Daybreak in Land of Precious Metals
Michael Ballanger dissects last week’s price gains in gold and silver.
“Out of the shadows of night, the world rolls into light; It is daybreak everywhere.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
There have been many times in my sexagenarian journey through four and a half decades of inflationary, disinflationary, and deflationary cycles when the spinning plates above my head suspended upon poles of flawed data and errant central bank policy appear on the verge of a massive chaotic accident. There are, however, other times when all is right with the world in which the precious metals investor resides and this past week was just one of those.
From a technical perspective, I could not ask for a more enviable confluence of conditions and events. Firstly, the precious metals bucked the trend of yielding to U.S. dollar strength so to the degree that this decoupling marks a new paradigm of gold and silver drivers, it was a watershed week. Secondly, as you all have been reading for as long as I have been allowed to perch upon the soapbox of blogosphere scrutiny, that repetitive drone resembling the bespectacled high school English teacher blathering on about conjugations with fifteen minutes left in an early summer school day, it was that silver outperformed gold and that the HUI outperformed both metals while the mightily gilded TSX Venture Exchange surpassed 1,000, symbolizing the return of “animal spirits” to the world of precious metals.
To coin the Longfellowian phrase, it was as if the world of the hard asset disciple rolled into light; it was daybreak everywhere, and it was long overdue.
I have been arguing the bullish case for gold and silver since the middle of August, having stepped away from the senior and junior miner ETFs back in August of 2020, when suddenly every blogger on the planet was reciting quotes from the “Gold Bug’s Almanac” while quoting Von Mises and Keynes and Peter Schiff chapter and verse in their rebirth into gold and silver idolatry.
Flash forward to late September 2021 when I seized upon silver’s phony false breakdown below $22/ounce (so obviously orchestrated by the bullion bank silver shorts) and designed to spook speculative longs into a final cathartic capitulation. I contend that the late September reversal was the precise moment that the precious metals gods finally held up both hands and pronounced “Enough!,” putting an end to the ever-ignored shenanigans that have plagued the paper markets for what seems like an eternity.
The star performer was gold for much the early move but now it appears that the freckle-faced, red-haired hellion – silver – has put a clamp on the leadership torch wrenching it away from gold and about to pass it over happily to the mining shares, where the GDX and GDXJ have been absolute beasts since the late September reversal.
Outside of the RSI levels for the HUI, GDX, and GDXJ all closing out the week solidly above 70 (overbought), history has proven that they can stay overbought for weeks and especially when gold has moved away from “correction” mode and into “resumed uptrend” mode in which I believe we are now immersed and in a highly-convincing manner.
This chart marks the performance of the three precious metal classes and it is textbook. Shares are outperforming metal and silver is outperforming gold; this is a classic trademark of a confirmed bull market and while it will most certainly not be a straight line to all-time highs, my only conundrum is whether gold gets there by New Year’s Day.
We all read the same commentators and listen to all the same podcasts but to whom I pay particular attention are those highly successful investors that have rarely, if ever, owned precious metals that are now on the record as owning gold and looking for significantly higher prices.
A few weeks ago, I listened to an interview with Sam Zell, one of the greatest horse-traders in the history of modern finance, in which he basically called out the policymakers for trashing the American balance sheet while citing gold as an appropriate place to park one’s wealth. It is those massive pools of capital that are now sloshing around the bond and equity arenas that are going to be eventually forced to assets that have no counterparty risk and when that occurs, it will be elephantine demand meeting rodent-ine supply resulting in an unfathomable price reaction in everything vaguely even associated with gold or silver.
I have told this story before but it bears repeating. In the late 1970s while working as a clueless trainee for a large Canadian brokerage firm, one of the senior salesmen (not “wealth advisor”) told me about a junior gold explorer called “Mattachewan Consolidated Mines” at about CA$0.08 per shares so, having never bought a stock before in my life, I took my life savings at the time and bought 20,000 shares worth CA$1,600 and then promptly forgot about it. A few months later, I was handing out the bond quote sheets (there were no quote terminals for bonds back then) when I ran into the senior salesman who asked while sporting a broad smile how I liked the move in Mattachewan. I asked him what it was doing, sluffing off my ignorance due to being “too busy” counting Canada Savings Bonds and licking stamps.
