Tag Archives: gold

Wrap-Up of BullionStar’s visit to FreedomFest 2016 in Las Vegas

Saturday July 16 wrapped up BullionStar's attendance at its first FreedomFest conference and convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. During the event from Wednesday July 13 through to the Saturday afternoon, the BullionStar team interacted with a wide-range of interesting event attendees, discussing topics ranging from the role of precious metals in investors portfolios, to the safety and security of having offshore storage of investment gold and silver at BullionStar's vault facility in Singapore.

Prospective US customers were interested in the fact that there are no sales or other taxes on bullion in Singapore, no reporting requirements on bullion, and that Singapore is a safe and stable political jurisdiction which upholds property ownership rights and where the Singaporean government actively supports the gold sector. On the topic of specific vaulting infrastructure, potential customers learned that BullionStar's "My Vault" facility provides secure, insured, allocated and segregated bullion storage with 24/7 on-line access to your holdings, using multiple levels of auditing, and that you can hold both bullion and cash on your BullionStar account, thereby using your BullionStar account as a real alternative to a bank account in Singapore.

BullionStar Grand Prize Draw - Silver Bars

Throughout the 3 day convention, attendees could enter a draw at the BullionStar stand for a chance to win one of three substantial silver bar prizes. Additionally, everyone who entered the draw received a free 1/10 troy oz silver coin of .999 purity produced by Golden State Mint, a coin with a design based on the Walking Liberty silver half-dollar historically issued by the US Mint.

The prize draw for the BullionStar silver bars took place on Saturday afternoon as the conference was wrapping up. First prize in the competition was a BullionStar 1 kg silver bar worth nearly US $800. BullionStar silver bars are 99.99% pure silver bars with a high-lustre finish produced by German refinery Heraeus on behalf of BullionStar. Second price was a 10 troy oz Heraeus minted silver bar, produced by Heraeus at its refinery in Hanau, Germany, while third prize was a 5 troy oz Heraeus minted silver bar.

Luke Chua, BullionStar COO and Torgny Persson, BullionStar CEO sum up their impressions of FreedomFest 2016

One of the major themes resonating at this year's FreedomFest event appeared to be that the founding principles of the US such as property ownership rights, personal liberty, and freedom of speech are being eroded, and that the government is encroaching on personal privacy. These themes were also picked up by Rand Paul's keynote speech noted in a previous BullionStar dispatch. A common talking point for people who came to the BullionStar stand during FreedomFest was the worldwide banking reporting obligations imposed on banks by the US Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) rules and regulations.

Beyond the Frozen Monopoly - Third Party Candidates

Given the current media focus on Republican and Democratic candidates in the upcoming 2016 US presidential election, US and international media often forget that there are other parties’ candidate nominees running in the US presidential race such as Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party and Jill Stein of the Green Party. And so FreedomFest was eye-opening in that it was a reminder that other political parties do exist in the US apart from these two powerful incumbent parties, and that there is plenty of political thinking in the US outside the mainstream media's narrowly defined consensus.

In a Reason.TV interview conducted at FreedomFest with Johnson, former governor of New Mexico, and his running mate for vice-president, William Weld, former Governor of Massachusetts, Weld opened the interview with the interesting perspective that there is a “frozen monopoly of the two parties that has frozen a lot of people's thinking in place,… And they think, 'I have to be a right-winger,' or, 'I have to be a left-winger.' They're not thinking, 'What do I think?”

Steve Forbes - Gold Keeps its Intrinsic Value

During another interview at the convention, Steve Forbes, editor-in-chief of Forbes Magazine, posed a very timely and interesting question, asking not which way the Fed will move on interest rates but “Why is the Federal Reserve manipulating interest rates in the first place?”. Forbes highlighted that interest rates are the cost of borrowing money and rewarding lenders, and that “by manipulating interest rates, the Fed has deformed credit markets”.

On the subject of gold, Forbes said that “gold is an insurance policy against turmoil and against government’s mis-behaviour towards the currency” and he underscored that it was important to remember that "gold keeps its intrinsic value", and that the price changes in gold are just people’s changing perceptions of the value of currencies. No doubt most BullionStar readers would tend to agree with these sentiments.

That wraps up our coverage of the FreedomFest 2016 event. We hope that these insights have been helpful, and we look forward to providing readers with updates at future events around the world that BullionStar may attend.

Gold & Brexit

In what was an extraordinary day for global financial markets, and a day which will no doubt become legendary and enter folk memory in the UK and elsewhere, the electorate of the United Kingdom voted 51.9 % to 48.1% to leave the European Union. As the first count results began trickling in during the very early hours of Friday morning London time from northern England constituencies such as Newcastle and Sunderland, the cosy optimism that had prevailed in the Remain camp became increasingly agitated as the voting majority swung to the Leave side and quickly snowballed, in what was a shock to many.

Gold Philharmonics and Silver Philharmonics with Euro notes

The Sterling – Dollar cable rate plummeted, gold took off, especially in GBP, and BBC presenters became increasingly stony-faced and pale looking. By 3:40am UK time, Leave was ahead by 500,000 votes, and just an hour later the major UK networks of first ITV and then the BBC called the election to the Leave camp. Nigel Farage, promoter of the Leave side and leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), who had earlier conceded then un-conceded defeat, reappeared to the press and when asked what he would do next announced that he was going for a celebratory drink. As Farage and his boisterous entourage were undoubtedly finding a suitable early hostelry to settle into in Westminster, an ashen-faced British Prime Minister David Cameron appeared in Whitehall to announce his resignation in what had already become a day of records.

Gold & Silver Prices

All this time gold was soaring and the British Pound was folding. Gold in GBP started moving at 2:45am UK time when it was at £852, and as the voting tide turned, gold in GBP peaked at 5:30am at approximately £1004, an 18% move in less than 3 hours. GBP gold then fell slightly from the peak and has settled into a roughly £950 to £960 range.

Gold In GBP 24th June 2016

US Dollar gold, which had been as low as $1250 before the voting pattern emerged, surged past $1300 before 3am UK time, and peaked at just under $1340 before 6am UK time, for an up move of 90 bucks, before it too fell back slightly into a range of $1310 to $1325.

Gold in USD 24th June 2016

Silver also had dramatic gains intraday, especially in GBP. Silver in GBP 24th June 2016.

Exchange Rates

GBP - USD suffered an unprecedented fall by over 11% at one stage today, moving down 18 cents at one point from $1.50 to a 31-year low of $1.32, a level not seen since mid-1985. It was since recovered partially to trade at $1.375, still down over 8% on the day.

