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THE CHINESE GOLD RUSH

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

By Mark Rogers

This street 观前街 Guan Qian Jie, in Suzhou, near Shanghai, is full of Gold shops

This street 观前街 Guan Qian Jie, in Suzhou, near Shanghai, is full of Gold shops

During the seven days of the Chinese New Year’s holidays, people have bought 3.62 billion yuan’s worth (0.5761 billion dollars) of gold in Beijing, 15.5% more than last year. It was also reported that just two shops in Beijing during this same period managed to shift 1.5 tonnes (GoldCoin.org Chinese source). At GoldCoin.org we have previously reported on the expansive buying of gold in China in our article “Chinese queue at malls to beat Bernanke’s inflation with gold“.

John Stepek, editor of Money Week, recently pointed out that “Chinese citizens don’t have many options as far as saving their money goes – you can’t get an above-inflation return from your bank account, and the local stock market is a casino.”

What is happening? And why is it happening?

As with the eurozone, the flight – on this scale – into gold indicates extreme economic uncertainty and a desire to shore up one’s savings in the only real safe haven. Yet isn’t China supposed to be an economic powerhouse? Isn’t Beijing planning to float the renminbi (yuan), in an attempt to replace the dollar? Isn’t the Chancellor of the Exchequer actively working with the authorities in Hong Kong to make “sure that London is the western trading centre for the Chinese currency”, turning “the City into an offshore trading centre for the renminbi” (The Financial Times, 16 January, 2012)? The renminbi is about to become fully convertible this year – isn’t it?

Well, perhaps not: “capital account liberalization looks off the table … At the moment, the transfers out of China are manageable, but then again the economy has only begun to falter. No officials, even ones less obsessed about control than Beijing’s, would open up a capital account in a quickly deteriorating economic environment. Therefore, events are working against Zhou Xiaochuan [Governor of the People’s Bank of China], and so is Chen Deming, the boss of the Ministry of Commerce. Chen has tenaciously defended the interests of exporters by blocking currency liberalization, and with the country’s trade surplus set to decline—to about $150 billion last year from $183.1 billion in 2010 and $196.1 billion in 2009—it is unlikely that Chen will now let central bank reformers get their way. … If Beijing opens the currency wall and the markets are not ready, flows of investment cash could—and probably will—lead to a catastrophe. At this time, it will take years to get China’s banks and markets in shape for unregulated flows of currency. So don’t expect capital account convertibility this year or even next.” This is the analysis of Gordon Chang (author of The Coming Collapse of China, and Forbes contributor, here: “China says Yuan will be fully convertible soon”).

Declining demand for Chinese exports

Certainly the Chinese economy gives plenty of reasons for this degree of pessimism. One of the most important indicators of China’s burgeoning woes is the troubled eurozone: Europe was China’s biggest export market, but Europe has practically ceased importing. The immediate consequence of this is that recession is perceptibly looming in China, indeed there are, for example, reports that China’s steel industry is seriously struggling with the potential closure of many mills (The Economist, Jan. 23-Feb. 3, 2012). Add to this the optimism expressed at the recent Davos summit by American business leaders that the coming on stream of shale gas in the United States is going to dramatically reduce manufacturing energy costs there, thus enabling American manufacturers to repatriate production.

So does this explain the Chinese flight into gold?

Inside a typical gold retailer in Suzhou, China

Inside a typical gold retailer in Suzhou, China

See a previous article on Goldcoin.org called “1 Billion to buy gold as Chinese gold rush grows” for some facts and figures.

The figures are certainly impressive – not to say astonishing. But is it certain that these figures represent only concerned citizens anxious to preserve their wealth? The active encouragement of the People’s Bank of China, referred to in the cited article, that “1 Billion Chinese citizens buy gold as a way of preserving and protecting their wealth against inflation, economic crisis and the falling values of major currencies” could bear another interpretation: namely that the Chinese authorities are contemplating at some future tipping point to announce a patriotic handing over of individual gold holdings to the state – i.e. confiscation.

Moreover, let us look again at the declared intention of that same People’s Bank of China to make the renminbi fully convertible this year. The massive purchases of gold may have yet another interpretation: as a means of supporting the value of the renminbi when it floats in spite of the problems that both Mr Chang and Mr Stepek discuss in their articles cited above. And that raises another enigma.

