Egon von Greyerz
Founder and Managing Partner of Matterhorn Asset
Management AG & GoldSwitzerland.
We are living in unprecedented times. The perceived prosperity that the world has enjoyed in the last 100 years and in particular the last 40 years is coming to an end.
The debt based wealth that has been created is now at great risk of imploding both for nations and for individuals. Never before in history have most major nations been on the brink of bankruptcy.
In addition, the world financial system is bankrupt and only still standing due to false valuations of banks’ toxic assets. The risk of sovereign or bank failures is major. It is therefore critical for investors to eliminate counterparty risk. Throughout history gold is the only currency that has survived and maintained its purchasing power. All other currencies have been printed to oblivion. Gold represents the best insurance against a fragile world financial system. But investors must hold physical gold and store it securely outside the banking system.
Fund Manager of the award
winning Quantex Strategic Precious Metal Fund.
Gold mining shares have underperformed gold bullion for years. By combining gold bullion with mining equities and rebalance them counter-cyclically, we managed to outperform almost all of our peers. After a two year long correction in the mining sector and valuation levels at or close to historical lows, the time has come to overweight mining equities again.
Junior companies and exploration stocks have become particularly cheap. At Quantex, we follow some strict criteria for picking exploration stocks: Our focus on market cap per resource ounce and high enough cash balance to finance the next exploration step helps us to avoid the dilution death spiral many companies get into.
Keith was co-founder of Aurelian Resources Inc. with a 13.7 million ounce gold
discovery (Frute del Norte) made in 2006 – a company acquired
by Kinross Gold in 2008.
Recent misses in the estimates of quarterly costs and production from many gold producers underscores that gold mining remains a difficult business. In my career I have had senior managers tell me they need a 1 million oz deposit, then 2; several years later it was 5 million, to make a meaningful impact on the bottom line. The result was that companies acquired projects through M&A activity which was driven by management’s belief that biggest was best and encouraged by bankers making enormous M&A fees, without a hard look at the fundamentals. The industry took on projects in politically difficult regimes, or remote areas with little infrastructure, or those that were metallurgically difficult, or those with zillions of ounces but simply a grade too low to make money. The industry has over-promised and now we are seeing the results.
The second problem remains replacement of ounces just to stay at a constantlevel of reserves. Inevitably production profiles of most of the majors will continue to decline and it is only through purchases of mid-tier producers and juniors with good discoveries that they can hope to stay level. Even should gold shoot past $2500/oz as I expect, inflationary costs of diesel, structural steel, labour and other components will catch up to the gold price in the time lag between discovery and production
The situation in the uranium market is arguably much more serious. At the end of 2013 the “Megatons to Megawatts” conversion of nuclear warheads to nuclear fuel will end. The US component finished in 2008 and Putin has said publically that Russia has no interest in continuing the programme. This means that 15% of the world’s secondary U supply will vanish. This equates to 24 million lbs of uranium. To put this in perspective the world uses 176.6 Mlbs each year. There are 430 reactors currently operating worldwide and 160 planned; in China there are 26 new reactors in construction. BHP Billiton has shelved its Olympic Dam expansion which was meant to take annual U production from 8.8 to 20 Mlbs. The question is how will the shortfall be made up? The answer is it won’t, at least not at current prices and not for a number of years. Supply remains inelastic.
The end result I expect will be uranium prices going parabolic; beyond the $135US/ lb high reached in 2007.
Co-Founder of Eidesis Capital LLC, a New Yorkbased specialty investment
management firm focused on contrarian and opportunistic investment strategies.
Gold bullion is the only safe haven asset that has never failed in a real crisis. This property makes gold invaluable whenever conventional financial arrangements fail but at other times, it’s value fluctuates with investors’ confidence in financial assets and fiat currencies.
Resurging confidence in the Central Banks’ money-printing miracle has lifted financial assets and caused gold speculators to unwind their levered bets. As prices crashed, demand for physical gold overwhelmed supply but did not help the price. It turned out that the primary driver behind the gold bull market has been a levered “safe haven trade” executed through derivatives, not demand for the real safe haven that is gold bullion.
As the Central Banking experiment inevitably disappoints, traders will learn that betting on a storm using derivatives does not help one survive it and that is when the real gold rush will begin in earnest.