Gold Basis Screwed
Who needs a thermometer to know that the heat-wave is on?
Fofoa has just published another thoughtful paper with the title: Red Alert: Gold Backwardation!!! http://fofoa.blogspot.com. It raises the question nobody has apparently raised before: "Is the dollar bidding for gold, or maybe gold is bidding for dollars?" And it gives an amazing answer: the gold basis has been screwed and it has been giving bogus signals for more than a year. We have likely had backwardation all this time but it has been stonewalled. There is no real gold market any more. Goldman Sucks is playing with itself. Most trades are bogus, sales as well as purchases. Leases ditto. What Goldman Sucks couldn't get away in a falling market, it can in a rising one.
There are other metrics beside the gold basis that the market has developed in the meantime. One such is GOFO = $ LIBOR – GLR (the gold lease rate). On the face of it, GOFO cannot ever go negative. If it did, it would mean that the risk in borrowing gold is greater than the risk in lending dollars, even though the latter has infinite counter-party risk. But there is no counterparty risk in borrowing gold! That's a telltale for you. Nasty negative GLR, nasty negative GOFO, shut up, both of you!
Fofoa says that the dollar needs voluntary bids from private physical gold holders to survive. But the pool of real bids is bone dry and cracking. Dollar liquidity is just a cheap facade. As the gold price rises slowly, nervous Nellys, suckers, and other weak hands will relinquish bits and pieces of the yellow precious which will keep the merry-go-round in motion. Gold-bidding for dollars can be kept alive on a life support system. Indefinitely? Pretty well. But Fofoa says that Goldman Sucks has shot itself in the foot.
I can add little to these speculations, but I would like to note another telltale: the fine Goldman Sucks has agreed to pay Uncle Sam. On July 19 The New York Times carried a story entitled: Goldman Employee Denies Fraud. Just days after Goldman agreed to pay $550 million to settle securities fraud claims, a midlevel employee of the bank, Fabrice Tourre, has filed a 13-page denial and sought dismissal of the case. Smell the stink? Goldman agrees to pay more than half a billion while a vice president, central to the case, challenges the charges. To add another little twist, according to the NYT article, Goldman Sucks released a batch of old e-mail messages of Fabrice Tourre, who calls himself "Fabulous Fab" for his skills in selling "Frankenstein bonds" (= bonds going bad fast) "to widows and orphans" on the tarmac of Brussels airport, designed to damage Mr. Tourre's case in the continuing S.E.C. investigations. Who is fooling whom here? Is it possible that the fine they levy and pay is just another case of check-kiting? But why would they do such a thing? Why, a bogus fine could deflect suspicion away from a much bigger charade in misleading the public, namely, to cover up goldbackwardation!
Meanwhile all we can do is to sharpen our tools in sleuthing to uncover the contango. I started a Seminar in Australia in 2008 on backwardation and the secular vanishing of the gold basis. By all standards, it was a huge success. We continued in 2009 and were making plans to reassemble in Sidney, Australia this year in November. I am sorry to give notice that the 2010 The Third Annual Seminar on gold backwardation and the last contango is cancelled, due to the greed of the professional organizers of the event. Rest assured, however, that the research is going on, and if we get a decent invitation, we shall make up for the cancelled event, with further revelations!
In the meantime, here is a hint to whet your appetite. Fofoa should refine his indicator GOFO as follows. GOFO = LIBOR – GLBR, where GLBR = gold lease bid rate, i.e., the rate which bidders are willing to pay for leased gold to the bullion bank. It should be somewhat greater than GOFO as it has been defined up to now. (Why?) It is true that GLBR is not publicly quoted, but a little bit of sleuthing should be able to produce a proxy. Then GOFO will tell you how profitable the gold carry trade is, or is getting. Negative GOFO tells you that it is making a loss and net shorts in gold are under water or will soon be.
But there is another indicator equally important for successful sleuthing. (Goldman Sucks, are you listening?) I shall call it COGOFO. Here it is: COGOFO = LIBBR – GLOR. Here LIBBR = London interbank bid rate; it is the rate at which a bank in the London market is willing to borrow from another. Furthermore, GLOR = gold lease offered rate; the rate at which bullion banks are willing to lease out gold. Again, LIBBR is not in the public domain, so due diligence is required to come up with a reasonable proxy.
