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 some possible museum collection downsizing. (See the Tangibles Investing section.)

Precious Metals:

Gold Price Forecast – The Invaluable Palladium, Platinum And Gold-To-Silver Ratio Lessons

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The latest piece by Hub Moolman: The US Dollar or Silver: Place Your Bet

Economy & Finance:

At Seeking Alpha: The Stock Market Is Looking For A Rapid Economic Recovery. Why It May Not Happen

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And at Zero Hedge: Infinite money printing: Fed now buying ETFs

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Reader H.L. suggested this brief piece by Jim Quinn: Unemployment Is Really 35.7%

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An C.B. spotted this, over at PHYS ORG: How is COVID-19 affecting the global economic order?

Commodities:

The spike in Live Cattle futures prices is continuing. Stock up ASAP, before retail prices rise, to match!

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At OilPrice News: Goldman Sachs: Jet Fuel Demand Recovery Could Take Years. A snippet:

“So far into the pandemic, jet fuel was the oil product with the largest decline in demand relative to 2019, the International Energy Agency (IEA) said in its Global Energy Review 2020 report earlier this month.

Rystad Energy also sees jet fuel demand being hit the hardest, assuming as a base case that ‘the common summer air travel peak will not occur at all this year.’

Jet fuel demand globally is set to plunge by 33.6 percent on the year in 2020, or by at least 2.4 million bpd from last year’s demand for jet fuel of about 7.2 million bpd, Rystad said in its latest assessment on oil and fuels demand last week. “

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How U.S. Shale Can Survive The Oil Crash

Equities:

As I see it, American stock investors have been handed a huge gift, with the recent rally in share prices. After losing a huge chunk of their retirement savings in The Crash of 2020, stocks have largely bounced back. But I expect another big leg down, as layoffs continue and the economy slumps in Q3 and Q4 of 2020. Much like the Crash of 1929, I predict that the Crash of 2020 will come in downwards stairsteps, probably over the next three years. So take full advantage of this big rally gift. Do not hesitate, folks. Sell into this rally. Recognize it for what it truly is… It is a Sucker Rally. Get rid of any stocks that are not recession proof or depression proof!

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‘No doubt’ economy is ‘divorced’ from stock and bond markets – Social Capital CEO

Forex & Cryptos:

U.S. dollar slides ahead of Fed’s Powell speech

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Sterling extends fall to 20-day low versus euro

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The Dollar value of Bitcoin seems to have flattened, just after the much-touted Halving. No surprise there.

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Researchers find Bitcoin’s Lightning network susceptible to cyberattacks

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Cashless Society 2020: Coronavirus Swings Society to “Touch Free” Digital ID and Digital Currency

Tangibles Investing:

One thing to consider… Since museum attendance will be down for many months to come, some museums may feel obliged to sell off parts of their collections. (Note: This won’t create any bare walls, because typically, what is on display in museum galleries is only roughly half of a museum’s collection.) So, with museum collection downsizing in mind, it would be wise to start making phone calls to museum senior staff, to see what might be available. You might end up being in the proverbial “right place at the right time.”

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There have been many dozens of cancelled gun shows nationwide since February.  With venues, vendors, show organizers and attendees all feeling skittish, I expect more cancellations until at least June of 2020, and sporadically, probably much longer. Mail order and online-bidding auctions will be your best bet, at least through the end of 2020. Uncertainty will be the byword. But one uncertainty is certain: ALWAYS contact the show organizer for confirmation that the show will indeed go on as scheduled before you make a long dive to attend a show.

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!




46 Comments

  1. There are stores in my state that I shop at that just won’t accept cash now. I don’t get it. Cash has always been “dirty” and has even been known to have residues of substances such as cocaine. I’m not exactly sure why people feel “safer” using a plastic credit card terminal and sometimes having to sign for the charge with a plastic pen touched by zillions of others. It probably makes the cashiers feel “safer” but sure isn’t any better for the customers who have embraced this. I’m using cash so rarely now; paid a neighbor in cash for eggs and to get my garden tilled and just yesterday in a local store that will take cash. Otherwise have been paying with a credit card whether in person or online. I’m getting paid by check by all of the clients I do work for but I’d have no issue if they wanted to use cash(but they don’t ). I think the ultimate goal is to make cash feel so “tainted” that people won’t protest when it becomes illegal to use it and we all have to pay by digital means only.