GBP - USD one day rate, 24th June 2016

The Euro weakened significantly against major currencies, one of the reasons being that the uncertainty of the UK’s exit from the EU may precipitate further defections that could include a Eurozone member country. FTSE equity indices fell sharply intraday before recovering somewhat. Bank shares were hammered especially the shares of UK and European banks.

Gold - Flight to Safety

The massive moves and volatility spikes caught much of the financial markets off-guard, hence the dramatic price movements and flight to safety. As gold was bid, it has yet again proved its role as one of the world’s preeminent safe havens and protectors of wealth that investors will flock to in times of crisis and fiat currency uncertainty. According to ICBC Standard Bank, as cited by the Financial Times, the Shanghai Gold Exchange traded a record equivalent of 143 tonnes of gold during its trading day today – 24th June. One person who seems to have been confident of a Leave win is Arron Banks, a rich donor to the Leave side. He was said to have commissioned a poll of 10,000 people (which is a large sample size), and the results of this poll, released today, revealed a 52 – 48 win for Leave. So perhaps some hedge funds and investment banks were privy to similar data last night.

Central Bank Intervention

The world’s major central banks, who were meeting in Basel at the Bank for International Settlements this week, may appear to have been also blindsided by the election result, however, being the conservative types, they seem to have been prepared for this contingency and have, in a not too subtle way, indicated their collective intention to intervene in the FX and funding markets in a coordinate fashion, and with total disregard of the free functioning of financial markets. Central banks are by their very nature interventionist, meddling and secretive in their interventions, so this is hardly surprising. However, its more blatant than usual.

The Bank of England announced that it “will continue to pursue responsibilities for monetary and financial stability relentlessly”. This use of ‘relentlessly, is quite ominous bank-speak and could even suggest intervention in the gold market, since after all, the Bank of England houses its FX and Gold operations on the same desk and is allowed to use all assets of the HM Treasury’s Exchange Equalisation Account (EEA) to pursue monetary stability. So some ‘smoothing operations’ or ‘stabilisation operations’ on the gold price by the Bank of England (or by the BIS) are not beyond the bounds of possibility. In fact, it is logical for the major central banks to intervene in the gold market since they do not want gold to play the role of canary in the coalmine as this counters their ‘stability’ meme.

The ECB said this morning that it “stands ready to provide additional liquidity in Euro and foreign currency, in close contact with other central banks

In its statement today, the Bank of Japan said that it has ”a network of currency swap arrangements is already established by the central banks of major countries. The Bank of Japan will take appropriate measures as necessary, including activation of this network”.

Meanwhile, the US Federal Reserve announced that it is "carefully monitoring developments in global financial markets, in cooperation with other central banks,….The Federal Reserve is prepared to provide dollar liquidity through its existing swap lines with central banks, as necessary, to address pressures in global funding markets..”

Not to be outdone, the Swiss National Bank (SNB) didn’t just threaten to intervene, it did intervene today as the ‘Swiss franc came under upward pressure’. According to an email sent to Bloomberg by the SNB “has intervened in the foreign exchange market to stabilize the situation and will remain active in that market”.

Demand for Physical Gold

BullionStar saw noticeably higher website traffic today with higher demand and sales than normal, but BullionStar does not have the shortages in inventories that are being reported by other dealers. In fact, BullionStar has plenty of stock.

Where there does seem to be tightness in the physical gold market is in the London wholesale market, where gold has now flowed into London from Switzerland for 3 consecutive months (69 tonnes in May, 80 tonnes in April, and over 40 tonnes in March), most likely to top up gold holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust, whose inventory has now recorded a latest multi-year high of 915.9 tonnes. This importation of gold into London from Switzerland does seem to indicate that there is not much free float of gold sloshing around the London Gold Market.

The seismic shifts brought about by today’s extraordinary day in the UK will not settle quickly and may only just be the beginnings of further tremors that have been unwittingly released in into the global economic system. Politically, the UK is in a place where it did not think it would be. Cameron is resigning, Boris Johnson is favourite to take his place, and there is pressure on the opposition Labour leader Corbyn to resign with accusations that he is out of touch with the electorate. In the financial markets, the major banks are in deep trouble and dollar funding is an issue, even according to the central bank interventionalists. In such a climate of evaporating paper wealth, gold, and to an extent silver, are stepping forward to play their traditional roles of war chest assets, assets with real intrinsic value.

Saving in Gold vs. Investing in Gold

There are differing views on choosing the optimal percentage of gold to hold in an asset portfolio.

These different viewpoints depend on how one views gold. Those looking for a return on their money in currency terms perceive gold as an investment which they can sell at a currency price higher than what they bought it for.

We would however argue that the idea of trading your fiat paper currency for gold today, hoping to trade the gold for even more fiat currency in the future, defeats the purpose of owning gold in the first place. Saving in gold is an insurance against the failure of fiat currency, not a means of accumulating more of it.

The healthiest and most natural way of looking at gold is to view gold as savings or as a form of wealth preservation.

Saving in Gold

Gold is, and for thousands of years has been, the focal point for many prominent savers of wealth. The European aristocrats, the Middle East oil barons, the ultra-rich, and even the central banks, all save in gold to preserve generational wealth. They save in gold without thinking about the return in currency terms because they understand the fundamental principle of gold as a generational and long-term store of value. They understand that gold is not an investment but that its a form of money that cannot be printed or controlled by central bankers.

As the world's financial and monetary systems become increasing fragile, saving in gold is the ultimate safe haven for protecting you against a systemic collapse. In the inevitable transition that will follow such a collapse, holding gold as wealth is the ultimate strategy for survival.

Prudent savers understand that gold cements wealth over time which is why you do not need to care much about the ‘gold price’ as denominated in fiat currencies.

If you do not want to bear the high risk associated with chasing returns on the currency markets, you should save in physical gold because gold is the safest form of liquid money. Staying liquid is the same as keeping your wealth in gold. There is nothing wrong with investing, but buying physical gold is not an investment in the real sense – it is a timeless wealth-preserving asset.

When fiat currencies crash, your gold will become a truly priceless asset that will empower you through the transition.

A 100 trillion dollar note can't buy you any bullion. By saving in gold you can sleep at night.

Gold as Wealth

If you are trapped in relentlessly chasing paper profits while worrying about your positions, it is time to consider a shift of mind-set. To become a saver, you have to shift your focus from profit-seeking to sustainability, from chasing egoistic personal highs to becoming a family provider for generational wealth.

With a mind-set of viewing gold as a savings asset, you will not only solidify your own wealth but have the power to pass on your wealth to the next generation. This has been the case for many European aristocrats who were able to pass on wealth from generation to generation.

As we can appreciate from history, cash is not king when the cash is not backed by anything. In fact, the world’s fiat paper currencies have all lost 99% or more of their value in the last century.

