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 worsening shortage of ammunition and magazines in the United States. (See the Tangibles Investing section.)

Precious Metals:

Greyerz – Institutional Investors Are Following Warren Buffett Into Gold As Central Banks Panic

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Gold, silver gain as greenback erodes

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Net long!  Hedge funds still bullish on gold price; waiting for a breakout

Economy & Finance:

Business Insider reports:  Goldman Sachs upgrades third-quarter US GDP forecast to 35% after stronger-than-expected August jobs report

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At Zero Hedge: Ron Paul: Debt Is The Real Pandemic

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And at Wolf Street: Subprime Auto-Loan Delinquencies, Loan Deferrals & Stimulus Curdle into Curious Phenomenon

Commodities and Transport:

H.L. sent us this: “I’ve Never Seen Anything Like This”: Shippers Using West Coast Ports Can’t Book Rail On BNSF And Union Pacific.  JWR’s Comment:  Note that this shortage of transport is not because of higher volume. Rather, it is due to fewer available railroad operating crews.
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OilPrice News reports: Saudi Aramco Is Now Suffering The Consequences Of A Failed Oil Price War

Demographics:

Nationwide shortage of homes for sale, with California the epicenter. JWR’s Comment: What is under-reported is the lopsided supply and demand in a rural locales like north Idaho, western Montana, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and the Cumberland Plateau. In these places, houses, farms and small ranches sell almost immediately after being listed, often with multiple offers.

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No Exit: VMWare Joins Growing Group Of Tech Cos Threatening To Cut Employees Wages For Leaving San Francisco

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I relocated from central California to a tiny coastal town in Maine. Right now, the extra space and joys of rural living are outweighing any drawbacks.

Tangibles Investing:

Empty shelves! The worsening shortage of ammunition and magazines in the United States is cause for alarm. Just as I  had predicted, the shortages are spreading to rimfire ammunition, and even once-common deer hunting cartridges such as ..243 Winchester, .30-30 Winchester, and .270 Winchester.  Thankfully, many of the obsolete or semi-obsolete cartridges (such as a 7×57 Mauser, 8×57, 6.5 x55, 7.5×55 Swiss, .45-70, and .30-40 Krag) can still be found. But stock up, even on those! They too will soon be in very short supply.  Ditto for reloading primers.  I’ve heard that primers are already in short supply at the larger retailers. I’m fairly confident that this shortage will spread to the small-town gun shops, soon. So if you are a handloader, then stock up on primers!

Likewise, I strongly recommend that you buy a big barter supply of original military contract or original factory-made common magazines:  M1 Carbine, AR-15, AR-10, M1911, Glock 17, SIG P320, Ruger P85, M14, FAL, HK G3, AK-47, and any favorites in your local area. If you can find them at bargain prices then even buy magazines for guns that you don’t own.  There may soon come a day that people won’t be willing to accept any amount of cash for magazines or ammunition, but they will probably accept some magazines, in trade.

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 items from local news outlets that are missed by the news wire services are especially appreciated. And it need not be only about commodities and precious metals. Thanks!




34 Comments

  1. Tech companies cutting wages for employees that move from the Bay area. Humm let’s take a look. Employees working from home equals lower company physical facility overhead, cutting wages lowers company overhead. This is like employees are doing the same thing but getting punished for it. I suggest that Liberal Rats are eating their own because they see the writing on the wall that Tech is an area that is facing an economic turn down. Business is not as usual; consumers are not buying as much Tech. Frankly the economy is in a mess and discretionary sending is down, we can live without new phones and computers, companies do not need a constant supply of overpriced software. Further cause for moving away is that California’s dictatorial Governor has shut down the state and new taxes are pouring out of Sacramento at a prodigious rate. I foresee an implosion and a political realignment if things proceed along these lines.

  2. We’ve still got the “premium” deer hunting ammo sitting on the shelves. At $3 rd and enough 300 win mag to fill a truck bed lol.
    Just for giggles I looked up my G26 carry ammo yesterday while talking with a guy looking and Speer Gold Dot SB 124gr +P was $3rd.
    I ordered some Tula 9mm at a normal price yesterday just for practice since they weren’t price gouging it.
    This “shortage” wasn’t too hard to call and why it was so unbelievable and still is to some is beyond me. Like your saying mags and also spare parts are in order now and I still say you need to be out shooting and practicing.

