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 incredibly volatile global stock markets. (See the Stocks section.)

Precious Metals:

Price of Physical Gold Decouples from Paper Gold

o  o  o

Gold price remains down as Philly Fed survey see largest drop in history. JWR’s Comments: Some institutional stock traders are feeling squeezed by the new bear equities market. Margin calls can be painful!  They are liquidating anything and everything–including their precious metals and cryprocurrencies–to raise some desperately needed cash. So, oddly, “paper” silver is down, while physical silver is increasingly scarce and selling at high premiums.

o  o  o

An observation:  As of Thursday morning, spot silver was at $12.00 per Troy ounce (a 12-year low), while spot gold was at $1,476.60 per Troy ounce. That is a ratio of 123-to-1. So this is a great time to sell gold (including gold ETFs) and immediately buy physical silver. This is if you can find any silver coins or small serailized bars at a $8 per ounce premium over spot. And as always, don’t accept just a promise of delivery. If you can’t take it home with you that same day, then you don’t really own it.

Economy & Finance:

With the Fed cutting interest rates to a “…a range between 0 and 0.25 percent” we are back into a Negative Interest Rate Policy (NIRP), when adjusted for inflation. So this means the Central Banksters’ quiver is empty, unless they go Full Japanese. At this point I’d say that a recession is a near certainty, and that a full scale depression is fairly likely. Plan accordingly.

o  o  o

At Zero Hedge: “Half Of America Will Get Sick”: Here Is What Goldman Told 1,500 Clients In Its Emergency Sunday Conference Call

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Another: The Covid-19 Dominoes Fall: The World Is Insolvent

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RBC expects 20% decline in US vehicle sales amid coronavirus outbreak

Commodities:

As of Tuesday (March 17th), Copper was down another 5%. The decline for the year-to-date was 16.42%. A painful indicator for the industrial commodities, in general.

o  o  o

OilPrice News reports: Morgan Stanley Slashes Brent Oil Forecast To $30

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Saudi Aramco: The World’s Largest Oil Company Sees Profits Fall By $22 Billion

Stocks:

The roller-coaster ride continues, complete with plenty of screaming. On Monday(March 16, 2020), the DJIA dropped a record 2,999 points. Later in the week doubtless followed some carefully engineered Plunge Protection, there was a market rebound. But there is still a strong smell of Bear in the air. My suggestion: Be wise and take advantage of any market rally days in the next few weeks to unload your stocks.

o  o  o

At Wolf Street: S&P 500 Plunged Most Since 1987, Gave Up in 18 Days the 42% Gains of Past 3 Years. Boeing Shares Collapsed

Forex & Cryptos:

When I last checked, the GBP/USD pair was slipping again.

o  o  o

Tangibles Investing:

Signs of the Times: Hole Foods

o  o  o

Lots of folks have bugged out to their retreats, in recent weeks. If the nationwide lockdown is expanded to include long distance travel restrictions, then your window of opportunity to get Out of Dodge may be closing. A “Hidey Hole in Idaho” is a fine dual-purpose tangible investment. But it won’t contribute to your chances of survival if you cannot get there. My advice is simple: Get there.

Provisos:

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!




48 Comments

  1. Lots of information in my email yesterday and this early AM such as

    The place I order PMS from has raised the minimum order amount

    My bank is reducing hours, closing the lobbies & using drive thru only & you have to make an appointment on a certain day to access safety deposit boxes (people are going to freak over this!)
    I already conducted my business at my bank and the bank my parents use but yikes!!

    Rock on

  2. I ordered an Oxygen Concentrator off Amazon when JWR suggested it. It supposedly shipped but I received a notice from Amazon yesterday that my money was being refunded. Anyone else have this happen?

    1. JS

      I ordered the O2 Concentrator about 3 weeks ago, It shipped but the battery didn’t. I’ll have to plug it in to work it but at least I have one. Then I’ve seen it go up $80 overnight. They must have been selling them out…

      If you’re in the Redoubt, come over and I’ll let you have a turn at it. The O2 is not that steady of a stream. There are better ones out there, if you want to pay the price.

      1. Jefferson Davis and JS: The Oxygen Concentrator which had been linked to here seems to be one which is sold under several different names, on Amazon.

        I asked at the time whether Mr. Rawles had personal experience with this unit, or was otherwise recommending it…..but I received no reply.

