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Mike Gleason: It is my privilege now, to welcome back our good friend David Morgan, of The Morgan Report. David, it's always a real pleasure to have you on with us. How are you, sir?
David Morgan: Mike, I'm doing well. Thank you for having me.
Mike Gleason: Well, first off, let's discuss what's been driving the recent pullback in your view. Gold was over $1,350 not too long ago and is now is decisively back under $1,300, as we're talking here on Wednesday afternoon. Silver has pulled back, and is moving toward the lower end of its year-long trading range, and has a 16 handle, once again. So what do you make of the recent market action, and what's behind it David?
David Morgan: Well, it's a lot of, algorithms that trade all these markets. You can't get around that fact. The second thing is, a lot of people are -- in my view -- been on the lazy side, which means they just generally off the technical analysis doesn't work, because it's a manipulated market. Well, actually it works fine, if you ever took the time to read The Silver Manifesto, with my co-author, Chris Marchese, you would definitely find out that technical analysis is a tool. It's not perfect, but it's something to pay attention to.
So, when we have a support or resistance level, it normally takes three tries to get through that level, either from the upside or the downside. Recent times, $1,300 was the level that had to be tested three times, for gold to have that $1,300 breakout. It did it. Third try it went through. It got up to $1,350. I warned my members at that time that normally, a breakout level is tested at least one time, and forecast it would see $1,300 or below. And it was moving higher, higher, higher, and there were a lot of articles about gold is at a 11-month high, gold is at a 12-month high.
And I don't want to say I get it right every time. I'm not trying to imply that. What I'm trying to imply is that technical analysis does have some benefit, and that there are some general principles that work most of the time, this being one of them. The last one that cinched it for me, and this is one that you've got to combine as much knowledge as you can, and throw out the junk and keep the diamonds, then that is what the Commitment of Traders look like. And the Commitment of Traders look very unsatisfactory at the time that gold was getting in this 11-month, 12-month high area.
It looked to me like, based on the COT, that it was also due to come back. So, that's the reason ... I mean as trite as it sounds, it's absolutely the most honest and truthful thing you can say about why a market was up or down, it's because there's more sellers than buyers, that's why the market goes down, or there's more buyers than sellers and that's why the market moves up. I don't care if it's wheat. I don't care if it's rice. I don't care if it's a stock or an ETF, gold or silver. It does not matter.
If there's buying pressure, it goes higher. If there's selling pressure, it moves lower. It's that simple. What everyone wants to know is why, and that is too difficult to announce, because there could be individual reasons. Someone might have an emergency and they sell a bag of silver because that's all the savings they have, or whatever. So I don't want to go down this rabbit hole too far, Mike, but I want to state, is you can generally say, "Oh, yes. The Fed announced they're going to raise rates and they're going taper back on their balance sheet," and all this stuff, and everyone says, "Well, that's the reason."
Well that's a reason, and it may be one of the major reasons, but it's not necessarily all reasons. So I'll leave it at that.
Mike Gleason: Well, I know you don't want to thump your chest too hard, but I'll sing your praises a little bit, here. You've been very good at calling both short term tops and long-term tops, and people that follow you will know that as well.
I'm curious to get your read on sentiment in the broader precious metals community, because while we're definitely still seeing more retail customers buying than selling, we are seeing an increase in people selling metal than we're accustomed to. Around the world, though, particularly in Asia, physical demand is strong and may even be increasing.
Now, you interact with traders and investors in the futures markets, and you talk regularly with mining industry executives and shareholders, which gives you an even broader perspective. You often talk about how these markets tend to either wear you out or scare you out. Is that happening, or are you seeing some optimism, here?
David Morgan: Too much optimism. Sentiment really changed from ... and especially in the silver market. There's a small market. It seems as if, from my experience, which is 40 years, that the silver folks are a little more volatile than the gold folks, just like the metals themselves. And so you can go from extreme pessimism to extreme optimism in silver, very rapidly. And that's what took place, generally speaking, over the last few months. We saw, gold unable to breach the $1,300 level. Once it did, it was a quick trade, if you were nimble enough. And if you could only capture $50, then so be it.
Regardless of that setup, sentiment got very, very high, very, very quickly once the mainstream press came out there with the, gold setting these 11-month highs. And normally, in a real free market, if you get a new high that's pretty bullish. The problem with a long trending market like gold or whatever, some stocks, is there's a lot of overhead resistance.