Gold is the safest and most stable store of value known to man. No other asset class comes close to gold in terms of stability over history. Gold is not an investment per se. Gold is money. Gold is savings. Gold is wealth.

If you have the mind-set of a saver and want to minimise your risk, it is actually natural to keep most of your savings in gold. If you are unable to determine a favourable risk-reward ratio for any of your potential investments, you might even consider keeping close to 100% of your savings in gold. It is certainly better to keep 100% of one’s savings in gold than keeping one’s savings in the form of constantly depreciating fiat currencies. Ask yourself, are you buying gold as a means of generating fiat currency returns or are you acquiring currency as a means to buy gold (as wealth). We much recommend the latter.

Work and invest to acquire currency but hold your wealth in gold. This is the fool-proof strategy that has worked for thousands of years.

Saving in gold frees your mind. With gold, you can sleep well at night and do not need to worry about inflation, financial markets and currency risks. By saving in gold you can stand strong and avoid the flawed western mentality of chasing paper money returns.

Investing in Gold

If gold is viewed from a western investment portfolio perspective, studies have shown that the gold price is inversely correlated with the prices of most other financial assets. Adding gold into an existing investment portfolio can therefore lower portfolio risk. This use of gold as a risk-reducing strategic asset class has been empirically validated by numerous studies (such as studies by the World Gold Council), and from the perspectives of different classes of portfolios, different investor backgrounds, and varying base currencies. Optimal allocations of gold in multi-asset portfolios by these empirical studies are usually found to be in the 5 - 20% range.

The reason that there is a negative correlation between the gold price and other asset prices is due to the gold price not being as dependent on economic and business cycles as most other financial asset or commodity prices. Therefore, the gold price does not react to events in the same way as the prices of most other asset prices react.

However, we advice you to view gold as savings/wealth rather than as an investment. Gold has the power to change your life for the better. It can give you peace of mind like nothing else if you just let it sit there without worrying about it.


Gold Price: USD 65,000/oz in 5 years?

16 June 2021 is exactly five years from today. What will the gold price be on 16 June 2021?

Currencies are Worthless

As the world’s fiat paper currencies have lost 99% or more of their purchasing power over the last 100 years, its critical to understand that fiat paper currencies are not a suitable unit of account for accurately measuring prices.

In fact, gold is a far superior measuring stick of value than paper currencies.

A paper currency doesn’t measure anything. It merely has an arbitrary value placed upon it by the population using it. It’s not backed by anything and it can fail at any time. From historical experience, we know that the unbacked fiat paper currencies used today will ultimately destruct and become worthless. All unbacked fiat currencies throughout human history have failed.

A more accurate measurement would be to measure fiat currencies in gold. If we look at the US Dollar measured in gold, we can see that the US Dollar has utterly failed in retaining its value, as its value has plunged about 98% over a mere 50 years. It cannot therefore be seen as a store of value.

Chart of US Dollar measured in Gold. USD price instead of Gold Price.Source: Gold Price Charts, BullionStar

Extrapolating into a likely future, a future in which you will need a stack of USD 100 bills to buy a carton of milk and a couple of eggs, underlines that the US Dollar gold price is meaningless as an indicator of value. When discussing the price of gold, the key is to recognise that gold retains its purchasing power over time. If a 1 oz gold coin can buy an exclusive men’s suit today at USD 1,300 and the same 1 oz gold coin buys an exclusive men’s suit at USD 2,600 tomorrow, this only means that gold is still reflecting USD 1,300 in today's purchasing power and hasn’t gained in value. It’s the US Dollar that has depreciated vis-à-vis gold. Similarly, if the gold price goes to USD 650 and it can still buy the same suit, then it’s merely the US Dollar that as appreciated vis-à-vis gold.

With a gold price of USD 65000, what will the USD be for Milk, Egg and Bread

As a society, we should by now have transcended the idea of measuring value in fiat currencies. Currencies are not a reliable measuring stick. Just imagine if the centimeter, meter, yard or foot were to fluctuate in length.

100 cm 100 years ago has become 2 cm today. Think about it. This is what has happened with our currencies.

The Gold Price                                  

The gold price is an interesting term because the gold price doesn’t reflect what’s happening on the physical gold market whatsoever.

In today’s marketplace, a lot of things are regarded as “gold”. On the London Gold Market alone, there’s 600 times more gold traded each day than there is gold mined globally on that same day.

All sorts of paper gold passes for “gold” on the financial markets. The vast majority, certainly more than 95%, and likely more than 99% of this paper gold is not backed by any physical gold.

“Gold” is created out of thin air as paper obligations. The demand for and supply of this paper gold has little to do with the physical gold market.

During the last couple of year, demand for real physical gold has been insatiable , however the price of gold has not reflected this huge demand. Physical gold has been flowing from the Western vaults to Asia. The Chinese in particular have been vacuuming the London vaults for gold. However, this substantial physical demand hasn't been reflected in higher gold prices because whereas Easterners have been buying physical gold, Westerners have been selling paper gold.

Given that the price of “gold” is set on the OTC paper market in London and on the COMEX futures market in New York, the US Dollar denominated gold price continued to fall between 2012 and 2015 despite the massive physical demand, and instead, it created a physical shortage of gold.

Whether physical demand is up or down 5 tons in China or India matters little when there’s 5,500 tons of paper gold traded each day in London  as visualized in this infographic. London, and to a lesser extent COMEX in the US, are the price discovery markets for gold. However, paper gold on these markets is almost exclusively cash settled with less than 1% of the contracts/futures settled with delivery of physical gold.

The gold price is therefore not dependent on the market fundamentals of physical gold but this may very well change in the future.

With China picking up all physical gold available every time the price slides, widespread shortages are a likely outcome if the gold price ever were to decrease significantly again. Given that the historic vaulting capital of the world, London, has already been running out of stockpiled gold, there just wouldn't be enough physical gold to satisfy demand if the price were to ever plunge significantly again.

It's actually been a healthy development for the physical market’s demand/supply balance  that the gold price has increased 22% in USD Year-to-Date 2016. However, we have to understand that the largest potential for a revaluation of the gold price paradoxically may be preceded by a decrease in gold prices.

When trend seeking Western investors sell their paper gold and the price slides, Easterners take the opportunity to buy physical gold at bargain prices, thereby stressing the physical market with shortages as a result. Such shortages may very well be what ultimately breaks the neck of the paper markets. Because when there is no longer any physical gold available at the price dictated by the paper markets, there will be a disconnect between the price of paper gold and the price of physical gold. Paper gold will go towards zero whereas the price of physical gold will skyrocket.

Such a revaluation of physical gold will bring the fiat paper currencies to their knees as their worthlessness as a store of value will become clear to all.