China remains, politically, a Communist state, and remains fundamentally unfriendly to the Western powers – witness its recent active unwillingness to censure the Syrian butchers. That it has liberalised its economy since the reforms of Deng Xiaoping, and that this has opened trade barriers and brought prosperity to millions of Chinese is not to be doubted; but this has all taken place in terms of a closed political system that holds the whip hand over the economy, “state capitalism” interpreted in the interests of the Chinese Communist Party, that is, a fascist-corporatist economic model.

This raises intriguing possibilities in terms of those thousands of purchasers of gold. For while there are corporations that clearly function under the rubric of the Chinese State there are many more enterprises that appear to be private corporations but are in fact shells for the State (the Chinese corporate structure emulates in many ways the systems of incorporation that for a long time successfully hid the fact that ultimately it was the shameless and cruel King Leopold II of Belgium who owned the Congo Free State). And just as this operates at the corporate level, so may it operate at the individual level: there is simply no way of knowing how many of those individual or smaller-scale enterprises who are buying up gold may in fact be agents of the state.

A Chinese Gold Standard?

Remember that according to the World Gold Council and GFMS reports, China is the World’s largest producer of gold and is second only to India for gold consumption (but catching up fast). No coincidence here either!

So to answer the questions raised at the beginning of this article: What is happening? We don’t actually know. And why is it happening? One shudders to think….
…. But then imagine if one day the Chinese government “requires” private investors to place their gold in the People’s Bank for the good of the Nation – the national gold stock would swell considerably – maybe enough to back the Yuan with a Gold Standard and thus achieve its ambition to be the World’s Reserve currency?

A young investor contemplates the potential of gold

A young investor contemplates the potential of gold

A VOTE FOR GOLD FROM GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

Shaw was the most consistent socialist of the Twentieth Century in being the advocate of Lenin, Mussolini, Stalin and Hitler. He saw quite clearly that they pursued socialist policies, and equally admired their penchant for violence and destruction: this counted for a lot with Shaw, who was willing to see museums, cathedrals, galleries and libraries blown up as symbols of the past which obstructed the creation of a new mankind (he not infrequently proclaimed his own superiority over Aeschylus and Shakespeare).

He enjoyed rubbing his audiences’ faces in what he saw as the absurdities of the capitalist system; one technique was to claim that his own understanding of how it worked was greater than the average person’s. He was a very astute capitalist when it came to promoting his own plays: he insisted on charging very low royalties, particularly for amateur drama societies. This made him rich, because it ensured that his plays were performed more frequently than those of his contemporaries – and he lived a very long life!

Not for the first time did a socialist, while swallowing his own inconsistencies, claim to penetrate to the heart of the system’s inconsistencies. He was, in short, a rhetorical poseur, who was nevertheless occasionally astute about what he despised; here are his observations on gold:

“The most important thing about money is to maintain its stability, so that a pound will buy as much a year hence or ten years hence or fifty years hence as today, and no more. With paper money this stability has to be maintained by the Government. With a gold currency it tends to maintain itself even when the natural supply of gold is increased by discoveries of new deposits, because of the curious fact that the demand for gold in the world is practically infinite. You have to choose (as a voter) between trusting to the natural stability of gold and the natural stability of the honesty and intelligence of the members of the Government. And with due respect to these gentlemen, I advise you, as long as the Capitalist system lasts, to vote for gold.”

Another inconsistency, of course, is that under the dictatorships he admired there was never any contest as to the trustworthiness of the Government. Everything, and not just the money system, was ruled by fiat.

Now that the tribulations of the Twentieth Century have demonstrated the superiority of capitalism and markets to the horrors of the tyrants that Shaw endorsed, a vote for gold is therefore a vote for capitalism, especially as a haven from its present woes. In fact, of course, the developed nations are passing through the consequences of the protectionist-corporatist approach to the risks and benefits of markets, which has been most widely expressed over the late Twentieth Century in the consensus that confidence can and should be voted in “the honesty and intelligence of the members of the Government”, with the result that though everyone likes, inconsistently, to blame the government, everyone also seems to have no trouble in believing its paper promises.

