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 huge fallout over the WTI Crude oil futures market going negative.

Precious Metals:

Gold, silver prices sharply down as buyers spooked by crude oil

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Gold supply “decimated”; what will a recovery look like? – Perth Mint

Economy & Finance:

At Zero HedgeFed’s National Activity Index Crashes Into Deep Recession Territory

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CLOs Face “Extinction Level Event” As Moodys Prepares To Downgrade A Fifth Of All CLO Bonds

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Von Greyerz: A Hyperinflationary Depression Has Always Been The Inevitable Endgame

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At Wolf Street: Munger: “Nobody Knows What’s Going to Happen.” And This Time, Berkshire Is Not Piling into Stocks & Companies


OilPrice News reports: $0 Oil Forces Canada To Shut Down Crude Production

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On Monday April 20th, shortly before contract expiry, the May futures contract for WTI crude oil set a first-time ever NEGATIVE $37.63. “Take my, oil, please!” This gives new meaning to the often-used descriptor  “collapsing demand,”  And it shows you how absolutely disconnected from reality the commodities futures contract world has become. I’m hoping that the Bakken, Permian Basin, and Canadian producers can survive this protracted price war with the Saudis. But for now, things are looking grim.

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At Seeking Alpha: Copper plunges as market prices in slower demand growth


Over at Goldmoney Insights, some commentary on precious metals derivatives: The looming derivative crisis

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European banks are more imperiled by coronavirus disruption than Wall Street giants.

Forex & Cryptos:

Demand for Bank Notes in Dollars & Euros Spikes Despite Fears of Covid-19 Contaminated Cash

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Coronavirus Forex Updates: April 21, 2020

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There are just 16 days remaining until the next Bitcoin Halving. I suspect that any benefits to this have already been “baked into the cake”, for the relative value of Bitcoin. I must mention: My projection for Bitcoin and most other private cryptos is still negative. Why? I expect more legislation, more taxation, and and the eventual advent of central bank-issued cryptos, along with a plethora national bans on private cryptos–driving them underground. So the long term prospects for private cryptos do not look good. I’d like to be optimistic, but I’m a realist, so I can’t express much optimism for private cryptos, in good conscience.

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Libra Adapts White Paper to Appease US Regulators, Hopes for Changing Tides

Tangibles Investing:

I often have  consulting clients ask me why I place such an emphasis on pre-1899 cartridge guns. Their main advantage is not anything mechanical, or even their clear scarcity. It is legislative. You see, I cannot give a modern sell or even gift a post-1898 to a niece, a nephew or a friend who lives across state lines. That has been Federal law, since 1968. Pre-1899 guns represent the Last Bastion of firearms privacy. Owning a few of them may prove to be crucial, in the next few years. Just think about the current leftist demand for “Universal Background Checks”, nationwide. Another such law was just enacted in Virginia. Pre-1899 “antique” guns are exempt. Ad they will be if there is ever a Federal background check  requirement, for private party sales. So they will become the ONLY practical cartridge guns that can freely bought and sold intrastate without a paper trail. If the Chuck Schumers and Nancy Pelosis of the world do get their “Universal Background Checks”, I predict that the market prices of pre-1899 cartridge guns will double or triple, overnight. So they represent a great investment. Consider them a Hedge on Legislative Tyranny.


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 also see America becoming, just like her neighbors. Old firearms becoming the only smoke from a smoldering fire extinguished by those as fearful of death as they are of life.
    Peace Peace Peace
    And there is none without freedom.

  2. when they finally and inevitably come to take away our firearms, the pre-1899s will be loaded into the back of Nancy’s van along with our still smoking ARs and we’ll be left lying in a pool of our own blood, unfortunately.

    1. I am afraid you are right….It’s not gonna matter if they are pre-1899 firearms, modern firearms, muzzleloaders, crossbows, bows and arrows, they will be all taken when it comes time to clamp down on the citizenry.

      1. Yep, does the orc, care or even know about 1898?. NO, a gun is a gun is a gun…look at stories of shootings by orcs, of airsoft, bb,pellet, cell phone,and yes, finger wielding victims.

      2. It will all come down to one question- when they come to collect guns, will they get your guns or a face full of lead ? The answer will determine whether the Great Experiment of people governing themselves without rulers and kings is still alive or if it is dead and we become serfs and slaves again. It is as simple as that. Will I have the guts to sacrifice my life and that of my family’s so that others may enjoy the blessings of freedom ? Because if I come out blasting, there is a better than 50-50 chance that I will not survive, nor will anyone near me. I pray to Almighty God that I will have the courage to come out blasting.

