But When We Buy, The Price Goes Up

From China alarmed by US money printing quoting Cheng Siwei, former vice-chairman of the Standing Committee and now head of China’s green energy drive:

“Gold is definitely an alternative, but when we buy, the price goes up. We have to do it carefully so as not to stimulate the markets,” he added.

This is a strong contender for my quote of the year.

Fed Beige Book: Economic Outlook Cautiously Positive

On Wednesday, the Fed’s Beige book was released for July and August. It summarizes reports from the 12 Federal Reserve Districts and pointed to economic activity that continues to stabilize.

Compared to the summary from the Fed’s last report 11 out of 12 regions asserted that economic activity had either stabilized or improved. Even in the 12th region — St. Louis — their read-out pointed to a pace of decline that was moderating.

Almost all regions remarked that among business leader contacts in their territories, the economic activity outlook is now cautiously positive.

The reports underscore what we’ve been reporting here that clunkermania boosted auto showroom traffic and subsequent new car sales in all regions. Several regions confirmed that the program has also resulted in increases or planned increases in automobile-related production. Beyond the auto industry, most regions reported general improvements in manufacturing production.

Most territories also reported improvement in the residential real-estate markets.

It also came as no surprise that with labor markets on the mend, 8 of 12 regions report upticks in demand for temporary workers – usually a leading indicator of a return to job growth.

Bubble Top Indicators

The report that Hong Kong requested the return of its 2 tonnes of gold to be stored in its new vaults and its suggestion that other Asian countries do the same and store their gold with them resulted in a wave of uninformed hype.

Statements like “the move deals a significant blow to London’s historical role as a global hub” (from the aptly named Fool.com) and this weird non-article from a Marvin Clark that is all questions and no answers or opinions are typical of the new breed of gold commentary.

With reported central bank holdings of 30,000t, how can anyone think 2t is “significant”, even if the whole lot had been short sold by whoever they had it “stored” with? As one wit commented, “I moved my BBQ from my mom’s house to my house last week. According to the vague premise of this mysterious ‘logic’, my BBQ must be going up in price soon!” They are in the running for my quote of the year.

I would also note the similarities between the Hong Kong announcement and this report on Dubai: talk of Dubai a “natural choice” for central banks in the region, Dubai to be home to gold backing an ETF. Well, they can’t all be. These attempts at cracking London’s fix (pun intended) on gold trading and settlement occurs with some regularity and is met with a yawn from experienced gold players. Every now and then a country tries to become a “bullion centre”: Shanghai, Thailand, India. They never get off the ground because the rest of the world doesn’t trust them, or trusts them less than London.

Unfortunately, I have noticed an increase in gold commentary from people who have no experience in the gold markets, and it shows. I suppose if no one wants to read your opinion on a leverage stock play, what else are you going to do but write about what is hot, even if you know sweet FA about it.

Editor to Journalist: “hey, gold seems to have passed some magic number, go write something on it for tomorrow’s paper.” Journalist searches for last newspaper article on gold, does a google search and picks up some third hand commentary which misinterpreted “Gold ETFs allowed for EFP transactions” into “Gold ETFs allowed to settle COMEX futures”, and mashes it all together with some clichés and there you have an article for consumption by the general public who believe that the financial journalist knows what they are talking about.

I am thinking of starting an index of commentaries on gold and more specifically, the number by those who have never commented on gold before. I think it would make a very good bubble top indicator to be used along with the “receiving stock tips from a shoe-shine boy” (today to be substituted with taxi drivers I suppose). The number of Kitco forum posts might also be good, particularly the occurrence of the text “to da moon”.