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Keith Weiner

Keith Weiner

Keith Weiner is president of the Gold Standard Institute USA in Phoenix, Arizona, and CEO of the precious metals fund manager Monetary Metals. He created DiamondWare, a technology company that he sold to Nortel Networks in 2008. He writes about money, credit and gold. In March 2015 he moved his column from Forbes to

Articles by Keith Weiner

What’s In Your Loan?

9 days ago

Opposing Monetary Directions
“Real estate is the future of the monetary system,” declares a real estate bug.
Does this make any sense? We would ask him this.
“OK how will houses be borrowed and lent?”
“Look at this housing bond,” he says, pointing to a bond denominated in dollars, with principal and interest paid in dollars.
“What do you mean ‘housing’ bond’,” we ask, “it’s a bond denominated in dollars!”
“Yes, but housing is the collateral.”
OK, so it’s not a housing bond. It’s a dollar bond used to finance the purchase of houses. These are not the same thing at all, the way chalk and cheese are not the same thing, despite both being single-syllable words beginning with the letters “ch”.

El Salvador’s Bitcoin Gamble
A few weeks back, we

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Perversity: Thy Name is Dollar

20 days ago

If you ask most people, “what is money?” they will answer that money is the generally accepted medium of exchange. If you ask Google Images, it will show you many pictures of green pieces of paper. Virtually everyone agrees that money means the dollar.

Image credit: Cildo Meireles

Breaking Down the Dollar Monetary System
What does it mean to have a dollar? If you hold a piece of paper with green ink on it, which says “ONE DOLLAR”, you may notice that it also says, at the top, “FEDERAL RESERVE NOTE”. Note is a word for credit. The dollar bill (bill is also a word for a credit instrument) is a credit of some kind, the credit of the Federal Reserve. The paper itself has no value, apart from that it is the obligation of a party whose full faith

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Rising Fundamentals for Gold and Silver

26 days ago

The Different Theories on What Moves Gold and Silver Prices
For example, the Quantity Theory school attempts to relate the quantity (or change in quantity) of dollars, to each commodity. Generally, this theory predicts rising prices based on the reasoning of “more dollars chasing the same or fewer ounces of gold and silver.” The problem is that the new holders of these new dollars are not necessarily bidding up gold and silver (our thorough rebuttal to this is here).
The Conspiracy School thinks that there is a shadowy cabal, a price-manipulation cartel that decides what the gold and silver prices will be (our thorough rebuttal to this is in our Thoughtful Disagreement with Ted Butler).
Other schools attempt to compare mine production with

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Obituary for the Acting Man

November 5, 2021

I write this with sadness, still, at the news of the death of my friend Heinz Blasnik. He is better known by his nom de plume, Pater Tenebrarum, who published the economics blog Acting Man and wrote for many other financial sites.
I met Heinz twice, at his home in Vienna. He was a kind and gracious host, sending his driver to pick me up and serving Austrian delicacies for lunch. When I met him, he was struggling near the end of a long illness which was the result of a youthful adventure. Even so, he retained a benevolent sense of life, and a positive spirit.
But this is not why I wanted to write this. We were friends because we shared some ideas. Important ideas. Ideas about the nature of the world, and mankind, and how man can work

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Reddit Residue on Silver

February 5, 2021

Silver Yo-Yo
The price of silver is going up and down like a yo-yo. On Sunday and into the first part of Monday, the price skyrocketed on news that Reddit was touting the metal. But as the data clearly showed, the price was not driven up by retail buying of physical metal.

Silver, March futures from Jan 27, 30 minute chart: a lot of volatility, but silver seems to have established a higher low after coming down from the initial spike. [PT]

To be sure, there was retail buying. But even if they depleted the finite inventories of Eagles and Maples, they were not the buyers that pushed the price up to $30. That would be the futures speculators.
Speculators use the futures market because it offers great leverage. But leverage gives them

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Warren Buffett Shorts The Economy

August 24, 2020

The Sage Does a 180
The big news in the monetary metals is that Warren Buffett — famed disliker of gold — sold bank stocks to buy gold mining shares. What is interesting to us is not that we think he has any special powers to predict the gold price. After all, he famously bet on silver, and lost.

