …, with the approval of the President, may deal in gold, foreign exchange, and other instruments of credit and securities."






Fiat -- Sharefin, 03:36:04 01/03/04 Sat

Great Myths of the Great Depression






Gold -- Sharefin, 03:34:12 01/03/04 Sat

The bull market for bullion

Even Peter Munk believes gold has a bright future

One of the most solid examples of gold's rising tide came late last week when Peter Munk, chairman of Barrick Gold Corp., said the company is eliminating its hedge book.

Mr. Munk, for those less familiar with the gold business, spent decades as hedging's poster boy. Hedging is a risk management tool that uses contracts to lock in future prices. Miners hedge future production to protect themselves from falling gold prices.

Gold spent much of the 1980s and 1990s in a bear market, and Barrick's gamble on falling gold prices helped the company generate US$2-billion in cash.

Mr. Munk's decision to move away from hedging indicates that even he believes gold has a bright future. Barrick need not protect itself using hedging contracts if gold has entered a bull market.
~~~
That's in line with the forecast from Pierre Lassonde, president of the world's largest gold miner, Denver-based Newmont Mining Corp. "Gold at around US$400 an ounce is probably fairly valued right now. You are very likely to see its price trade around that for the next while, with a US$50 an ounce band on either side of it," he said. But, he added, that's just the beginning.

Gold has entered a long-run bull market, the likes of which we haven't seen in three decades, when it rose more than 2,200% from US$35 an ounce in 1971 to a peak of more than US$800 in the early 1980s, Mr. Lassonde noted.

"Since it hit US$250 an ounce in 2001, gold is up 55%. We still have a long way to go. This is chapter two of a 20-chapter book."






Gold -- Sharefin, 16:03:50 01/01/04 Thu

Gold hits highest level since 1996

Gold prices rose to a new near-eight year high in London as the continued weakness of the dollar, coupled with fears over terrorism, pushed the metal ever higher.

On the London Bullion Market the price of an ounce of gold stood at 417.25 at the morning fixing, up from 416.25 dollars on Tuesday.

It is the highest price since early February 1996, when gold rose to 417.70 dollars.

However that was an interim, or "spot", gold price. Wednesday's fixing -- two of which are made per day on the London market -- is the highest such price since February 7, 1990, when the price hit 423 dollars.

The main factor behind gold's recent rise has been the slump of the dollar, which has fallen to a series of recent lowest-ever levels against the euro due to concerns over the size of the US current account deficit and low American interest rates.

A weaker US unit makes dollar-traded gold more affordable to investors outside the United States.

Additionally, fears over possible terrorism attacks over the holiday period have tempted investors to put some of their money in the safe-haven option of gold.






Gold -- Sharefin, 15:55:24 01/01/04 Thu

NY gold ends off nearly 14-yr peak, silver dips


COMEX gold futures closed down from an almost 14-year peak on Wednesday in light, dollar-driven trading before a four-day New Year holiday, while profit taking hit silver at 5-1/2 year highs above $6 an ounce, traders said.

Turnover was muted by an early COMEX close at about noon Wednesday for New Year celebrations and market holidays on Thursday and Friday, dealers said.

"It's maybe a little profit taking, but it is super-light. Everyone is at least mentally absent, if not physically absent, already," said James Pogoda, vice president of precious metals at Mitsubishi International Corp.






Gold -- Sharefin, 15:53:17 01/01/04 Thu

Gold set to end 2003 with 20 pct gain over year


Precious metals looked set to finish the year in style on Wednesday,
with gold up 20 percent and platinum 36 percent over the 12 months, as dollar weakness sent investors
scurrying to snap up commodities and ongoing geopolitical uncertainty boosted safe haven appeal.

Gold was quietly steady in thin European trade, standing only cents away from Tuesday's near
eight-year peak and within sight of 14-year highs, amid fresh dollar lows versus the euro.

Bullion's around 20 percent increase in value this year follows a 24 percent rise in 2002.

It has been one of the alternative investments of choice for fund managers seeking to gain
value elsewhere as the ailing dollar declined and stock markets looked shaky.

A weak dollar makes dollar-denominated gold less expensive for holders of other currencies

"Gold continues to please investors challenging the 1996 high...Clearly it was responding
to the ever weakening dollar," banker Rothschild said in a daily report.
~~~
"The funds will be keen to see gold maintain a firm tone today in order to enhance their
year-end portfolio valuations and the yellow metal seems set to end 2003 at or close to the high
point of the year," Standard Bank London said in a report.

When full trade resumes next week after the New Year's Day public holiday, many traders and
analysts were looking for gold to push towards price levels unseen in just under 13 years.

Trade in Europe will restart on Friday, but markets in New York and Tokyo will not reopen
until Monday.

Gold peaked at around $425 an ounce in early 1990 and has not visited levels above there
in some 16 years.

The metal has far outperformed analysts' predictions in a bi-annual Reuters poll, with the
most bullish forecast for the end of the fourth quarter 2003 coming in at $372 from Martin Murenbeeld,
an international economist based in Canada.

