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Darker and More Dangerous Reality

Michael Panzner, at his new site, When Giants Fall, discusses the global financial crisis and the potential for severe social, political and geopolitical fallout, and the implications on the price of gold. 

Fear of a Darker and More Dangerous Reality

What a difference a year or two makes.

Back in early 2007, any mainstream analyst or commentator who raised the prospect that we might soon see the worst financial crisis of all time, the developed world’s first synchronized downturn since World War II, or a far-reaching, multi-trillion dollar bailout of the financial industry would have been encouraged to seek urgent medical attention or look for another job.

Now, though, a growing number of people are suddenly open to the possibility that the future might look a lot different than it does now.

But that doesn’t just refer to economic developments. Some are also beginning to grasp the idea that social, political and geopolitical turbulence often coincides with and follows in the wake of dramatic financial upheavals.

In "Citigroup Says Gold Could Rise Above $2,000 Next Year as World Unravels," The Telegraph‘s Ambrose Evans-Pritchard reveals that the money crowd fears a far darker, more dangerous reality what we have now.

Gold is poised for a dramatic surge and could blast through $2,000 an ounce by the end of next year as central banks flood the world’s monetary system with liquidity, according to an internal client note from the US bank Citigroup.

The bank said the damage caused by the financial excesses of the last quarter century was forcing the world’s authorities to take steps that had never been tried before.

This gamble was likely to end in one of two extreme ways: with either a resurgence of inflation; or a downward spiral into depression, civil disorder, and possibly wars. Both outcomes will cause a rush for gold.

"They are throwing the kitchen sink at this," said Tom Fitzpatrick, the bank’s chief technical strategist.

"The world is not going back to normal after the magnitude of what they have done. When the dust settles this will either work, and the money they have pushed into the system will feed though into an inflation shock.

"Or it will not work because too much damage has already been done, and we will see continued financial deterioration, causing further economic deterioration, with the risk of a feedback loop. We don’t think this is the more likely outcome, but as each week and month passes, there is a growing danger of vicious circle as confidence erodes," he said.

"This will lead to political instability. We are already seeing countries on the periphery of Europe under severe stress. Some leaders are now at record levels of unpopularity. There is a risk of domestic unrest, starting with strikes because people are feeling disenfranchised."

"What happens if there is a meltdown in a country like Pakistan, which is a nuclear power. People react when they have their backs to the wall. We’re already seeing doubts emerge about the sovereign debts of developed AAA-rated countries, which is not something you can ignore," he said.

Gold traders are playing close attention to reports from Beijing that the China is thinking of boosting its gold reserves from 600 tonnes to nearer 4,000 tonnes to diversify away from paper currencies. "If true, this is a very material change," he said.

Mr Fitzpatrick said Britain had made a mistake selling off half its gold at the bottom of the market between 1999 to 2002. "People have started to question the value of government debt," he said.

Citigroup said the blast-off was likely to occur within two years, and possibly as soon as 2009. Gold was trading yesterday at $812 an ounce. It is well off its all-time peak of $1,030 in February but has held up much better than other commodities over the last few months – reverting to is historical role as a safe-haven store of value and a de facto currency.

Gold has tripled in value over the last seven years, vastly outperforming Wall Street and European bourses.

 


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