        I had been looking at Oxygen Concentrator’s for a while at that point, and had learned that most portable units often achieve their flow ratings by using a ‘pulse action’, rather than ‘continuous flow’.

        Further, I had my suspicions that a $250-$350 portable Oxygen Concentrator would be durable, reliable, or even perform well initially.

        So, instead, I contacted a local ‘sleep center’ in our town, which tests for and supplies people with treatments for Sleep Apnea (knowing that those patients can also be prescribed supplemental oxygen for that condition).

        Sure enough, they also supplied Oxygen Concentrators for their patients.

        And so rather than reinvent the wheel, and thinking that they would likely carry only models which were reliable, durable, and effective, I found that they indeed carried only one model: the Respironics Everflo ‘Q’, with the Oxygen Purity Indicator option.

        As luck would have it, before going into the ‘sleep center’ business this company was a home oxygen supply business. So I was pretty confident that they knew their stuff 🙂

        Long/shorter, we ended up buying 2 of those units directly from them. They are ‘home’ units, meaning they need an AC power source, but in looking into them they seem quite capable machines….should we ever have need of them.

        By the way, the reason we got two was that my wife and I had ‘wargamed’ what a true need for a machine like this would look like, in our community (we have several elderly neighbors around us).

        We decided that should medical care in our area dwindle to the point where assistance such as this was no longer available through the normal healthcare system, and the life of an elderly person (or someone else in our community) was truly at risk, we could not in good conscience deny them the use of our machine.

        However, we have sacrificed all manner of other ‘worldly’ things in order to prepare in earnest for our own family. And so our thought was that, if we thought it THIS important to obtain a device such as this for what might be coming down the pike, then we darn sure better have an additional one available for the needs of our own family 🙂

        Which is often how we prep, in general (for instance, we will never use the amount of toilet paper we’d ordered from a retailer, some years ago now…!).

        Anyway, would love any further reports you might have on the functioning of your units, as time goes by….!

  3. “May you live in interesting times” is an English expression which purports to be a translation of a traditional Chinese curse. While seemingly a blessing, the expression is normally used ironically; life is better in “uninteresting times” of peace and tranquility than in “interesting” ones, which are usually times of trouble.

  4. Rhodium taking another hammering this morning, down 28.57% to a bid of $2,500. What an incredible 4-week collapse no doubt tied to the upcoming recession and drop in auto sales.

  5. JS I had the same thing happen regarding an oxygen concentrator. Amazon sais I was getting a refund. So last update when I checked last night is delivery is not until sometime in April. So Im getting conflicting info from them. Ugh.

    1. Any woman that professes that the “greatest piece” of legislation is Rowe Vs. Wade in order to allow “women to be liberated” whilst aborting babies, is from the antichrist principled camp! The time is well overdue for these folks in the High Castle…

  6. Most of our stocks are in foods and paper, so I’m not too worried. So far the stocks have been holding pretty good as everyone needs their products. Yeah, they’re down, but they’re not crashing. We went over a million in one food stock last year, and since the crash has started this year, we’re still above a million with it. Same is true for the paper stock. Everyone needs food and toilet paper!

  7. Some observations.

    I am minimizing exposure like others and washing my hands more than I have ever in my life. I am heeding social distancing although my employer still has us working for now. I think that is short lived however. I am taking this seriously but…

    The numbers for this virus are not adding up entirely for me. The fatality rate outside of certain hot spots is running about .7% and that is for known cases. It is estimated that upwords of 86% of cases are unknown. If that is true that gets the fatality rate down to close to seasonal flu. There are an estimated 16000 seasonal flu deaths this year in the US so far and 10500 world wide deaths from COVID 19. There were an estimated 80000 seasonal flu deaths in the US in 2018, the worst in 40 years, and no one made a peep.

    As I write this there are 64 serious or critical cases of COVID19 in US hospitals. The source I read does not state how many hospitalizations there are but sources for seasonal flu put hospitalizations at over 200000 this season.

    In my state a couple nursing homes have been smashed with COVID 19 and are getting pretty good press. However some research reveals that there have been 62 “outbreaks” of season flu in “LTC facilities”. I have not been able to find death numbers for that but back to there being 16000 nation wide deaths there must have been a fair number.

    I come to precious few conclusions with this data but here are a few.