The median forecast of 12 analysts from around the world was for $350 -- some $70 below current
prices.

Gold's 20 percent rise in 2003 has corresponded to a similar increase in the euro versus
the dollar, which has been instrumental in driving gold -- along with other commodities -- significantly
higher.

Ongoing geopolitical instability, coupled with gold miners buying back previously sold future
production, has also helped.

The dollar hit a new record low against the euro on Wednesday, as disappointing U.S. economic
data and worries over possible attacks in the U.S. during the New Year celebrations reinforced
bearish sentiment towards the greenback.

SILVER CRACKS $6

Silver was another good performer in 2003, gaining some 26 percent during the year and seen
finishing around $6.00 an ounce -- its highest in 5-1/2 years.






Gold -- Sharefin, 15:50:56 01/01/04 Thu

Gold and Hyperinflation

This article is written to pinpoint the timing of the imminent hyperinflation. Statements are backed up with facts. Inferences are drawn from repeated past occurrences supported with reasons. Readers should not swallow my findings; they are encouraged to verify the facts presented. The findings are the results of my private research work over 25 years.

There may be many people like me trying to unlock the mysteries of the Universe, but I am alone in this piece of research work.

THE GOOSE THAT LAYS GOLD EGGS

~~~~
CONCLUSION

Here are the main points:

1. Hyperinflation is imminent.

2. Past analyses indicate the following will happen:

Gold will soar.
U.S. dollars will collapse.
Interest rates will climb sharply.

3. The reference point for the hyperinflation is the 3rd quarter of 2004. By planetary correlations, the most bullish phase has been located. It is from end December 2004 through early August 2005. However, Gold will rise significantly before this period.

4. Gold price will greatly surpass the high reached in year 1980.

5. It is advisable to invest in Silver also because Silver rises more rapidly than Gold.

6. Hyperinflationary forces will disintegrate by the end of August 2005.






Subscriptions -- Sharefin, 10:22:02 12/30/03 Tue

The ShareLynx Gold subscription services will be turned back on early in the New Year (1st/2nd Jan) so you will soon need your username & password to gain access. If you have lost or misplaced these please email me & I will send you your details.

Paid subscribers will gain access the same as before & those on the trial will soon receive emails alerting them to the end of their trial period. Please advise whether you wish to purchase a subscription or to be deleted off the subscription list. There are multiple choices available for purchasing your subscription with details available on the website.

I would also appreciate it if one & all can advise me if they want to be on my email list or if they want their names removed from this. Bouncing email addresses will no be accepted.

The new server is working well & so far I've not noticed any problems with it.

I look forwards to providing a steady, reliable service & working the year away improving what is currently available plus adding more content. All suggestions or requests for additional charting, data, information, layout etc will be gladly received & reviewed. Please feel free to email me with requests or to mention problems etc - my intentions are to provide a user friendly service based on the best information I can provide & finding out what my viewers want to see. I will be working this year to transfer my charting database online & to install a charting program. Lots of room for growth & to bring data online.

One again I apologise for the break in services but feel that I now have a more robust system on a reliable service.

Wishing one & all the best for the New Year & the exciting times ahead.






Forum archived -- Sharefin, 09:57:53 12/30/03 Tue

The Forum has just archived itself & prior posts can be viewed here.






Gold -- Sharefin, 09:54:13 12/30/03 Tue

Gold: A Rediscovered Investment

The Pharisee's Role In Gold And The Dollar Crash

Since Day 911 the US dollar has fallen over 40% as compared to the Euro, the European currency “basket.” About half of that drop occurred since May 2, 2003, when hostilities in Iraq were reported to have ended.

This means that had you or I been in the know we could have earned about 10 years of savings account interest in only six months, without buying a thing. We could have asked our respective bankers to convert our dollar savings accounts into Euros with a simple bookkeeping entry. Yes, there would have been a little red tape, but the international money dealers and bankers do this all the time for their own accounts. Perhaps we need to know what they know?

The mysterious Euro is not the only measure of the dollar's collapse. There is hardly a currency that has not gone up against the dollar, including the South African Rand, which has more than doubled! Stories of the falling dollar are whispered in hushed tones but do not often make it into the US press, or when it does the explanation is usually murky.

Few Americans as yet give any real meaning to the fall of the dollar or related it to the rise in gold prices. But it is not a coincidence, and there is reason to believe the trend has not run its course.

If you were to ask your local bank VP to explain the relationship between gold and the dollar, you could expect a long and confusing answer, ending with something like this: "Nobody knows what will happen in the final analysis." Your banker's MBA or PHD degree does not equip him to understand anything as basic as what makes gold and the dollar go up and down.

But the big usury-bankers (internationalists with license to print diluted money out of thin air) who own and run the Federal Reserve anti-bank and its clone anti-banks in world financial centers understand gold very well. You, too, can understand it and so can your l3-year old, if he is bright and willing. Here are a few questions:

What do serial wars have to do with gold and the dollar?
How is our currency diluted?
What does the Federal Reserve System (FED) do?
Why didn't CNN or 60 Minutes explain this?
Who owns the gold?

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