USD 65,000/oz

What will the price of gold be in 5 years’ time?

Gold is savings - Gold is wealth, and as such, the price denominated in something as inferior as the US Dollar isn't very important.

For the sake of reflection, we can play with the idea of what the price of gold would have to be if the US Dollar were to go on a fully-backed gold standard.

The US gold reserve officially stands at 8,133.5 tons although it has never been properly independently audited. At USD 1,300/oz, this would be equivalent to 340 billion dollars. The total US money supply is about 17,000 billion dollars. For each "gold backed" dollar today, there are therefore 49 unbacked dollars. The gold price would thus have to increase 50-fold to USD 65,000 if the US Dollar were to be fully gold-backed by 16 June 2021.


Offshore Bullion Storage or 3 eggs?

What does one hundred trillion dollars buy you?

How about a mansion in every country, an airplane at every airport and a private island in every ocean?

How about 3 eggs?

When Zimbabwe issued its infamous 100 000 000 000 000 dollar bill, it could buy 3 eggs on the day it was issued. A few days later, it could only buy one egg.

Zimbabwe 100 trillion dollar note buying 3 eggs

Hyperinflating Currencies

Unbacked fiat/paper/credit, and nowadays electronic currency, has a poor track record. After studying this list of 609 defunct currencies, out of which 153 died due to hyperinflation, it's obvious that every time fiat currencies are tried, they die through hyperinflation, war or political decrees.

Using the debt-based US Dollar as a store of value creates massive imbalances and misallocations globally. With an unprecedented debt bubble fuelling paper markets such as stocks and bonds, we stand on the cliff edge of a vertical drop.

Since the Nixon era, we have suffered under a fiat currency ponzi scheme wiping out most of the purchasing power of our currencies.

In MLM schemes, the idea is to recruit naive participants downstream to generate compensation for the recruiter.

This is exactly how the US Dollar and other fiat currencies work.

Early receivers of the MLM scheme such as the government, the banks and the central bank gain purchasing power whereas late receivers, such as us normal people, lose purchasing power.

Fiat paper currency is nothing but a cleverly designed MLM scheme to slowly over time steal and redistribute your private wealth.

Defend Your Assets

With the massive redistribution of wealth taking place through taxation and inflation, you have to defend your assets. Key self-defensive tactics include:

- Protect yourself by keeping your assets out of reach for the government and banks
- Minimize counter-party risks
- Ensure you are protected against currency collapses and bank runs
- Hold your assets in such a way that there's no reporting required to government
- Protect yourself against exchange and capital controls

Crooks can't help steal whether it's directly in broad daylight through a bail-in like in Cyprus in 2013, through taxation, through inflation or through confiscation such as the gold confiscation in the 1930's when the US president Roosevelt took the United States off the gold standard and confiscated private gold holdings.

How can you protect yourself? Gold is the natural answer as it resists inflation, maintains purchasing power and can be held confidentially.

Buying gold isn't enough though. What if your gold purchase is within reach of the government? If you buy gold in your home country, a tax agency such as the IRS in the United States can easily audit the bullion dealer to find out about your purchases. In addition, there's also reporting requirements for certain bullion transactions.

Defend your bullion from confiscation risks

When it comes to bullion storage, diversification is key. It's certainly wise to keep some of your bullion in your own possession but don't put all your gold eggs in one basket.

Offshore Bullion Storage

With the financial repression we are witnessing in the West expressing itself through taxation, inflation, bail-ins and confiscations, it's important to store some of your bullion offshore in a safe jurisdiction favoring confidentiality and security.

Gold has traditionally been stored in financial hubs such as in London, New York and Zurich. With doubts whether there is any gold left in the London and New York vaults which isn't already encumbered, Singapore is emerging as the strongest alternative for offshore bullion storage. Singapore clearly distinguishes itself as the best jurisdiction in the world to buy and store gold:

  • Singapore has no taxes on bullion
  • Singapore has no reporting requirements when you buy/sell/store bullion
  • Singapore has a stable pro-gold government creating a gold trading hub
  • Singapore has a strong rule of law and is one of the safest countries in the world
  • Singapore is a centre for wealth and asset preservation
  • Singapore consistently ranks top 3 in the world for business friendliness
  • Singapore strongly protects property ownership rights

Although we don't recommend holding wealth with banks, other than what you need for short-term expenses, Singapore is host to some of the best capitalized banks in the world such as DBS, UOB and OCBC.

With banks and international institutions pushing for a cashless society so as to be able to impose negative interest rates, surveil your transactions, and impose restrictions on your wealth, Singapore continues to be a cash-friendly jurisdiction. Although Singapore in 2014 stopped printing the world's most valuable banknote, the SGD 10000 dollar note, it's possible to use cash for all purchases including purchasing bullion. The SGD 10000 dollar note will continue to be valid indefinitely and the SGD 1000 note is still one of the most valuable worldwide.

Offshore bullion storage pamp gold bars sgd 10000 sgd 1000

With Singapore emerging as the new global center for wealth protection, it's wise to check how you can buy & store gold in Singapore.

Infographic: COMEX Gold Futures Market

This COMEX Gold Futures Market infographic guides you through the largest gold futures market in the world, COMEX.

Did you for example know that only 1 in 2500 contracts on COMEX goes to physical delivery whereas the other 2499 contracts are cash-settled? This corresponds to a delivery percentage of 0.04% of all gold contracts.

The US government claims to hold a fair bit of gold in reserves but how much is it really holding?

In this infographic you will learn more about the COMEX gold futures market considering

  • COMEX Trading Volumes
  • Fractionally Reserved Futures Trading
  • Cash-settlement of COMEX Gold Futures Contracts
  • Eligible and Registered Gold on COMEX
  • US Treasury Gold Reserves
  • Location of US Treasury Gold Reserves
  • Foreign Gold at the Federal Bank of New York
  • US Gold Mining

You can learn more about the US Gold Market at the BullionStar Gold University.

COMEX Gold Futures Market Infographic

Infographic on COMEX gold futures market, the world's largest gold futures market

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Infographic: London Gold Market

This London Gold Market infographic guides you through the secretive OTC wholesale gold market in London. The London Gold Market is the largest gold market in the world and the volumes traded are staggering.

The London Market serves as a price discovery market for the worldwide gold spot price and is home to the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA).

London is also a hub for gold storage with 6,500 tonnes of gold stored in gold vaults around London.

In this infographic you will learn about the importance of the London Gold Market considering

  • Trading Volumes
  • Fractionally Reserved Paper Gold Trading
  • Price Discovery for the Gold Price
  • Gold Vaults
  • Secrecy in the London Gold Market

You can learn more about the London Gold Market at the BullionStar Gold University

London Gold Market Infographic

Infographic London Gold Market

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Oil & US Dollar & Gold

In the midst of upwards trending oil prices a decade ago, a US senate committee recommended actions to curb the high oil price to mitigate the negative effect on growth.