The hope must be that the current crisis may concentrate people’s minds on what makes for true value and how it can be recovered and maintained. A tall order, but a start must be made, and where better than voting for a little gold of one’s own…

GOLD IN IRAQI KURDISTAN

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

The Kurdish people have traditions in buying and using gold that are the same as the Indians of the sub-continent: the yellow metal forms an integral part of their marriage customs. Last year about 17 tons of gold were imported into Kurdistan, according to the Directorate for the quality control of gold in the Kurdistan region. The bulk of the gold imports came from Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, and this suggests that it was largely in the form of jewellery, essential for weddings.

However, this statistic for 2011 compares less favourably than the imports for 2010, which were more than 23 tons. By May 2011, the price of 21 carat gold had crept up from 228,000 dinars ($195 or £123) per ounce to 255,000 dinars ($218 or £138) per ounce. A consequence was that brides, who were the only people buying gold in 2011 (everyone else was selling), had dropped the amount purchased from about 50 ounces in 2009 to around 20 ounces in 2011.The rise in price has been attributed to the fall of the value of the dollar, encouraging more and more people in Kurdistan to move out of the dollar and into gold, with the consequence that prices were pushed up until only those intending to get married were purchasing it.

Another likely candidate for the rise in price, and increasingly so as the recent gold rush in Europe has proved, is the eurocrisis which has sent the price rocketing with no end in sight to its trajectory.

A custom in Kurdistan is to arrange for hundreds of marriages to take place on the same day; because of the organisation required, couples register with the agencies that arrange this in advance only to find that they have to postpone their weddings. The Kurdistan Regional Government had established a marriage loan for government employees, but because of the crisis caused by the rising price of gold, decided last year to extend the loans to all.

Gold and Oil Resources in Iraqi Kurdistan

Iraqi Kurdistan has had an annual growth rate of about 10%, which is similar to India’s, though Kurdistan has a much smaller population of course, around 4 million. This was spurred by the no-fly zone policy carried out by the RAF and USAF between 1992 and 2003. The main impact of this policy was to facilitate the development of Kurdistan’s oil fields: reserves are estimated at 45 billion barrels of oil, extraction of which was begun in 2007. There is so much oil that the revenue from it pays for infrastructure and there are no taxes.

A downside to the oil wealth is that although Kurdistan has gold deposits these are not mined because no one sees the point.
That may change of course with the rising price of gold – and the observation that the Iranian government is facilitating gold exploration in the neighbouring Iranian Kurdish province, one of the projects being in conjunction with Rio Tinto. More on this development in a later article.

by Mark Rogers

THE MORAL PERCEPTION OF OTHER PEOPLE’S INCOMES

Monday, February 20th, 2012

The continuing furore over bankers’ pay led to the recent decision by Stephen Hester, the Chief Executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland, to forgo his contracted bonus, worth just under £1 million. Wayne Rooney, the popular footballer, earns that in five weeks.

Top executive pay in the banks hovers around £1.2 – £1.35 million; these salaries are complemented by bonuses, which are largely or entirely paid in shares. Total remuneration for bankers is therefore high (albeit that a large element, the bonuses, may be said to be nominal). But, compared to the remuneration of other high earners, is it excessive?

Wayne Rooney earns £18 million a year, a combination of pay, score bonuses and sponsorship fees. Yet he is not damned for greed. Pop stars and film stars earn as large if not larger incomes; in fact some earnings are so high it is hard to find out exactly how high they are – the singer Rihanna, for example, is rumoured to be worth £70 million but her total income and net worth are undisclosed.

We hear nothing, however, about the impulsive greed of such people. Footballers’ transfer fees, when they do cause eyebrows to be raised, are justified in the context of the competitive world of international football, and the explanation seems to be accepted, notwithstanding the huge discrepancy between what bankers and footballers earn. So whence the moral froth?

Footballers and singers and film makers give people pleasure; their fans follow them, paying to see their latest games or films or buying their latest songs. Their value as entertainers is taken for granted by their audiences; it is easy to understand what they do, thus their value for the individual is measured instantly as a factor of that individual’s enjoyment of their endeavours. It is equally understood that their earnings are simply an aggregate of the money that audiences willingly pay to be entertained by them.

Given that bankers exercise, and are expected to exercise, an enormous responsibility for the deposits and savings of their clients, why is this fact not equally well understood? Presumably because the actual workings of the banking system and high finance are not amenable to the sort of instant understanding that facilitates the benign regard in which entertainers are held. That is, the fury directed at bankers is born of sheer ignorance.

