By Bill Holter
For several years there has been talk of a financial and economic “re set” coming, this is no longer speculation as the reset has already begun! The Swiss have suppressed the price of their currency, the franc, since late 2011. They pegged the franc versus the euro with a “floor” versus the euro at 1.20. After confirming this floor publicly on Monday, they abandoned it Thursday only to see the euro depreciate through the par level. What you saw on Thursday and Friday was the work of Mother Nature as the Swiss decided they would be better served by no longer battling her.
The ramifications of this move by the Swiss are almost infinite when you consider the chain reactions they have now started. Several large FOREX firms including the largest retail firm in the U.S., FXCM, were rendered bankrupt overnight. Even Goldman Sachs and Citi admitted to being offside and sustained large losses. As of right now, we have no idea who “won” and who “lost”, nor do we know “how much?”. We heard almost nothing from Swiss or European banks on Friday, “who what and how much?” will begin to surface this coming week. As I have written for years now, if the loser goes bankrupt, the winner does not get paid…thus turning the winner into a loser. This is a very big problem the markets ignored on Friday but will not be able to ignore as the dead bodies begin to surface.
Think about this point very seriously, many investors (and firms) went to bed Wednesday evening with no stress at all on their portfolios (or their business), in just five minutes Thursday morning they were insolvent. Just FIVE MINUTES! We are only talking about “investments” here, how many other real businesses in the import and export area are now broke? Broke because they hold euros but need francs or they export from Switzerland or import to Europe and now their business model makes no sense? How is this even possible in just five minutes time?
Another aspect to what and how the Swiss moved on Thursday is that of “central banks” themselves. Did the Swiss not know they were going to float the franc on Monday when they confirmed the peg publicly? Did they or did they not inform the IMF prior their actions? What about the BIS which is headquartered within their borders in Basel, surely they tipped them off? Christine LaGarde claimed in an interview with CNBC that she had no prior notice, really? If this is true then it shows the Swiss central bank has moved in an “every man for himself” type of action. It also shows the “united front” of central banks is not so “united” anymore! If Ms. LaGarde is not telling the truth and in fact the IMF did have prior knowledge, what would this mean? It would mean the central banks are finally losing control of the rig. It would also mean the central banks have distorted currencies, interest rates etc. so badly that once Mother Nature takes over, we can expect repeat performances all over the world and amongst all assets and currencies. How can I say this? I would simply ask if it is “normal” for two trading currencies to revalue 30% in five minutes or if it is not normal, what was the cause? We of course know, the cause was the actions of the ECB and SNB over these last three+ years.
We have already speculated the Swiss made this move for one of two reasons. First, they may have decided the amount of euros necessary to purchase (and thus the amount of francs created) will go exponential this coming week when the ECB goes full on QE (printing). We also know that euros already make up more than half of their balance sheet. The other possibility is they know the Greek election is coming up, (the Greek banks are already experiencing bank runs) and they see the very real possibility of the Eurozone fracturing or even dissolving. Another possibility is maybe they just decided “their first loss is their best loss”? Maybe they have watched as the core of Europe has asked for their gold back and understand that “trust” amongst central bankers is waning? Maybe they simply decided to front run the obvious and necessary re set and do it on their own terms? It is very hard to say what exactly the motivation was, the important thing to understand is their action has started a re set in motion which will not be stopped! In plain English, the Swiss just yelled FIRE …while standing in the exit!
I have several other questions but first I want to point out the obvious. Oil was cut in more than half in dollars over 6 months, could you say the price of oil was “re set”? How about copper? How about other foreign currencies? Could the huge moves in so many assets qualify as being “re set”? The collapse in oil and copper prices are black swans pointing to a rapidly slowing global economy. The Swiss removing their currency peg is another black swan event and in reaction to the ECB moving toward hyperinflating their currency.
My biggest question now is this, what will happen when China allows their currency to float? The Swiss are one thing, China is whole different story! Think of the ramifications when it comes to trade? Another, maybe even more important question is what will happen when the Chinese “force” the price of gold and silver to trade freely? Let me explain this further. The Chinese know full well that gold IS money, otherwise they would not have spent the last several years buying almost every single ounce that came from the ground. They know it is artificially priced by New York and London. They can “float” gold in several manners. First, they can simply bust the COMEX and LBMA by bidding for and purchasing both their entire inventories within a 24 hour window. Another possibility would be to simply put out a “global bid” and state some price (much higher than current) they are willing to buy any and all gold, presto, COMEX and LBMA would be busted without them doing it directly!
I recently wrote of a “Global Margin Call” where because oil and other assets, currencies, etc. have moved so rapidly, many derivatives traders have surely been thrown “offside”. This move by the Swiss is nothing different except it was done “officially”. Actually, the funny thing is they moved to suspend what they were “officially” (and artificially!) doing. The move by the Swiss has only made the global margin call that much bigger! The global re set which was already in the works is now publicly and officially happening before your very eyes. You can close your eyes or not believe this fact, it will not make it go away, nor will it insulate you financially from what is coming.
To finish, and I plan to follow up maybe even tomorrow, the most important re set will be that of gold and silver prices. I say “most important” because these are the only “tools” available to you as an individual to protect your wealth. If the Swiss franc and the euro can change in value by 30% within five minutes, what do you think the revaluation of gold and silver will be when the 100 ounces of “paper metal” come looking for the real thing? At what price will the market clear? Add a zero? Two zero’s? Please understand this, when the margin call is issued worldwide, there is only one money where the call will work in reverse, precious metals. The “call” will be for real, yet non existent metal. Gold had already sniffed this margin call and re set out a couple of months ago. No matter how much paper was thrown at it, it simply stopped going down. Even while the dollar strengthened synthetically, gold went higher versus the dollar. Gold has clearly been THE best money, what do you think will happen to real metal when it turns out that 99% of the supposed global supply is proven as counterfeit?
