Monday, June 18, 2012

Counting the Cost - Lessons for Europe from Japan's 'lost decade'

Jun 16, 2012 by

On this episode of Counting the Cost, we head east to take a look at some of Asia's new economic miracles and to ask what lessons they can offer to Europe as it struggles with its financial crisis.

Drones Over America

Jun 17, 2012 by

Back to the fundamentals of investing in silver


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It’s about four years since ArabianMoney began to recommend investing in silver (click here). It has been a roller-coaster ride but few investments have gained 70 per cent like silver over those difficult years for financial markets.

Things were even better last April with a short price spike that gave left us with almost triple our investment of three years earlier. But that is the sort of volatility that you have to live with as a long-term silver investor.

Market timing

You can of course try to be a market timer. However, it just is not worth the heartache. You will make horrible mistakes. At the end of last year one famous pundit was particularly bearish, only to get it completely wrong as silver found a New Year burst of life.

Will we see silver finally take out the 1980 all-time high of $50 this autumn as expected earlier this year? (click here) Given the long sideways move since that April spike in 2011 we ought to be due for some sort of an upturn, and the fundamental case for investing in silver remains as strong as ever.

It’s a precious metal with many industrial uses and limited supply and very limited reserves. Silver is a tight market dominated by three bullion banks who hold massive short positions. If they ever have to cover those shorts there is your $50+ silver price and very much higher.

For any commodity to be the same price as it was 32 years ago is a pricing anomaly in need of a correction. Then there is the historic link between gold and silver as precious monetary metals.

The average ratio of silver-to-gold in terms of value is a factor of 15 over the centuries. It is way out of whack now at closer to 50, so silver has the potential to outperform gold by a factor of three as the law of mean reversal says this must correct over time.

And don’t worry too much about the impact of a recession. Silver is mainly a byproduct of copper and zinc production and so supply will fall if production of these metals is cut, and that probably in the face of rising investment demand.

Money printing

What has been driving prices up and will continue to do so is the creation of money by global central banks to offset the deflationary impact of the global financial crisis. They can electronically print money to inflate debt away but not increase the number of ounces of gold and silver in existence.

Precious metals are also a safe haven asset class. That does not mean that their price always goes up in a straight line. It does mean that they always have a residual value and no third party between you and your money. Gold and silver are money or currency.

In times of inflation, deflation or financial insecurity this is the asset class to hold while all the others plunge in value. Don’t be fooled by the US dollar’s strength recently. Its denouement is yet to come and that is when you will really want to own precious metals.

Greeks vote for euro as pro-bailout parties claim victory

Original source

ATHENS — Greece’s pro-European New Democracy party finished first in critical parliamentary elections Sunday, making a strong enough showing to form a coalition government and to reassure European partners that Greece will continue repaying its debts.

Ending six weeks of uncertainty in which no party was able to form a government after a first round vote – and with an upstart leftist party calling for a halt in debt repayment – New Democracy won 29.08 percent of the vote, assuring it 129 seats in the 300-seat parliament, according to provisional results with 92.5 percent of the ballots counted.

Together with the severely weakened Socialist PASOK party – and possibly the small Democratic Left – as partners in a governing coalition, the center-rightist New Democracy leader, Antonio Samaras, should be able to form a majority, although its stability and longevity remain to be seen.

“We will respect the signature and the obligations of the country,” said Samaras, a former Greek foreign minister, reaffirming the country’s commitment to repay the 240 billion euro ($303 billion) bailout package. Greek willingness to uphold the terms of the bailout – as the leaders of Germany and other creditor nations have demanded – has emerged as a key factor in its ability to remain in the euro currency zone.

European governments and major markets may breathe a sigh of relief, but it could be temporary, for the turmoil in Greece is far from over. The country has suffered 13 consecutive quarters of recession under the austerity program, with the economy shrinking by 15.9 percent. The unemployment rate is 22.6 percent – a staggering 52.7 percent for Greeks 24 and younger.

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Double Standards - Tony Blair, war criminals & breaking into the Leveson inquiry

Jun 17, 2012 by

G20 leaders prepare to meet in one of the most dangerous countries on earth dressed as a Mariachi band. And in the occasion of Queen of England's birthday we look at the slave labor that worked on her Diamond Jubilee. We also talk to the man who broke into the Leveson Inquiry and called Tony Blair a war criminal, the filmmaker and activist, David Lawley Wakelin, about war crimes and JPMorgan Chase. These and much more are all reviewed in this edition of Double Standards with Afshin Rattansi.