There is another moral issue that lies behind this debate, and that is the way in which poverty (and therefore wealth) has come to be defined in the affluent west: it has ceased to be defined in absolute terms. The Poverty Site states the case for “relative poverty” thus:
“The view that relative poverty is not important is a perfectly valid position to take – it is just not the view that the authors of this website, along with most other researchers, the EU, the UK government, and politicians of all hues across the political spectrum take. So, for example, the government’s target of halving child poverty by 2010 is defined in terms of relative poverty.”

At least this makes it admirably clear that “relative poverty” is defined politically, that it is a political tool, designed to justify high taxation and providing politicians with their raison d’etre. Such a definition therefore helps perpetuate our contemporary intrusive and anti-wealth creation political system. The politicians needed someone to blame when that system imploded – and footballers just didn’t seem to fit the bill…

WHEN DEBT’S CALLED CREDIT (3)

Friday, February 17th, 2012

We continue to examine the folly of the modern mortgage, following our previous discussions on Golcoin.org in When Debt’s called Credit and When Debts called Credit 2.

There are many reasons why members of what we ought to call the pseudo-propertied classes might need to sell the houses on which they are paying a mortgage, even if the primary reason for owning the mortgage was to have a home rather than an investment asset. Those reasons may include the break-up of a marriage, a growing family needing more room, or the need to move to take up employment.

However, if the market has dried up, there are no buyers. This means that the pseudo-owner has negative equity in the property – the house is now worth less than the mortgage that still must be paid off. There are various ways in which this can be calculated but the honestly stated value is now – zero. No buyer, no value, only a liability.

Late last year a particularly galling instance of this problem was reported: that while middle management jobs are to be found in the South-East of England, those who live in mortgaged properties elsewhere in the country cannot avail themselves of these employment opportunities because they cannot sell their houses. If they are at risk of losing, or have lost, their jobs where they live, or simply wish to earn a larger salary as their families grow they are effectively trapped by their mortgage.

It is also reported that in many cities in the U.K. it is now cheaper to buy than to rent; this should really come as no surprise as this simply enlarges on the fact that it has been made cheaper to buy because of the credit available to do so. The more houses are bought up, the less properties are available to rent, and so rents climb. Renting of course answers the need for flexibility in terms of being able to move as jobs become available, or the family grows.

Yet owning your own home has long been trumpeted as a form of security, both for oneself and for one’s locality. Home ownership was widely encouraged through mortgage tax relief in the 1980s. Homes were seen as a bulwark against daft left-wing local authorities, the reasoning being that the greater the number of people who owned their homes, the more they had a direct interest in how their local authorities were run, in part because the rates they paid became visible to them as householders (rather than being an invisible component of the rent which the landlord charged them). This may have been a laudable aim – but mortgage tax relief was not the answer, as it became one of the chief engines of rapidly over-expanded credit, and therefore the heightened insecurity we are all now experiencing.

In the United States it is estimated that 50% of mortgage holders are “underwater”: “When factoring in second mortgage debt, seller closing costs, and sales commission, more than 50% of owners with a mortgage are unable to sell their homes and pay off their debts.” For more on this enormous tally of insecurity go to Irvine Housing Blog:

by Mark Rogers

Mexican gold coin: Ounce or Libertad

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012
The Angel of Independence - MexicoThe Angel of Independence – Mexico

We will now deal with one of the highest sold investment coins in the world, manufactured on Mexican territory. It is called the Ounce or Libertad.
Its origin dates back to 1981, and coming to enrich the gold investment market where hitherto only the Krugerrand had existed since 1960 with the Maple Leaf in 1979. At the beginning, this Mexican gold coin was called `Once’ but a few years later, its name was changed to that of `Libertad’.
It is a coin used as legal tender in Mexico (the silver coin is not considered legal tender, only that made out of gold), classified Type I and as opposed to other gold coins, this one does not have any face value. Thus, its value has to be measured in weight. If we want to calculate its face value, we can obtain it by converting its weight according to the current rate of exchange for gold’.

Origins

In the Seventies, while we were going through a serious oil crisis, it was necessary to develop new products which were going to make it possible to get out of the crisis. It was then that the Bank of Mexico, under the leadership of Gustavo Romero Kolbeck, entrusted the project to the Museum of Currency to manufacture a gold coin with the weight of one ounce, and who would be historically-speaking linked to the famous coin of `50 pesos Centenario’ (about which we wrote in another article), and which represented the centenary of Mexican Independence.