Ok, great, the oil price went from north of USD 140 in 2008 to around USD 30 now.

But now, mainstream economists are disappointed that the sliding oil price hasn’t had much positive effect on growth and instead tell us that a decreasing oil price is a double-edged sword at best and a threat to the US economy at worst. This despite the US being a net importer of oil, importing about 20 % of its oil consumption.

oil production US

Source: Cornucopia

According to most mainstream economists, a fall in prices, oftentimes mislabelled as deflation, is a horrific thing that must be avoided at all costs.

Before countering the deflation scare, let us first establish that deflation by definition is a shrinkage in the money supply whereas price deflation is the resulting effect of the general price level for goods and services when the money supply decreases.

The mainstream economist argument is that price deflation is bad because people are said to hold off consumption anticipating even lower prices in the future. Really?

Do people hold off their oil consumption because of falling prices? Do people hold off their consumption of food if prices are anticipated to fall? Are people waiting to buy a mobile phone if the price of the product is anticipated to decrease in the future?

Global oil production has increased, with a corresponding price decrease, in recent years due to innovative technological advancements.

The decreasing price of oil is, despite its negative short-term effects on the producers, a positive event enabling the economy to operate more efficiently. Less resources and costs are needed to produce and consume 1 litre of oil today compared to a year ago. The resources liberated from the increased efficiency can instead be put into something else and thus increase productivity further.

US Dollar

We already know that the banking system is inherently incentivizing reckless debt behaviour to the extent that banks have got to increase their balance sheet continuously, for the fractional reserve based monetary system not to collapse.

Savings used to be the backbone of an economy. With savings, it was possible to accumulate capital used for investments. Nowadays, savings has nothing to do with investing as the money is simply created out of thin air as debt by commercial banks and called capital.

Today, debt, and particularly US Dollar denominated debt, is used as a store of value around the world. This skews everything.

A strong US Dollar is to be expected in such a system.

The US Dollar will continue to strengthen until… it collapses.

The US has been running a trade deficit for some four decades by now and has in the process accumulated a humongous national debt.

How is that even possible?

According to Economics 101, the currency of a country running perpetual trade deficits is supposed to depreciate to balance the trade. With a depreciating currency, imports will be more expensive and exports will be cheaper for others to buy. The trade deficit will thus decrease.

This doesn’t happen in the US though. Why?

The reason is that the value of the US Dollar, functioning as a reserve currency, is dictated by the (savings) demand for the US Dollar in the rest of the world. The US doesn’t have a choice on whether to run a trade imbalance or not. It’s the net producing countries (read China) exporting to the consuming countries (read USA) that is dictating to what extent the US can utilize the exorbitant privilege of issuing debt in the world’s reserve currency.

It’s the demand of the US Dollar as a reserve currency that sets the pace. For the US Dollar to function as a reserve currency, the US is required to run trade deficits for the purpose of distributing US Dollars to the net producers/savers.

When savers save in the same medium as is used for the Medium of Exchange, a collapse always follows the monetary expansion when the debt savings are undone. The trigger point of this may very well be when the flow of physical gold dries up. Freegold is instructive in explaining the mechanism that is likely to correct the current imbalance between the paper world and physical world.

The Prudence of Saving in Gold

Following a collapse of our monetary system, it will be vital to own gold as a store of value. Paper assets will no longer matter. For us to get a glimpse at life beyond this transition, India may provide a good example since basically the whole population are avid gold savers.

In India, people have protected their wealth with gold over generations. For Indians, gold is an asset class that bridges inequalities by giving individuals a shot at protecting themselves against foolish government policies. The government does everything in their power, with the Indian trade deficit as their go to excuse, to have people surrendering their gold. The government has introduced a gold monetization scheme, there’s gold import duties, documentation requirements for buying gold and campaigns to convince people to open bank accounts.

Who’s right? The government or the people?

Let’s compare the track record of the Indian Rupee versus Gold. At the start of 1960, 1 gram of gold cost 5.37 Indian Rupees. On 1 February 2016, 1 gram of gold cost 2,443.59 Indian Rupees excluding the premium stemming from the 10 % import duty. The Indian Rupee as measured in gold has thus lost about 99.8 % of its value since 1960.

Indians don’t expect the government to take care of you from cradle to grave, they realise that they need to save to educate their children and to look after their aging parents and themselves when retiring.

Isn’t the world upside down when prudent savers have to fight the government’s reckless policies to keep their wealth?

When fiat money hyper-inflates, paper gains or paper deficits will no longer matter. Owning physical gold will.

Gold Trends 2016

Let’s look into the crystal ball to see what 2016 – The Year of the Monkey - has in store for us when it comes to the gold market.

Gold Price

What will the price of gold be at the end of 2016? Will it dip under USD 1,000/oz?

To answer that question, we first have to analyse what causes the price of gold to move. Supply and demand of physical gold, right?


Physical supply and demand have little to no effect on the price of gold. The price of gold is set on the paper markets and pre-dominantly on the OTC market in London. The volume traded during one day on the London Gold Market is at least 88 % of an entire year’s gold mining production. One year’s trading volume in London is at least 170,195 tons whereas annual global gold mining output stands at 3,100 tons.

Whether demand during the Indian wedding season or during the Chinese New Year is up or down 5 tons matters little when, on average, there’s at least 2,756 tons traded each day on the London market, the market which serves as the price discovery market.

If anything, an increased demand for physical gold correlates to prices decreasing. Bullion banks can create paper gold out of thin air and are particularly prone to do so when the physical demand is high. There’s furthermore a substitution effect with more concerned savers and investors shifting from paper gold to physical gold.

As I explained in my presentation at BullionStar’s 3-year anniversary recently, I may be the only bullion dealer around who is claiming that a decreasing gold price is good and healthy. As the fiat mess burns itself out, a decreasing gold price is to be expected as paper gold is part of the fiat mess. Paper gold, like fiat money, is created out of thin air and its price may very well go all the way to zero, as all paper assets eventually will.

Don’t expect however to find any physical gold for the price of paper gold when this happens. On the physical market, there’s a finite quantity of gold available in the world. The quantity of gold stocked in London, the historical centerpoint for gold trade and gold storage, is shrinking quickly as pointed out by BullionStar’s excellent research analyst, Mr. Ronan Manly in this blog post.

Another sign of western vaults being emptied by the day is the decrease of gold holdings in GLD. Contrary to popular belief, the reason for the GLD stock decrease is that the bullion banks need to deliver the gold previously checked in with GLD to customers taking physical delivery or to keep it in reserve themselves.

