Saturday , June 19 2021
Home / Keith Weiner
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

Resetting the Federal Debt

11 days ago

According to the US Treasury, the federal government owes $28.2 trillion. It crossed the “28” threshold on the last day of March. The debt was just under $25 trillion at the end of April a year ago. There’s no question it’s growing at a faster and faster pace, and now there’s the excuse of Covid to spend more.
Keep in mind, this is only that part of the total liabilities that the government chooses to acknowledge. If it reported its financials the way all substantial businesses do, then the number would not be a mere $28 trillion but well over $100 trillion.
An eighth-grader can see that this debt cannot be paid.

Federal Debt: Total Public Debt, 1970 – 2020 – Click to enlarge
The problem is debt, which cannot be paid
Leaving aside that there is no political

Read More »

A Deeper Dive Into Silver

16 days ago

The prices of the metals hit their lows by the end of April. Gold traded for around $1,685, and is now over $1,900. Silver was around $24, and is now over $28. These are big moves (though of course nothing like bitcoin).
Both metals are subject to the persistent belief that their prices are greatly suppressed. But right now, silver is widely believed to be in a global shortage. We have explained this as a shortage of retail products, most especially one-ounce silver Eagles which currently trade for a premium of 36% or more over the spot price. We have explained the difference between retail products, which depend on finite manufacturing capacity vs. commercial 1000oz bars.
But today, let’s look at the data. First, here is the silver basis.
We have zoomed out to

Read More »

The Truth about the Silver Squeeze

April 27, 2021

Some recent videos about the silver market are generating more buzz than we have seen in a while. They make several points, but the main one is that there is a global shortage of silver. This assertion stands in contradiction to the fact that the silver price has dropped. As of the date of the first of these videos, it had dropped around 10% from its level just a month earlier.
An 8th grader is a good litmus test for ideas in economics and markets. What would a teenager say happens to the price of a commodity, when it becomes scarcer? ”It rises!”
So how do adults assert that a big scarcity is developing, while the price is dropping? They claim that the price is “fake.” That the market is “fake.” That it’s all “fake, fake, fake!”
They claim that you can’t really

Read More »

Monetary Metals Issues Gold Token

April 1, 2021

Scottsdale, Ariz, April 1, 2021— Monetary Metals® announces that it has issued a gold token. Unlike the company’s other products, this one is not designed to pay a yield.
In a sign of the times, the company intends this product to generate big speculative gains. It is designed to GO UP!
It is (at issue date) 2,000 fine bucks of gold. However, some guy predicted it would go up to 4,000 or maybe even 5,122 fine bucks of gold.
“It’s magical,” gushed Monetary Metals CEO Keith Weiner. “The same gold token can go up, and when that happens, it has more fine bucks of gold in it!” The company plans to revolutionize retirement, paying for college, and buying a house.
“Unlike bitcoin, this token will work even when the Internet goes out, like in a nuclear winter, zombie

Read More »

The Fedcoin is Coming, 8 March

March 8, 2021

Before we talk about Fedcoins, let’s look at the old school non-digital, non-blockchain, coin. Gold. And silver.
Since January 4, the price has dropped about $244. And the price of silver has fallen about $4. Are these buying opportunities? Or the end of the brief gold bull market of 2020 (i.e. Covid)?
It helps to return to the idea that gold is the unit of measure of value. Not as a rhetorical device to sell gold, but because it gives a clearer picture.
If one thinks in dollars, one thinks that bitcoin is rising, stocks are rising (though not this week), oil is rising, other currencies are rising, etc. And gold went up, but is now coming down.
It’s hard to make heads or tails of this.
Why would one asset go down when everything else is going up (it’s tempting to

Read More »

Reddit Residue on Silver, 3 February

February 4, 2021

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.
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 itchy trigger fingers, and they will sell to take profits or stop losses at any time.
That time began around 15:00 GMT Monday, and lasted through 6pm Tuesday.
On Tuesday alone, the price dropped two bucks.


