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ZIRP Morphs to NIRP

 -- Published: Tuesday, 2 September 2014 | Print  | Disqus 

By Turd Ferguson

Never in my wildest dreams did I envision having a job where I wrote about acronyms like "ZIRP" and "NIRP". But, I guess, never in my wildest dreams did I think that the world would get as utterly screwed up as it is.

First, just to make sure we're all on the same page...


ZIRP is the official policy of The US Federal Reserve and it has been since The Great Financial Crisis of 2008...which I might remind you was SIX FREAKING YEARS AGO.


NIRP is still so new that there's not a even Wikipedia page for it yet. Maybe we should start one? If we don't, someone will. NIRP is Negative Interest Rate Policy and it's here to stay. This is where you pay interest to the bank or some other "lender" like a government for the privilege of having them hold your cash for you.

Why does this matter and why I am bringing this up again today? Because it's just another reason that gold (and silver) are NOT going dramatically lower from here. All of the TA-only fools who count their waves and draw their lines are simply checking their brains at the door and not using common sense. Just as the laws of supply and demand will prohibit another steep drop in price, a world of NIRP will do the same. For when the world is so awash in fiat currency that lenders are actually able to charge interest to their borrowers, that's a pretty telling sign that the devaluation of paper money continues at a breakneck pace. "Investors" may, so far, be slow to return to the safety of precious metal. With NIRP as the new norm, that won't last much longer.

As we've been chronicling since January, U.S. rates have been falling all year...dramatically. Though nearly every "analyst" was projecting higher rates in 2014 due to the alleged "taper" of QE, long-term rates have instead fallen nearly 25%! The 10-year Note, which began the year at 3.0%, has a yield this morning of 2.37% and the 30-year Long Bond, which began 2014 at 4.0%, sits at 3.13%.

But that's just the U.S. Did you know that, in Germany, rates are now negative out to three years and that the 10-year Bund is now yielding just 0.90%?

And to give you some idea of the scale and magnitude of all of this, take a quick look at Portugal. Yes, that Portugal...the one with worst banking system in all of western Europe...the one that just saw its second largest bank get wiped out. Yes, that Portugal...the "P" in "PIIGS, for heaven's sake! Two and a half years ago, the yield on a 10-year Portuguese Note surpassed 15%. One year ago, it was still near 7%. Today? It's now near 3% and falling!

What in the name of Jim Grant is going on here?

It's simple, really. After 5+ years of global QE, the world is awash in cash. It's everywhere and permeating everything, from stocks and bonds to luxury real estate. And when you're a hedge fund that is flush with cash and desperately looking for a "safe place" to park it, you'll actually pay the German government interest to hold onto it for you. You might even be outright crazy enough to think that earning 3% from the Portuguese government is a good deal.

And, in this environment, where the cash is going to keep flowing and the fiat devaluation is only going to continue, do you really expect higher U.S. interest rates anytime soon? And, as you know, despite all of the Fed and CNBS jaw-boning, the U.S. can't afford higher rates anyway because of the near-immediate impact on the interest payments of the accumulated $17T+ national debt.

Therefore, the charts below are extraordinarily important as you assess the future trend of precious metals prices. Will prices fall below The Double Bottom of $1180 and head to $900 as some of the chartreaders are saying or will real world practicality take over? I know that these charts aren't perfect and that the scales for each side aren't exact but, nonetheless, you can plainly see the long-term correlation between interest rates and paper gold trading. As rates fall, gold prices rise. Why? Primarily because your classically-trained hedge fund manager recognizes that low and negative rates/real rates are, and have always been, a solid rationale for owning precious metal.

"So, I'm confused. What's the point of all this, Turd?"

Look, if you accept the notion that:

  1. Global interest rates are not headed higher, and
  2. Low/negative interest rates historically cause gold and silver prices to rise

Then you can rightly assume that gold prices ARE NOT headed lower, regardless of what some Wave Counter might think. In fact, should rates continue falling in the very near term, we should expect a sudden reversal in the short-term trend of gold, very likely as soon as market participants and depth return following the end of summer holidays. You can see it in this 2014 chart of the Long Bond vs gold:

And you can see it in this chart of just gold by itself. Price has bottomed again at the intersection of the long-term trendline from May 2013 and the short-term support line for 2014:

So, don't let your heart be troubled by this current decline. As you know, this is all playing out as predicted back in June after price first broke through the long-term trendline. And, for all of calendar 2014, the price action is proceeding along nicely toward the goals we laid out back in January. Again, recognize all of this for what it is and plan/prepare accordingly.



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 -- Published: Tuesday, 2 September 2014 | E-Mail  | Print  | Source:

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