    I will continue to be very careful. The numbers are not all in and who knows what the final tally will be. And lots of people are staying home driving the numbers down. I am taking it serious but…

    I will not take any measures at this point that will endanger my job or interrupt my income. I say this because where I work there is tension building between management and employees regarding going to work and some are getting to the point of potentially quitting. If they allow me to go home for a while without fear of loss of income I will but in the mean time I will continue to to go. I am fortunate that our place of work has telework options but my particular group is heavily discouraged from using them so far. All this could change. But I still fear the economic fallout of this more than the disease.

    That said, as do many others, I have taken physical risks to earn a living all my life. I have taken potentially life ending or crippling falls. I have been shocked by 480vac. I have been in small rhibs in high seas. I have had waves break over top of me on larger vesels. The most dangerous thing I do is drive to work with idiots on the road IMO which nearly everyone does. I did end up upside down in a van a few years ago. I was a passenger.

    I think most people could look at there life and point to many of these things. Child birth is dangerous. Do we stop that? BTW I almost died when I was born.

    I smell a rat. The global economy is being smashed. Civil liberties are being interrupted. Is this by design or not? Is this not by design but just “a crisis not being wasted”? Is it a prudent response to a real randomly occurring situation? I truly do not know.

    I am a big fan of the book ” The Fourth Turning”. One of its premises is that crisis’ comes all the time but the interactions and reactions of each generation determines whether a crisis becomes a civiization changing Crisis. I suspect we have in fact faced pandemics of this magnitude in the not to distant past but because of the current mood of the world we have chosen this one to react strongly to. Time will tell.

    In short I think old people should really careful. I think everyone else should be very careful but not do anything drastic especially wrt finances. I think everyone should be watchful of the big picture.

    I will also say I don’t think the overall outcome of this is necessarily going to be bad. I think this could carry in a lot of horrible things that have already been developing. I give it equal odds that it could sweep away much of the horrible things that have been developing. That is another long discussion that I will not bore anyone with.

    1. Hey JBH, I totally agree with you. I don’t dare post most of my comments on the subject.

      You said, “I suspect we have in fact faced pandemics of this magnitude in the not too distant past but because of the current mood of the world we have chosen this one to react strongly to. Time will tell.” I keep coming back to the Hong Kong flu that most of us remember from the 60’s. This Covid-19 was on track to have fewer deaths than that and yet we did almost nothing back in 1968 and very few people even remember it other than the name.

      There is no question that the economic fallout will be much more severe from this than the disease itself. The government overreach will be even worse. I’ll stop there with that line of comments.

      On another note, I sold some of my coronavirus stock on some good news this morning and saw a first with my Schwab 401k account: They refused to free up all the cash so I could use it for another trade. They held back 67% as “Cash on Hold” which I have never seen before, and I am assuming I will not have access to it until the trade officially “settles” on 3/23. This is not a good sign folks. I want my electrons! 🙂

      1. Maybe they have to hold it for reserve requirements? Although I don’t know if a brokerage house has reserve requirements like banks. Maybe covering other people’s margin calls?

    2. Happy to see others with a pegged BS-ometer. The latest CDC release of seasonal flu related deaths that I saw was 22,000. At the end of all this, SARS-CoV-2 (CoVid-19) deaths will literally blend into the background of the seasonal flu related deaths. I’d still like to know how many flu related deaths China has every year. Their numbers for CoVid-19 might just blend into the background as well.

      This is all starting to feel like a military exercise. Think about all the extraordinary powers that the President, many of the state Governors, and even some of the mayors are trying to exercise. We just cancelled the European war games scheduled for this spring, “Defender Europe 2020”. Maybe this is just “Bio-War USA 2020” or maybe “Global Bio-War 2020”.

      We certainly do live in interesting times. I WANT BORING!! Boring would be a welcome change right about now.

    3. It’s too early to determine what the death rates and numbers will be. Actual rates will heavily depend on measures taken to stop transmission. Death rates are heavily influence by access to ICU care. The people going into the hospital today caught the virus 1-2 weeks ago. You can’t draw any conclusions about US because we haven’t tested anything close to enough people to actually know how wide spread the virus is. Watch Italy and read about Wuhan vs Beijing deaths. GB would have been an interesting experiment if Johnson had kept with his let the virus run its course and develop immunity (which I haven’t read happens yet, though no one has confirmed it doesn’t either). I don’t think it would have been good for GB. Watch the US for the next month or two. Some states are aggressively trying to stop the spread, other states very lax. A good study will look at preventative measures, per capita cases, hospitalizations, population demographics, mass transit, population housing density, deaths and we have to be testing in exponentially higher numbers. Just think how pissed people are going to be if they lose 65 year old parents who previously had the potential to live past 80.