        1. “Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn’t even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back.”

          ― Heraclitus

          1. I agree with some of the comments, although these antique guns may be the last on the radar, make no mistake, they will be on the radar, after they have stripped Americans of semi auto rifles, then good luck trying to prevent your freedom from being taken and being destined to a FEMA labor camp by fighting tyranny with a pre-1899 firearm.

          2. I know the Col Beckwith quote to which you are referring, “I’d rather go down the river with seven studs, than with a hundred …”. Call it like is…

        2. Don’t worry whether you will have the guts to come out blasting because it’s never going to happen. There’s simply not enough of THEM to ever begin to stand up to OUR mighty army. We rule.

      3. Before God, I swear this creed. My rifle and myself are the defenders of my country. We are the masters of our enemy. We are the saviors of my life. So be it, until victory is America’s and there is no enemy, but peace

  3. Two words: UNCHARTED WATERS.

    Track the facts. Be watchful and aware and discerning.

    Be aware of your blind spots. We all have them.

    Be cautious about the influence of propaganda. Examine carefully what you’re hearing and reading, and do your best to sort beyond arguments that are convincing on the surface, and through to the truth.

    Remain proactive with regard to your planning and your preps. We’re in the midst of a pandemic crisis, but this is not the only threat before us. In fact, the current situation makes us even more vulnerable to the impact of other adverse events.

    Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

    1. The mask is to make you feel better not to protect you. The cloth face mask is 85% or so efficient to protect others from you; your sneeze or cough or even simply your breath. 85% no better and can be far worse depending on how you wear it. BUT it must be removed with gloved hands and disposed of to prevent infecting yourself. Do you have the gloves and hundreds of extra masks to do this a dozen times a day?

      The N95 mask is 95% effective to protect the wearer IF and only if worn properly. No facial hair, a good seal all around and not moved or touched once sealed. It does nothing to protect others from you. It too must be removed with gloves and both the mask and gloves disposed of.

      In other words the masks are like whistling past the graveyard.

      1. Proper p.p.e. that is used properly is highly effective.

        But… The general public is still so absolutely dumb (to be polite) that there are still people who think that this virus comes from drinking Mexican beer.

        There are people on mass transit who are wearing masks and then taking the mask off to chat on the phone. (Yeah girl like no way he ain’t cheating on you…)

        People who are standing in grocery stores with their mask off using their gloved hand to shove chips in their mouth while they are in line…

        At this point every one should have woke up and realized what’s wrong with America….

        It’s us Americans.

        Honestly this has made me wonder how any thing was functioning before. It’s like the movie Idiocracy has gone from a comedy and then became a prophecy then became a documentary.

        1. I was at the store a few days ago and saw a young girl who would pull the mask up to cover her nose and mouth when she got near someone, and pull it back off when she moved away from them. She did this every time she encountered someone.

      2. When a mask is worn to protect others (i.e. surgical masks or homemade cloth masks) it demonstrates a high level of personal responsibility, care, and respect for others and slows the spread of various airborne agents.

        I have worked in the same mask (simple surgical masks, dust masks, and N95 masks) for hours at a time in a medical setting, when doing dusty farm work, and when being exposed to environmental allergens which trigger asthma attacks. I am not sure why a mask would have to be changed “dozens of times a day”. Even when doing hard physical work (and exhaling heavily), I have not had to change a dust or surgical mask more than every 2-3 hours due to compromise from moisture. In a 12 hour work day, the most I would have to change a mask would be 6 times – and only if I am doing hard physical work the whole time.

        An N95 definitely will offer protection to others, not just the wearer. Should I sneeze while wearing one, I have limited the distance those expelled particles will travel, thereby reducing the number of surfaces potentially contaminated by my expelled droplets.

        Wearing masks is a concept born from evidence based medicine, not just some fool’s errand.

        1. “I am not sure why a mask would have to be changed “dozens of times a day”.

          If the mask is working, i.e. protecting you from the corona virus, where do you think that virus is??? It is sitting there on the outside of the mask. If you touch it than it is on your hands. If you put the mask anywhere but into a infectious waste container then it puts someone else at risk.

          A mask makes perfect sense in a hospital or infective environment but it requires that you wear full PPE equipment and when you leave the potentially infective environment that you follow very specific procedures to shed the PPE equipment. If you don’t then you will become infected.

