Fake Tungsten Gold Story

The gold bars filled with tungsten story is getting another run – see Zero Hedge and RunToGold.

Nick from ShareLynx Gold passed on to me today the following from the producers of the video (all personal info was removed by him before forwarding):

vielen Dank für Ihre Anfrage.
MANY THANKS FOR YOUR ENQUIRY

Das Video ist tatsächlich bei Argor in der Schweiz aufgenommen worden, allerdings in einem ganz anderen Zusammenhang.

THE VIDEO WAS EFFECTIVELY TAKEN AT ARGOR IN SWITZERLAND, ALTHOUGH IN A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT CONTEXT

Unten eine englischsprachige Erklärung hierzu, die Ihnen einige weitere Hintergrundinformationen gibt. Der Barren wurde übrigens schon vor über 10 Jahren bei Argor zum Einschmelzen abgegeben; sofort entdeckt und aus dem Verkehr gezogen. Gefälschte Barren kommen extrem selten vor, unsere Kollegen in den Schmelzen können sich an keinen Fall in den letzten Jahren erinnern, in denen ein solcher bei Heraeus zur Aufarbeitung eingeliefert wurde.

BELOW AN EXPLANATION IN ENGLISH TO THIS ISSUE, THAT WILL GIVE YOU SOME FURTHER BACKGROUND INFORMATION. THE BARS, BY THE WAY, WERE DELIVERED TO ARGOR ALREADY MORE THAN TEN YEARS AGO FOR SMELTING; WERE IMMEDIATELY DISCOVERED AND WITHDRAWN FROM CIRCULATION. COUNTERFEIT BARS ARE EXTREMELY RARE, OUR COLLEAGUES FROM THE FOUNDRY CANNOT RECALL A SINGLE INSTANCE IN THE LAST YEARS IN WHICH SUCH A BAR WAS DELIVERED TO HERAEUS FOR PROCESSING.

Statement:

The video shown on www.youtube.com is an extract from the weekly German television broadcast Galileo that discusses scientific topics. This particular broadcast covered the topic of gold including testing the purity of gold bars.

The presentation of the scene of (gold) production at the Argor Heraeus refinery – that was put on youtube.com in another context – when seen together with the text could therefore give an incorrect impression.

The false bar shown in the broadcast was a bar not produced by Heraeus; it was sent to the company for refining and detected already at the time of delivery. Compliance Management at Argor-Heraeus is very important and plays an important role at the company. Among others, it has very stringent rules for handling and dealing with precious metals.

Therefore, and combined also with strong and effective quality controls, Argor-Heraeus is able to assure the authenticity of gold bars produced by the company itself at all times.

Internet: www.heraeus-edelmetallhandel.de
Heraeus Metallhandelsgesellschaft mbH
Heraeusstr. 12-14, 63450 Hanau, Germany

So the video is about ten year old fake bars. Another example of commentators jumping the gun and hyping a story without any fact/background checking. To be fair, it really is only someone like Nick who has a worldwide well-connected subscriber base who can do that sort of checking.

I also find it interesting that the video Zero Hedge linked is the only upload of YouTube user wolframgold who only joined on 28 Feb 2010. This leads me to a conspiracy I am surprised none of the more rabid commentators have come up with yet, namely that the source of the tungsten rumours since October 2009 is either a refinery/mint trying to scare people away from the secondary market and ebay and into only buying new bars and coins OR producers of testing equipment!

Nick also passed on to me a link to BullionAnalysis.com, which has some nice pictures of fake Englehard silver bars that their equipment would have detected. This does undercut RunToGold’s conclusion from the tungsten scare that “if one is concerned about the quality of their gold then the other precious metals like silver and platinum are good alternatives”. Ouch.

I would also disagree with RunToGold’s statement that “detecting a high-quality fake tungsten gold bar would be extremely difficult. It would likely require significant and material alterations to the bar being tested and this would negatively affect the marketability if its hallmark veracity were vindicated.”

Ultrasonic testers will do the job without having to damage a bar. I quote some techo stuff from KK&S Instruments:

The 1090 Flaw Detector allows you to look into the Bar for voids/defects as well as UT velocity which is determined the products elastic modulus i.e Tungsten Velocity is 5183-5460m/sec and Gold is 3,240m/sec. For example if you calibrate for Au then the testing Tungsten bar of the same thickness, the UT thickness would read approximately half the actual because of the speeding-up of the sound through the Tungsten.

Problem is that it does require some technical knowledge to use the machine, so out of reach of retail investors and small coin dealers. It is probably prohibitively expensive as well.

I also think that it is fairly likely that the unintended consequence of commentators pushing the tungsten story is to drive mom & pop newbie gold investors into the ETFs. Making the decision to buying gold is a big change for the average investor and you can be sure they are seeking reassurance. Sow doubts in their mind about the “dangers” of physical gold and you will push them into ETFs, because mom & pop see them as regulated and thus safe. The very opposite of what many (if not all) commentators would want. I doubt they think about these consequences when they are looking for their next headline.