GOLD, daily, over the past two years. The Sage is a bit late to the party, but his entry confirms that the sector is now entering the “recognition phase” – the stage at which the investoriat-at-large realizes something is afoot. [PT]

What is interesting is that he understands, intuitively, that owning a piece of gold is not an investment. He may have been disingenuous in his dismissals of gold, which he did to defend the regime of irredeemable

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Silver Explodes — But Why? Precious Metals Supply and Demand

August 8, 2020

Explosive Days in Silver
The silver market witnessed another explosive day!
At midnight (in London), the price of the metal was $26.90. By 9pm, it had rocketed up to $28.95, a gain of 7.6%. This is not normal.
But then, we are not in a normal world.

After several years of going nowhere and a downside fake-out in March this year, silver has come to life rather dramatically… [PT]

The Republicans are spending like drunken Modern Monetary Sailors. And there is some chance that their even-bigger-spending rivals will be in full power after the November election. The deficit is now likely to be $6 trillion. The risk of holding dollars (or its derivatives such as pound, euro, yuan, etc.) is rising. And the return for taking this risk is

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Silver “Scarcifies” – Precious Metals Supply and Demand

July 29, 2020

On Monday, Silver got Scarcer – and Simpler
On 23 July, we said:

“Well, it’s complicated.”

The action on 27 July was not.

Silver spot price vs. September basis

Notice the big drop in the basis starting around midnight (London time). It falls from over 7% to under 2%.
To refresh: Basis = Future(bid) – Spot(ask)
For the first two and half hours, the spot price is not moving. So, the only way the basis can drop is if the price of the September silver future is dropping. In other words, selling of futures. But while that was going on, there was enough buying of spot to keep it steady.
Then, perhaps some market participants became aware of the buying of spot. Or perhaps some other buyers got excited. Somebody was buying in size, because

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Silver Backwardation Returns – Precious Metals Supply and Demand

March 3, 2020

Big Moves, Widening Spreads
The big news this week was the drop in the prices of the metals (though we believe that it is the dollar which is going up), $57 and $1.81 respectively.

Despair at the Unjustly Injured Gold Bugs Anonymous meeting… [PT]

Of course, when the price drops the injured goldbugs come out. We have written the authoritative debunking of the gold and silver price suppression conspiracy here. We provide both the scientific theory and the data. So we won’t say anything more about it today.
On 17 Feb, we wrote about the widening bid-ask spread in the spot markets for gold and silver. The spread in silver was around 2 cents (up from where it had been humming along at ½ cent until about a year ago), then just over 1 cent. By

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Wealth Consumption vs. Growth – Precious Metals Supply and Demand

January 2, 2020

GDP – A Poor Measure of “Growth”
Last week the prices of the metals rose $35 and $0.82. But, then, the price of a basket of the 500 biggest stocks rose 62. The price of a barrel of oil rose $1.63. Even the euro went up a smidgen. One thing that did not go up was bitcoin. Another was the much-hated asset in the longest bull market. We refer to the US Treasury.

BofA Merrill Lynch high yield master II option-adjusted spread: on Dec. 23 it tightened to the  lowest level of 2019, fairly close to its post-crisis low established in 2018. This seemingly signals that risk is very small –  in reality, risk is probably extremely high. [PT]

The spread between Treasury bonds and junk bonds narrowed this week. It is now close to its post-crisis low.

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Eulogies for a Central Planner Reviewed – Precious Metals Supply and Demand

December 18, 2019

A Critical Appraisal of a Hero of Central Monetary Planning
We apologize for publishing this Report late. We have been very busy developing the business. Last week the price of gold moved up $16, and that of silver $0.39. Almost two groceries leaked out of that store of value par excellence, bitcoin. But hey, stocks are up!

We admit to having a soft spot for the politically incorrect Paul Volcker. He frequently expressed bemusement at the newfangled obsessions of his successors at the Fed (as an example, at a conference in 2006 he remarked on the increasing emphasis on “core” inflation: “A great mantra of central bankers these days is ‘inflation targeting.’ I don’t understand that nomenclature. I didn’t think central bankers were in the

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Steam Punk Animals – Precious Metals Supply and Demand

December 10, 2019

Re-Purposing of Tractor Parts in South Dakota
The price of gold was all but unchanged, but the price of silver dropped another 46 copper pennies last week.
We came across an article showing pictures of something we have previously described: sculptures made from parts taken from farm tractors.
Here is a picture I took:

The good old Predator made of tractor parts – looks almost like the real thing! Here is background information on the artist and more pictures of his work. [PT]

How much of this is capital destruction, and how much is up-cycling parts from tractors that are used up, we will never know.