I mean, there are people out there bought at $1,400, people out there bought at $1,500, people are out there that bought at $1,600. And that's many months and months ago. I know that. Nonetheless, some are sitting there, just waiting for it to hit those levels, just to sell it and get rid of it, because they're very unsatisfied with what the gold market has done for the last several years. And the same thing holds true with the silver market.
So, sentiment swang really broadly. And the other thing, I'd like to ask my own question and answer it, if you don't mind, Mike, because this is one that I get quite a bit. I had a gentleman that I admire. He's very close to the mining sector. And I’d consider him highly intelligent, and he knows quite a bit about the silver market, and he said “I just don't understand why silver's at this price. It's been in a deficit,” and on and on. So what he was implying was that we have this continuous deficit in the silver market. And a lot of people, even some very well established people that are good friends of mine, do produce factual, verbatim quotes from major silver studies, that claim that silver's at a deficit.
However, even though that's true and a fact, you have to be very careful with that word, because the word deficit, by definition of some of these silver studies, refer to the fact that there is a difference between the amount of silver mined, and the amount of silver that's requested for all investment, be it monetary investment or industrial demand. What they don't talk about is the 165 million ounces of silver, roughly speaking, that comes through in recycling, every year.
So the easiest, most straightforward, most commonsense way to look at, "Where's all the silver coming from? We're in a deficit. Where's all the silver coming from?" is to look at the facts. And the facts are simply this. From 1999 to 2006 we were in a silver deficit, and all the silver that was required for whatever demand, industrial or monetary, came from the aboveground stockpile, which went from 2 billion ounces to 500 million ounces, in those 15, 16 years. Roughly 100 million ounces a year is what was eaten away at the aboveground stockpile.
Now, from 2006 to present day, roughly 10, 11 years, the silver aboveground supply has continued to grow, year over year over year over year. Which means that we're now basically where we started in 1999, which is roughly 2 to 2.2 billion ounces of silver, aboveground. Which means we have built, on an average basis, about 100 million ounces of fine silver, aboveground, year over year. The word deficit just means the definition I gave you.
Well, there's a couple definitions of deficit. Excuse me, I wanted to backtrack that statement. What I'm trying to say is, deficit, in the dictionary, means that there's a shortage, quote-unquote. But the way deficit is used in some of these financial articles means that the demand, the investment demand, is bigger than mine supply. Well, that could be true, but you could still have a greater supply, if you factor in the recycling of the product like silver.
So, hopefully I made that very clear. We had a deficit that drew the stockpiles down. We've had a surplus build over the last 10, 11 years, and that's where the silver is coming from. There is not enough total demand to take all that build out. Now, this is where it gets finer and, it’s in my reports and everything else. I mean, how much is the float? And the answer is, there's very little silver unaccounted for.
I want to be clear. I don't want to scare people. I realize there's massive amounts of silver just sitting there, that nobody wants. You know, almost every ounce, to an ounce, is accounted for, one way or another. But, it's just like a float in a stock market investment -- and I hope I'm not getting too complex or, I want to keep it simple -- but just, the idea that you have to be in a deficit, for silver to be a good investment is ludicrous.
Because, one, you never buy gold. The aboveground stockpiled gold grows every single year, bar none. Every year there's a bigger gold supply than there was the previous year. And secondly, there's so many derivatives and other things out there, that really obfuscate the exact amount of silver demand and gold demand that's out there, and I think everybody that listens to Money Metals Exchange in these podcasts knows exactly what I'm talking about, so I'll stop there.
Mike Gleason: David, let's talk a little bit about market correlations. You pointed out something in the most recent issue of The Morgan Report that most metals investors will not be aware of. Gold and silver prices are correlated with the U.S. dollar, of course. So, if the dollar weakens, metals tend to move higher. But metals prices are even more closely correlated with the stock markets. If the equity markets are moving higher, that is bad news for metals, and if share prices fall, gold and silver typically move higher.
Of course, if we get a major liquidity crisis, a la 2008, then all bets are off, but this correlation would certainly explain some of the lackluster performance we've seen in the metals. The dollar's had a terrible year, but that really hasn't helped gold and silver all that much. Talk a bit about those correlations, if you would, and then give us your thoughts on where things stand with the equity markets, in general.
David Morgan: Well, thank you for that. A lot of these people, and they're good friends of mine, and some are very technically savvy, nonetheless, a fact is a fact. Now, one is Ian McAvity, and Ian has passed away. God bless him, he was a wonderful guy and I got to know him on a personal level, on a cursory basis, but I've known him for years. But he would make the argument that, gold is the anti-dollar and he would show his chart work, of which he did a massive amount. His letter, basically, was nothing but a technical report, which was a good one.