We will soon witness the greatest margin call in all of history. We will also witness the greatest transfer of wealth and re set in all of history! My only question is whether what so far has been “rolling re sets” becomes an official market/bank/finance closure and announced …or, do the markets continue to trade and force re sets in market after market.
As an additional note, we have one last question to ponder which may or may not be connected. Koos Jansen put forth a “mystery guest’s” theory that the Swiss went short gold in Sept. 2011 which marked the top in gold. He asks in the following link, “did Switzerland just cover their short“?
I believe there may be some credence to this theory but would go one step further. Zerohedge asks the question and speculates Japan may be the next “Switzerland” and pull the plug on Abenomics. Personally I see it a little differently, more importantly, what if the Chinese were to react to the coming QE4 by doing two things? What if China just walked away and sold their dollar holdings …and at the same time revoked their current peg of the yuan to the dollar? Will China some day ratio back their yuan with gold? I think this is likely. Would the dollar collapse 30% like the euro just did versus the franc or will the re set be much larger? Of course the next question would be “how high would gold be marked up”? An unpegging of the yuan by China would be more important and (current) system ending than nearly anything else I can imagine. For China to break their peg, the paper short positions in gold and silver would finally be exposed for what they are, counterfeits!
BILL HOLTER, Associate Writer, Miles Franklin Precious Metal Specialists
Address: 801 Twelve Oaks Center Drive, Suite #834, Wayzata, MN 55391;
Telephone: 800.822.8080, 952.929.7006; Fax: 952.476.7971
Prior to joining Miles Franklin in 2012, Bill Holter Worked as a retail stockbroker for 23 years, including 12 as a branch manager at A.G. Edwards. Later, he left Wall Street to avoid potential liabilities related to management of paper assets. In 2006 he retired and moved to Costa Rica where he lived until 2011 when he moved back to the United States. Bill was a well-known contributor to the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA) commentaries from 2007-2012.
Today is surely Swiss National Bank’s day after it abandoned the cap for EUR/CHF cross which was introduced in September 2011. Swiss franc surged for a record against everything that can be traded. What are the first associations when we are thinking about Switzerland? Yes, first is gold, then luxury watches and of course chocolate. This country has had the gold of the world stored in its banking vaults and a safe currency, but now the Central Bank is nervous because of the currency’s excessive appreciation. So today’s shocking Swiss franc move inspired me to compare both instruments boasting a safe status.
Below is today’s comparative chart of gold and CHF against USD. I will put an inverse cross of CHF against USD in all charts for easy perception – both gold and franc will be displayed as the base currency and the dollar will be the quoted currency (usually it is traded as USD/CHF – dollar is base currency, franc is the quoted currency).
Just after the SNB announcement, the market lost its liquidity as everyone was shocked by such an unforeseen move (recently SNB spokesman declared that currency stability is a key element of their policy) and the franc flew to 37% gain level at once. Gold also started to elevate, but the move was comparatively moderate. At the moment (2 pm EST), the 1 day growth is almost 2%. The franc stopped soaring and calmed down to almost a 16% gain. Just to show the difference, when SNB introduced its peg in 2011, the Franc devalued. It showed a relatively modest 9% immediately after the announcement. So this time it was a real shock for the market.
To understand the comparative power of gold against the franc, I will be adding more time frame-charts with longer periods.
Next is the 1 year relative dynamics of the two instruments.
In the meantime, both gold and the franc on a 1-day and 1-year graph are moving in the same direction with more volatility in gold. Only at the end of 2014, gold started to diverge rising against dollar while the franc continued its fall. Today, SNB returned power to the franc. 1 year summary – franc gaining 3%, rocketing it from -11%. Gold is making 1.57% which also reversed from negative territory.
Here comes the more interesting time frame – 5 year.
Here we can see why gold and CHF are usually put together when one mentions safety. They move head to head (highlighted with green arrows) for years. But I want you to focus on another interesting behavior. I highlighted with red arrows and the black rhombus the time when SNB launched its peg for EUR/CHF (it immediately affected the USD/CHF). Right after that, both instruments started to diverge: gold continued in an uptrend and CHF, on contrary, lost the 1 year gain. This artificial intervention in the market was clearly depicted by the price on the chart. And this is not the last interesting thing. If we will look closely to the gold trend, the natural move would be stalled at $1500-1700 level. The market would then fall back to new normal $1000-1200 level. Instead, the trend became steeper and the price soared beyond $1900 and then fell back to a normal curve at $1500-1700. Gold, more than franc, tends to inflate “bubbles” which burst from time to time. And right after such burst, these two safe havens met on the graph again. But to answer our title question, 5 years is not enough as both showed close results just below a 20% gain.
Below is this century’s chart of dynamics for past 15 years (from December 1999).
I bet now it’s clear which one is saving your money the most. Gold is the winner. If you were wise enough, or not so greedy to cover longs in 2011-2012, you could have gained more than 6-fold on your investment. Even these days you would still be making decent 338% gain. Franc just made 80%, a laughable return if compared to gold. From 2002, both managed to be in green all the way up to date and therefore this couple confirmed its safety status.
Best wishes and lucky trades!
INO.com Contributor, Metals
Disclosure: This contributor has no positions in any stocks mentioned in this article. This article is the opinion of the contributor themselves. The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. This contributor is not receiving compensation (other than from INO.com) for their opinion.