Here are some quiz questions: (1) What is the relation between LIBOR and LIBBR (2) and between GLOR and GLBR (3) and between GOFO and COGOFO? (4) Can COGOFO go negative, and if so, what does it mean? (5) How can you make inferences about movements at large between cash gold and paper gold from the variation of GOFO and COGOFO? (6) If you plot GOFO and COGOFO, what does a crossover of the two mean?
As my faithful students will notice, the distinctions I am recommending to Fofoa are those of Carl Menger, the 19th century founder of the Austrian School of Economics. The New Austrian School of Economics that will start its first ten-day course on August 9 in Budapest will provide its audience with a full background on Menger's theories, and how to apply them in the present situation where markets are rigged and governments are lying. Send in your answers to: firstname.lastname@example.org, and participate in the draw that will take place at the 3rdAustralian Seminar on Backwardation and the Secular Vanishing of the Gold Basis! Prizes will include gold nuggets.
Posted by Lila Rajiva on 08/05/10 08:33 AM
Greed. Yes, it's all very relative. But it certainly isn't beyond recognition in some objective way.
In the recent bubble, I saw many people...people who made good livings, who already had homes...who could have contented themselves with the 20% or even 50% rise in their home values, take out loans so they could jump into speculating on second and third homes...I saw the way they themselves pumped their properties to others more naive that they.
The money they were after, relative to what a Soros or Paulson pursues, was very, very trivial. But in the context of their own situation in life, you could, in fact, recognize "greed." It's a matter of comparing the behavior of people in similar situations..personal and social.
I saw other people who seemed to be jumping into the market out of panic that a house would elude them forever if they didn't. Again, it was possible to recognize fear, even though the term is relative..
It IS possible to recognize beauty or goodness or meanness, even though they aren't obviously quantifiable. That's what is meant when someone is said to have good "judgment"....
As to moral philosophy, the Gospel doesn't tell us not to judge altogether, as some wrongly think. It tells us to judge righteously..
Posted by Bionic Mosquito on 07/31/10 02:30 AM
@Jeannie Queenie on 7/30/2010 3:40:16 PM
I can assume from your rantings about my "handle" that "Jeannie Queenie" is your real name.
Ms. Queennie, like the 6th grade bullies in my school, you revert to personal attacks when logic fails you, which it so clearly has in your postings throughout this thread. I ignored your prior post; the quotes you gave supported my point yet you offered them as evidence against me. As this seemed to pass from your brain to your fingers without notice, I felt there was no point to discuss this further with you.
But, as you choose to persist, Ms. Queennie, I will attempt to deal with your comments in a fair manner. Your quote of Jefferson completely proves my point -- he was able to denigrate the bankers without any potty mouth language (that's what my mommy calls it before getting the soap). And your Shakespeare quote is clear -- when you have no proof, swear loudly and often and you may still get your way. I think the bard's point was, while it may be effective, it is...juvinile.
In any case, your post does no service to Dr. Fekete or to the Daily Bell. Personal attacks have no place in discussions meant to educate and enlighten. If you believe your views. you should work more on good logic and writing skills to sway others to your viewpoint. If it requires personal attacks, it is clear to all that you have already lost.
Reply from The Daily Bell
The Daily Bell does not encourage personal attacks which are a form of logical fallacy. Instead, please try to stick to the issues at hand, which makes for more interesting reading and is useful from an educational perspective.
Posted by Jeannie Queenie on 07/30/10 03:40 PM
Methinks that the Bionic Mosquito doeth protest too much about language and such. I seriously doubt that you would ever find Dr Fekete reading Rolling Stones as a good source for increasing his knowledge in anything. And I also don't think that Dr Fekete would ever use a goofy sounding handle like Bionic Mosquito. Talk about Click to view linkn't you do better than conjur up the title of a third grade reader on an insect with superpowers?