I thus see two scenarios for the developments ahead.

1. A continuation of what we have seen in the last three years. Physical demand continues to increase over time. The price, as denominated in USD, goes down. At a point during this slide in price, physical gold supply will dry up as we simply run out of stockpiled available gold. The gold market come to a standstill after which the price for physical gold decouples from the price of paper gold. Paper gold goes towards zero and physical gold revalues significantly in terms of purchasing power. This is where we are heading assuming a continuation of the trend we have witnessed over the last three years.

2. The paper market is quickly overwhelmed with demand for paper gold triggered by paper investors moving in due to other markets crashing. The bullion banks are surprised to the extent that they don’t manage to keep up their issuance of paper gold. The price of gold goes up.

The price of gold would of course also go up in cases where the markets were to be rejuvenated with price discovery originating from the physical market place. This will ultimately happen in the first scenario above but only after the paper markets have crashed.

The most likely outcome, although it may be delayed beyond 2016, is that there will be a disconnect between the pricing of paper gold and physical gold. We have lived in an environment of increasingly murky price discovery for gold since the 80’s following the introduction of various forms of paper gold.

Remember that it’s better to buy gold one year too early than one day too late.

In the not too distant future, paper (money) may not buy you any gold at all.

Gold Industry & Market Opaqueness

Government and central bank gold policy is shrouded in secrecy. Clumsy central bank press releases are often raising more questions than providing answers. The balancing act lies in keeping enough gold to keep confidence up in the fiat system but not too much as it would signal an anticipated weakness. The resulting ambiguity and opaqueness doesn’t do the gold industry any good when it comes to supporting the environment for its participants.

One of the most important geopolitical trends of today, almost totally ignored by mainstream media, is the immense flow of gold from the west to the east.

Physical gold demand in Asia generally and China in particular is insatiable and everything points towards a continuation of this trend in 2016 and beyond.


China is working on many fronts to take over as the new centre for gold trade when the western (paper) gold markets collapse.

The Chinese have, through designing a sound physical market place with the Shanghai Gold Exchange, laid the groundwork for putting gold in the hands of the people.

By clearly separating paper trading from physical trading, the Shanghai Gold Exchange offers everyone the opportunity to buy physical gold directly from the exchange.

After a brief period of increased transparency where it for a while seemed that the Chinese wanted to advertise their market setup to the rest of the world, China now seems to have come to the conclusion that too much transparency around their immense accumulation of gold may have negative repercussions and they have consequently ceased publishing figures for physical gold withdrawals at the Shanghai Gold Exchange. China thus seeks to accumulate gold but doesn’t want to communicate it openly.

At the same time, the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) and the World Gold Council (WGC), which are constructed to develop and support the gold industry, resort to protect their stakeholders, the bullion banks, by upholding the opaqueness of the gold price auctions and changing data retrospectively.

BullionStar Financials 2015 – The Year in Review

2015 was a momentous year for BullionStar with sales revenues totaling SGD 89.6m*, a 69.1% increase from 2014.  2015 also marked the first full calendar year in operation for our unique bullion retail shop, showroom and built-in vault which was launched in July 2014.

In 2015, we increased our product range to include over 370 different bullion and numismatics products across 9 different product categories. We also released our very own BullionStar Minted Gold Bars and BullionStar Minted Silver Bars – which offer no spread between the buy and sell price.

We also launched the possibility to keep funds on account with BullionStar thereby simplifying the transactional process and allowing for greater convenience throughout the bullion trading process. Furthermore, we enhanced our Bullion Savings Program (formerly Vault Grams) enabling our customers to convert their BSP Grams to physical bullion where they can take full physical delivery at any time without any charge.

Sales in 2015Fin1

BullionStar’s sales revenue for 2015 was SGD 89.6m*, up 69.1% from 2014.

Comparatively, the total global bullion demand increased by 1% in 2015 if calculated in tonnage and decreased 7.9% if calculated in USD (based on data from the World Gold Council for Q1 to Q3 2015 compared with data for Q1 to Q3 2014). BullionStar's strong and rapid growth is thus rather spectacular when compared to the industry development as a whole.


Overall bullion demand in Singapore decreased from 5.9 tonnes to 4.8 tonnes marking an 18.6% decrease for the first three quarters of 2015 according to the same publication. For the first three quarters of 2015, BullionStar sold approximately 0.9 tonnes of bullion gold, thereby contributing to 18.4% of the total Singaporean bullion market based on the data published by the World Gold Council.

Despite consolidating market conditions in the bullion industry as a whole, we grew our sales revenue steadily during the year and picked up the pace during the second half of the year. The sales revenue of SGD 53.7m for 2H15 was markedly higher than the SGD 35.9m reported for 1H15. Our growth is derived from a mix of increased sales to domestic and international customers. 


By comparing the below pie chart to the corresponding chart for 2014, we can see that gold increased in popularity compared to silver in 2015. Gold consisted of 67.20% of total sales for 2014 whereas it increased to 72.39% of total sales for 2015. One explanation for the proportionate increase in the popularity of gold may be the increasing gold/silver ratio, where 76.4 grams of silver was equivalent in value to 1 gram of gold at the end of 2015, a figure being close to its multi-year highs. With the fall in commodity prices in 2015, silver has been affected to a greater extent than gold due to its predominant industrial usage. Gold, on the other hand, has once again re-emerged as the ultimate safe harbor in times of uncertainty.


What lies ahead

The first couple of weeks of the new year has been characterized by renewed volatility on the global markets following concerns about global debt levels and poor growth. We expect global markets to continue to be volatile during the year. Consequently, bullion stored in a safe and stable jurisdiction like Singapore emerges as a natural diversification option for an increasing number of savers and investors. We expect bullion demand to increase globally in 2016 and particularly here at BullionStar where our strategic focus will be to continue our internationalization efforts by marketing Singapore as the world’s outstanding jurisdiction for buying and storing bullion.

Another noteworthy trend is the increasing popularity of gold coins which have been driven by the increased demand for Canadian Gold Maples for which the Royal Canadian Mint introduced an amended design with improved security features in 2015.

Gold & Silver Prices

The gold price, denominated in Singapore Dollars, declined 4.3% during the year. The gold price started the year at SGD 50.48/gram and ended at SGD 48.33/gram.


The silver price, denominated in Singapore Dollars, declined 6% during the year. The silver price started the year at SGD 0.67/gram and ended at SGD 0.63/gram.


BullionStar Vault Storage

When our customers store their metals with us, they have full control of their bullion portfolio online 24/7. We employ no less than 5 different audit schemes, including third party audits by the LBMA-approved auditor Bureau Veritas, to verify the existence and correctness of the stored bullion. With our vault being integrated in the same venue as our shop and showroom, customers can physically audit and withdraw their precious metals without any prior notification.