Read More »

Ruh Roh Silver

February 3, 2021

Sometimes you can count on the manipulation conspiracy theorists to get it exactly wrong. Not just a little bit wrong, nor halfway wrong. Not even mostly wrong. Totally wrong, backwards.
Michael Crichton, in talking about the Gell-Mann Amnesia Effect said this:
“You open the newspaper to an article on some subject you know well. In Murray’s [Gell-Mann] case, physics. In mine, show business. You read the article and see the journalist has absolutely no understanding of either the facts or the issues. Often, the article is so wrong it actually presents the story backward—reversing cause and effect. I call these the ‘wet streets cause rain’ stories. Paper’s full of them.
In any case, you read with exasperation or amusement the multiple errors in a story, and then

Read More »

Reflections Over 2020

January 5, 2021

Wow, it has been a heckuva year! One thought leads to another on this sunny-but-cool January 1.
Having watched a few seasons of Forged in Fire, I’ve gained an appreciation of how difficult it is to pound and grind a lump of steel into a blade, even with power tools. There are many ways for it to go wrong. And “wrong” generally means catastrophic failure—a crack in the metal that will cause it to break into pieces when hit.
That led to thoughts regarding an advantage, in Medieval warfare, to using an axe compared to a sword.
If you could swing your axe against a sword blade, you’d have a good chance to break it and thus disarm your foe. Then I thought about rapiers and foils, which were much lighter and springier. Then I had the first “a-ha” moment.
When guns

Read More »

That Precious Metals Rumor Mill, 30 November

December 1, 2020

We are hearing rumors this week of a shortage of the big silver bars, the thousand-ouncers.
No, we don’t refer to bullion banks saying this. Nor big dealers, who are happy to sell us as many of these as we can buy. Nor our peeps in high places (we don’t claim to have any such peeps).
We refer to the usual suspects. We talk about abundance and scarcity of the metals in nearly every one of these reports, in terms of the spread between spot and futures prices. Some people assume that their local dealer’s markup on Eagles represents spot. Sometimes the price of Eagles may seem a decent proxy for spot, but it is not. Eagles are produced in a supply chain that is inflexible. If demand rises above a threshold, it will first pull the Eagles out of the distribution

Read More »

The Great Reset, 23 November

November 23, 2020

There are now two entirely different notions of a coming “reset”. One has been popular among those who speculate on the gold price. They expect a revaluation of the dollar. However, the government does not set the value of the dollar. So there is no way to reset the value. Indeed, the government has been trying to push down the value of the dollar for over a decade, and mostly failing (because increasing quantity is not the same thing as decreasing value).
But that is not the reset discussed today. We want to look at the reset proposed by the World Economic Forum, and the book by Klaus Schwab and Thierry Malleret. They start with the fact that lockdowns have inflicted economic harm. They’ve impoverished people. And resulted in a random set of policies.
In a sense,

Read More »

Yes, Virginia, There Is An Alternative, 11 November

November 12, 2020

On Monday the dollar had a ferocious rally, moving up from 15.87mg gold to 16.77mg and from 1.21g silver to 1.32g. In mainstream terms, the price of gold dropped about a hundred bucks, and the price of silver crashed $2.20.
One notion we’re hearing a lot now is, “there is no alternative to stocks.” Certainly, stocks have been rallying. They were up in Sunday evening (as we reckon it here in Arizona) trading. Then Pfizer announced good news for its COVID vaccine, and that seemed to be the signal to bid up stocks even more.
Many in the mainstream believe that stock prices are linked to the economy. Many of the rest would quibble slightly, and say that stock prices predict the economy.
However, we argue that stocks and other assets trade inverse to interest rates. A

Read More »

Recovery: GDP vs MPoD, 2 November

November 3, 2020

On Wednesday last week, the price of silver dropped from over $24.25 to just a bit over $23 before bouncing back to around $23.50. The next day, the price dropped again, briefly to around $22.60 before mostly recovering (but a dime to a quarter down).
Let’s look at the graph of the price and basis (i.e. abundance) action for 28 and 29 October.
At the end of the day (second day), the price is about a buck lower. And the basis (i.e. abundance) is about 50bps lower.
Note the rise in basis leading up to 8am Wednesday (London time, i.e. when Asia is online), with little rise in price. And then again around 18:00 (i.e. early afternoon in New York). And again 8:00 the next day.
Then the basis drops as the price drops. And rises as the price rises. Once the price is

Read More »