          As worn by the public the masks are at best filtering out 85% or so of the virus and that is roughly the same either coming from the individual or breathed in by the individual. That means if there are 100 individual virus organisms in the breathe of air you breath in you will breath in 15 of them and that is enough to infect you.

          Where the cloth mask does work is when the wearer coughs or sneezes. Again 15%, perhaps more, does pass around the mask into the air but that is an 85% success. But this mask does little to nothing to prevent you from being infected. The mask is a lot like the lucky charm some baseball players keep. It is a wishful myth and it makes you appear that you are being careful.

          1. Yes… the viral particles will be sitting on the outside of the mask. That doesn’t mean I need to change my mask dozens of times a day.

            The object here is not to let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Would you prefer reduced exposure by X% (depending on type of mask)? Or would you prefer to do nothing? It’s obviously a math and logic-based decision everyone has to make for themselves.

          2. “Yes… the viral particles will be sitting on the outside of the mask. That doesn’t mean I need to change my mask dozens of times a day.”

            Yes, you would be correct as long as you don’t take it off. When you take it off you handle it and the virus gets pushed around and now is likely on the inside as well as the outside.

            I do have a mask that my wife made. I carry it with me if I go to the store just incase they are mandating it’s use. I don’t want to make others feel uncomfortable or flaunt the rules so if the mask is required I wear it. I take it off when I’m done and stuff it in my pocket until the next time. I don’t worry about the virus being on it for a simple reason. there is a 99,99% chance there is no virus on it because it was not even necessary. After all I’m not in a covid-19 ward in the hospital I’m at Walmart. If there is virus on it I don’t have gloves so I would have gotten it all over me anyway. Essentially the mask is useless unless you can adhere to the strict protocols of a isolation ward in a hospital.

            Most people do pretty much the same thing. That is they wear the mask only when at the store and then save it until next time. It isn’t doing them any good except making them feel better, just like whistling past a graveyard.

          3. OneGuy, if Mr. Rawles will allow it, I will gladly send you some of my own masks and gloves. While you might think it’s all “whistling past the graveyard”, I am more concerned you don’t end up permanently visiting the graveyard due to not having proper protection. I don’t know any of my neighbors, friends, or family who are using a mask the way you described that you are doing. You may be right that there’s absolutely no covid19 virus at your Walmart. I hope so. But I am certainly willing to send you some PPE if that will help keep you and your wife a bit safer.

            Warm regards sent from chilly Montana,

          4. I bought a box of N95 masks about 8 years ago. When I took the mask off I used the elastic bands, never touching the mask. I haven’t needed the mask as I haven’t been inside a building other than my house in 6 weeks, but I’ve worn it once while picking up groceries for the benefit of the person loading my car. Practice now so I’ll be ready if I do need to go into a building and be close to people.

      3. Our first strategy is self-isolation, and we’re doing this with extremely rare exception.

        Our supplemental strategy involves N95 masks, Nitrile gloves, unvented goggles, head (hair) coverings, and more. We are careful beyond description, and employ levels of prevention closely akin to those of a Level 4 Biohazard Lab when we engage anyone or anything outside our tightly held home environment. No kidding. We are also skilled in the use of these preventive tools, although we recognize that the only zero-risk environment is one with absolutely zero-exposure.

        We encourage everyone to understand these preventive tools, and to use them correctly for their own protection.

        Plan to survive to attend the victory celebration on the other side of the crisis.

        Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

  4. A federal judge on Thursday blocked a California law requiring background checks for people buying ammo. His quote was “The experiment has been tried. The casualties have been counted. California’s new ammunition background check law misfires and the Second Amendment rights of California citizens have been gravely injured.”
    He also blocked the “no internet ammo sales to California” law, so this in essence becomes like Freedom Week was for “regular” capacity magazines.
    He stated also stated “Criminals, tyrants, and terrorists don’t do background checks. The background check experiment defies common sense while unduly and severely burdening the Second Amendment rights of every responsible, gun-owning citizen desiring to lawfully buy ammunition.”
    So all Californians should stock up now while they are not being tracked

    1. “so this in essence becomes like Freedom Week was for “regular” capacity magazines.”

      Except that in this case, due to all of the coronavirus-related panic buying, the nationwide supply has already been somewhat depleted, and if you do find what you’re looking for, the price/round is generally not great.

      Hopefully most here were stocked up long ago.