By the end of 2015, we stored approximately SGD 53m in precious metals as vault storage provider on behalf of our customers. This corresponds to an increase of 39.5% compared to one year ago.


Customer Satisfaction

We are proud to have earned an outstanding reputation in the bullion industry. At BullionStar, we strive to continuously develop our offering by giving our customers usable online tools, physical accessibility and by sharing our competence and knowledge about precious metals.


About BullionStar

BullionStar is Singapore's premier bullion dealer offering a wide range of precious metals products and services. BullionStar is breaking new ground by introducing modern technology into the age-old precious metals industry. With a proprietary online platform, BullionStar offers customers the ability to efficiently handle and control their bullion holdings 24/7 at their convenience.

BullionStar runs a one-stop retail shop and vault for precious metals at 45 New Bridge Road in Singapore where customers can view, buy, sell, value, deposit, test, audit and physically withdraw precious metals.

With original research and analysis covering the precious metals market on a whole and the Asian market specifically, world renowned analysts Koos Jansen and Ronan Manly keep readers updated on the news that matters.

* This is an indicative report. BullionStar's financial year is 1 July - 30 June. All figures are based on reports from our administration system, are indicative in nature and based on our best efforts.

Amazing Gold Videos

Uncertainty in the Chinese economy and sliding stock markets has dominated the financial news as of late. While the stock markets are sliding, gold and silver prices are up a few percent since the start of the year.

So in the midst of all this, we thought it would good to remind ourselves of the primary reasons why we hold on to physical Gold and Silver. The following videos proudly shot by our customers and friends puts forward the case for physical precious metals better than words can.

These videos were the prize winning videos of a video competition we publicized a few months ago and if we may say so - the quality of the responses were exceptional. Our heartfelt thanks to the following people who put their minds and their hearts into this. Here are the winners:

1st prize: Zachary Shepherdson - The Banana Currency

2nd prize: Jake Oh - Why and Where to Buy Precious Metals in Singapore

3rd prize: Tan Li Na - The Silver Odyssey

3rd prize: Angelo Anthony Agujo - Precious Messages Preserved in Precious Metalsangelo_3rd_prize_bright

Chinese Gold and Silver Pandas 2016

The much awaited Chinese Gold and Silver Pandas for 2016 have now been released! Last year, the manufacturer, China Gold Corporation, surprised collectors with their decision to remove the weight and purity inscription on the reverse side of the coin. For this year's edition, China Gold Corporation once again surprised by revising the weight distribution of the coins.  The 2016 Chinese Gold Pandas are minted in 30 gram, 15 gram, 8 gram, 3 gram and 1 gram while the 2016 Chinese Silver Pandas are minted in 30 g! This represents a shift from the troy ounce system to the metric system. The Chinese Pandas are the first coins in the world to be minted in such weights.

                2016-PBC-Panda-Gold-30g-REV                              2016-PBC-Panda-Silver-30g-REV

The removal of the weight and purity inscription on the reverse side of the coin introduced last year was an unpopular decision and the mint has decided to reinstate the inscriptions for the 2016 edition. This makes the 2015 edition the only edition where coins do not feature any weight and purity inscription.

Collector and investor sentiment following the change to the metric system remains to be seen. Will it be popular enough that other mints feel inclined to follow suit? Or will the China Gold Corporation face criticism, like when they removed the weight and purity of the coin for the 2015 edition, and revert back to the troy ounce system? We will find out, come 2017!

Chinese Gold Panda 2016

The BU version of the Chinese Gold Panda was introduced to the world in 1982 and featured a cute panda sitting while clutching and chewing on bamboo. The mintage for the 1982 Gold Panda was a mere 13,532 coins. In contrast, the mintage for the 2016 Gold Panda edition has been fixed at a maximum of 1,000,000 coins.

The reverse of the 2016 edition features a single cute Chinese Panda resting on a tree branch. The weight, purity and symbol “Au”, which is the chemical representation for gold, is also featured at the bottom of the coin. On the obverse, the familiar Hall of Prayer for Abundant Harvests at the Temple of Heaven in Beijing is featured encircled by "People's Republic of China" in Chinese and the year of issue, 2016.

The Chinese Gold Pandas come sealed individually in sheets of 10 pieces. Collectors normally don't cut open the packaging as a coin in original mint seal may be slightly higher priced on the secondary market than a coin that doesn't have the original seal.

Chinese Silver Panda 2016

The BU version of the Chinese Silver Panda was first minted in 1989 and with the exception of 2001 and 2002, the design of the Chinese Silver Panda has changed every single year. Beginning with a very low mintage of just 250,000 coins when it was first minted in 1989, the mintage for the Silver Panda has increased to a maximum mintage of 8,000,000 coins for 2016. While this may sound like a large number, it can be noted that other bullion coins like the Canadian Silver Maple and the American Silver Eagle have a mintage of over 25,000,000 and 47,000,000 coins respectively.

The packaging for the 2016 edition of the Chinese Silver Panda has changed from a sheet containing 30 coins to a box containing 15 pieces. This has several advantages to collectors. The boxes will allow for easy storage and the box will be more visually appealing than the old sheets. Combined, these two factors should help to drive sales.

Premiums for Chinese Pandas

Although produced as a bullion coin, the Gold and Silver Pandas tend to be a popular collectors coin and assume a high premium for previous editions. The Chinese Gold Panda 2013 – 1 oz, in stock at BullionStar, exemplifies that there's a higher premium for previous editions. An important factor affecting the price premium is the uniqueness of the coin. The 2013 edition was e.g. the only Panda coin ever to feature 3 Pandas on the coin making it unique.

Whether you are a collector looking for interesting coins, investor buying for metal value or speculator buying for future value appreciation, the Chinese Pandas are a great choice!

Ordering from Bullionstar

As always, BullionStar is committed to bringing you the Gold & Silver Pandas at great prices. You can read more about the different coins and place your orders under the respective product pages below:

Chinese Gold Panda 30 gram - 2016

Chinese Gold Panda 15 gram - 2016 

Chinese Gold Panda 8 gram - 2016 

Chinese Silver Panda 30 gram - 2016

Back to Basics: ETF Gold 101

By Luke Chua, BullionStar


etf 2


What are the key differences between buying ETF Gold and physical Gold? 

A Gold Exchange-Traded Fund (ETF) attempts to track and 'mirror' the price performance of gold bullion by holding gold bars or derivatives and issuing shares backed by their holdings of physical metal or derivatives.  A Gold ETF, like GLD, has their shares sold in baskets of 100,000 and is marketed by State Street.  As compared to physical Gold, a key difference is in ownership and redemption.