Whatever your criticisms of Dr Fekete, it cannot detract from his knowledge. People of intelligence realize that often, to make one's point on how strongly they feel on a given topic, that a bit of colorful language is in order. Lila was spot on with her remark that using offbeat language hardly detracts decades of scholarly work. I, for one, would read Dr Fekete's writings anyday over that of a silly sounding name/rolling stones. I haven't read RS, but with a title like that I bet one can find all kinds of language.
Posted by Bionic Mosquito on 07/30/10 02:58 AM
@Lila Rajiva on 7/29/2010 4:34:52 PM
Forgive two posts to answer -- too many words to get through my problem of posting directly to the site.
"Also, a rude word or two surely doesn't negate a life-time of scholarship."
His scholarship will stand on its own merits. Of the little I have read of his work, I have had several disagreements ‒ even when he only uses mature language. Using such words like "sucks" suggests a level of Click to view link is juvenile. I am not saying that such language has no place in the right situation. For example, when Matt Taibbi is writing for Rolling Stone, I get it ‒ and can read it and laugh while at the same time gain new insights. However, Dr. Fekete ‒ whom I assume is desirous of being taken as a serious contributor to Austrian economic thought ‒ is trying to convince readers that he is a well thought-out Austrian economist who can use logic, language, prose and theory to persuade me to a point of view. Using the language of a shipyard does him no service in this desire.
Posted by Bionic Mosquito on 07/30/10 02:55 AM
@Lila Rajiva on 7/29/2010 4:34:52 PM
From Click to view link: greed: excessive desire to acquire or possess more (especially more material wealth) than one needs or deserves
Morally, economically or otherwise ‒ how would one define "excessive," "needs,", or "deserves?"
A believer of free markets, and certainly an Austrian economist, must recognize private property and the right to contract. I take it that Dr. Fekete and the "professional organizers" of the event could not agree to terms for service for some asset (time, a rental hall, chairs and tables) that belonged to the organizers. Each party has the right to work or not work for the terms offered by the other. This is the only proper moral and economic way by which an exchange should happen. Would it be moral for the organizers to be forced to accept a price that they did not want? This is the method and language of the political actor, not an economic actor. A free market economist and especially an Austrian economist would not use such terms.
Posted by Jeannie Queenie on 07/30/10 01:28 AM
It appears to me, when Dr Fekete made reference to Goldman Sucks, he is merely acknowledging Thomas Jefferson saying: "Banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies."
As for anyone chastising Dr. Fekete for his so-called rude language, William Shakespeare rescues the good doctor with:
"It comes to pass oft that a terrible oath, with a swaggering accent sharply twanged off, gives manhood more approbation than ever proof itself would have earned him."
In short, Shakespeare is saying 'knock it off on your criticism" of Dr Fekete. And even Jonathan Swift comes to our Drs. defense with, "A footman may swear; but he cannot swear like a lord. He can swear as often: but can he swear with equal delicacy, propriety, and judgment? – Jonathan Swift
In short, Dr Fekete has a right to be passionate and needn't be pathetically politically correct. He is a bright enough man to know that content always trumps style. And when one is speaking of Goldman, how is it even possible to not want to throw bricks?
Posted by RT Carpenter on 07/30/10 01:24 AM
I enjoy these mind games even when some of the concepts escape me. I bought gold in 1980 and sold it a couple years later. I paid going in, I paid getting out, and I paid to "store" it--never knowing if it was there or not. I make fewer missteps today, but could never hope to outsmart those "Too big to fail". I can only look on with amazement when they front run, pump and dump, churn, back-date, go public, then go private, then go public with leveraged buy-outs, naked short sell, produce synthetic CDOs--on and on!! When their manipulations bring them to the edge of collapse, their insiders in high official positions deem them "Too big to fail" and give them billions, even trillions from Fed and Treasury resources. Whoopee! Back from the edge to multi-million dollar bonuses!
Posted by Lucy on 07/29/10 06:19 PM
language & perception:
Spencer Tracy in the film "Inherit the Wind", an attny, making brilliant constitutional/legal arguements, is about to be held in contempt of a bigoted court by the clock-stoppers/bad thought-language police, he says, ".....I don't swear just for the hell of it, besides there are DAMN FEW WORDS ANYBODY SEEMS TO UNDERSTAND!" a great film.