    1. I agree with you Ani. Being a bit of a rebel myself, I try to pay cash when I can, just to ensure cash will still be king where I live. If someone refused cash, I’d leave the goods on the counter and walk out. I feel that so much of what we accept becomes reality. If we don’t accept it, it can’t.
      My two cents.

      1. I plan on shopping today and I have an envelope of cash.

        I really don’t understand why businesses don’t want to use cash. They don’t have to pay a transaction fee, so more money in their pocket.

          1. Aren’t the employees also at risk when they move items across the counter and bag the items? How about when they are stocking the shelves, moving items that have been touched by other people? What about when the card reader won’t read the card and the employee has to touch the card in order to read it so the number can be typed in?

            Money is no more a cause of the spread than all the other things, including credit cards, that are in a store.

      1. Mray,

        There are plenty of doctors and nurses who could administer a vaccine to anyone who wanted it. The only reason the military needs to be involved is if force might be needed. Trump is going to loose much his support if vaccinations will be mandatory. Given a bad economy, a second and more severe wave of infections going into fall, and vaccinations at gun point, even Biden might get elected.

  2. Re: How is COVID Affecting the Global Economic Order

    Interesting scenarios to look at but short on details. I wonder how much real world analysis went into it vs. sitting around drinking beer saying what if? Or saying how can we make political statements for our masters?

    Color me skeptical lately about think tank analysis with the inaccuracy of the UW COVID predictions that we based our economic responses on.

    I am reminded of two things I have read and seen regarding economic models.

    One is some comments by Amity Shlaes about the futility of of economic modeling due to the economy being such a complex system. This is at the heart of the consistent failure of planned economies.

    Two is the Rodney Dangerfield movie Back To School. Rodney is a successful businessman who never went to college but wants his son to go to college and so enrolls himself to encourage his son to go. In one scene he is sitting in economics class where some professor who has never been in business is laying out some theoretical situation and Rodney starts destroying all the premises of it based on real business experience. IMO while very funny, it is a powerful reminder of how clueless many in our academic and political class are regarding anything in the economy. Except how to steal from one person and give to another while of course giving themselves a “slight” cut.

  3. “THIS NOTE IS LEGAL TENDER FOR ALL DEBTS PUBLIC AND PRIVATE” taken from a Federal Reserve Note, “our paper money”. While this may seem to give it legitimacy the fact that our money is no longer backed by the US treasury may surprise most people. The Federal Reserve is Federal in name only and is not a government agency. It is a consortium of the biggest banks running our monetary system. In essence the same banks that handle all credit/debit, EBT cards etc. The only answer I can see is if the Federal Reserve says the note is legal tender and if a business refuses to take it for goods or services our money is useless. Having banks control our currency is like the fox guarding the hen house. I personally refuse to trade with any publicly open business that will not accept cash. To me credit and debit cards are so subject to theft by hackers due to poor bank security that I use them infrequently and only on line. I have spent far to much time on the phone trying to straighten out Credit card fraud. Upon reflection Bit coin and crypto currencies are no different than the Federal Reserve system except they have better security and no backing whatso ever.. I am just glad that I have tangibles as a back up to this house of cards. Thank you JWR for your advise on items with real and lasting value.

  4. Ani-
    I would report to authorities any stores refusing to accept cash. My understanding is that stores MUST accept cash since it is the official US currency. Nip this move to a cashless society in the bud before it is too late!

      1. “What authorities would you report it to?”
        The printers of the money, of course- Parker Brothers (a division of Hasbro).

    1. It’s hard as this is a small downtown hardware store with many good people working there, they have done a great job staying open during this whole crisis and have always been great to work with. They’re just being a little weird about cash……..

      1. Ani, take your business and money where it is appreciated. Politely inform the manager you do not like their no-cash policy and will be taking your business elsewhere.