Why These Gold Standardites Are Wrong, 13 October

October 14, 2020

On Friday, the price of silver went up from $24.25 to $25.20, or +4%.
Let’s look at the graph of the price and basis (i.e. abundance) action.
For the first part of the day, the action is from speculators, for the most part.
Then around the time that the US west coast comes online, we see a continued rise in price but a drop in basis back to where we started.
Folks, this is what buying of physical metal looks like: prices rises by about 30 cents accompanied by a drop in basis from about 2.9% to just over 1.9%.
If this continues, there will be a much higher silver price, relatively soon. Let’s keep an eye on the basis action!
This is a good segue into a topic we see discussed over and over again.
Gold & Silver…and Inflation
Let’s look at three slightly different

Read More »

Silver Falls, We’ve Got #$*&! Mail

October 7, 2020

There was a big drop in the price of silver last Wednesday. Then the price moved up, and down, but mostly up. Let’s look at a graph of the silver price and basis showing Sep 30 through Oct 5, with intraday resolution.
Let’s take a look:
It’s remarkable how the basis tracks the price, until Oct 5.
When basis tracks price, this means the action is primarily in the futures market. At times when the price is rising, the basis is rising—which simply means that the spread between spot and futures is widening. At times when the price is falling, the spread between spot and futures is narrowing.
Picture a force pushing up or down on the futures price, and the spot price reluctantly follows. It is dragged along by arbitragers.
Until Monday October 5.
Early in the day, we

Read More »

Silver Rises, JP Morgan Manipulates!

September 30, 2020

While the silver price was dropping recently, we published analyses here and here.
At that time, we saw a basis that fell with price, but which recovered during “off” days. In short, there was not much of a decrease in abundance of the metal to the markets commensurate with the price drops.
On Monday, the price went up from about $22.95 to about $23.70, a gain of 3.3%.
Let’s look at the intraday price and basis action.
There are several trends.
The day begins with rising basis and falling price—selling of metal. Then falling basis and rising price—buying of metal. And falling basis and falling price—selling futures. And so on.
At the end of the day, the price is up almost a buck and the basis is up from 1.6% to 2%. This day, futures buyers pushed up the price.

Read More »

And Silver Crashes Some More! 24 Sept

September 25, 2020

A few days ago, we wrote about a big silver crash. The price dropped around 7.5%.
And the basis dropped from around 2% to 0.6%. At the end, we said:
“The key question is: what is the follow-through? If the price stays down and the basis goes back up, that will be a bearish signal. If the basis stays down, that means the silver market is markedly tighter at $24.50 than it was at $26.75.”
Which this brings us to yesterday’s silver dive. Here’s the graph of the day’s action.
At the start of our graph, 2am (London time) the price is just a bit lower than at the end of the first crash day. $24.25. But we see the basis is up to 2.3%. That’s higher than it was at the beginning of the first crash day, when the price was $26.75.
Clearly, there was some buying of futures in

Read More »

The Simon-Ehrlich Bet Did Not Settle the Question

July 11, 2020

The bet between Julian Simon and Paul Ehrlich shows a fatal flaw in how most people think about inflation.
Are you familiar with the bet? Ehrlich wrote a book titled The Population Bomb. He held a pessimistic view of the future, in which population growth would outstrip resources (essentially the same as Thomas Malthus).
Simon disagreed. So in 1980, they made a famous bet. Ehrlich thought that the real cost of commodities would be higher in 10 years. Simon said they would be lower.
They picked a group of five metals, to watch their prices. And made their bet, just at the end of the cycle of rising interest rates and rising prices that had begun after WWII. The majority of the decade occurred under the falling cycle which still prevails today. It is likely that

Read More »

Defaults Are Coming, Market Report, 22 June

June 23, 2020

We are reading now about possible regulations for air travel. In brief: passengers might be forced to spend hours at the airport. Authorities will perform medical checks, including possibly needles to draw blood, no lounges, no food or drink on board the plane, masks required at all times, and even denied the use of a bathroom except by special permission.
We would wager an ounce of fine gold against a soggy dollar bill that people will hate this. The majority of vacationers will not want to fly. A holiday is supposed to be fun, and air travel promises to be a lot less fun that it was in March.
Even business travel will be discovered to be a lot more discretionary than previously believed. Forgetting continuing education and conferences chosen in tourist hotspots

Read More »

Growing Dollar Demand, Silver Weirdness, Market Report, 15 June

June 17, 2020

The Federal Reserve has become more aggressive again, after several years of acting docile. As you can see on this chart of the Fed’s balance sheet, it has very rapidly expanded from a baseline from (prior to) 2015 through 2018, of about $4.4 trillion. After which, it had attempted to taper, getting down to $3.8 trillion last summer. Then it was obliged to reverse itself well before responding to the COVID lockdown. Since then, its balance sheet has gone vertical.

