Economics & Investing For Preppers

Here are the latest news items and commentary on current economics news, market trends, stocks, investing opportunities, and the precious metals markets. We also cover hedges, derivatives, and obscura. Most of these items are from the “tangibles heavy” contrarian perspective of SurvivalBlog’s Founder and Senior Editor, JWR. Today, we look at the wide-reaching economic implications of the Coronavirus outbreak in China.

Precious Metals:

News of the spread of the Wuhan Pneumonia virus put a scare into the industrial side of the precious metals market — with silver, platinum, and palladium all turning down. If the outbreak gets any worse, then nearly all commodities will suffer.

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Gold, which is both an industrial metal and an inflation hedge, has fared better: Gold eases off six-year highs as equities regain favor for now

Economy & Finance:

Nikkei Asian Review: World braces for economic impact of Wuhan coronavirus outbreak. JWR’s Comment: If this gets more widespread, then the real economic winners will be “stay at home” and/or “at a distance”, such as: Netflix, Amazon, eBay, et cetera. Who knows? Ham radio and remote camping may become popular. The biggest losers will likely be public venues, tourism, cruise ships, team sports, movie theaters, conventions, spectator sports, concerts, and so forth. Adjust your investments, accordingly.

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At Zero Hedge: “Everything Just Changed” – CoV Contagion Sparks Massive Treasury Short Stop-Out, Stock Dealers Flip “Short Gamma”

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How China’s Economy Is Taking a Hit From Coronavirus

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SARS Versus Wuhan: The Difference Between Then & Now


“Dr. Copper” takes the market’s pulse, after the viral outbreak. Copper is down 8.2%, from January 20th. Ouch!

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OilPrice News reports: Coronavirus Sends Panic Through Oil Markets


At Wolf Street: Tesla’s Global Deliveries Compared to the Top 10: Volkswagen, Toyota, GM, Ford, Honda, FCA, Mercedes… Here’s the Chart.

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Chinese traders dump stocks from Wuhan amid coronavirus outbreak

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Dow Futures Crash as Coronavirus Spreads and Rocket Hits U.S. Embassy

Forex & Cryptos:

Yuan hits 3-week low, yen rises as China grapples with virus outbreak

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Dollar, yen strengthen as Chinese virus toll rises

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How Coronavirus Outbreak in China Could Weigh on Crypto Prices. JWR’s Comment: Because cryptocurrencies are traded electronically instead of hand-to-hand, then the long term impact of a pandemic could be positive for the cryptos, e-banking, and most sorts of e-commerce.

Tangibles Investing:

I heard from a SurvivalBlog reader in North Dakota who recently got “badly burned” in a deal for an antique Colt .44-40 revolver that had been advertised on It was supposedly coming from a seller in Texas, but the reader now suspects that the scammer is actually in Nigeria. Unless you are buying face to face, beware. You might just be buying “vaporware” consisting of a photo and a description that were both lifted from the Internet. If buying via mail order, then buy only from reputable sellers. Remember: If you are buying and selling guns with an average 20% markup on each trade or sale, then it will take an average of five subsequent trades of comparable value guns to make up for the loss of one 100% ripoff.

And I’ve noticed strong bidding over at for original Boer War vintage guns–such as this Mauser short rifle. Ditto for Spanish-American War guns, where original pre-1899 Krags and some Spanish contract Mausers are getting strong bids. So it appears that guns from the 1890s have an appeal for legal reasons, and for historical reasons.


SurvivalBlog and its Editors are not paid investment counselors or advisers. Please see our Provisos page for our detailed disclaimers.

News Tips:

Please send your economics and investing news tips to JWR. (Either via e-mail of via our Contact form.) These are often especially relevant, because they come from folks who closely watch specific markets. If you spot any news that would be of interest to SurvivalBlog readers, then please send it in. News from local news outlets that is missed by the news wire services is especially appreciated. And it need not be only about commodities and precious metals. Thanks!


  1. I have been a seller on gunbroker for 15 years and now in the last year Iv had people from inside the usa and outside steal my pictures and post the item on armslist and gunsamerica with their contact info. ONLY bid on auctions that have over hundreds of positive sales on review.

  2. Just some pricing notations from the secondary Market, eBay and Craigslist for N95 masks.

    A search of the completed listings on eBay revealed that masked sales have increased in both frequency and price. One listing closed today for a two pack of 3M 8511 masks for $36.99. That was for a two pack, which breaks down to $18.50 masks. The most prevalent pricing was in the $4.50 to $6 per mask range. There were a number of listings that closed however with individual mass prices being $9 up to $10 per masks. My guess is that in two weeks it will solidly be $8 to $14 per mask. If the United States experiences a genuine epidemic mask prices could easily reach $15 to $20 per mask. Astounding. People will spend that kind of money when they judge it to be “necessary” but do nothing and spend nothing in preparation. Reactionary not precautionary. How utterly short-sighted and foolish. Locally Craigslist is starting to see pop-up ads for N95 masks as well. Individual mask prices are in the $5 range for right now.