Manufacturing Jobs Grow for Third Straight Month


The Institute for Supply Management released its February 2010 Manufacturing Report On Business Monday. The report shows that manufacturing jobs grew for the third month in a row. Even more upbeat was the fact that the report indicates that job growth in the sector is now accelerating.

Furthermore, overall economic activity in the manufacturing sector expanded in February for the seventh consecutive month and index correlations with the larger U.S. economy indicate growth now for the 10th consecutive month.

ISM’s Employment Index registered 56.1% in February. That is 2.8% points higher than what was reported for January. This third consecutive month of growth in manufacturing employment represents the highest reading for the index since January 2005.

Source: Institute for Supply Manufacturing

Ten of the 18 manufacturing industries that are tracked by the ISM reported growth in employment in February. They are: Textile Mills; Petroleum & Coal Products; Apparel, Leather & Allied Products; Paper Products; Machinery; Miscellaneous Manufacturing; Transportation Equipment; Electrical Equipment, Appliances & Components; Fabricated Metal Products; and Food, Beverage & Tobacco Products.

An early indicator of what jobs growth will look like in the near future is registered in the ISM’s Backlog of Orders Index. It registered 61 percent in February, accelerating 5% higher than in January. Of the respondents who report their backlog of orders to the ISM, a full third reported greater backlogs with only 1 in 10 reporting smaller backlogs. You may remember that as backlog orders grow, employers have in increased propensity to hire new workers.

Norbert J. Ore, chair of the ISM’s Business Survey Committee said, “The past relationship between the PMI and the overall economy indicates that the average PMI for January and February (57.5 percent) corresponds to a 5.2 percent increase in real gross domestic product (GDP).”

The report is further evidence of a U.S. economy that is on track for healthy net jobs creation by summer.

Interesting Readings for March 3, 2010

  • Vikas Bajaj in the New York Times on privatisation in India.
  • I had recently written a blog post on India’s foolishness on visa rules for people coming into conferences. Siddharth Varadarajan has a great opinion piece on this in the Hindu. In sensible countries, there is no such thing as a `visa for the purpose of attending a conference’. It’s just called a tourist visa.
  • An editorial in the Wall Street Journal on India’s success on establishing a private sector with competition in mobile phones.
  • Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar in the Economic Times on what the budget speech should say. Also see Ila Patnaik in Indian Express on the roadmap, and in Financial Express on expenditure. Writing in the Business Standard, Sanjaya Baru is also optimistic about what Pranab Mukherjee will be able to pull off.
  • An extremely insightful conversation on charges of ETFs (in the comments to this post). This is the sort of thing one hopes for in blogs.
  • Give financial sector a Financial Stability Board, in the Times of India.
  • Bibek Debroy in Indian Express on India’s license-permit raj of exchange controls.
  • I was at IFMR recently: did a talk on distribution of financial products, and looked at the `KGFS’ idea on increasing outreach of financial products.
  • Sanjeev Sanyal in Business Standard on the outlook for Bombay.
  • Andrew Jacobs in the New York Times on new developments in the Chinese end of India’s tiger extinction problem.
  • John Gravois on remittances.
  • We in India can look at the brainpower in the Chilean cabinet with wonder and envy.
  • Catherine Rampall in the New York Times, reviewing Capitalism and the Jews by Jerry Z. Muller, which made me think about the different story of business-oriented ethnic groups of India.
  • Robert Litan on financial innovation.
  • Tarun Ramadorai in the Financial Express on hedge fund regulation.
  • Alessandro Beber and Marco Pagano, on voxEU, analyse the global evidence on bans on short selling in the crisis. Hopefully we will learn the lesson for the next crisis.
  • One of the great achievements of monetary policy reform in recent decades has been the establishment of executive Monetary Policy Committees (MPCs) which use formal voting mechanisms through which the policy rate is modified in order to achieve an inflation target, on a regular meeting cycle, with full transparency about how each person voted and why.
    Writing on voxEU, Tim Besley and Andrew Scott emphasise the role of `fiscal councils’ where some (but not all) of these ideas are deployed into fiscal policy.
  • I find it interesting to look at how the army of a great power works. See Elizabeth Rubin in Time magazine on Robert Gates (the US defence minister), and Chris Wilson in Slate on some remarkable soldiers. I suppose journalists like Elizabeth Rubin and Chris Wilson are also integral to being a great power.
  • Interesting new things in the world of trading and exchanges, all from the Financial Times: Size of share orders cut in half on global markets and Small orders breed dark pools and higher costs by Jeremy Grant, Markets: Ghosts in the machine by Jeremy Grant and Michael Mackenzie, and lastly New US options exchange battles for market space by Hal Weitzman.

Join the forum discussion on this post - (1) Posts