    4. JBH,
      There are at least two of us that smell the same rat! I’ve been smelling it for the past 32 years. So what happened to me 32 years ago anyway? I left a lab. Yep. Quite simple. I did not like some of the things going on so I decided it was not for me. Please notice I said “a lab” NOT “the lab”. There is difference and I know the difference as a friend of mine worked at “the lab”. Our jobs were very different, but both were behind closed doors. 95% of the speculation going on about this latest “problem” is not correct.
      In response to your following statements and question:
      “I smell a rat. The global economy is being smashed. Civil liberties are being interrupted. Is this by design or not? ….”
      The answer is: Yes. Your first question was the correct one.

      Regarding your work exposure. Getting a multiple vitamin supplement with Zinc would probably be a good idea. Zinc has been found to be toxic to Covid-19. Other people have recommended Vitamin C in a fairly high dose. I will not disagree with that protocol, but I am strongly inclined to include fresh oranges / grapefruit in the mix as well. There are things in citrus in addition to the Vitamin C that are beneficial. Stay well hydrated. Fresh air is also part of the equation. The list goes on…

      @ St. Funogas
      your statements of:
      “There is no question that the economic fallout will be much more severe from this than the disease itself. The government overreach will be even worse. I’ll stop there with that line of comments.”
      That is basically my thought. Very well summarized.

      @ Charles K.
      My “BS-ometer” has been pegged for so many years (decades actually) that I totally ignore it. Once in a while some sheeple will ask a dumb question about it so get to tell them what is going on in this crazy rat race. Sometimes they listen, sometimes they don’t. If they have a college education they usually are so mentally incapacitated (read: programmed what to think) that they cannot comprehend what I’m talking about. One time I had an adult man say “You’re scaring me!” to my explanation of what was coming. I’m sure I was scaring him. He had an education. I felt sorry for him, but at least he listened.

    5. I’m with you. It saddens me very much to see the general response in this country. What’s even sadder is this is now the new normal and the noose will only tighten. This will blow over, flu vs. covid will be downplayed or ignored, and in the end isolation and mandated restrictions will be trumpeted as the saviours of billions of lives. Next time they’ll do even better.

  8. I just called my coin dealer and he was washed out of junk silver the 2nd week of March 2020. Then he was just robbed today.
    He would be willing to sell his remaining stock of 90% silver rolls of uncirculated Kennedy’s for $180 a roll because he can’t replace it with new stock. One could buy his whole inventory for $3400, EXCEPT because his store was so damaged he might not be able to open … ever.

    1. Jeff from Colorado… please note the 1965-1970 Kennedy half dollar is only 40% silver… the 1964 coin striking is 90% silver… if someone purchases these make sure of year

  9. ILLINOIS GOES INTO LOCKDOWN AT 5PM TOMORROW!!

    Please keep me in your prayers as I intend to violate this order, I CANNOT leave my mom and dad to fend for themselves, they have Alzheimer’s

    Thank you

    1. Then you should hustle new York is locked down California State is locked down a few others too.

      Me and my wife are locked in in NYC.

      If new York is doing it (effective on Sunday) then new Jersey Connecticut and Pennsylvania will probably join.

      If it keeps sticking to the books the rest of conus will too.

      Good luck and don’t get stuck in between.

    2. RKRGRL68,

      We are praying for you. You really should move in there, temporarily or bring them home. I know it’s all difficult, but these are extraordinary times. If they cannot fend for themselves…

      I fear that this is going to go on a lot longer than we think and that law enforcement will get violent as time goes on for non-compliance. There is talk of possible road closures coming…. Pray and we are praying with you. Lord please give RKRGRL wisdom on what to do in Jesus’ name!

    3. This is just a thought that occurred to me. It might be a bit late for this, but would you be able to get a signed note from a doctor that you are acting in the best medical fashion for your parents? Be careful whatever you do. I’ll be adding you to my prayer list.

    4. Hi RKRGRL68,
      I absolutely will keep you in my prayers. Thank you for letting us know. I will pray for God’s mercy and for your safety in getting around to see your parents. I agree with you….I would do the same thing.