  5. “How is COVID-19 affecting the global economic order?”

    Note that the blog link is just to a teaser summary of the actual article – here is the link to the actual article:

    https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/journal-of-institutional-economics/article/evolution-of-the-offshore-usdollar-system-past-present-and-four-possible-futures/B36ED9082CECE54F3F5B8E8F40D15148/core-reader

    The article itself is interesting and accessible, and the historical summary (with nice diagrams) agreed with my understanding, but it didn’t go far enough. Quoting the authors:

    “We resist the temptation to attribute probabilities to individual trajectories”

    This refers to their simple decision tree (figure 4), and it is obvious to me that Trajectory IV has the highest probability:

    Cataclysmic crisis? (Yes) -> Cooperation (No) -> Trajectory IV (International monetary anarchy)

    My guess is the authors think this too.

    My money is on “Country F” (figure 8).

    1. Interesting article that I personally think is informative and also propaganda at the same time.

      Informative in that it describes the complexity of our international house of cards that is finance.

      Propaganda in that it is very subtly rooting for the destruction of the dollars role as the world reserve currency IMO. That message seemed to be coming through a bit in the body of the article but really came to light when I read the acknowledgements.

      Who knows what will happen.

      1. The Euro and the Remimbi are claiming that role with or without “Propaganda”, the only Question is will the US Dollar stay one of the world reserve currency.
        The Days of the US Dollar as THE world reserve currency are limited if not already over

        1. We will see. At this stage it appears the many in the world share your view and many actively wish for the dollar to be superseded that right now it is the least bad option.

          But thanks for making my point about the bent of the article. As the one international commentator on this forum, that I have noticed, you give the subject a world perspective and much of the world does wish for a less dominant US both financially and militarily. And many are actively working toward that goal both outside the US and unfortunately inside as well. But lots of other people still like US dollars and in some circumstances US Soldiers and Marines so the future is murky on the matter.

          1. I don´t see much of this work intentionally done, it is more of an side effect of the rise of the EU and China .

            And honestly Europeans are fed up with the arrogance of the US at least since GWB tried to use us as vassals and second class Americans at best without representation in America’s war in Iraq (if he´d wanted old Europe out of it, he couldn’t have found a more effective way), as well as I am (and not alone) fed up with the demeaning behavior against our fallen and wounded soldiers who made their sacrifice for one reason only.

            Loyalty to the NATO Alliance and the member USA.

  6. I’ve been encouraging my adult children who live in Commiefornia to “just say no” to tyranny. I think somehow our society forgot about “We the People”. It’s been a slow but now very steep decline in civil liberties. The more people just say no, the better things will go for us. The fact that half of the country is willing to give up civil liberties in order to feel safe is an enormous travesty. I can see the government providing “guidelines”, but to basically implement martial law is unConstitutional. There are members of my extended family, fortunately only a couple of them, that actually believe everything broadcast over the air waves and have submitted. And they’re smug about it. If you don’t submit, in their minds, you are an extremely selfish person because you don’t buy the “for the common good” propaganda. I tried to gently probe, but got shut down immediately. Okay, fine then. I’ll mind my own business. The only saving grace is that I know they are followers of Jesus and believe God is on the throne, so I pray for God’s protection over them. It always causes me to wonder though, how much God allows us to fall into a trap when we ignore obvious signs that a trap has been laid. It’s happened in my life, more than once, where I stubbornly relied on my own will and fell flat on my face, suffering the consequences of such. When I was ready to listen to what God had to say to me, my life took a completely different path, much more fulfilling and peaceful but not wholly without struggles. It makes me sad because I can almost guarantee, they will line up for the vaccine, limit their movements and choices, and do what they’re told. Sheep. Why is this issue so important? Because of the end times and the mark of the beast. If we can’t stand up to government tyranny now, how then suddenly will we be able to stand against the great evil? ugh.

  7. This makes me want to pay with cash and carry a bottle of Lysol. Slap that cash down on the counter and spray it right in front of them .

    Sorry. The news overload today has me feeling rebellious. But it helps motivate me to maintain preps.