Features

Its weight is of 34.55gr, 900 thousandth of gold (of those struck between 1981 and 1991), with a diameter of 34.50 mm, 2.50mm in thickness, that is to say a total weight of 31.03gr. of gold with the remainder in pure silver.
At the time of the first run between the years 1981 and 1991, the coin was struck in 3 distinct weights, namely: 1 ounce, ½ ounce and ¼ of an ounce.
Between 1989 and 1991, the run of the Libertad was stopped then restarted in 1991 by supplementing the range with two new weights: 1/10th of an ounce and 1/20th of an ounce. Which meant that the coin was offered in 5 different weights.
In 1991, the purity of gold was also reviewed for this coin since it moved to 99.9 (0.999) – as well as the weight of an Ounce to 31.10gr.
These changes were from now on classified under Type II.

1 Ounce

1/2 Ounce

1/4 Ounce

1/10 Ounce

1/20 Ounce

Obverse and Reverse

Libertad gold coin of 1981

Libertad' gold coin of 1981

The obverse of these coins bears the coat of arms of Mexico while the reverse `the Alada Victory’ – the same as on the coins of 50 pesos Centenario. In its right hand, it bears a laurel wreath which represents victory and in the left hand a broken chain which represents freedom – in the background, the Popocatepelt and Iztaccihualt volcanos, the first considered as a divinity during pre-Hispanic times and venerated by the Aztecs.

Overlooking the volcanoes and inserted next to the Alada Victory is written `1 Ounce of Pure Gold’ (on the left side), the year 1981 (on the right-side) and below: Mexico City (this was for the coin of the year 1981).

On the coin of 1994, appears `1 Ounce’ on the left side, `Pure Gold” on the right-side, and, on the edges of the lower part, we see the year, Mexico City and the law.

Libertad gold coin of 1994

Libertad' gold coin of 1994

The Eagle takes up the middle part of the obverse, left profile outlined, with raised wings, in position of combat, inserted on a prickly pear cactus (national symbol of Mexico), holding a snake in its beak. Across the whole coin is written Estados Unidos Mexicanos (United States of Mexico).

In 1996, the appearance of this coin underwent a few changes. The Bank of Mexico decided to apply these changes in order to make this coin more attractive to the public. In this way, the obverse now bears in addition to the central eagle of the Mendocino Codex, the letters of 10 escudos all around as well as various types of eagles belonging to the succession of governments of the Mexican State, including the First Empire of Iturbide, Porfirio Díaz, the Aztec Eagle, etc…

On the reverse, the Alada Victoiry, today regarded in a very different way, highlights the column which supports it.
The layout of the letters also changes and these can now be seen on the top part, on the edge. The order of the inset appears thus – first: 1 ounce of Pure Gold, then the year of striking and the law.

Libertad gold coin of 1996

Libertad' gold coin of 1996

Through its beauty, its purity, its quality and its fame over so many years, this coin is a coin of excellence, a reference for investment purposes at global level

AN ECONOMIC PEANUT IN THE LAND OF GOLD

Friday, February 10th, 2012

You know how it is: it’s January and already the film critics are exhorting one and all to see “this year’s best movie”. With another 11 months to go, how do they know?

Nothwithstanding such follies of prediction, I am going to announce the Barmiest Political Story of the Year. And no, it is not the euro-shenanigans…

It was reported in The Sunday Telegraph, 5 January 2012, that last year the Indian Government tried to reject Great Britain’s development aid largesse. The U.K. Department for International Development has spent in excess of £1 billion over the last five years in “aid” to India, with a further £600 million earmarked up to 2015, corresponding to about £280 million per year.

This in spite of the fact that “the then Foreign Minister, Nirupama Rao, proposed ‘not to avail [of] any further DFID assistance with effect from April 1, 2011’.” In tune with the April folly, the British government declined the saving offered by India, officially now ranked as a middle-income country.

And what was the reason?

To save politicians’ faces. “They said”, continues The Sunday Telegraph correspondent Andrew Gilligan, quoting an anonymous source, “British Ministers had spent political capital justifying the aid to their electorate. … They said it would be highly embarrassing if the Government of India then pulled the plug.” Highly embarrassing? Wasting taxpayers’ money, when the recipient has declined it? Which is stupider: looking foolish because the DFID has ignored the tremendous growth in Indian prosperity? (And at an annual growth rate of 10%, that’s growing! Within the decade, the Indian growth rate is projected to be greater than Britain’s.) Or looking foolish because it is determined to persist in an unnecessary and demeaning expenditure, especially in these would-be austere times?

