29 July 2010

Degrees of distrust

My last blog was ultimately about trust and that maybe the basis is telling us that there is still trust in the system. After writing it I remembered the presentation I made to the 2009 Gold Standard Institute seminar in Canberra. Below is the conclusion from that presentation, where I proposed four phases, or degrees of distrust:

1st Phase

We start to see increasing investment in gold reflected by increasing balances in COMEX or ETFs or GoldMoney etc, but the majority of people still hold fiat and stocks/shares. In respect of gold, people have no problem with storing their metal in "the system".

2nd Phase

We start to see occassional backwardation which comes and goes and it usually only between cash and shorter futures/maturities - 1 to 2 months. This backwardation is arbitraged away by longs who still have belief in the system(s) so are willing to take the risk to make a profit. Gold is still held in the system but growth in reported balances is slowing.

3rd Phase

We see more backwardation periods, prolonged and now not just shorter maturities but maybe 3 month going to small backwardation. It demonstrates less interest by longs to take the risk. Possibly start to see reported balances of ETFs and less reputable custodians starting to stablise even though gold price still rising, which would puzzle ignorant commentators. A physical squeeze is developing.

4th Phase

Now backwardation persists, it is a permanent state in shorter maturities, increasing to longer maturities. Reported ETF balances are declining. A clear signal not all is well. Gold is being pulled and stored outside the system. The strong hands are in the majority, the squeeze is really on.

I'd say we are just starting in the 2nd Phase.


  1. Thanks Bron! My reply is posted here just to keep it consistent. ;)

  2. I am so far behind in my reading! (Building a house...)
    Love the discussion, most rational but insightful around.
    Maybe a bit like arguing if milk or cream is better in your tea. I think you and FOFOA will both end up on your 100' private yachts discussing who was more right/had the closer timing in predicting the end of the financial system as we currently have it.

    But really wanted to say that I preferred the beige background and black writing rather than the black background and reversed out text.
    Keep up the good work!