Speaking with King World News (KWN) earlier this week, Marc Faber said when compared to the Federal Reserve’s monetary base, today’s gold is “inexpensive.”
As physical buyers of the yellow metal trounced the paper shorts in yesterday’s option expiration trading, taking the gold price to $1,620 at the close, the typical price smack down, followed by a rally, and then, a subsequent smack down wasn’t evident throughout the day. If Asian buyers were stepping in to pick up the new shorts, the operation went off seamlessly.
It appears that something very different is going on in the flow to safe haven buying this month.
The ponytailed, Swiss-born, eccentric money manager, who calls Thailand and Hong Kong his stomping grounds, sees the simultaneous fiscal woes in Europe and the United States leaving investors little choice in the duck-and-cover maneuvers since the collapse of Bear Stearns in March 2008.
“Well I think investors are gradually realizing that it’s unusual, with all of the problems in Europe that the euro is actually relatively strong against the U.S. dollar,” said Faber. “They are realizing U.S. holders don’t want to hold euros because they don’t trust the euro and the Europeans don’t want to hold dollars because they don’t trust the dollar.”
At the open of European trading at 3 a.m. EST, significant dollar weakness could be seen across a broad range of currencies. In earlier Asia trading, the Aussie dollar broke through 1.10, the Swiss franc cracked 1.25, the NZ dollar reached 86.6, and the Canadian dollar as well as the Malaysian ringgit both trounced the greenback to finish strongly at the close.
Traders fleeing the dollar have been diversifying into “Canadian dollars, Australian dollars, New Zealand dollars, Singapore dollars and so forth,” said Faber. “But, basically, the ultimate currency and the ultimate safe asset,” he said, “is gold and silver.”
At the open of trading in New York, the Dow-to-gold ratio had breached the 20-year support at 7.8 ounces of gold to buy the Dow. Except for a brief breakout (to the downside) in the Dow-to-gold ratio during the panic of March 2009, the 7.8 level has been a base of long-term support since 1991.
In 1992, the U.S. economy emerged from recession and simultaneously reinvigorated the bull market in stocks and resumption of the bear market in gold until the peak in the ratio of above 43 was achieved in the second half of 1999—the year the NASDAQ popped.
Since 1999, the Dow-to-gold ratio has moved in a downward trend, with many analysts forecasting a 1:1 ratio when the gold bull market ends.
Investors fearing they missed the boat on the gold trade may take solace in that Faber believes the rally in the gold price is actually still in the early innings. In fact, when calculated in terms of the Fed’s balance sheet (monetary base), today’s gold price is a comparative bargain.
“I just calculated if we take an average gold price of say around $350 in the 1980s and then we compare that to the average monetary base in the 1980s, and to the average U.S. government debt in the 1980s,” explained Faber. “But if I compare this to the price of gold to these government debts and monetary base, then gold hasn’t gone up at all. It’s gone actually against these monetary aggregates and against debt it has actually gone down. So I could make the case that probably gold is today very inexpensive.”
According to St. Louis Fed statistics, the Fed’s balance sheet stood at approximately $150 billion, compared with the latest report which shows that the Fed’s balance sheet has reached $2.7 trillion, or an expansion of 18 times in 31 years. If gold topped out at $850 in 1980, a rough estimate of gold’s potential climb in terms of the Fed’s balance sheet could take the world’s ultimate currency to more than $10,000—a number, by the way, that jibes with Jim Sinclair’s $12,500 gold price prediction.