The Indian Government regards the aid as belittling, as if India was still being regarded as an impoverished country. Said the Finance Minister, Pranab Mukherjee: “We do not require the aid. It is a peanut in our total development exercises.”

This is a land where even the peasants invest in gold: “The IMF estimates in fact that Indian homes alone represent 15,000 tons of gold,” notes Jean-François Faure in “Gold: an investment and an insurance that reassures” (transalation). And here at GoldCoin.org we reported on January 14, 2011 that “India is responsible for one quarter of the global imports of gold.”
Gold is immensely important in India, even for the poorest families because it represents some sort of status; this is because gold jewellery plays an essential role in Indian marriage customs and ceremonies. It is a measure of both prudence and munificence. The U.K., the government of which has long since forgotten the first of these, and then makes a pretence of the latter, has no business being spendthrift with money it really hasn’t got.

Savings, anyone?

by Mark Rogers

Peruvian gold coins: 100 Soles

Tuesday, February 7th, 2012
100 Peruvian Soles - Reverse

100 Peruvian Soles - Reverse

At the time of the ancient Peruvian pre-Hispanic culture, gold and silver did not have the same meaning as today – it did not have any economic if not religious value and represented the authority of a race or people. To trade, people ‘ bartered’ food such as hot red pepper, for example, or if not copper coins for trading in goods.

On the arrival of the Spaniards in Peru, a system of currency was established then the building of the Museum of Currency of Lima, which was inaugurated 22 years after the foundation of the city, on the order of King Felipe II. At the beginning, the striking of gold coins was limited by royal decree – thus, the first coins which were struck in Peru were those out of silver in 1568, resembling the coins struck in Mexico at the time of the reign of Charles 1st.

These coins were given the name of ” Rincones ” – in honour of its engraver Alonso de Rincón. The Museum of Currency of Lima underwent several closings and was finally closed in 1588. Prohibition to strike gold coins was lifted during the time of the viceroyalty, at the time when a bi-metallic system was founded, in which both silver and gold were used. The gilded metal coins were named ‘ escudos’.

At the beginning, the metal used for the manufacture of these coins was rather rudimentary (with an anvil and a hammer). The coins obtained were rather uneven in shape, to which they were given the name of Macuquinas (makkakuna = struck).

In 1752, new coins were manufactured with the edges bound in cord, thus the shapes of the coins became round. The first gold coins to be struck had on the obverse the King of Spain of the time wearing a wig (known for having a large number of wigs) and on the reverse the crowned shield. The rich history of Peruvian coins knew many changes following the succession of royalties and mandates in the country. Let us make an interesting leap back into the past, to the time of ‘Peruvian dimes’: the Soles. The One Hundred Peruvian Soles out of gold, the arrival of Simon Bolivar, great liberator of Latin America, caused a certain number of changes at monetary level.

100 Soles of Peru – Obverse (Source LinGOLD.com)

100 Soles of Peru – Obverse (Source LinGOLD.com)

The appearance of a new escudo, symbol of freedom of Peru, bore an obverse with the new emblem and on the reverse a feminine character standing upright (Libertad Parada) who represents the Republic. In the early days of the Republic, Peru went through difficult times. The country was divided into two: the Republic of the Peru of the north (having Lima as a capital) and the Peru of the south (having Cuzco as capital) – the first republic kept the obverse of Libertad Parada and the second republic created a new coin showing the new departments which formed the Peru of the south. In parallel at the same time, new alliances were created between the Peru of the north and Bolivia – thus appeared the weak currency of Bolivia which made the Peruvian currency fall. This system did not function and following the law of 1863, ‘ The Sole’ was created as the single currency of Peru. The obverse was changed – from Libertad Parada to the seated Libertad. Struck in gold, silver and made out of copper, but more specifically in this article, we will deal with the 100 soles of gold since it concerns one of the most important Latin coins in the field of numismatics.