Posted by Lucy on 07/29/10 05:04 PM
as der bell noted in another comment section:
"It is amazing that even within the blogosphere there are so few publications making the argument for a purely private gold and silver standard within a free-market environment that would allow for competing strategies and banking practices. This should be elemental stuff..." & it might just be monumental stuff.
?: with the quote above, was haben das bell, fekete & fofoa have in common? hint: collapse of 300yr old debt-based-credit-tickets & the continued evolution twd an unbacked paper currency denominated by a free mrkt private wealth reserve, or the emergent re-valuation/reset of the collapsing $system.
the value of an asset in your hand may be far greater than current paper numbers say it is. how interesting!
yes, w/out the net, it would've taken decades of phd research to even get an inkling. as always, top-drawer analysis, daily bell!!
Reply from The Daily Bell
Thanks. From Germany?
Posted by Lila Rajiva on 07/29/10 04:34 PM
Greed might not be an economic term, but it's a moral term.
One can be a free marketer and still recognize greed, I think..
Also, a rude word or two surely doesn't negate a life-time of scholarship..
Posted by Bionic Mosquito on 07/29/10 04:19 PM
@Dave Narby on 7/29/2010 1:40:31 PM
"Re: language ‒ I believe Dr. Fekete is merely expressing his emotions surrounding the situation, which amounted to 2% of his article."
Language is rather important. It is telling something of the person using the words. I only know Dr. Fekete from his editorials at DB over the last couple of months. While I have disagreed with several of his comments, it seemed to me that his intent was to be considered a scholar and an expert on his version of Austrian economics. This language changes my view of him. If I want a colorful anlysis of Goldman Sachs, I will read Matt T. at Rolling Stone. The language in this editorial is not the language of a scholar.
"In the future, perhaps you would like to discuss the content rather than the form?"
I have done this dozens of times at DB, and several of these regarding Dr. Fekete's editorials. As I said, I have had my disagreements with his views -- some rather strong. Some of these can be found on this site, some I have posted on a seperate blog with a link -- as I have found when I write more than 250 words or so, my post here does not work. DB has graciously accepted this and has even copied my post from the other blog into the comments.
Posted by Harold Larsen on 07/29/10 03:01 PM
Re language,language is our means of comunication, for good or evil, truth like good music has its own sequential harmony, that resonates within every seeking heart, a love of truth, that displays no passion, in my opinion, is no love at all.
I totally understand the good Dr passinate discription Goldman Sacks,here dear reader,is a little ditty I dreamed up, while contemplating their end.
BANKERS DITTY. OH THE DILEMMA OF THE FED, WHETHER TO INFLATE OR GO INTO THE RED. OH DILEMMA OF THE FED,WHETHER OR NOT TO LET THE DEAD BURY THEIR DEAD. OH THE DILEMMA OF THE FED, WHETHER TO LET GOLD AND SILVER FLY,OR LET THE DOLLAR DIE. OH DILEMMA OF THE FED,WHETHER DEBT TO GROW OR DEBT TO SHED. OH DILEMMA OF THE FED.HOW TO TURN PAPER INTO GOLD, AND NOT INTO LEAD, OH THE DILEMMA OF THE FED,ALAS WILL ONLY BE SOLVED, WHEN YOU ARE DEAD
Reply from The Daily Bell
Poetry is nice. Caps off, please.
Posted by Ian MacFarlane on 07/29/10 02:30 PM
Thanks for pointing me in the right direction. I have read the article and will be reading the footnotes in short order.
Posted by Dave Narby on 07/29/10 01:40 PM
Re: language – I believe Dr. Fekete is merely expressing his emotions surrounding the situation, which amounted to 2% of his article.
In the future, perhaps you would like to discuss the content rather than the form?
Agree on the 'greed' comment, however.
Posted by Harold Larsen on 07/29/10 01:35 PM
THE GOLD BASIS SCREWED Truth is indeed stranger than fiction, so the closer one gets to the truth, the more strange ,will the speaker of truth become, to those who find the truth a tad too strange to swallow.