Anyway, he would take a dollar chart, he would flip it upside-down and say that's a gold chart. Then he'd lay a gold chart on top of it, and it correlated pretty darn well. So, that's saying it's not dollar correlated. But if you look at the math, and you're objective, the correlation is even better if you use the stock markets. And to me, that makes more sense, because the stock market is basically, and purportedly these days, because the financialization of everything that's taken place in the last decade or longer really has distorted what the financial markets are, versus what the underlying assets are, which is basically every business that's a public entity in the country, or world, if you go to the world stock markets. We're talking U.S., for right now.
So it's really distorted. It doesn't, however, negate the fact that the most negatively correlated asset class to gold is the stock market. It's pure fact if you objectively look at the numbers. If you run the data, that's what it tells you. So, why I did that was, one, to just lay it on the line. And secondly, to give a bit of comfort, maybe, to other analysts or deep thinkers, or people that really pay attention to these markets, or have a lot invested in these markets, and want to get the best information they can obtain, that this is part of the reason.
You see this new, higher and higher and higher stock market, that would imply a lower and lower and lower gold price, which are not correlated 100 percent. The only thing correlated to 100 percent would be the same thing, you know, the stock market correlating to itself. Regardless, gold is actually fighting the good fight, meaning it's broken out into a one-year high. It's pulled back from that level, but that's against an ever increasing, higher and higher and higher stock market, which means, if you keep your emotions in check and just look at it, what it’s telling us is that gold is actually doing pretty darn well, in view of all that it's correlated against, and how much headwinds it has to fight.
Mike Gleason: Yeah, despite the recent pullback, it's still up 11 percent for the year. I was just running those numbers this morning. So yeah, absolutely, that's a very good point. It is fighting the good fight.
Now, cryptocurrencies have been getting a lot of headlines this year, and they have been stealing some of the thunder from gold and silver, at least some new money is going into those, instead of the precious metals. At the end of the day, the surge in the cryptos are a vote against government fiat money.
Now we can debate that cryptocurrencies are really not backed by anything, and that gold and silver have stood the test of time as money, throughout history, and are really a better alternative. But let's talk about the movement that's taking place, of people seeking dollar alternatives, here for a minute, and what it might mean for the central planners and the governments throughout the world.
What's your take on all of this, and what does it say about the confidence in the system, David, or lack thereof?
David Morgan: Well I'll try to answer this from the top, down. First of all, I'm really free market, that means anyone, anywhere is really able to make their own decision, have their own motives and these cryptos are not, I mean, I'm pretty neutral on them. But, to answer your question more specifically, it is an alternative. There's no doubt about that. There is some debate about whether or not these are truly exempt from, let's say government interference.
I would take the viewpoint --- and it's somewhat studied, it's not my expertise, believe me -- that some of the small ones are definitely outside the purview of any government. They're just too small. No one's going to bother with them. On the other hand, some of the larger ones could be, and some are, under let's say, more interference or potential interference, than you might think. For example, on the Bitcoin thing, and I'm not anti-bitcoin, I think Bitcoin's here to stay. I think Ethereum is here to stay. I think some of the major ones are here to stay. I think the crypto world is going to definitely change the financial landscape, if it hasn't already. It probably has.
But I also want to be a realist, and there's ups and downs to any market, and the Bitcoin, and there’s some people have gone to prison for what they've done in the bitcoin world, and there's also some potential tax issues, depending on what jurisdiction someone is in. So, it's not the alternative to government fiat that some people may have either been led to believe, still believe, or don't understand properly. So, that's a caveat.
The other part of it is ... (that they’re) un-backed, well, some are, some are not. I mean, this gets a little bit muddled because, for example, there was this ACC chain that's still talked about quite a bit. The first block was really based on tea. And tea is really revered in China. I mean, it's a pretty highly traded commodity. There's different grades of it, and there's all this stuff that goes along with it. But this block chain used tea. It's a tangible, I mean, it's a foodstuff, if you will, or at least it's a beverage.
And so, these ideas of being able to digitize real assets, I think, is definitely something people need to pay attention to. Regardless of your philosophical bent, and mine's more towards specie money, gold and silver… what's been in history, what works, what works about power and that type of thing. That's a bias of mine.
The reality is that the crypto space is going somewhere. You've got to be extremely careful, as far as just buying at a cheap price and watching something go up doesn't mean it's a good investment. It means that the market is extremely hot, which it is. So you want to be careful. But I am neutral to positive on it. Of course, full disclosure, I am involved at, more in a cursory level, but not at a high level, on a silver-only backed crypto that would monetize it. And even there, let me just say that, even though I've got skin in the game, and I could win or lose on this investment, that I would recommend it only for disposable income.