    1. Matt in Oklahoma… as of yesterday 9mm was $.30 / round for box of 200.,, had 1000 round bulk Federal 5.56 for $559.00 … about 8 weeks ago bought same bulk for $399.00 … this is local Mom / Pop business… they shared with me they were not trying to price gouge it was just the price to reflect the store’s increased replacement cost.

    2. Very, very glad I “backed up the truck” and bought literally years’ worth of ammo during the “Trump Slump” period between 2017-2019. I have enough to last me at least five years of training with no interruption or slowdown. I personally know others (including newbie gun owners) who didn’t plan ahead and are scrambling now to get whatever they can, at whatever price.

      BTW, I’m not sure why JWR included .45-70 Govt on the “obsolete or nearly obsolete” list. That cartridge is still running strong, and I’ve seen a few new offerings from gun mfrs over the past year. I think the .45-70 “Warhammer” will stick around similar to how the venerable .30-06 has. IMHO

  3. Good morning

    It’s true that BNSF is short on crews. My brother is an Engineer for BNSF running one of the suburban routes in/out of Chicago and he and his co-worker’s have been working one week on/ one week off since March. He told me ridership is STILL down at least 80%. Week to week is the decision on this staffing, and it will stay this way for the foreseeable future. At least he’s being paid for the week off.
    I believe I also read somewhere (maybe here) that the conductors are not even collecting fares from riders. My brother confirmed that this is true. (If 80% of ridership is down, there really aren’t many riders to collect from, plus I’m sure they don’t want the conductors strolling down the isle among the potentially infected).

    Have a Rockin great day

  4. The wage discrepancy between Bay Area employees and non-Bay Area employees has existed for a very long time. I started working for a tech company in silicon valley in 1997 and have worked from home, in the US-SE, all but two of the last 23 years. The pay scale is graded based on the region where you live. You live in the Bay Area, and you get higher pay, but you also have a much higher cost of living. You live in a more rural area, and you get lower pay, along with the associated lower cost of living.

    Having said that, the residency rules for home-based employees have changed. Prior to about 3 years ago, those of us who worked from home could live wherever we wanted. Then someone decided that they wanted to move to a rural area in Idaho and did. After that occurred, the company decided that we had to get “permission” to move. Part of the reasoning was that an employee who moved to a state where the company didn’t already have a presence, required some level of effort to establish an employee presence for that state. This required legal, HR and employee benefits departments to be involved, all of which cost the company money. While I don’t agree with the companies decision regarding this, I recognize that they have the authority to set rules and guidelines for employees and that I can choose whether I want to work for them or not.

    You can analyze this and decide if you think it makes sense or not, but the reality is, it doesn’t matter what I think about it. Somewhere, to someone in a position of authority, it made sense and so that policy was invoked. Are there other reasons why this type of policy was put into effect… I don’t know and I will not speculate. But I will keep my eyes and ears open and make sure that I can know as much as possible about what might be going on within the company.

    Just to be thorough, the same regional pay policy is applied to federal government employees as well. If you work in Washington, D.C., the pay Is higher than if you work in Warner Robins, GA. The salary ranges can be found in what is called “locality pay tables.”

    I am not trying to justify companies choosing to reduce pay for employees who are leaving California. But I am trying to point out that (a) they are not the only ones who have this type of pay structure and (b) that if we expect to have freedom to decide what we do with our personal property, assets, etc. then the companies should have the same freedoms.

    In most situations, we all work for someone, and we have to decide if

    1. Spot on MissileFarmer. I work in high tech as well and you are 100% right. I remember talking to a peer that had my same position but lived in Silicon Valley and his salary was much higher then mine. He then told me how much his housing expense was and it made perfect sense. I wouldn’t trade it…these folks should expect it.

