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 examine the trend of pandemic era “sight unseen” house buying. (See the Tangibles Investing section.)

Precious Metals:

I recommend watching a fascinating video interview with Egon Von Greyerz: Spiking Food Prices Kick Off Inflationary Endgame. He calls the current unemployment rate “catastrophic.”  He warms of eventual hyperinflation. And at the 19 minute mark he clearly illustrates how the stock markets are disconnected from reality.  He predicts much higher prices for precious metals  “…as a function of the destruction of paper money.”

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Commerzbank: gold-silver price ratio hits lowest level since mid-March

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Hub Moolman: Silver Is Ensured A Prosperous 2020 Thanks To The Fed

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25% of your portfolio should be gold, 5% bitcoin says inventor, venture capitalist Alex Mashinsky

Economy & Finance:

Mortgage delinquencies caused by the coronavirus will exceed Great Recession levels, according to this forecast

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At Zero Hedge: Goldman Spots A Huge Problem For The Fed

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J.C. Penney Files for Bankruptcy Protection

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At Wolf Street: Week 8 of the Collapse of the U.S. Labor Market: Nearing a Previously Unthinkably Deep Bottom?


John in Seattle sent us this: Northwest meat supply disrupted as demand and prices spike

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OilPrice News reports: Natural Gas Drillers Face Price Meltdown As Storage Fills Fast.

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USDA: World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates


At the same time that the Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank is predicting a GDP drop of -23% to -42%, the stock markets are rallying. JWR’s Comments: This on-again, off-again rally shows how disconnected from reality the equities markets have become. I beg my readers: PLEASE get out of any stocks that are not Depression Proof, ASAP! The real crash is yet to come.

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Investors are not buying the stock market rally

Forex & Cryptos:

GBP/USD Price Analysis: Pound-Dollar Probes Big Support Level

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Coronavirus Forex Updates: May 20, 2020

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At Forbes: Another piece of the supranational e-currency puzzle falls into place: Visa Applies For Digital Dollar Blockchain Patent. A snippet:

“Congress considered the idea of a digital dollar when debating the CARES Act, the third COVID-19 relief package. Although the digital dollar was not included in the final legislation, separate bills have been introduced in both the House and the Senate that looks to legally create a digital dollar at the Federal Reserve and also a digital dollar wallet at the U.S. Treasury. The digital dollar was suggested to provide economic stimulus benefits and possibly universal basic income to Americans.”

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Reader Bear sent this: COVID-19 may change one common American behavior forever

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US Treasury Issues Stimulus Debit Cards Because They Failed to Launch a Cryptocurrency

Tangibles Investing:

Amid pandemic, buyers are shopping for Michigan houses sight unseen

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Sight-Unseen Offers Are Growing

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Realtors report increase in sight-unseen sales

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Desperate Sellers, Nervous Buyers: Real Estate Sales in a Pandemic

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The Delicate Art of Buying a Home in a Pandemic


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. Goldman spotting a huge problem for the Fed, Now there is a good laugh. They have had a large hand in running the Fed since 1913. Almost all directors of the Fed have come from the banking industry. If they see a problem it is because they created it.

  2. Re: COVID may change one common American behavior

    We will see. Personally I don’t use much cash anyway for most purchases but I don’t know about it going away entirely.

    Public behavior regarding COVID is interesting. I still go to work every day. The people I work with and I are pretty much COVID “deniers”. Not that we don’t think it is real but that it is primarily a nursing home disease and the numbers are being hugely fudged and the lockdown is more dangerous than the virus. We do not wear masks unless we are in a situation where it is completely mandated.

    I recently attended two meetings with “outsiders” over the course of a week. I showed up to the first one with a mask on in deference to the meeting leader and because I thought it might be mandated in the building. I had spoken to the leader face to face in our building and she had not worn a mask but I did not want to cause her any issues in her own building. She was not wearing a mask nor did she appear to have one. I took mine off and pocketed it. I entered the conference room and as people drifted in almost all wore masks. Over the course of the meeting almost all removed their masks. Only one person retained it. One of the youngest, fittest people in the room at the least statistical risk for the virus. At the second meeting a few days later only this one person wore a mask.

    So as I watch this I see behavior modification in action.

    The media and politicians have whipped this event up quite effectively however IMO people will return to normalcy. Slowly at first but it will snowball eventually. You will create a few permanent germaphobes but for the most part people will return to normal behavior before too long.

    1. I do not believe that China would have reacted the way they did, shutting down their golden goose economy, welding the doors shut on Wuhan, and building a fully functioning hospital (not a field hospital) in 10 days. Recent events indicate that China also tested 11,000,000 people in 10 days. 1.1 million a day. We are not working at that level yet.