In other words, if you have X amount of silver, I would say just as a suggestion, no more than one-tenth X would be used in a format like this, where you can really spend it. I mean, let's face it. If silver starts to move well, and you've bought in, your average price is, let's say, $20, and it's sitting at $30. And you've got this in a crypto platform and you're familiar with that and how it works. You know, you want to buy your gas, groceries, go out to dinner, whatever, you know, it's kind of a convenient thing to do. And that's one thing that kind of holds the silver market back, somewhat. And that is, some of the older investors are like, "Well, how do I sell it?" Well, as James Turk has always said, from Gold Money, "Well, you can spend it."
Mike Gleason: Let's change gears here a bit and talk about the platinum group metals. Palladium has been a huge outperformer, but platinum is lagging. Now, the two metals share significant demand from the automotive industry, so it's worth breaking down for our listeners why the two metals are performing so differently. Address that, if you would. And then also, talk about maybe, the potential impact on electric vehicles that that might have on the platinum group metals, in terms of demand for catalytic converters.
David Morgan: Sure. Platinum is used as a catalytic converter for diesel engines. And with the Volkswagen revelation that took place several months ago, about them fudging the software for their EPA requirements in the U.S., this took a lot of wind out of the diesel bandwagon. So that's one headwind. Platinum is also used as jewelry in Japan, mostly. It isn't used in jewelry many other places. Yes, it's everywhere on the planet, but I mean, primarily platinum is pretty well known in Japan as jewelry.
Palladium has basically all the attributes of platinum and, at one time, sold at a pretty steep discount to platinum. Right now, they're almost par. But, if you look at what the in-the-ground amount of platinum and palladium are, platinum and palladium are basically about the same. I used to say that palladium was actually less than platinum. I went back and bought the studies, and there aren't many, on the PGMs, and I studied those studies.
It's pretty apparent to me, from the best research that I can get ahold of, that they pretty much mine about the same amount, but palladium is far more used, because there's a lot more gas catalytic converters that are demanded, than diesel catalytic converters. So that's a bigger demand, and they sell for the same price, and they mine at the same amount, that would put a push on the palladium.
Electric vehicles certainly will impact both those markets to the negative, but they're such thin markets, and there's not a huge aboveground surplus of either one, that that dynamic could change pretty quickly. And the one space I hold out for, and this is basically with quotation marks around it, because I have not looked at it in a long time, was years ago the cold fusion meme that was going around, using palladium. Whether that's true or false I really can't see at this point, but we never know whether our new technologies available to some of these metals that are more exotic than, let's say, just the precious metals.
So, I am still pretty bullish on palladium, not so much on platinum. But overall, those are two metals that you really don't need to get into. You're better served by gold and silver. But if you have a high net worth, or you really like them for whatever reason or other. Last comment, Mike, and I'll hand it back to you.
It was a pretty easy trade for years, and I've done it several times. Whenever platinum sold at a discount to gold, you could just do a spread trade, which is easier on the pocketbook, and you can be pretty patient with them. So, you would just go the reverse, you would go long platinum and short gold, and as the spread narrowed you'd make money. For some reason or another, I did not do it this time, and I've very grateful for that, because the spread between gold and platinum has continued to favor gold, and whether this will invert like it has historically remains to be determined. So that's a trade I haven't done, and I'm shying away from. I don't see that as an opportunity anymore, and it just kind of shows you that there isn't a lot of monetary demand for either of the platinum group metals.
Mike Gleason: Well, as we begin to wrap up here, David, give us your thoughts on the events you're going to be watching most closely, in the months ahead, when it comes to the metals markets. We spoke earlier about the stock markets as a potential catalyst for metals … there are plenty of geopolitical events with the potential to move markets. North Korea and Trump's tax cuts, to name a couple. What do you think metals investors should focus on? Where do you see them going here, towards the end of the year? And what are people likely to be talking about, in the coming months?
David Morgan: Well, the stock market's key, as we discussed earlier. So, if the stock market does a big ho-hum nothing for the whole month of October, then obviously – and at that point I would say obviously – the favored move would be for the metals to continue down to the end of the year, not up. On the other hand, if we get a correction, meaning 10 percent or more move down in a general equities market like the DJI or the S&P, that would be very much favorable to the metals, and you would expect to see gold and silver trade up, into the end of the year. So, the stock market is key, so watch it for the month of October.