  10. Thank you everyone,
    I’m praying hard right now.

    I also want to let you know that I heard from my USMC daughter (Pendleton) and they are going on Lockdown also.

    I have not heard from my son USMC (Miramar) yet but hopefully soon

  11. Update!!
    Now that they have announced the Illinois lockdown, my husband is reporting to me that he just left one of his stores (Gasoline Station) and people are pouring in from everywhere to get gas, cartons of cigarettes, liquor & whatever else they can get their hands on.
    Chicago Expressways are jammed with cars and now accidents are starting to happen as people panic.

    I will try to keep sending updates as I can

    Love you all

    1. RKRGRL68…as soon as I learned of Illinois order my thoughts went to you…please know my wife and I will be praying for you and your family/ Mom and Dad… May you be surrounded with guardian angels from The Lord and May He bless you with wisdom, discernment, understanding, and courage… may all believers who make up the SB community heed the directives and promises of
      II Chronicles 7:14

    2. Avalanche,

      You were stating last week that unwanted eyes were peering over this blog and our comments. Is it daily occurances and are they federal/state eyes or just some LIB-tards looking to complain/sue if we say something against let’s say Women’s rights or Antifa as such?

      How might we help JWR in tailoring our responses even more than the OPSEC rules we set in place for a future safeguard against above intrusions?

      1. We have no idea who is watching. But we are certain “they” are. So just be careful for your own safety. It can be anybody, government or neighbor. Just guard most of your personal information.

        Maybe Jim will address more of this, soon.

    1. Montana Rancher, My dander is up. Just because we are behind enemy lines doesn’t mean we are expendable or idiots. Finding an affordable place/land with water is difficult. I am aware of several good locations. I just need a couple million dollars! Also, I really like your term No-Doubt. Please, when you think of us living here, consider saying a quick prayer on our behalf that God would change our No-Doubt to Redoubt.

      1. I think a lot of people have the $ame problem in trying to find a good place. Finance$ are mo$t often a deciding factor in whether $omeone can afford to “move their feet” $somwhere el$e.

        I’m not any of the following:
        Jeff Bezo$
        Bill Gate$
        Elon Mu$k
        George Bu$h
        George $oros

  12. I have no problems living in Washington State since my wife & I have developed friends and have a excellent Church that teaches the Word faithfully each week.
    I trust The Lord and His promises. We are His children He will be our refuge, location doesn’t matter since He has placed you exactly where He wants you.

    I just read Philippians 4:7 and Paul was rejoicing in The Lord while he was in a Roman prison. A perspective to consider in these unique days

  13. Two more observations- some financial gurus are saying that the dollar will collapse in April due to massive loans coming due on April 9th. see videos-
    https://www.dollarcollapse.com/top-ten-videos-march-18/
    The other point is quite interesting. For the past 3+ years, the democrats have been poking at Trump with sharp sticks, taunting and insulting him, tried to frame him for ‘collusion’ with Russia, and even impeached him. NOW comes the Coronavirus crisis, and Trump has signed a National Emergency Declaration. Now if you read the text of the Emergency Powers acts going all the way back to the Truman and even the FDR administrations, you will see that in a National Emergency, the President has ALMOST UNLIMITED POWERS for the duration of the emergency. I find this amusing and ironic.

  14. JWR and others,the real reason today was important in the markets; Quadruple Witching (stock,options,commodity,weekly,monthly,quarterly contracts settle at end) this is very important as traders can get destroyed,CME Clearing House Ronin was liquidated at the start of the day in a secret asset auction on a margin call,(largest market failure since MF Global),NYSE closed floor trading and went full electronic(the last pits closed are going to be VERY hard to trade without honest price discovery),last 30 min. of trading(no electronic trading) was a near freefall,Fed has launched more QE,Repo,Bailout (open discount window @0%),equity swap,etc in the last few days than in the rest of its history(including the billions daily for the last 6+ months), TRILLIONS of newly created fiat has been dumped into bailouts in the last few days with almost negative effects-like shooting fire extinguishers at a flood-proving they have NO idea what they are doing,but they will continue to do it,beware heavy inflation as this is a no demand situation and destruction of confidence by incompetence and PPT interference,be ready for massive bankruptcy filings(personal/ business),evictions have been halted, Fannie/Freddie foreclosures stopped,student loan interest halted. The list can keep going,storm clouds are here and it may get worse than we feared.

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