Fed Balance Sheet, 2015-2020 – Click to enlarge
More is expected to come. So, needless to say, more of what people call inflation—that is, rising prices—is expected to come. Never mind that in 1983, a pair of Levis 501 jeans was $50 (Keith remembers paying that price at that time) and today, the price

Read More »

Monetary Metals Provides Gold Loan to Sector Resources

June 9, 2020

The loan is denominated in gold with interest and principal paid in gold
Scottsdale, Ariz., June 9, 2020—Monetary Metals® announced today that it has loaned gold to Sector Resources Canada Ltd., a British Columbia based gold mining company. The private transaction was conducted off-market, and the interest rate and terms were not disclosed.
Monetary Metals’ innovative business model enables gold-owning investors to lease or lend gold to businesses that use gold. Investors benefit because they earn interest on their gold investment, paid in gold. Qualified businesses also benefit, as borrowing in gold matches their gold income with gold expenses. This eliminates the borrower’s price risk of owning gold without the cost and risk of hedging.
“Monetary Metals has

Read More »

When Is a Capital Gain Capital Consumption? Market Report, 25 May

May 25, 2020

The price of gold dropped a few bucks this week, but the price of silver jumped about half a buck. The drumbeat for the gold bull market is well underway, and it is beginning now for silver. So let’s do a quick update on the supply and demand fundamentals.
Gold Basis and Co-basis and the Dollar Price
Here is the graph of the gold basis.
The basis has come in quite a bit—but it is still 3.6% annualized. We do not believe that this as a “true” reading. It is a sign of buying of futures, which is the opposite of scarcity of metal and the opposite of the crisis goldbugs believe is imminent. To clarify, we believe a crisis of counterparty defaults is coming, but today is not that day.
We believe this is a sign of the market makers absent from the market. Their balance

Read More »

The Federal Counterfeiter

May 25, 2020

Suppose you wanted to run an enterprise the right way (we know, we know, this is pretty far-out fiction, but bear with us). And, your enterprise has a $1 million dollar piece of equipment that wears out after 10 years. You must set aside $100,000 a year, so that you have $1 million at the end of 10 years when the equipment needs replacing. There’s a word, now archaic, to describe the account in which you set aside this money. From Wikipedia:
“A sinking fund is a fund established by an economic entity by setting aside revenue over a period of time to fund a future capital expense, or repayment of a long-term debt.”
Whether you borrowed the money to buy the equipment or whether you had equity capital to pay for it, the principle is the same. Unless your business is

Read More »

Open Letter to Crispin Odey

May 21, 2020

Crispin Odey
I am writing in response to the comments you made in a letter to investors yesterday, which were widely reported. You have set the gold community afire, with claims that are not new and not true. So I shall attempt to douse the flames.
As everyone knows, President Roosevelt outlawed the ownership of gold in 1933. Although gold was legalized in 1975, fears linger today that the governments may repeat this heinous act. There is no reason for this fear. In 1933, Roosevelt had two monetary policy goals to accomplish by banning gold.
One was to stop the run on the banks. At that time, the dollar was redeemable. You brought a twenty dollar bill to a bank, and got a gold coin of just under one ounce. Redemptions forced the banks to sell bonds to raise the

Read More »

Gold and Silver Markets Start to Normalize, Report 4 May

May 5, 2020

The price of gold dropped $29 and the price of silver dropped $0.27. We’ll get back to where we think the prices are likely to go in a bit.
In recent Reports, we’ve looked at the elevated bid-ask spread in gold (though not nearly as elevated as some goldbugs would have you believe) and the elevated gold basis.
As an aside, we continue to see articles that get the high gold basis exactly backwards, the way John Maynard Keynes got commodity markets backwards. A high and rising basis is not a sign that anyone is worried about a shortage of metal, but of abundance.

