The latest from Dylan Grice at Societe Generale discusses gold and the most important question that any investor involved in a big bull market seeks the answer to: when is the time to sell? Grice says the time to sell gold will be during the NEXT big government crisis. Not just any event. He says the problems in Dubai and Greece were just appetizers for what is an inevitable tornado in the global credit crisis:
“What causes the political winds to change? A government crisis. In 2008, Ireland came very close to going the way of Iceland. They had their crisis. And historians today still refer to the “inflation fatigue” in Britain by the end of the 1970s. This was our crisis. So what we learn from these experiences and others like them is that a fiscal crisis is required to force a majority acceptance of the implications of an overleveraged government.
But the political winds in countries with central banks are a long way from blowing in the direction of fiscal rectitude. And while it’s true that more people are at least talking about it, talk is very cheap and no one is yet close to walking the walk. Such steps remain politically unpopular because we haven’t had our crisis yet. Given the clear unsustainability of government finances and the explosive path government leverage is on, a government funding crisis is both inevitable and necessary. Dubai and Greece are merely the first claps of thunder in what is going to be a long emergency.
Eventually, there will be a crisis of such magnitude that the political winds change direction, and become blustering gales forcing us onto the course of fiscal sustainability. Until it does, the temptation to inflate will remain, as will economists with spurious mathematical rationalisations as to why such inflation will make everything OK (witness the IMF’s recent recommendation that inflation targets be raised to 4%: IMF Tells Bankers to Rethink Inflation – WSJ). Until it does, the outlook will remain favorable for gold. But eventually, majority opinion will accept the painful contractionary medicine because it will have to. That will be the time to sell gold.”
Sounds a bit doom and gloomish, but he’s probably right. The time to sell gold will be when fear about government debts reaches a crescendo. Grice (incorrectly in my opinion) implies that developed markets are at risk (you can imagine the usual suspects – konichiwa!), but I still think the more likely issues will resurface in Europe where the crisis is far from being resolved and instead merely kicked down the road….
Mr. Roche is the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of Discipline Funds.Discipline Funds is a low fee financial advisory firm with a focus on helping people be more disciplined with their finances.
He is also the author of Pragmatic Capitalism: What Every Investor Needs to Understand About Money and Finance, Understanding the Modern Monetary System and Understanding Modern Portfolio Construction.
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