Fundamental Developments
Let us look at the only true picture of the supply and demand fundamentals of gold and silver. But, first,

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Gold Moves from Vault A to Vault B – Precious Metals Supply and Demand

December 3, 2019

Poland’s Gold and the Conspiracy Theorists
The price of gold was up enough to buy a bottle of Two Buck Chuck wine, and the price of silver was up enough to buy a wooden nickel (well, not enough to buy a real nickel nickel).

Poland’s gold bars are packaged by employees of G4S International Logistics to be transported from London to Poland. Poland’s gold was originally transferred to London at the beginning of WW II, when Stalin and Hitler invaded and partitioned the country in the late 1930s. For some reason Poland’s post-war communist government left it there – presumably because it was easier to sell in London. [PT]
Photo credit: G4SI

Having just seen (OK participated in) a bit of a Twitter storm about the gold price suppression

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Eating the Seed Corn – Precious Metals Supply and Demand

November 25, 2019

Misguided Incentives
The price of gold subsided a few bucks, and the price of silver blipped a few pennies. Not much action last week, groceries neither pumped into nor drained out of this asset class. Those who look to exchange capital goods for groceries need to find a different asset.

The best-laid plans… [PT]

Not even the S&P 500 Index provided a gain in groceries this week. It certainly wasn’t the much-vaunted store of groceries, Bitcoin, which leaked 12 of them last week. 10-year treasuries picked up some purchasing power, but not a lot.
Maybe President Trump can order the Fed to fire up its tried and true grocery printing machine. If not, how can the strong economy stay strong? How can GDP keep growing, if the incentive to

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Gold, Togas and Very Fine Suits – Precious Metals Supply and Demand

November 19, 2019

Yields and the “Everything Bubble”
Last week the price of gold was up $9, and the price of silver was up $0.18.
This week, our thought turns to a cherished old saw. Gold bugs often tell us that the purchasing power of gold is constant. An ounce of gold could have purchased, they say, a fine toga in Roman times. Just as it could buy a fine suit today.

This magnificent toga will set you back an ounce, pilgrim. Just think of the impression you’ll make. [PT]

We don’t know where they do their shopping, but one can buy a fine suit for a lot less than $1,465 (one could also spend multiples of that for a very fine suit). In any case, the purchasing power of gold changed this week. Gold can buy 0.62% more fine suitage than it could last week.

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Volatility Galore – Precious Metals Supply and Demand

November 12, 2019

Fun and Regret Ex Nihilo
The price of gold dropped last week, but not calamitously. From $1514 to $1459, or -$55. The price of silver dropped. Calamitously. From $18.08 to $16.75, or -$1.33. -3.6% vs -7.4%. Once again, silver proves to be volatile relative to gold.

Silver jumped off a cliff again last week – the chart formation nevertheless continues to look corrective. [PT]

In standard vernacular, the metals lost purchasing power this week. Purchasing power can be thought of as the amount of groceries you could buy, if you liquidated an asset. If you think of an asset as a store of purchasing power, then there is some amount of groceries contained therein. And this week, some of groceries leaked out of gold. An alarming amount poured

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Targeting nGDP Targeting – Precious Metals Supply and Demand

November 6, 2019

Everybody Has a Plan
Not too long ago, we wrote about the so called Modern Monetary so called Theory (MMT). It is not modern, and it is not a theory. We called it a cargo cult. You’d think that everyone would know that donning fake headphones made of coconut shells, and waving tiki torches will not summon airplanes loaded with cargo. At least the people who believe in this have the excuse of being illiterate.

A few images documenting cargo cults on the island of Vanuatu. Left: a wooden plane made by the John Frum cargo cult, which is going strong to this day and has actually become a political party. In the middle is a ceremonial cross erected by the John Frum cargo cult. According to one of the cult’s leaders, its members consider John

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Bitcoin Moonshot – Precious Metals Supply and Demand

October 29, 2019

Bitcoin Gets Juiced
The prices of gold and silver were up $19 and $0.48 respectively last week. But that’s not where the massive inpouring of groceries went.

When Friday began (Arizona time), Bitcoin’s purchasing power was under 75 grocery units (assuming a grocery unit is $100). By evening, speculators added 25 more grocery units to the same unit of bitcoin.