In my humble opinion trying to make sense of markets, when(in the words of GATA YOU HAVE NO MARKETS ANY MORE ONLY MANIPULATIONS) is as about as usefull as trying to use one particular wave crest as a datum point to work out the difference of the surounding wave crests.
The good Dr says it all, who needs a thermometer to let you know you are in are in a heat wave. It is said that if one throws enough dirt some is bound to stick,true , but what the thrower seems to miss is this, the dirt sticks on him as well, when you muddy the water , you also muddy it for yourself, for me, the point of devine triangulation, from which all my measurments are taken and all my adjustments are made is the word of the LIVING GOD, WHO SAYS OF HIMSELF I AM WITHOUT VARIABLNESS NEITHER SHADOW OF TURNING, I CHANGE NOT.
Now let me tell you dear reader in a world governed by the constant of CHANGE, this makes good sense.The good book says this, EVIL MEN WILL WAX WORSE AND WORSE DECIEVING (AND BEING DECIEVED****) the so called modern builders of the debt tower of babel will be stopped by the same cause that stopped their fathers, their means of comunication between themselves became unintelligible
Posted by Mike on 07/29/10 01:15 PM
This may seem too simple, but when they, (Morgan, Goldman, ETF's, etc.) sell paper gold it is providing an outlet for dollars that want gold, but puts no demand pressure on physical gold; therefore, it has a depressing effect on the actual price.
Adrian Douglas has written several very detailed articles that explain it much better than I can that are linked at the bottom of this one: Click to view link
Posted by Ed Waggoner Sr. on 07/29/10 12:39 PM
Most of this article was way beyond my understanding. But I do understand the simple stuff. "I am sorry to give notice that the 2010 The Third Annual Seminar on gold backwardation and the last contango is cancelled, due to the greed of the professional organizers of the event."
I don't think greed as a motive ever profited anyone. A true free-marketeer would never complain that a seller was greedy, he might observe that his price was out of sync with the market and make other arrangements. This sounds like the lament of a cry baby socialist.
Posted by Philip Mccormack on 07/29/10 12:20 PM
Bionic.m It's not the first time Professor Fekete has used such language. Why? I am guessing. For years he has been ignored by the "mainstream economics profession" and the mainstream press. At his age, he's getting on, the behaviour of Goldman Sachs and the suchlike he finds appalling. After all it is sheer crookery. All this being said there is very little of his work I haven't read and frankly it has given me a thorough understanding of what is going on in this world, in beautiful prose, even though English is his second language. He is very gentlemanly, erudite, and like all of us at times totally exasperated. Happy days. Philip.
Posted by Bionic Mosquito on 07/29/10 10:59 AM
I feel like I am reading the comments section at ZeroHedge. Not an article...the comments section!
"Goldman Sucks is playing with itself."
Is this really an editorial from Dr. Fekete? This may be appropriate for Rolling Stone to describe the Giant Squid, but Dr. Fekete?
And then this: "I am sorry to give notice that the 2010 The Third Annual Seminar on gold backwardation and the last contango is cancelled, due to the greed of the professional organizers of the event."
This sounds like childish whining. Would a true free market scholar use the word "greed" in such a context?
Is this another humorous twist from the DB? Like the "blond" article from yesterday?
Reply from The Daily Bell
Posted by Ian MacFarlane on 07/29/10 08:03 AM
It s difficult for me to understand the machinations that occur in what I consider an arcane world. Several years ago I purchased and hold physical gold and silver. My thought regarding that purchase was prompted by the inherent value both metals have held throughout history.
Perhaps, a reflection of an underlying conservative value brought about during the relatively short but tumultuous history I have experienced as a resident of this planet for the past seventy plus years coupled with the desire to provide some degree of stability for my children were my motivating factors.
At any rate what I do not understand is how, as claimed in the many comments I read, Goldman, JP Morgan et al can affect the price of the physical metal. I purchased both metals in order that I held something of an obviously greater inherent value than paper. Derivatives and futures etc. ad nauseam make little sense to me beyond the spectacle of an athletic contest. Neither, regardless that great sums are wagered, have much to do with the food my family needs each day.
Please, if you will, explain in relatively plain English why the actual price of the metal I hold is affected by what I consider a paper backed bet. Are we all simply being hoodwinked?