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Saturday, August 20, 2011

What A Time - Bubble or Trend?

Man o man, what a couple of weeks this has been.  We have been absolutely slammed in the precious metals shop.  Gold has skyrocketed, and people are buying and selling like crazy.

We've never seen a volume like we're seeing with people selling old jewelry.  I'd say we've had triple our regular volume.  We kind of have had a perfect storm:  We recently started a new marketing campaign, our primary competitor closed up shop for a few weeks, and the aforementioned spike in gold.

What has been very cool is that the new customers that used to go to our competitor have said - without exception - that we are their new shop.  Higher prices paid, better customer service, and a feeling that we actually WANT their business.  They are ours forever!

We've hired three part-time people in the last two weeks, and are looking for two more.  This influx of volume is putting a stress on all of us.  For us owners, it's been 7-day weeks, late into the night.  We don't want to burn out our employees, so getting the extra help is VERY important.

Part of our strategy to "drive a stake through the heart of our competitors" is adding yet another marketing tool that will put us in front of 1 million sets of eyeballs a year, plus the addition of TV commercials in the next month or so.

Doin' our part to stimulate the economy!

The sale of bullion - primarily gold - has also jumped significantly.  Our regular customers are stocking up, big-time, and the new folks are kicking themselves in the butts for not moving sooner.  The most common refrain:  "When gold hit $1600, I figured there would be a big correction and I'd swoop in and buy at a big discount."  Yeah, about that....

As former prez Billy Jeff Clinton noted, "It's the economy, stupid...".  We'll continue to have minor corrections to the market, but the trend will continue upwards until the federal government decides to show some fiscal responsibly.  Can I see a show of hand from anyone that thinks that will be happening any time soon?  Hell, any time in the foreseeable future?

Something I've found very interesting is the increase in traffic from the local Air Force Base - Travis AFB.  Everyone from Airmen to full-bird colonels.  These guys are as tuned-in to the economy as anyone who enters our shop - probably more so.  These guys come in knowing they want PM's and just need some direction as to where to start and develop a personal strategy.  I can't even count the number of these guys that are selling their silver ETFs and buying physical.

Whether buying or selling, we give these guys a break on pricing, and the 'word' is apparently getting around the base.

In speaking with our gold refinery, we're not alone.  Their intake has been off the rails.  Same story with our bullion wholesalers.

A dissenting opinion: ("Why the gold bubble will soon burst").

Hey, they're college economics professors, so I guess they're smart.
“But in two, five or 10 years, prices could be lower than they are now. There’s a lot of fluctuation. Prices have gone from $200 an ounce to $1,800. That just can’t continue,” Thomas said.
Prices could be lower? Great prediction there, sport. They could also be higher, or they could be the same. Your insight is stunning.  Besides that tingling feeling running down your leg, what is the basis of your kinda-sorta prediction?

And O Wise One, explain why the run up can't continue. If the federal government continues to create money from nothing, PMs will continue to increase.

That's 'economics', ain't it?
As the federal government attempts to pay interest on its growing debt, Thomas said the chance of increased inflation will go up.

As this happens, gold prices may continue to fluctuate as investors pull money out of stocks.
Hey, cupcake, why do you think they're pulling their money from stocks? There's no THERE there. Business in America is sucking wind. The actions of the fedgov are making the business environment more difficult, not easier.

Why would you invest in the Titanic after it's already taking on water?
However, as the deficit slowly decreases, gold prices could fall by 50 per cent.
Huh?! 'Deficit' and 'decrease' in the same sentence? Don't you watch the news, read a magazine or glance at the Internet? Even with the most (supposedly) draconian budget proposal - Congressman Reid's - we still INCREASE the national debt by $5 TRILLION over the next decade.

In case it's not covered in one of the Keynesian economic books you use, the debt is the accumulation of the annual deficits. That means, on average, we'll be having annual deficits of a half trillion dollars a year for as far as the eye can see.

And if you think the fedgov will be able to control its spending to ONLY a half trillion bucks a year over incoming tax receipts, well, I've got some James Brady Signature Series Tactical Assault Rifles (TM) I can sell you... Great pricing, just mail me the cash, and James himself will deliver the rifles right to your front door. Promise.

Now, with all that being said, will there be a market correction downward?  Probably.  Will it be the massive 30% drop that some bulls are predicting?  Probably not.  The economics simply don't support that happening.

In our PM shop, we're buying weaker (lower) than we normally do for bullion coins.  Our margins are tighter on bullion than it is on scrap gold, so we're covering out butts.

The benefit for our buying customers is that we're selling fractional gold coins (those under an ounce) at discounted premiums.  Where a quarter ounce coin would usually command a 10% or so premium over spot, we are selling them for 5%-8% depending on the country of origin.  A quickee survey of our online and brick-and-mortar competitors seems to indicate others are doing the same thing.

If you're thinking of buying gold, and are looking for fractional gold, now would be the time...

In other news, I think I've mentioned in the past that one of my brothers is a Police Chief.

His department had recently set up booth at some community fair.  It's a part of his Community Policing strategy.  Get out, know the folks, work in concert with the community instead of in an adversarial position.  What a concept, huh?

So, at this booth, they had members of the SWAT team.  They were showing all of their gear, and were allowing folks in the neighborhood to (gasp!) handle the unloaded weapons.  The gall!

One of the people that handled an "assault rifle" was some kid.  With his parent's permission.  With his parents present.

Some gun-grabber snapped a picture of the kid with the rifle, and sent it to a gun grabber city supervisor.

Remembering that this is California, any guess how that turned out?  Yeah, it hit the fan.

My brother is pushing back, and fighting fire with fire.  Lots of radio and newspaper interviews.  He's got the mayor and some of the members of the city council backing him up.

This is so incredibly stupid, it hurts my head.  Clearly, the child needs to be removed from his home, and the parents thrown in the gulag for endangering him in such a careless manner.  Perhaps summer Re-Education Camps until he's 18.  I'm waiting for the Brady's and Mothers Against Killer Guns, Even Plastic Toy Ones to keep up the pressure.

Hang tough, bro...

Copyright 2011 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. Please note that in addition to owning Bison Risk Management, Chief Instructor is also a partner in a precious metals business. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.


suek said...

More info:

Chief Instructor said...

Sue, I had heard Chavez was increasing his gold holdings, and was nationalizing their gold mines. I hadn't heard he was demanding physical delivery of his off-shore gold.

This could be huge...

suek said...

Latest I've seen:

Chavez is requiring his gold from England, and is also requiring that it be sent by ship.

Personally, I'd tell him he can have it shipped any way he wants - but FOB London.

You'd almost think I was a suspicious person...!

Oh yeah...and the US Mint stopped selling gold commemoratives today...

Anonymous said...

Hey Chief,

Have heard this comment before, and always in passing : depending on the country of origin.

If gold is gold, and coins, bullion etc. is minted at 99.999.........% purity, what does the country of origin have to do with the price?