Blowout in Spreads
Below is a graph of the spot price bid-offer spread in both gold and silver. Notice that, since April 3, the spread in gold is down significantly from its high (with one spike), though

Read More »

It’s Only Paper, Market Report 27 Apr

April 27, 2020

The response to the virus has added a new mechanism of capital consumption to the many we have documented over the years. Businesses are shut down, yet they continue to incur expenses. There is a popular misconception out there that this is merely a paper loss. One can almost picture a neutron bomb that somehow wipes out only paper, leaving all the physical assets and plant unscathed. It’s a pleasant fantasy. And it’s quite a popular one—not only amongst all the usual suspects, but even an Austrian school economist of our acquaintance asserted it.
As an aside, this illustrates that, too often, economists are unfamiliar with business. The economist looks at a closed restaurant and thinks there’s no reason why this restaurant can’t be mothballed for a day, a week,

Read More »

Crouching Silver, Hidden Oil Market Report 20 Apr

April 20, 2020

The price of gold has been up steadily for the last 30 days (with a few zigs and zags), now re-attaining the high it achieved prior to the big drop in March. Gold ended the week at $1,662. Alas, it’s not quite the same story in silver, whose price drop was bigger. Now its price blip is smaller. Silver ended the week at $15.19.
One does not need to look to the gold-silver ratio, which is currently off the charts, to see that the world has gone mad. Silver, it has long been understood, has both industrial as well as monetary demand. With the plunge in economic activity of all kinds due to the response to the coronavirus, the industrial component of silver demand is drastically reduced.
As an aside, we feel compelled to say that many lives will be lost by

Read More »

The Out Has Not Yet Begun to Fall, Market Report 31 March

April 2, 2020

So, the stock market has dropped. Every government in the world has responded to the coronavirus with drastic, if not unprecedented, violations of the rights of the people. Not to mention, extremely aggressive monetary policy. And, they are about to unleash massive fiscal stimulus as well (for example, the United States government is about to dole out over $2 trillion worth of loot).
The question on everyone’s mind is what will be the consequences?
The standard analysis is that governments will print massive amounts of money. And, this will, of course, cause massive inflation (i.e., skyrocketing consumer prices). There’s just one problem with this analysis.
One price to look at is crude oil. Crude oil is now so cheap, you’d have to go back as far as

Read More »

Alchemy Rediscovered by Research Scientist, Report 1 April

April 1, 2020

“The Medievals were smarter than most people think,” says Dr. Michael Mus. “I mean, sure, they tortured people for believing that the sun was the center of our solar system, and they burned witches at the stake. But they knew a thing or two about gold.”
Picture of Dr. Michael Mus
Dr. Mus is working to perfect a method of turning lead and other base metals into gold. He says he is so close, that he will only need one more grant from the King government. Then he says, making the process a commercial success will of course require more money.
Details are sketchy at this point, though Dr. Mus says that his process is very technical.
According to a research report from AgN Aurmo, Mus’ invention will be worth trillions of dollars. The bank is backing MusGold, and plans

Read More »

Cash is Toilet Paper, Market Report 23 March

March 24, 2020

The price of gold dropped $31, and that of silver fell even more by proportion, $2.14. The gold-silver ratio hit a hit of over 126 before closing the week around 119. This exceeds the high in the ratio last hit in the George H.W. Bush recession.
Last week, we were warming up to silver, if not recommending it. We said:
“While we would not recommend betting on silver with leverage at this moment, we certainly would not be short silver right now. If you don’t own any, this looks like a good time to buy some. If you have some, you could do worse than buying more here.

That said, the Monetary Metals Gold:Silver Ratio Fundamental shows the fundamental as high or higher than the market ratio.

This should be watched for a turn. A historic opportunity is coming.”

Read More »

Aplanando la economía «por el virus»

March 20, 2020

Escribo esto el 18 de marzo, después de haber visto un cambio de 180 grados en la forma de pensar sobre las enfermedades contagiosas. Anteriormente, poníamos a los enfermos en cuarentena y respetamos el derecho de los sanos a seguir con sus vidas. Ahora estamos al borde de la ley marcial. En nuestro afán por combatir el coronavirus, estamos cerrando los viajes, las reuniones públicas, los restaurantes, etc.
Así es como se ve un pánico masivo.
Sin mencionar que ya está causando un daño económico masivo. La economía ya se estaba tambaleando. El falso boom estimulado por una década de metanfetaminas monetarias probablemente se estaba derrumbando incluso antes del virus. Y entonces el gobierno comenzó a cerrar industrias enteras: viajes aéreos, hoteles, deportes,

Read More »