“Why,” he said “it just traded at $1.80 and it’s going to $3!”
Having earlier learned my “times tables,” I quickly did the math and realized (while hyperventilating madly) that I had just won a lottery with my $1,600 now worth $36k and possibly on its way to $60k! “Well,” I said puffing out my chest and trying to look scholarly, “I need to do some research on this. Can you tell me where they have their gold and how much of it they own?” The senior salesman began laughing hysterically after which he responded while wiping tears from his ruddy cheeks, “Son, this is a gold bull market and there is no bull market like a gold bull market. The only gold Mattachewan has is the letters G-O-L-D in their name.” He then embarked on another howling round of laughter and I skulked off to the cloakroom.”
The point I make is that the vast majority of Millennials and Genexers have never seen a) a bear market or b) a bull market in precious metals miners. They know crypto and they know technology but their eyes glaze over when you describe the move in Consolidated Stikine in 1989 or Diamondfields in 1996. Just as fortunes have been made in this cycle in worthless EV companies or counterfeiting schemes like certain crypto deal, fortunes are about to made in the junior developers and explorers. The TSX Venture Exchange is the Canadian version of the junior NASDAQ so like its U.S. counterpart, it is a great barometer for speculative sentiment. While the tech-laden COMPQ hit record highs last week, it is important to remember that the high for the TSXV was in May 2007 when it traded over 3,350; it has been that long since the junior mining markets have received anything resembling “love” on a par with technology or crypto.
The bottom line is that like silver, which has yet to see record highs, the junior resource sector has a great deal of upside if we are to believe that the Great Currency Debasement exercise around the world is going to reprice all assets to new highs.
We have seen it everywhere in the industrial and soft commodities and should expect to see it in uranium, silver, and the TSXV before the cycle gets terminated by either policy errors or global war, both of which are possible but impossible to either time or predict.
I went long December Silver in late September the day the bullion bank monkeys tried to smash it below $22 but just as the Twitterverse had concluded that it was $18 bound, the mysterious forces of short-covering evil stepped into the panic and before you could say “JP Morgan,” silver went on an eleven-day recovery to $23 and has not looked back. I see some resistance around $27–28 after which 2021 highs are likely above the $30 “#silversqueeze” spike level that created the underperformance that has persisted since February. This week it appears to have broken the shackles of its lead-filled sneakers once and for all, so since we own the SLV:US from $22.10 (now $23.42) and the January $20 calls from $2.10 (now $3.56), I see no reason to rush to ring the register unless RSI spikes into the high 70s (or until I see all of the usual silver bugs taking victory laps around the Twitter Track).
Gold and silver investors have had to endure a very long and very cold night since the sun went down in August 2020. As I pointed out last week, the gold and silver mining shares represented by the GDM are absurdly undervalued despite a superb advance this past week but what are even more undervalued are those junior developers with large and rapidly growing resources, like Getchell Gold Corp. (GTCH:CSE; GGLDF:OTCQB), whose share prices are wallowing in sentiment purgatory despite impressive 2021 results.
As I constantly harp on every time an unattended pair of ears or eyes can be found, it is the junior developers that will have the biggest lift in 2022 along with selected exploration issues (available to all subscribers).
Enjoy the warmth of the daylight sun and remember the lesson behind Mattachewan Consolidated Mines because that is where we are headed…
Originally published Nov. 12, 2021.
Originally trained during the inflationary 1970s, Michael Ballanger is a graduate of Saint Louis University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in finance and a Bachelor of Art in marketing before completing post-graduate work at the Wharton School of Finance.
With more than 30 years of experience as a junior mining and exploration specialist, as well as a solid background in corporate finance, Ballanger’s adherence to the concept of “Hard Assets” allows him to focus the practice on selecting opportunities in the global resource sector with emphasis on the precious metals exploration and development sector.
Ballanger takes great pleasure in visiting mineral properties around the globe in the never-ending hunt for early-stage opportunities.
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Michael Ballanger Disclaimer
This article makes no guarantee or warranty on the accuracy or completeness of the data provided. Nothing contained herein is intended or shall be deemed to be investment advice, implied or otherwise. This letter represents my views and replicates trades that I am making but nothing more than that.
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