  5. It seems like equal pay for equal work has been the cry of many liberals for years. California Highway patrol officers get paid by San Francisco standards where ever they work in the state. That is why the rural working locations are considered the a great gig.

  6. A nationwide shortage of homes:

    As a young businessman many years ago, one of the Top 5 pieces of advice I got was “If you are too busy, you are not charging enough.” In other words, you charge what the market will accept to maximize profits and adjust accordingly. With that in mind, I will never understand the crazy logic of home sellers and realtors that loudly proclaim, “Our house sold in 24 hours with 36 offers!” That statement infers no great sense of business acumen nor does it serve as an indicator of market dynamics. It simply means you and/or your realtor did no research and sold too cheap.

    If you insist on selling your rural house or land to the invading armies of liberals fleeing blue states and cities, at least make their bank account and/or debt-to-income ratio scream for mercy in the process.

    1. Regarding realtors marketing houses:
      1- realtors compare the target house with other houses of similar size, death and location.
      2- most property is purchased by the local population which means you have to account for local wage rates. You can’t price it high expecting a wave of wealthy urbanites looking to relocate in your town.
      If property is being sold with multiple offers or above asking price consistently, then price increases are warranted.
      In my upstate NY community, properties have languished on the market for months in most cases until this spring. Early May saw the market start to heat up, and this summer property has been flying “off the shelves.” Even foreclosed properties that have Sat empty for years are going on the market. And this with the possibility of our largest employer going bankrupt and closing down.

  7. I think I can safely say that it is a bit too late to stockpile ammunition components. Most things were getting difficult to find 2-3 months ago and are now effectively unobtainable.
    Word I’m hearing is that 95%+ of all current production of components is being consumed by ammo production lines that are running 24/7.
    If you don’t have the ammo you think you need, at this point I suggest buying whatever loaded ammo you can find at whatever price you have to pay.

  8. Does anyone have a handle on what, during the current shortage on ammo, is the most readily available centerfire rifle cartridge in an not-to-difficult to find rifle? Something I could buy a 1000 rounds of with no backorder issues under the current shortage? Since all my rifles were destroyed in our house fire, I am beside myself without a rifle, but I hesitate to buy a rifle like I had (.308, 5.56, 7.62×39, 5.45×39) just to not have any ammo for it. I just need SOMETHING, ANYTHING that can drop a deer or larger, that I can buy without too much searching. I’ve been trying to buy stuff from my friends, but they won’t sell no matter the price. One guy sold me some 9mm for the only weapon that survived, my Charles Daly Hi-Power, but that’s it.

    1. I have more than a dozen pre-1899 Mauser bolt actions available that are chambered in 7×57 Mauser and 6.5×55 Swedish Mauser, over at my ElkCreekCompany.net web site. To find them, just put “Mauser” in our Search box. The carbines and short rifles are quite handy lengths. And those calibers are definitely deer class (or man-stopper-class.) I’m presently on a travel hiatus, but I will resume taking orders on September 29th. Mark your calendar with that date, and jump on one. The big bonus: No FFL paperwork required!

    2. This is a hard question to answer without knowing your budget, but K-var has some 107R’s in stock, and 7.62×39 can still be had in bulk for around $300 for 1K.

      PSA is coming out with a ak74 and 5.45×39 is still priced well when compared to 556.

      You can also get bolt actions all day long. I have a buddy who picked up a few savages on clearance at walmart, with a mail in rebate for a grand total of $25 out of pocket. Deals can be found.

    3. Check local news papers and Nickels Worth type papers. Lots of times there will be folks selling a firearm with ammo included. Probably the only firearm they own in that caliber and keeping the ammo will do them no good.

    4. I lucked out, someone has a .30-06 they are giving me, and I had some -06 ammo survive the fire. I don’t know what brand or type the rifle is yet though, but it’ll be great to have a rifle again no matter what it is.

  9. A current search show that 9mm ball (target ammo) is currently about 65 cents a round plus shipping charges.
    https://ammoseek.com/ammo/9mm-luger

    Interestingly, it seems .233 and 5.56 are about 65-70 cents, plus shipping for target grade.
    https://ammoseek.com/ammo/5.56x45mm-nato

    Most vendors have limits on number of boxes per order.

