Gold News

Gold & the return of exchange controls

Gold would gain sharply amid currency & exchange controls – which may be set to return...

WHEN EXCHANGE CONTROLS were imposed in Britain in 1971 the country was caught off-guard by the speed of their imposition. That was when the Gold Price really took off, eventually rising from $42 an ounce to $850 in 1980.

   And this week HSBC, a leading UK bank, warned of a massive outflow of capital over the next six months from the UK. Might exchange controls be deemed necessary by world governments, including the UK authorities, again?

   After President Nixon closed the US Fed's "Gold Window in 1971, Britain imposed Exchange Controls known as the "Dollar Premium" on the country's savers and investors. I myself became a dealer in the Dollar Premium at that time, and saw from the inside just how Capital Controls affected markets and investments to the benefit and detriment of different Investors.

   I am now braced to see them imposed again. Which countries might see them? As capital flows far bigger than we have ever seen wash across the global monetary system in the ebb tide of national wealth flowing eastward, the specter of Capital and Exchange Controls rises again. It is prudent, therefore, for all types of investors to guard against the pernicious effects of these now and take advantage of the benefits that also come with them!

In today’s world, as we have already seen, tsunami-like capital flows can wreak havoc with exchange rates, confidence and global money stability. With the continuation of these capital flow dangers, at some point one or many more governments will seek to quarantine their national economies against outside dangers such as these.

   We know that unless such capital flows are restrained, foreigner investors and dis-investors can hamper growth, or institute recessions and worse. In the case of inflows of capital inflation can be stimulated to the detriment of the surplus nation. But more dramatically investors can be caught inside a net reducing their investment choices.

   Because we are so sure that many countries will face capital flow problems in the future, we will continue to include pieces on what can be expected under Exchange Controls in our newsletters at GoldForecaster.com. Such controls could affect far more than one country, developed or under-developed. Many seem amazed that such a possibility could become a reality.

The mere thought that the US Dollar may cease to be the globe’s sole reserve currency appeared ludicrous to these readers only a few years ago, but now the prospect is real. We can understand their view, however; the Dollar has been the world's reserve for over a quarter of a century, more than half the working life of the bulk of professionals in the financial world.

   It was Dr. Ben Bernanke who forecast that foreign investors in the Dollar – and Dollar assets – would become 'sated' with them. It as Bernanke who stated strongly that the US trade deficit is unsustainable. These were not simply gentle observations but warnings to us all.

   One of the best indicators on just how close Exchange Controls are is to watch the maturities of assets held by foreign holders. These will shorten down as closely towards 'call' or 'spot' maturities as is possible. Then the run can start that triggers the imposition of controls.

   As a piece of evidence, this pattern was set in South Africa in 1986. Over the previous decade, the average maturity of assets held by foreigners there ha fallen from long-dated to ten-years very quickly, thereafter slipping down to only maturing assets or 'call' money. So when Mr. Butcher was head of Chase Manhattan, which had a branch in South Africa – and which was lending to the apartheid government of the day – he was faced with a dilemma.

   Chase Manhattan branches in the United States were losing business because of the bank's presence in South Africa, more than the South African business was worth. What was he to do? He took a step that would have impressed the original Rothschild. He demanded the immediate repayment of all the loans present in South Africa which had reached full term.

   Of course, the South African government could not allow such a 'run' on the capital in the country, despite its being foreign owned. So it imposed Exchange Controls.

   The result? Chase Manhattan was then seen as a victim inside the US, so the Stateside depositors who had left them returned and increased their presence. As to the South African loans from Chase, the South African government ensured they were serviced on time and eventually repaid within the terms of the "Scheme of Arrangement". From a banker’s point of view, Chase Manhattan not only increased its depositor base, but continued to profit and get repayment from the South African government, the best of both worlds!

   To clarify what we said before, the imposition of Exchange Controls would have to follow the fact that foreign investors were "sated" with US Dollar investments, i.e. they were not buying anymore. This would leave them holders or sellers of these investments. Either way, that situation would precipitate an exit of capital from the States.

   Of course, if there were still buyers sufficient to maintain a form of stability on the Balance of Payments, that would not happen. That is why Ben Bernanke’s statements are so alarming. That he should expect the situation makes it at least a probability. The upside to this scene, obtuse though it may seem, is that such controls will actually hope to promote investment in the US.

   We at Gold & Silver Forecaster have considerable experience in profiting hugely from these situations going back 36 years, and we include the prospect of such controls as contributing to the demand for Gold Bullion Investment.

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JULIAN PHILLIPS – one half of the highly respected team at GoldForecaster.com – began his career in the financial markets back in 1970, when he left the British Army after serving as an Officer in the Light Infantry in Malaya, Mauritius, and Belfast.

First he worked in Timber Management and then joined the London Stock Exchange, qualifying as a member and specializing from the beginning in currencies, gold and the "Dollar Premium". On moving to South Africa, Julian was appointed a macro-economist for the Electricity Supply Commission – guiding currency decisions on the multi-billion foreign Loan Portfolio – before joining Chase Manhattan and the UK Merchant Bank, Hill Samuel, in Johannesburg.

There he specialized in gold, before moving to Capetown, where he established the Fund Management department of the Board of Executors. Julian returned to the "Gold World" over two years ago, contributing his exceptional experience and insights to Global Watch: The Gold Forecaster.

Legal Notice/Disclaimer: This document is not and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase or subscribe for any investment. Gold Forecaster/Julian D.W. Phillips have based this document on information obtained from sources they believe to be reliable but which it has not independently verified; they make no guarantee, representation or warranty and accepts no responsibility or liability as to its accuracy or completeness. Expressions of opinion are those of Gold Forecaster/Julian D.W. Phillips only and are subject to change without notice. They assume no warranty, liability or guarantee for the current relevance, correctness or completeness of any information provided within this report and will not be held liable for the consequence of reliance upon any opinion or statement contained herein or any omission. Furthermore, they assume no liability for any direct or indirect loss or damage or, in particular, for lost profit, which you may incur as a result of the use and existence of the information, provided within this report.

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