Reverse

The reverse of this elegant and precious coin takes up again the seated Libertad, inserted with the shield and the column. On the lower part of the coin, just below the feet of Libertad, appears the year of striking whereas on the edge of the coin, on the far-right of the character, one reads CIEN SOLES ORO (ONE HUNDRED GOLD SOLES), and on the far-left: GRS.42.1264 OF FINE GOLD

Obverse

The obverse shows the Coats of Arms of Peru with in the top part its laurel wreath, and, in its lower part:

– In the first part: a vicuna (sacred animal for the Incas).

– In the second part: a quiquina (whose peel, which contains quinine, has recognized medicinal properties)

– In the third part: a cornucopia in gold – which refers to the natural richness of the country.

This crown is surrounded by a branch of palm tree and is covered by a laurel wreath – interlaced with a two-tone belt. One reads on the coin: PESO (WEIGHT) GRS.46.8071- REPUBLICA PERUANA (PERUVIAN REPUBLIC) – NUEVE DECIMOS FINO (NINE TENTH FINE) – LIMA. Weight and Purity 46.8071grs y 0.9000 Gold 1.3544 OZ

The coin in figures

Minting of the 100 Peruvian Pesos. Year and number of coins struck

Minting of the 100 Peruvian Pesos. Year and number of coins struck

To acquire one of these coins is a wise decision if you wish to combine security with the pleasure of owning a beautiful coin, which will acquire more value in time since it has not been struck since then.

The Perils of Paper Gold

Thursday, February 2nd, 2012

“The physical gold market is actually being drained by euro gold buyers. People are converting their euros to gold and there is only a finite amount of physical gold available.” The “London Trader” made this assertion to King World News on January 17, 2012.

He also expressed concern over the amount of “paper gold” being created: “Yes, you will still see games being played and yes you can create paper gold out of thin air. But there comes a point where each time you do that the physical buyers are taking it and it has a lagging effect that will catch up, and eventually it gets reflected in the price.”

What is “paper gold”?

As might be inferred, it amounts to a trick.

“The IMF actually invented what became referred to as “Paper Gold” in 1971 – months before the U.S. severed the tie between the Dollar and Gold.

The IMF knew this step was coming, and so it invented the “SDR” (Special Drawing Right).

It was touted as a Reserve “Currency” that would replace both the U.S. Dollar and Gold in the basements of the world’s Central Banks.” source: The Privateer


This is astonishing: the yellow metal, something solid, something of genuine value was going to be replaced by – paper! It gets worse: in discussing StreetTracks Gold Shares (ticker symbol: GLD), the NYSE-listed exchange-traded fund sponsored by The World Gold Council, James Turk (Founder, Gold Money) explained on March 5, 2007 just how this paper gold “functions”:

“Investments in gold can be nearly anything gold related. For example, they can be gold certificates and other promises to pay gold. Importantly, they do not have to be physical gold. Therefore, all GLD has to do to satisfy its auditor is to show them the bank statement (i.e., a piece of paper) that says gold is stored in any Subcustodian appointed by the Custodian. The auditors do not have to go to the vault of the Subcustodian to prove that the gold actually exists, is not encumbered in any way, is securely placed in allocated storage, and accurately records the ownership of the fund.

“If GLD declared its asset to be “Gold”, the fund’s auditor would have to substantiate that the gold really exists, which GLD of course cannot do because of the inability to audit or even inspect gold stored in subcustodians and sub-subcustodians, which is a risk noted in the prospectus. This reality just re-confirms what I and others have concluded all along – GLD is just a paper scheme. It should not be considered as an alternative to physical gold ownership because it is not.” source: The Paper Game

This happens because what is being traded is called “Investments in Gold” rather than “Gold” as such. So in effect this is trading on a promise, and a loose one at that. One must wonder why the World Gold Council endorses what looks suspiciously like a fraud: read more of Mr Turk’s article to discover how trades in these “assets” can result in two people owning the same piece of gold!

Friedrich Hayek pointed out that merely putting the word “social” in front of a legitimate concept (e.g. “social justice”) automatically deprived that concept of meaning; the word “paper” clearly fulfils the same function in high finance….!

by Mark Rogers

FRANCAIS ESPANOL ITALIANO CHINESE

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Thoughts
"For a mountaineer, the important things are the effort, the posture and the muscles. The rope that holds him serves no purpose when everything works but it gives him a sense of security. In the same way, all gold does is ensure confidence; it's a safe haven."