    1. re:
      ‘spray cash with Lysol© at the register’

      TrueBelievers accept televisionprogramming without question.
      I bet a nickel they ‘feel’ content accepting the contents of the Lysol© bottle… irregardless of contents.

      Could you save the real Lysol© for home, and re-fill the used bottle with water?
      After all, if they accept the illusion of reality…

      *****
      ‘Hoax’.
      ‘Scamdemic’.
      ‘Plandemic’.
      Any other names for COVID-1984?

      1. @ LargeMarge

        Yes i have another name for it and the Epoch times ran a great article on it too, call it the CCP virus.
        I’m afraid that we have all started to be conditioned to use a more PC term and not call it from where it originated from, if i recall correctly Austin TX city leaders passed an ordinance stating any other name other than what they deemed appropriate would be racist!

  8. Good morning All,

    As if there’s not enough going on right now we had a Tornado hit our tiny little town last night about 11:35 PM!!
    We are okay and the house and garage are okay but there are uprooted trees EVERYWHERE!!
    I’ll post more tomorrow

    Stay safe everyone and of course have a Rockin great day, we’re gonna go chainsaw some trees now 🙂

    1. It’s sure a truism that just cause we have our hands full dealing with one crisis doesn’t mean there won’t be another that comes along as well! Glad you’re safe.

  9. RE: Stock Market

    I am curious what your (and your readers) take is on investing in the stock market in a small way. Here’s my situation: I have a company matched 401K up to 3%. Do you think it unwise to put the 3% in?

    Or put it in (hope for the best) and continue to diversify in other areas?

    Thank you in advance!

    1. I max out my 401(k) so that I get all of the company match. Most of this money sits in cash (the plan’s money market fund) except for a small percentage that is required to be in one of my plan’s offerings, of which I picked my plan’s 20XX fund based on my target retirement date.

      I have always maxed out my forced savings plans (401(k), IRA, ESPP, etc.) so that my paycheck is as small as possible.

      I am in the process of consolidating a former employer’s 401(k)s into my current one, and then taking out the maximum amount in the form of a personal loan (my plan allows loan amounts up to 50% of my balance) that I will then use to buy physical gold.

      Here is my change with another reader about this topic: https://survivalblog.com/editors-prepping-progress-117/#comment-214933

      1. I never added my prior retirement funds to my current account, they are separate and wholly invested in companies that match my personal philosophy about being in business (my current employer does not). Just before this Wuhan Virus really hit the main news I dropped my contribution into my 401(k) to only enough to get their full match. (They recently changed their timing of matches, once again, so that now it is only done in January following a full year of my participation). Also, I have no qualms about taking out cash loans from that account because the interest on the loan is repaid to me at a better rate than their funds generally average. Once the fund manager figures this out I am sure that little sweetspot will go away too. Until then I have cash on hand to bulk up on other items. The events of the last few months have convinced me that I have made the right decision there.

  10. I read an article on my local news website which I think was a report from communist news network. It was regarding negative interest rates and how they could effect Americans. One comment i found alarming was that supposedly President Trump was pushing for negative rates. I just went back to find the link, but it is gone.

    1. Gregory Mannarino at Traderschoice.net might be of significant help. He has M-F daily videos about 10-14 minutes long explaining current market events. He mentions Trump pushing for negative rates as well, which is horrible for us regular people.

  11. I was also interested in if business could legally refuse cash, as one did in my town during the Kung-fu flu. So according to the Fed:

    Is it legal for a business in the United States to refuse cash as a form of payment?
    Section 31 U.S.C. 5103, entitled “Legal tender,” states: “United States coins and currency [including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks] are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues.”
    This statute means that all United States money as identified above is a valid and legal offer of payment for debts when tendered to a creditor. There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person, or an organization must accept currency or coins as payment for goods or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether to accept cash unless there is a state law which says otherwise.
    I also would refuse to do business that forces you to use credit card/debit only. This is another step in our freedoms disappearing. So, MC/VISA and Discover can sell your data to the higher bidder? Lots of articles online about this subject in regard to the current situation.

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