Bitcoin, daily – shortly after breaking below an obvious lateral support level, Bitcoin did an about-face on steroids and rallied $3,000 from low to high in the space of a few hours. Interestingly, this rally was presaged by a number of subtle technical signals – bullish divergences with several of the major “alt coins” emerged on occasion of the seeming break-down on October 23,

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Central Banker Angst – Precious Metals Supply and Demand

October 22, 2019

Ominous Pronouncements
The prices of the metals barely budged last week. It is interesting to note that last week, more than one central banker felt it necessary to say something about a possible next crisis. And at least one of them said something about gold.

Lost as always, and apparently slightly nervous these days… [PT]

We do not place much stock in what these guys say for obvious reasons. Like Elmer Fudd armed with a gun that couldn’t quite hit any target, central bankers are armed with a theory that couldn’t quite explain an economy.
However, there are certain things they can see — sometimes ahead of most others. One is the stress on the banks. The Swiss Bankers Association says that negative rates are costing them $2 billion a

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Future Object of Speculation? Precious Metals Supply and Demand

October 15, 2019

The price of gold dropped $16, but the price of silver was all but unchanged. Whereas last week we said:

“…the consumer goods stockpile stored in Treasury bonds (to extend our half sarcastic, half tongue-in-cheek analogy) increased this week.”

The 10-year note takes another peek at the wide spaces below its 50-day moving average. [PT]

Last week, it was the opposite. Consumer goods spilled out of the storage tank of Treasury bonds. The interest rate on the 10-year note ended the week at a level not seen since September 20. Those pesky apples and orange and gasoline and rent may have poured into crude oil. Or bitcoin.
Not to beat a dead horse, but we hope we have made it clear that assets are not stores of consumer goods, or

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Zugzwang – Precious Metals Supply and Demand

October 9, 2019

Respectable and Not so Respectable Assets
The price of gold went up 8 bucks, and the price of silver went up a penny last week. These were not among the capital assets that could be liquidated for greater quantities of consumer goods last week. Nor were equities.

A respectable, mother-in-law-proof speculation: the 10-year US treasury note. [PT]

However, the consumer goods stockpile stored in treasury bonds (to extend our half sarcastic, half tongue-in-cheek analogy) increased this week. As the yield on the 10-year note fell from 1.675% to 1.515% — almost 10% of the yield was sucked out of this bond — the price rose. It went from $130.39 to 131.91 (near futures contract).
Speculators this week forked over about 1.2% more capital for

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The System Scrapes By – Precious Metals Supply and Demand

October 2, 2019

An Accident in Waiting
The price of gold dropped $20, and silver 43 cents. For reference, $20 was once worth just about an ounce of gold. Dollar was a unit of measure, a weight of gold equal to 1/20.67 ounce of fine gold.

A gold certificate from the time when the dollar still represented a fixed weight of gold [PT]

Today, it is an irredeemable currency, defined not as a unit of weight but as a unit of central bank liability which is backed by government debt, which is payable in this unit. The price of this unit is constantly changing, and mostly dropping. It is currently 1/1497 ounce.
It has dropped from 0.048 to .00067, which is a loss of over 98.6%. Gold, not consumer prices, should be used to measure changes in economic value over

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Curious Events in Risk-Free Collateral-Land – Precious Metals Supply and Demand

September 24, 2019

Liquidity Shortage
Last week the price of gold rose $28, and silver $0.53. But the prices of the metals was not the big news last week. The price of repo — a repurchase agreement, to sell and repurchase a treasuries — skyrocketed. Banks were thirsty for liquidity, and only cash can quench it.

Last week’s “oops” moment in repo land as the overnight general collateral rate briefly soared to 10% (we will soon publish a detailed summary of the sequence of events that has led to this hicc-up). [PT]

Just another day in the fool’s paradise of centrally planning an irredeemable currency and its interest rate. Just another crisis, to be tamped down by the central planner. Keep Calm and Carry On.
This is a curious phenomenon, where the market is

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Why Are People Now Selling Their Silver? Precious Metals Supply and Demand

September 17, 2019

Big Moves in Silver
Last week, the prices of the metals fell further, with gold -$18 and silver -$0.73. On May 28, the price of silver hit its nadir, of $14.30. From the last three days of May through Sep 4, the price rose to $19.65. This was a gain of $5.35, or +37%. Congratulations to everyone who bought silver on May 28 and who sold it on September 4.