If nothing happens, going forward I still think that we cannot get through all of 2018 without a breakout in the metals, and I think that if we don't get a pullback in October, we probably will in the spring of 2018. This stock market is, as I'm almost remiss to say, I've said it so many times, but it's overvalued. It's been that way for a long time. At some point, it's got to give. And now the Fed's sort of pushing it a bit, with their idea that they're going to take care of their balance sheet, and maybe even increase interest rates.
They're putting a lot of pressure on the markets, and whether or not they know what they are doing, and that could be argued, nonetheless they make these announcements and they take them back. And they hint, and then do this, and then they don't. And I understand all that. But what I also understand is, they are in a box. They are painted into a corner. There's not a whole lot they can do. So, sooner or later, they're going to have to do the one and only thing that they really can do, which means you know, another Quantitative Easing type of situation, regardless of what they name it, or what kind of program.
And, when you see Mr. Fischer that left the Fed, who was one of the, what I would call “truth-tellers,” at least, he knows what's coming. He's not going to say much publicly, but he basically wants to distance himself, before this thing starts to unravel further.
And one last thought, and I'll sign off, Mike. And that's, this increase in interest rates. There's lots of thoughts regarding the increase in interest rates. Historically, classically, increasing the interest rates is to cool off the economy. You brought interest rates down, the economy recovers, there's more jobs, there's more velocity of money, people are happier, they're spending, that type of thing. So that's a real recovery, which we haven't ever seen, since 2008, but that's the idea.
So once you get that reviving of the economy, then it starts to overheat and then you have to start increasing interest rates, which cools off the economy. Well, why are they increasing interest rates? Certainly not because the economy is robust, no matter how many times they say it on national television. The reason they're doing it is that everybody's escaping the U.S. dollar. So much of the external to the United States debt markets are in negative interest rates, which means you have to pay a bank to hold your money. A positive interest rate of any currency looks really good, even if it's a dollar.
So this is really one the reasons that very few even suggest to think about, is that the dollar is being held up, quote-unquote, by the fact that it's a positive rate of return, versus other currencies that you're offering a negative rate of return.
Mike Gleason: Well, outstanding insights as usual, David. We always appreciate having you on, and getting your thoughts on these important matters. Now, before we let you go, let people know how they can learn more about The Morgan Report, and what it is that they'll get if they sign up to become a member. And, by the way, we just re-upped our own membership with you, this week.
David Morgan: I actually saw that. Thank you. Well, basically I want to make sure everyone knows that we cover all minerals. I mean, we do cobalt, lithium, vanadium. We've done the rare earth elements, we've done uranium, we've done some of the energy metals. We don't focus on oil or gas, but we do the energy metals, exotics, everything and the precious metals. And yes, we spend a lot of time on the precious metals. We look at a unique sector that makes money, regardless of what the price of gold and silver are. Those are the very lucrative investments, especially in the top tier of the portfolio.
And our success is your success. I mean, people want to know how I invest. Well, that's how I invest. You get The Morgan Report, you pretty much see a breakdown. I do have a bit of a -- I won't say tout, I don't like the word -- but there is a speculation that you know about, Mike, that could be a game changer. Certainly performed pretty well, it's got a long ways to go.
And there was an announcement made by a major Fortune 500 company that's very interested in technology and it was a very big boost to the holders of this particular special situation that's in The Morgan Report, and I think it's only going to get better. But that's just a future-looking statement based on the fact that I own it and I've studied it. That doesn't mean it will necessarily manifest.
Mike Gleason: Yeah, that is an exciting technology, and a good tease there. Well, that will do it for this week. Thanks again to David Morgan, publisher of The Morgan Report. To follow David, just visit TheMorganReport.com. We urge everyone to, at the very least, go ahead and sign up for the free email list and start getting some of his great commentary on a regular basis.
And, if you haven't already, be sure to check out either The Silver Manifesto or Second Chance: How to Make and Keep Big Money During the Coming Gold and Silver Shock Wave, both of which are available at MoneyMetals.com and other places where books are sold. Be sure to check those out. Thanks so much David, look forward to catching up with you again, very soon.
David Morgan: Thank you, Mike. I appreciate you having me.
Mike Gleason is a Director with Money Metals Exchange, a national precious metals dealer with over 50,000 customers. Gleason is a hard money advocate and a strong proponent of personal liberty, limited government and the Austrian School of Economics. A graduate of the University of Florida, Gleason has extensive experience in management, sales and logistics as well as precious metals investing. He also puts his longtime broadcasting background to good use, hosting a weekly precious metals podcast since 2011, a program listened to by tens of thousands each week.