    My recollection of my periodic checking on these prices is that the prices have steadily increased since the onset of the regular occurrences of domestic terrorism – that is, I don’t remember seeing any lulls or backward price movement… just a steady slope of increase.

    1. I’m in Wisconsin, and locally there are plenty of AR and AKs for sale, just no ammo, which is why I’ve been hesitant to just jump back into those again. I’m thinking something, until things get “normal” again, bolt action and Mauser, so maybe the Swiss calibers will fit the bill.

      1. To clarify:

        6.5×55 Mauser was used primarily by Sweden.

        7.5×53 and 7.5×55 were used by Switzerland for their Schmidt-Rubin straight-pull rifles. Those weren’t Mauser cartridges.

        7.65mm Mauser was mainly used by Belgium and Argentina.

        7×57 Mauser was used by more than a dozen countries, worldwide, predominantly in South America and Central America. It was also a favorite of the Boers in South Africa.

        Rifles for all of the above have been imported into the U.S. in large numbers since the 1950s. But only a small percentage of those had receivers made pre-1899 and hence legally “antique” per Federal law.

        1. Thanks for the clarification, I know almost nothing about the specifics of those types of weapons. I’ve seen people at the range locally with a few of the strait-pull Swiss guns, and they look like something I’d like to own anyway.

  10. A good source for AR magazines is your local army surplus store. I live near Ft. Lewis in Washington state. There are a number surplus outfits in the area. A number of them buy direct from salvage on Ft. Lewis. You want to look for one that has a store that is just a mess or everything is in boxes. The guy I see has pathways through the stuff because the place is just to full. Anyway, I get the magazines for about 5 to 6 dollars a piece. These are standard US Army M16 30 round magazines. Just something to check out next time you’re in town.

  11. Michael and BinWY: You might want to read today’s article by Egon von Greyerz. We all had
    parents or grandparents that lived thru the 1929 Depression. We listened and learned from
    them.
    What is coming at us defies imagination and will make 1929 look like the good old days. The
    best description that I can think of is GLOBAL CATASTROPHE.

  12. EECOM, Sorry for your loss. They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery, so I hope JWR is flattered…I, too, have started an online antique gun company ottercreekantiquearms.com . I tend to have less ‘collector’ type arms, and more that are just working arms, i.e. sporterized rifles, 32 S&W, 38 S&W, etc. but they are ANTIQUES, so no FFL/paperwork involved. I am just getting my stock listed, so if you don’t see anything you like, just drop me a line & maybe I can help.

    JWR, without knowing, has helped me immensely with his FAQ pages online https://www.empirearms.com/pre-1899.htm, as well as motivation to get another stream of income going [was COVID unemployed for SIX months]. I use the “extra” federal unemployment to get started. So JWR, thanks for your help.

    I am a former Deputy Sheriff & U.S.Army Infantry Veteran, and stand behind every antique arm I sell.

    BTW, I actually bought my first antique from JWR!

    1. David:

      Good luck with your new company!

      I noticed that you are selling a “parts” Chilean Mauser. Since it has been put in a Swedish Mauser stock, don’t be surprised if you find that it has been re-barreled to 6.5×55 Mauser. But more likely the previous owner put it back in 7x57mm Mauser.

      1. Thanks JWR. I will check on that. The other Chilean sporter is a K series DWM, which your FAQ indicates an Antique [have a ‘stock’ Chilean DWM K series also!]. Pretty nice sporter. If I can get all my inventory listed & a couple sold, I plan on advertising with you. You’ve been an inspiration. Thanks. God Bless.

  13. I’m very curious to read what the woman who moved from California to Maine thinks of her decision a year from now.

    To quote my father, “Anyone can love northern Michigan in the summer. It takes a special kind to still love it in February.”

  14. Cabela’s in Boise Idaho has a lot of .270 on the shelf. I am stocked deep with 9mm and .223 and 7.62X39 and .308. I have a spare Ishnapor .308 in good condition. My
    suggestion to EECOM is a .270 and order the ammo from Cabela.

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