      China definitely knows something we do not know.

      The youngest fittest person in the room was probably wearing PPE to protect a vulnerable family member he is close to and cares about.

      I hope it goes away but I am preparing for a bad fall and winter.

      1. I also believe ~Just Fish is using good analysis of the potential danger of this virus from Communist China. … There was a worldwide partial shutdown in most countries. … … China’s sock-puppet neighbor Dictator Kim Jong Un went into hiding. [Disappeared into his bunker to the point where the Fake News speculated, he may have died.]

        The Fake News wants to have Americans to think it was all Trump’s Fault [Blame the Orange Man].
        All over the world, people with money and power understand the true villainy of Communist China. Trump has pushed a desperate Rat into a corner.
        Make sure your preps are secure. There may be ~more viruses escaping China in our future.

  3. THank you, JWR, for including the links to articles on buy/investing in a house. My spouse & I recently moved to a new community, b/c I started a new job. We’ve not yet started looking at houses. A realtor is basically a sales person, & therefore, in my humble opinion, is not inclined to reveal any aspects of a house that appear undesirable or could cause problems at a later time. THus, when we look at houses online, I find myself wondering what problems are not shown. Thus, we plan look at pics & videos of houses for sale, but not make an offer until we’ve seen it in person, w/ our own eyes. I also recall warnings – in previous times – not to buy real estate sight-unseen. Since this will likely be our biggest purchase of our lifetimes, we’re not taking chances. Thanks again, JWR.

    1. Your realtor works for you as the buyer and the seller’s realtor works for the seller (the seller pays the fees). I believe that property disclosures are required by law in all states. I realtor could lose their license if all the disclosures are not documented to the buyer. The other thing to note is that word of mouth in the realty business can make or break a realtor. A poor review by a client can destroy their business. They have a vested interest in making sure you have all the information you need to make a sound purchase. A local realtor in the area you are looking in, could know things that aren’t documented anywhere. For instance, when I was looking at homes that had wells and septic, she knew that the county was slowly making people hook up to public water and sewer, which is very costly. She saved me heartache. I’m not a realtor and no one in my family is – I just know that a good realtor is worth their weight in gold. I normally, when house shopping, scout out the area thoroughly, do as much research as I can online, get clear on my goals and prioritize them. Then I start searching for a highly recommended realtor. I never waive inspections and always pay for thorough inspections. I don’t want any surprises.
      Just my two cents.

  4. From the Market Watch article linked above under “Economics & Finance”…
    “Fannie Mae FNMA, 0.61% and Freddie Mac FMCC, -0.91% have taken steps to reduce the burden on servicers, which are still expected to forward payments onto investors for four months after a borrower has stopped paying or entered into a forbearance agreement.”

    This is a good example of the time delay between an event (non-payment by a mortgagor) and the result (non-payment to an investor). It creates a slow motion effect in the unfolding of an economic calamity.

    During a time of adversity (something more typical or cyclically anticipated), when difficult events are expected to unfold over a relatively short time span, the time buffer can help smooth out some bumps in the financial road, and prevent “near misses” from becoming “actualized disasters”. All this to say that, as a policy and practice, the time buffer — generally speaking — serves a good and useful purpose.

    Given current pandemic conditions, the time buffer may or may not prevent the worst outcomes such as the losses of homes to foreclosure — tragic under any circumstance. This crisis and its consequences are more likely to unfold across a much longer time line — and strains within the system like those described in the article are likely to persist.

    Most assuredly, an understanding of all of this underlies the remarkable efforts to simultaneously create short term buffers and to truncate the time horizon of the current crisis — even understanding that the efforts will not be without problems in the present, and consequences that will travel with us well into the future.

    All that having been said… There is no easy way out of this one. …and there may be (and probably will be) other adversities before us. Please pray for the wisdom and discernment of President Trump and his trusted advisors, for our country, and for all its people.

    Remain steady. Be safe. Stay well everyone!

  5. I believe “they” are trying to flatten the curve in any area possible to avoid folks reacting to the horror of it all in real time. Somehow slow motion lessens the emotional responses they are fearing as well as the awakening of the masses.

  6. These gloom n doom folks are the same ones screaming recession a few years ago. The market never looked as good anytime in my lifetime till the pandemic.
    The truth is no one really knows because of the amount of variables. I’ve heard it was the end in 82-83 and again in 07-08. It wasn’t.
    If your close to retirement then don’t gamble it. If your not willing to gamble it then invest elsewhere cause it’s not for the weak stomach.

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