Ownership and Redemption

Even though an ETF like GLD might be “physically backed,” ordinary investors cannot simply go to the ETF marketer or the vaults in which the bullion is claimed to be stored at and redeem their bullion.  Only “authorized participants” are allowed to deposit or withdraw gold and create or redeem shares.  Authorized participants are registered broker-dealers or other securities market participants which have entered into agreements with the trustee and sponsor (think Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, Citigroup, etc.), allowing them to deposit either gold or shares in exchange for the other through unallocated accounts until the operation is completed. Ordinary investors can only buy or sell shares in the open market, after Authorized Participants decide to place or sell them.

In short, ordinary investors and regular shareholders of ETFs have no rights of redemption and the gold is not required to be insured by the Trust, which is not liable for loss, damage, theft, nor fraud.  Therefore, an ordinary investor/shareholder does not actually “own” gold, but rather, owns an asset that is backed by gold which tries to mirror the price performance of gold.

If the ETF is an open ended mutual fund, like GLD, its holdings mainly change due to arbitrage: whenever the trust's shares trade at a discount to the Gold price, "authorized participants" will sell Gold short and buy the trust's shares. Thereafter they will obtain the Gold by redeeming the shares. Conversely, if the shares trade at a premium, they will buy the Gold and sell short the shares concurrently. Then they will create new 'baskets' of shares by delivering the Gold they have bought to the trust.

Hence, as an ordinary investor,  at no time do you actually own a gold coin or bullion bar and the risks entailed in owning ETF Gold are much the same as those of other financial instruments – counterparty risk. In addition, there is the risk of pricing failure, as well as a risk that some of the gold bars owned by the fund are encumbered in some way - you never get to see them anyway.


There are management fees for the ownership of ETFs. These fees will continually cause the ETF price to negatively diverge from the bullion price over time also known as the expense ratio. Management fees or expense ratios can range from 0.4 % to 0.95 % each year.

Paper or Digital Wealth vs. Physical and Real Wealth

In summary, as an ordinary investor, when you buy ETF Gold, you do not own a title to the Gold itself, but rather, you are placing your funds in the hands of the banks that serve as "authorised participants" of the ETF. Essentially, you own nothing more than a stock symbol in your portfolio and this does not protect you from the systematic risks inherent in the financial system.

The misinterpretation of money

In its simplest form, money is a substitution for barter to make trade more efficient (formally: medium of exchange) but money is also a means for generating production by allowing for saving and investment (store of value) and for accounting and reconciliation (unit of account).

Different economic schools view money differently. Even for the doctrines advocating gold as money in some way, there's vast differences. An example is that followers of the Austrian school of economics propose that gold should be used as money generally whereas Freegolders view fiat money as the natural medium for exchange with gold as a store of value.


The distribution of money

There is no doubt enough resources for everyone to survive in the world.

Yet the monetary system is causing enormous disruptions. Western countries are debt stricken. Youth unemployment in Greece and Spain stands at about 60 %. Even when the population, like in Greece, gets sick of it all and votes for a new government or debt restructuring, nothing is changed. More credit. More debt. More unsustainability.

A far greater problem, although mostly ignored, is that there's 2,700,000,000 people in the world living on less than 2 dollars/day. More than 90 % of the population in Liberia, Burundi, Madagascar and Malawi has an income of less than 2 US Dollars/day.

Why are we facing these problems in a time when we have access to an abundance of resources and innovative capabilities?

I believe the monetary system to be the culprit. I can't conceive a monetary system worse than what we have today.

The 1729 quote from Voltaire "Paper money eventually returns to its intrinsic value -- zero" is as true today as ever. One of the most absurd contradictions in the 21st century is that people actually believe that fiat money has a value. Why would anyone believe that?

Credit money certainly shouldn't have any role as a store of value as it creates enormous imbalances between surplus and deficit countries when surplus countries save in debt instruments issued by deficit countries. For medium of exchange, it may be difficult to get rid of fiat money altogether but it's worth questioning if we wouldn't be much better off with the government just issuing the money debt free rather than issuing it as debt which can't be repaid anyways.

A much debated rhetorical and philosophical question is whether there is enough money. Opponents to the gold standard sometimes argue that there's not enough gold for it to work as a medium of exchange.

Followers of the Austrian economic school would argue that the quantity of money doesn't matter as gold can simply increase in value. Under a strict gold standard where the money supply is automatically governed by the supply of gold, price deflation should thus be the natural effect of productivity increases.

Followers of Freegold will argue that a gold standard is unrealistic as history has shown that governments will always eventually resort to credit money to finance whatever needs to be financed to guarantee them be re-elected. Freegolders oppose fiat money as a store of value as it is skewing trade and creating perpetual imbalances but not as a medium of exchange.

My suggestion is a simple one but perhaps utopian in these authoritarian times. Leave the monetary function to the market and there will always be enough money. Let people create their own medium of exchange as they desire. If people prefer credit money issued by a bank so let it be. But in doing so, they also have to be prepared to lose their wealth if the bank goes bankrupt. If people prefer cowry shells as money,  which I incidentally believe to be much better than bank credit money, so let it be.

The misinterpretation of money

Money is a vehicle and a facilitator. It can be saved for investment into automation, mechanization,  innovation and new products that makes our life more convenient.

But money is also information i.e. information spreading a message of  status and power. When your essentials are met, wouldn't it be natural that you pursue your dreams and passions? Paint a picture, watch the stars, swim in the ocean or play football. Yet so many people are living lives and working jobs they hate.

Despite all the technological advancement in the last century improving living standards in many countries, a lot of people don't feel that their life is getting more convenient. Sure, most people in developed countries can earn a living but money has become an obstacle rather than a facilitator. Money is used in the pursuit of status leading people to take jobs because of the money rather than choosing a vocation they are passionate about. 40+ hours of work per week in a job you hate to make money chasing the empty promise of status is a false premise for happiness.

It's a double edged sword though because if you follow your passion and become your own employer, governments and authorities are adding so much bureaucracy into all entrepreneurial ventures that you risk spending all your time on paper work.

Entrepreneurs in many, if not most, countries are drowning in bureaucracy killing their original sincere intention and passion.

I'm a strong supporter of free enterprise. Free enterprise is a model for happiness. That's one of the reasons I have emigrated from Sweden, where most ambitions for small scale private enterprise is killed due to massive bureaucracy, to run BullionStar in Singapore. Singapore is the best country in the world to buy and store gold & silver. When you buy gold & silver in Singapore, there's no taxes whatsoever and there's no reporting requirements. If you store gold & silver in Singapore, you'll benefit from low costs as insurance is comparatively cheap due to the low crime rates, strong rule of law and strong property ownership rights.