    Now, let’s extrapolate that out to the rest of the markets and commodities. What do you suppose the market’s going to bear for a case of chicken noodle soup 60 days from now? How about for Purell hand sanitizer? Or any other number of items, or all the items. The problem currently is in China and is migrating to the rest of Asia but the tentacles are already spreading globally. Each day is bringing new countries to the list of confirmed cases. Herd mentality is ridiculously predictable. People will panic buy. Supply line disruption is very likely due to the shutdown of factories and distribution in China already. Exponential growth and extrapolation show the potential. This thing may get bad, it may get severe or it may get catastrophic. We just don’t know yet and it is impossible to stand here and look far enough forward to see what will come. But the one thing that I absolutely do not want to do is underestimate this.

  3. This article is now on the Internet. Something to watch for, as to further information. If true, they ~might be a case of ~modified Coronavirus Flu, or an amazing coincidence.

    “Uncanny similarity of unique inserts in the 2019-nCoV spike protein to ~~>HIV-1 gp120 and Gag” ~ From biorxiv(dot)org … Today 1/31/2020.

    “We are currently witnessing a major epidemic caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019- nCoV). The evolution of 2019-nCoV remains elusive. We found 4 insertions in the spike glycoprotein (S) which are unique to the 2019-nCoV and are not present in other coronaviruses. Importantly, amino acid residues in all the 4 inserts have identity or similarity to those in the HIV-1 gp120 or HIV-1 Gag. Interestingly, despite the inserts being discontinuous on the primary amino acid sequence, 3D-modelling of the 2019-nCoV suggests that they converge to constitute the receptor binding site.
    The finding of 4 unique inserts in the 2019-nCoV, all of which have identity /similarity to amino acid residues in key structural proteins of HIV-1 is unlikely to be fortuitous in nature. This work provides yet unknown insights on 2019-nCoV and sheds light on the evolution and pathogenicity of this virus with important implications for diagnosis of this virus.
    Just on the Internet now. We need more information from the American CDC.

    1. GGHD,

      Do we have a link? Genetic engineering is far more advanced than most are aware of. It will soon be routine. I actually had a girlfriend back in the late 1980’s who worked in lab at the University of Loma Linda, and holds a patent on a device and method for genetic engineering. That was a long time ago. She was involved in state of the art gene splicing. Computers and other equipment, now used, are light years beyond that. We should not underestimate what they can do today. What we know about is mind boggling. Thanks.

    2. Thanks for the link. Here is a quote in the comment section that speaks for itself:

      “In the supplemental Fig S2, the author mentioned that “the Bat-SARS Like CoV in the last row shows that insert 1 and 4 is very unique to Wuhan 2019-nCoV”. In fact, the Bat-SARS Like CoV, discovered in 2013, contains all the four insertions. Insertion 2 and 3 of 2019-nCoV are identical to Bat-SARS Like CoV. Insertion 1 involves two synonymous and one Thr-Ile mutation. Insertion 4 contains one synonymous mutation and a 12-bp insertion. Therefore, the two viruses have very high sequence similarity, and are likely evolutionarily related, naturally. Indeed, the four identified insertions are the result of the pair-wise comparison of Wuhan 2019-nCoV and 2013 SARS virus (Fig 1), and are an artifact when comparing only two viruses. The ‘insertions’ regions also appear in other coronavirus, as indicated in the multiple comparison in Fig.S1, possibly functionally important.”

      1. “… the two viruses have very high sequence similarity, and are likely evolutionarily related, naturally. …” must be what TunnelRabbit is referring to in the comment section.

        I’ll rely on his expertise in understanding the file/article.

        [I only took the mandated science courses in school] The comments are excellent and worth reading. At the moment, there are only 8 comments. … The comments are further evidence, we need our information from the American CDC.

        The only possible problem that could occur, ‘just maybe’ many of the CDC ‘Laboratory Scientists’ might be Communist Chinese Scientists working in the USA on a ‘green card’ visa; yet staying loyal to Communist China. [There has been a concerted effort to replace American workers with foreigners; especially in the technical fields.]

        1. I’m no expert on noth’n, but I believe he is saying that it closely related to Bat SARS. I also believe he saying that it could have some of the attributes of SARS. If so, that is not good. This only my interpretation of his interpretation.

          Bottomline is that we do not know, and will have to wait and see. SARS had a high death rate. Given the long incubation period, it’ll take many weeks to get any idea. Who knows!

          1. TunnelRabbit, you are too modest. … Compared to me (& a lot of other people), you’re the Albert Einstein of Science and Prepping.

