Degrees of Distrust

My last blog was ultimately about trust and that maybe the basis is telling us that there is still trust in the system. After writing it I remembered the presentation I made to the 2009 Gold Standard Institute seminar in Canberra. Below is the conclusion from that presentation, where I proposed four phases, or degrees of distrust:
1st Phase
We start to see increasing investment in gold reflected by increasing balances in COMEX or ETFs or GoldMoney etc, but the majority of people still hold fiat and stocks/shares. In respect of gold, people have no problem with storing their metal in “the system”.
2nd Phase
We start to see occassional backwardation which comes and goes and it usually only between cash and shorter futures/maturities – 1 to 2 months. This backwardation is arbitraged away by longs who still have belief in the system(s) so are willing to take the risk to make a profit. Gold is still held in the system but growth in reported balances is slowing.
3rd Phase
We see more backwardation periods, prolonged and now not just shorter maturities but maybe 3 month going to small backwardation. It demonstrates less interest by longs to take the risk. Possibly start to see reported balances of ETFs and less reputable custodians starting to stablise even though gold price still rising, which would puzzle ignorant commentators. A physical squeeze is developing.
4th Phase
Now backwardation persists, it is a permanent state in shorter maturities, increasing to longer maturities. Reported ETF balances are declining. A clear signal not all is well. Gold is being pulled and stored outside the system. The strong hands are in the majority, the squeeze is really on.
I’d say we are just starting in the 2nd Phase.

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