      1. Unfortunately, sir, many of us are not- due to the vagaries of the Kali ammo experiment. And surrounding states that demand a DL before purchase…. only to say thank you, no, we cannot due to your state of residence. Some of us, well ready to shed the confines of the left coast, are- well in my case- readily remaining to attend to family members for whom distant care is not an option.
        They attended to my dawn, so I remain to assist them in the twilight.

        1. Well said, sir. As Robert E. Lee said, “Duty is the sublimest word in the English language.”. Your commitment, which is also in accordance with the Fifth Commandment, is truly admirable.

  5. Re Currency in Circulation, Federal Reserve puts out a report every Thursday. Yesterday’s report indicates there is now $1,891 Billion. There was a big spike of 4% in March — equal to 49% if continued for a year — but further demand in April appears to have dropped back to more normal growth –about 0.75 percent.

    Reason to watch this, of course, is that if banks run short of cash that could trigger bank runs followed by bank closures with federal restrictions on how much can be withdrawn weekly.

    Although widespread deployment of debit cards have lowered the risk of this compared to decades ago.

  6. Re: Berkshire

    They are probably not buying because we have not yet determined whether we will continue this charade or shutting everything down for no reason. The data is in. COVID is not the pandemic it was thought to be. Not the flu but about like the flu. And less arbitrary than the flu. We know who needs to be protected and who is safe.

    But this vast government over reach has got the socialists all excited about their new found power. They had part of the populous convinced to let them run the show for decades. Now they have scared many hold outs into submission and they don’t want that to end. Evidence to be damned.

    Time for massive protest and civil disobedience. Shove the cowards out of the way and get this country running again.

  7. Watch the trend in fuel prices, and know when to top off reserves with websites like this one.

    Prices in Montana in the big cities range from $1.41 to 1.69 (Cost Co). Locally the price is about $1.85. A fuel service in Kalispell will deliver in our area that is 70 miles away for about 6 cents per gallon, or roughly the same, or less as fuel can be purchased locally. As regular unleaded gas has a shelf life considered to be about 6 months untreated, I would pay extra for non ethanol premium that when treated can still start and run a V-8 motor after 3 years of storage. Chainsaws are best run on non ethanol premium as fuels with ethanol are hydrophillic and do absorb water condensate that does not mix with 2 cycle oil. It is difficult to determine the presence of water in fuels that contain ethanol until it is saturated with water and begins to pool at the bottom of the tank. If this occurs, the risk of damage to the saw using this fuel is high. A lack of lubrication caused by this condition can damage the saw. And consider that the octane rating quickly declines during storage, so it is far better to store fuel for saw that are the highest available. Hot saws with low octane fuel can be damaged by pre-ignition and excessive heat that can melt a hole in pistons. If your hot saw continues to run on after being switched off, the octane rating is too low for that saw and oil mixture.

    For the longest fuel storage purchase premixed Tru-fuel brand or another brand that boasts a 5 year shelf life. The best price is found at the big box stores. Low lead aviation fuel is also a good option, especially if a large quantity can be purchased. The high octane rating of 101 will allow the fuel to be safe for several years for modern saws that are run hard and hot in the summer, and it does not need to be stabilized as there are much fewer additives, but it should be stored in metal containers that are airtight for the longest storage life, preferable underground or in a covered pit where temperatures are cool and stable, as the benzine necessary for starting a motor will evaporate first, and quickly in higher temperatures. If this occurs, bubbling propane into the fuel to replace the benzine could be tried, or use ether to start the motor. Fill the tank to reduce the amount of oxygen available that can oxidize and reduce the shelf life, but do leave some space in the container for the expansion of the fuel. Metal 5 gallon jerry cans are ideal small storage containers for long term storage if the gasket is good and can contain the pressures created when temperatures cause evaporation.

    I can only estimate from reports found on the internet that Av gas potentially could store well in ideal condition for long as 5 years or much longer, or at least as long as the Tru-fuel brand of premix chainsaw gas that is found with both 40:1 or 50:1 mixes. I suspect Tru-fuel is Avgas. I would buy the least expensive of the two. The 40:1 mix likely has a lower octane rating than the 50:1, so buy the 50:1 should the manufacturer of your saw recommends 50:1.

    1. Gasoline, Fuel for chain saws, Part 2

      As a cost cutting measure for long term fuel storage for chain saw fuel, consider your annual need, and purchase 2 years worth using ethanol free premium gasoline, and fill out the future fuel need with Tru-fuel, or competing brand of fuels that claim a storage life of 5 years.

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