The Long-Term Fundamental Case for Gold
As central banks do even more to prop up the broader economy and failing financial institutions, gold and silver will likely benefit handsomely.
-- United States Constitution, excerpt from Article 1, Section 10
A quick glance at most of the headlines over the weekend and one notices that the primary focus seemed to be either calling a near-term top in domestic equity indices or concentrating on the Greek debt situation. Why is anyone even paying attention to what is going on over there? Until the ISDA declares a default where the underlying Credit Default Swaps (CDS) are triggered, it is all just noise.
The European Central Bank has broken the rule of law by placing itself as the senior creditor ahead of private creditors, the Greek government is trying to pass retroactive legislation to trap private sector creditors holding out of the PSI, and the leader of Greece was not even elected by the people of Greece – how much more manipulation and insanity do we need to monitor?
Similar to the price action since 2008, central banks around the world control everything from financial markets to the ascent of political leaders. These same political leaders help central bankers and planners control policy and decision making at the highest government levels in Europe and around the world. It would seem that the United States should change the motto from "We the People" to "We the Bankers."
However, there is one particular asset class that even the central bankers have a hard time controlling. While they can impact short-term price action through direct currency manipulation initiatives, in the longer-term gold is likely to move in only one direction – higher.
The price action on Tuesday reminded market participants that actions such as the Greek bailout come at a cost. Quantitative easing and/or printing money (depending on what one wishes to call the practice of producing fiat currency out of thin air) has a direct impact on the price of gold.
Many financial pundits argue that gold has no utility, but what they fail to recognize is that gold is the senior currency to all other fiat currencies. Silver is also a form of currency and is senior to all other fiat currencies as well. While one can draw the utility of gold into question, the idea that gold is the senior most currency to all other fiat currencies is not new.
The Constitution of the United States of America, which is over 200 years old, refers to gold and silver as forms of payment. Looking back thousands of years, the Romans used gold coins as a form of currency. The idea that gold and silver are currencies is certainly not a grandiose thought or a stretch of historical concept. Trying to depict gold as a worthless asset depends on your view and consideration of fiat currency.
There are those that would argue that the Federal Reserve of the United States is not actively manipulating economic conditions domestically or abroad. For those that view gold as a poor investment or hedge against currency devaluation need to consider the charts illustrated below. The chart below was produced by Thomas Gresham of Gresham's Law.
Total Asset Growth of the Federal Reserve System – 1915 - 2012
It is rather obvious by looking at this chart that the Federal Reserve has actively sought to enter domestic and foreign financial markets. The surge in balance sheet assets serves to prove how far the Federal Reserve Bank is willing to go to maintain markets which seemingly are only allowed to move higher over time.
This chart is bearish for nearly any form of paper-backed assets. The above referenced chart is long-term bearish for the dollar and Treasuries and long-term bullish for physical gold and silver. As the Federal Reserve continues to debase the U.S. Dollar in concert with other central banks' monetary easing programs, gold and silver prices over time are destined to move higher in virtually every form of fiat currency.
During the same time frame that the Federal Reserve has seen its balance sheet grow exponentially, the rapid rise of M2 money supply is staggering. The long-term chart of M2 is compared to gold futures in the charts presented below.
M2 Money Stock
Gold Futures Monthly Chart
It is rather obvious what has happened to the price of gold as the M2 money supply has grown. The idea that the Federal Reserve has not already destroyed a significant amount of the purchasing power of the dollar can easily be refuted by the two charts shown above.
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