by Nick Giambruno, International Man:
An epic gold bull market is on the menu for 2019.
I’m not talking about a garden-variety cyclical gold bull market, but rather one of the biggest gold manias in history.
This gold mania will be riding the wave of an incredibly powerful trend… the re-monetization of gold.
The last time the international monetary system experienced a paradigm shift of this magnitude was in 1971.
Then, the dollar price of gold skyrocketed over 2,300%.
It shot from $35 per ounce to a high of $850 in 1980. Gold mining stocks did even better.
Today, gold is still bouncing around its lows. Gold mining stocks are still very cheap. I expect returns to be at least as great as they were during the last paradigm shift.
So let’s get right into it, starting with the first four catalysts that will send gold prices higher…
No. 1: Basel III Moves Gold Closer to Officially Being Money Again
The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) is located in Basel, Switzerland. It’s often referred to as “the bank of central banks.” Its members consist of 60 central banks from the world’s largest economies.
It facilitates transactions – notably gold transactions – between central banks, the biggest players in the gold market.
The BIS also issues Basel Accords, or a set of recommendations for regulations that set the standards for the global banking industry.
On April 1, 2019, Basel III went into effect around the world.
Buried among what was mostly confusing jargon was something of huge significance for gold:
A 0% risk weight will apply to (i) cash owned and held at the bank or in transit; and (ii) gold bullion held at the bank or held in another bank on an allocated basis, to the extent the gold bullion assets are backed by gold bullion liabilities.
What this means in plain English is that gold’s official role in the international monetary system has been upgraded for the first time in decades.
Banks can now consider physical gold they hold, in certain circumstances, as a 0% risk asset. Previously, gold was considered riskier and most of the time could not be classified in this way. Basel III rules are making gold more attractive.
Central bankers and mainstream economists have ridiculed gold for going on 50 years now.
They’ve tried to downplay its role in favor of fiat currencies like the U.S. dollar. They’ve tried to trick people into believing it isn’t important.
The fact is gold is real money… a form of money that is far superior to rapidly depreciating paper currencies. This is why central bankers don’t want to acknowledge how important it is.
And this is precisely why Basel III is important. It signifies the start of a reversal in attitude and policy.
Basel III is giving gold more official recognition in the international financial system. It represents a step towards the re-monetization of gold… and the recognition of this powerful trend in motion.
No. 2: Central Banks Are Buying Record Amounts of Gold
Countries are treating gold as money for the first time in generations…
In 2010, something remarkable happened. Central banks changed from being net sellers of gold to net buyers of gold. Remember, central banks are by far the biggest actors in the global gold market.
This trend has only accelerated since…
The World Gold Council reports that in 2018, central banks bought a record 651 tonnes of gold. This is the highest level of net purchases since 1971 when Nixon closed the gold window. And it’s a 75% increase from 2017.
Russia Was the Biggest Buyer
Russia’s gold reserves have quadrupled in the last decade, making it the fifth-largest holder of gold in the world.
Last year, Russia notably dumped nearly $100 billion worth of U.S. Treasuries, and, according to the World Gold Council, replaced much of it with gold.
If this trend continues, and I expect that it will, Russia will soon become the third-largest gold holder in the world.
A major reason for Russia’s gold purchases is to reduce its reliance on the U.S. dollar and exposure to U.S. financial sanctions.
It is providing a template for others to do the same, using gold as money.
For example, in 2016, news broke that Turkey and Iran were engaged in a “gas for gold” plan. Iran is under U.S. sanctions. Through the plan, Turkey can pay for gas imported from Iran with gold.
Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and others are proving they don’t need the U.S. dollar. They are conducting business and settling trade with gold shipments, which aren’t under the control of the U.S. government.
This is how gold will benefit from the U.S. government using the dollar as a financial weapon.
No. 3: Oil for Gold – China’s Golden Alternative
In 2017, when tensions with North Korea were rising, Trump’s Treasury secretary threatened to kick China out of the U.S. dollar system if it didn’t crack down on North Korea.
If the threat had been carried out, it would have been the financial equivalent of dropping a nuclear bomb on Beijing.
Without access to dollars, China would struggle to import oil and engage in international trade. Its economy would come to a grinding halt.
China would rather not depend on an adversary like this. This is one of the main reasons it created what I call the “Golden Alternative.”
Last year, the Shanghai International Energy Exchange launched a crude oil futures contract denominated in Chinese yuan. For the first time in the post-World War II era, it will allow for large oil transactions outside of the U.S. dollar.
Of course, most oil producers don’t want a large reserve of yuan.