            The comments reviewing the original article are excellent. There are now 10 comments to ‘paper’ about the Wuhan Flu virus. The comments seem to argue that, = there is a naturally occurring development to this Flu Strain. … You’re right! We’ll have to wait to get a good understanding about the death rate.
            We do need the dependability of American scientists, and also good peer review of the conclusions about the new Wuhan Flu. … NO ONE is perfect in Scientific Research or in Prepping.

            People need to read once again Survivalblog’s Resource Page. = ~Protecting Your Family From an Influenza Pandemic~ +Check the preps.

            There is an atypical and very unusual response by governments and health agencies to the Wuhan Coronavirus Flu. This new flu is NOT being ‘controlled’ like an ordinary seasonal flu virus.

        2. Just because the commentor sees no evidence, doesn’t mean that it is not a Franken-virus, it just that he, personally, does not see any evidence. And how is it that the HIV-1 insert is there? We simply do not know at this time. The “hypermutable ” characteristic is bad because it increases the odds that it can infected a wider selection of hosts who might be resistant to the original version, and a smaller sample of mutations. It is possible that several strains of the virus might be present and distributed by the same host. Bad stuff. This increases the transmission rate, infection rate, and kill rate. I am merely thinking out loud, and know nothing that is substantive or predictive. This all Bio 101 stuff.

          Alex Jones has connections and makes a very good presentation all should watch. In the closing remarks he states to the effect that this a pneumonia virus begin used to spread HIV, that is airborne and “mutagenic”, and very dangerous. I question the airborne part, but based upon some of the information on this thread, it is plausible to myself.

  4. Matt Bracken speaks on the possible social ramifications of the Corona Virus. Interview begins at 23 min, 25 seconds.

    IHMO, it is too soon to know what will happen, however, if what we have seen on early videos and reports out of China happens here, it will not be pretty. Nowhere in history has30- 50 million people been quarantined and left without food, piles of dirt blocking escape routes out of the city. China is taking this seriously, yet I hear medical doctors underestimate the possible threat. There are many authorities, who are only human, who will be under informed, and their audience might be under prepared as a result.

  5. If reports of HIV insertions in the 2019-nCoV are accurate and they were intentional, the hand of the devil himself is in this. Even understanding the dark recesses of the world in which we live (seeing evidence of these all around us), the idea that anyone would do such a thing captures one’s attention — and is sickening.

    1. Agree. It ain’t looking good. It could be a Frankenstein virus. Rumor has it, that this was accidentally released from a biological warfare development lab in Wuhan, the first city that was effected. I look at the actions of the Chinese government, and pretty much ignore the numbers and speculation, even from authoritative sources. Never in history has there been such a swift move to quarantine over 50 million people without a way to deliver food. Routes in and out are blocked with mounds of dirt. They are in a panic mode, hastily building a hospital for about 100,000. There is video of people falling and bouncing their heads on the cement, dead bodies in the street, and abandoned street markets. And much more. These video are apparently being removed from the net, and China is censoring. Yet some commentators believe the official numbers of only of a few thousand or more dead, and say there is nothing to worry about.

      1. Exactly. You are so right. Watch the behaviors… These are quite telling, and terribly revealing. We anticipate much greater controls over the dissemination of information which certainly begs the question…

        Why not present people with the truth?

        Honest answers to this question would be deeply disturbing — and quite terrifying — to those who do not yet understand the nature of this darkness.

        1. This is could be important opinion to consider and is from the source linked above. Basically I believe he is saying that it is unlikely to be a man made virus, and there is no evidence ( contridicts my “Franken-virus” postulated). And the HIV-1 insert does not make it behave as HIV. Because it is an RNA type virus it will naturally mutate quickly. This fact is both good and bad. Usually bad, because it’s mission in ‘life’ is to replicate, and that is what causes the host to become sick. The RNA type virus uses RNA, an intra cellular organelle, as a site to replicate. Exchange of genetic material does occur there.

          Snipet from the comment:

          “As for the so called “identity” with HIV gag proteins, again, as pointed out by others, is spurious. Both HIV and coronaviruses are RNA virus and are hypermutable. The fact that positions important for host-virus interactions, i.e. where the new insertions were found, can be variable in the new infectious Wuhan isolate is expected and there is no evidence suggests that this is a result of human manipulation.”

  6. News of the spread of the Wuhan Pneumonia virus Will cause commodities to go down.

    I am curious as to why? No further explanation was give as to why?

    Any enlightenment on this would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  7. So, the Chinese built a 1,000 bed hospital in 10 days… Damn smart of them, it could well be a practice run for any disaster or military adventure (invasion of Taiwan?). It looked like they had the structure components ready to go as pre-fab pieces. Now, they have real world experience in handling mass casualties.

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