SGS Notes: This week started with a BANG! as we watched precious metals begin their long-forecasted breakout. Gold started the week Sunday night at $1619.00 and closed tonight at $1671.90. Silver began the week at $28.19 and ended at $30.82. Our Gold/Silver ratio dropped from 57 to 1 to 54 to 1… a move in the right direction… but a long way to go before it gets back to its historical rate of 16/1. We've seen big names in the industry liquidating their paper investments and putting funds into gold and silver… Countries like China, Russia, India … all doing the same… More revelations on the financial scandal fronts… and QE3 threatening to upset the dollar… It never ceases to amaze me how many things are linked in to Silver and Gold. Lots of fodder for our newsletter… has been a real challenge to pick which articles to post… if you want to see the 'rejects' go to our Facebook page!
Why You Always Want Physical Everything
Submitted by Simon Black of Sovereign Man blog
On the way from San Marino yesterday, I had to stop for some gas near Rimini, a beautiful beach town on Italy's Adriatic coast. As an aside, Italian gas prices are among the highest in Europe… and the world… at €1.77 per liter (almost USD $8.50 per gallon).
Naturally, the vast majority of this is due to taxes. From the € 1.77 per liter, only about € 0.48 can be attributed to the price of oil. Profit margin and distribution costs run about € 0.28. The rest of it (just over 1 euro) is tax. This amounts to an effective tax rate of over 130% on fuel.
Anyhow, when I pulled in to the gas station, I whipped out my American Express card and asked the attendant in broken Italian to turn on the pump. He acted like I had just punched him in the gut, wincing when he saw my credit card. "No… cash, only cash," he said.
I didn't have very much cash on me, so I drove to the next station where a similar experience awaited me.
This is a trend that is typical when economies are in decline- cash is king. Businesses often won't want to spend the extra 2.5% on credit card merchant fees… but more importantly, distrust of the banking system and a debilitatingly extractive tax system pushes people into cash transactions.
You can't really blame them. In Italy there's massive distrust of the local banking system. Most of the banks are insolvent, and the government has already started imposing capital controls by limiting withdrawals in some cases to 1,000 euros.
As a result, many bank customers are facing substantial difficulty in accessing their funds; it's easy to understand why they want to deal in physical cash- the counterparty risk is much lower.
Nobody gives these issues much thought… right up until they get shut out of their account. But these are the real consequences of counterparty risk: anytime your asset is simultaneously someone else's liability, you might have a big problem when tough times arise. This is when physical cash becomes a premium asset.
It's the same thing with gold and silver when you think about it. In the early days of the post-Lehman financial crisis, precious metals prices were tanking. At least, on paper.
Gold and silver contract prices may have been plummeting in futures exchanges around the world, but simultaneously, premiums for physical gold and silver coins were skyrocketing. The US mint was unable to keep up with demand for physical coins, and premiums hit double digits by December 2008.
It was an obvious example of the huge disparity between the paper price and the physical price. And in tough times, the paper price is irrelevant. Physical is all that matters.
Cash is in the same boat. When you look at the numbers, the amount of physical currency in circulation is dwarfed by the digital money supply.
In the EU, the M2 money supply is 8.77 trillion euros, of which only 861 billion is in physical cash… about 9.8%. In the US, the proportion is similar- $10.02 trillion M2 money supply, $1.1 trillion in physical cash. The rest is all digits in a database.
It's a prudent idea to heed this lesson from Italy, for as the banking malaise in southern Europe spreads, cash is likely going to be a premium asset in the rest of the world as well. And it certainly makes sense for individuals to have some holdings of cold, hard cash in addition to physical metal.
After all, if you're only generating 0.0000001% interest in your bank account anyhow, what difference does it really make to hold physical cash? You're not worse off for it, but you'll be a lot better prepared in case something goes wrong.
WEEKEND SALE on Misc. Year Silver American Eagles !
$1.00 per round off !!
Use discount code 'EagleSale' during checkout
Or call us at 888-203-2232
Offer good until Monday, August 27th.
Silver Eagles are minted by the U.S. Mint and are Legal Tender (Numismatic) Coins.
While they look very similar to our Walking Liberty Rounds, they are different:
- Different reverse art - Different Eagle design, text 'United States of America' etc.
- Carry a date on the face
- Have a face value of $1.00 US Currency (on reverse)
- Size: 40.6 mm. Walking Liberty Rounds are 39 mm.
Thickness: Since they are still 1 troy oz. .999 fine silver, and are bigger around in circumference, they are slightly thinner than the Walking Liberty Rounds
* Offer dependent upon availability, should they become unexpectedly unavailable…
New At SGS !
SGS now has the ability to process credit cards directly outside of Pay Pal. Many have expressed a desire for this feature, so you'll be happy with our direct card processing capabilities. Your credit information is not stored on our servers; it is secured by Authorize.net servers. Visa, MasterCard and Discover cards are accepted.
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