The recent move in silver [PT]

To those who believe gold and silver are money (as we do) the rising price of silver may seem right as rain. Why shouldn’t the dollar go down? It’s a rubbish currency, and any moment everyone else will realize it. And therefore it should go down in anticipation of that, right?
It certainly went down during this period, from 2.17 grams of silver to 1.61, or

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A Wild Week – Precious Metals Supply and Demand

September 9, 2019

Paying a Premium for a Lack of Default Risk
The price action got pretty intense last week! The prices of the metals were up Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. But Thursday and Friday, there was a sharp reversal and the silver price ended the week below its close of the previous week.

The net speculative position in gold futures has become very large recently – the market was more than ripe for a shake-out. [PT]

Silver made a round trip down from $18.35 to $18.16 by way of $19.65. That is it was +$1.35 for a moment on Wednesday, and then ended -$0.19. Gold was a bit more muted, going from $1,520 down to $1,507 by way of $1,557. It was up +$37 to close down -$7.
OK, so how do you explain this? One facile answer is “da boyz in da cartel

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The Great Debasement – Precious Metals Supply and Demand

September 4, 2019

Fiat Money Woes
Monday was Labor Day holiday in the US. The facts are that the euro lost another 1.4%, the pound another 1.1%, and the yuan another 0.9% last week.

Assorted foreign fiat confetti against the US dollar – we have added the Argentine peso as well, as it demonstrates what can happen when things really get out of hand. [PT]

So, naturally, what is getting play is a story that Bank of England governor Mark Carney said the dollar’s influence could decline. This is somewhat ironic, because in true Keynesian fashion, Carney believes in a “savings glut” which he laments has caused “low inflation”.
Everyone should be bellowing from the rooftops, not about the greatly exaggerated death of the dollar, but that major currencies are

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A Force Impelling People to Buy – Precious Metals Supply and Demand

August 27, 2019

Intense Price Action
The price action was pretty intense last week, most of it on Friday. The statement by President Trump, not to mention Fed Chairman Powell’s hint of further rate cuts, impelled people to buy gold and silver, whose prices went up $14 and $0.29.

10-year treasury note yield – plumbing new lows for the move… [PT]

Oh, and the interest rate on the 10-year Treasury lost over 5% of its juice on Friday. We said last week:

“…[there is] no magic interest rate, that drives up the gold price. What we need is a spread, or a ratio. We should compare the market interest rate to marginal time preference.”

Did marginal time preference drop this week? We don’t know, but we doubt it. If not, then the drop in interest rates compresses

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Tumbling Interest Rates – Precious Metals Supply and Demand

August 20, 2019

An Era of Low Time Preference
Last week the price of gold moved up another $16, and the price of silver was up $0.14.

10-year treasury note yield since 1999 – it is almost back at the multi-decade low of 2016. The only other time in history when US treasury yields were this low was in 1944-1945, when the Fed was actively suppressing yields in order to provide cheap financing for the war effort. One year later (from mid 1946 to mid 1947) the CPI jumped to more than 17% per year. By 1951 it had reached 21%. At that point the Fed and the US Treasury finally agreed that the Fed should stop pegging long term treasury yields – which promptly proceeded to rise relentlessly for the next three decades. [PT]

We just want to offer three thoughts

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Retail Holders Sell Their Gold – Precious Metals Supply and Demand

August 13, 2019

A Myriad of Reasons to Buy Gold – But Small Holders are Selling
Big moves occurred in the prices of the metals last week, with that of gold up $57 and silver $0.77. We have now reached a price of gold (if not silver) not seen since 2013, when it was on the way down. What is causing this sudden spike in price and renewed interest in gold?

A well-known depiction of investor emotions over a complete market cycle. Interestingly, it appears as though many retail gold holders who held on to their gold through the 2011-2015 bear market are now selling, just as the market has reached what is normally considered to be the “hope” stage. Ironically, this is actually good news from a contrarian perspective. [PT]

Well, first the bad news. According

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Bond Yields in the Netherworld – Precious Metals Supply and Demand

August 5, 2019

A Record Amount of Bonds with Negative Yields to Maturity
Last week the price of gold went up $22, while the price of silver dropped ¢17. The big news last week was that the yield on all German government bond maturities is now negative. They are also all negative in Switzerland. And in Denmark, all maturities out to 20 years are negative. Interest rates are dropping rapidly in the US as well.

More than $14 trillion in bonds now trade at negative yields to maturity – with more than 25% of all “investment grade” bonds afflicted with this policy-induced malady. This is essentially ensuring accelerated capital consumption. As you can probably guess, prosperity is not going to increase as a result. [PT]

Remember the stories about inflation,

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