Gold and silver look increasingly strong to this US analyst...
GOLD WILL HIT $1450 an ounce by year-end, reckons natural resources analyst for Weiss Research, Sean Brodrick, with Silver Prices rising to $25 per ounce.
Editor of Weiss Research's Crisis Profit Hunter, Red-Hot Canadian Small-Caps, Red-Hot Global Small-Caps and Red-Hot Commodity ETFs advisories – as well as a columnist for Dow Jones MarketWatch, and a frequent guest on CNBC Squawk Box, Fox Business, CNN, The Glenn Beck Program, Your World with Neil Cavuto and Bloomberg Market Line – Sean Brodrick released early this year his book, The Ultimate Suburban Survivalist Guide, to help people survive the ever-changing economic landscape, from stock market shakeups to oil and currency crises to natural disasters.
Here, in this interview with The Gold Report, Sean sees silver reasserting itself as a monetary, investment and industrial metal. South of the border, some of the Mexican miners have an "embarrassment of riches", he says – all of which have largely escaped the attention of Wall Street.
The Gold Report: If the economy is growing, why can't we grow our way out of this debt?
Sean Brodrick: Much of the growth was predicated on debt. We borrowed about one-tenth of our GDP to boost things along and got some growth out of it. The problem, now reflected in the markets, is that investors and traders wonder if we're going to keep borrowing to keep pushing the economy along. If not, we can expect contraction.
In Europe, of course, they're now borrowing even more to bail out the bankers who loaned Greece too much. The market's really wondering where that ends. The whole point of this exercise is to stimulate the economy enough to spur intrinsic growth instead of debt-fueled growth.
As in World War II, they should have borrowed more to really stimulate. Or they should have left some banks hanging and accepted everybody losing and going back to a lower level for a while. They should have gone one way or the other. Instead, they've gone into a no man's land.
They can keep borrowing more and more, and I think we'll see that because this is an election year. Politicians don't want things to really turn down. We just have to remember that a lot of the growth we're seeing is borrowed. It is borrowed through debt from the future. That bill will finally come due someday.
TGR: So the future growth you foresee in terms of the bullish indicators is still debt-driven.
Sean Brodrick: Exactly. They were hoping to use debt to fuel the economy enough to spur real economic growth. We haven't seen that much of that yet. There are bullish indicators, but it's a very weak recovery. The markets fear that things are really going to go down when we take away the blindfold, and they might be right. We're caught between a rock and a hard place. Either keep borrowing and keep spending the money all over the place and keep the market moving along – or else sober up, stop the borrowing and the extra spending and understand that things will slow down.
TGR: As you indicated, no politician is going to want to stop the spending in an election year. So they're going to continue to stimulate economic indicators with debt. Eventually, as you stated, they'll to have to print money or inflate out of it.
Sean Brodrick: That seems likely. But on the other hand, the GOP has turned into the party of "no." They don't want to do anything; maybe they'll say "no" to everything. I kind of wish I didn't have to live through it, but it's actually interesting. We are living this grand socioeconomic experiment. I don't really like any of the choices we're facing, but I think we will see more borrowing – if not to stimulate the economy, then to pay for bad choices Wall Street is making right now. Wall Street always gets bailed out; it just works out that way. And as we see more borrowing of one kind or another, we will see pressure on the paper currencies.
TGR: It's already hitting the Euro hard.
Sean Brodrick: The Euro is under a great deal of pressure and, within a year, it might well not be in the same form it is today. The US Dollar looks strong right now, but that's only because central banks around the world have decided they own too many Euros. The fact that they're getting rid of Euros is the reason the Euro's been sliding so much. They are buying US Dollars just because they can always convert the Dollars to something else. And of course, they're buying – and have been buying – gold. So the US Dollar and gold are going up at the same time. The question is, what will they do maybe six months from now? Will they keep buying the USD? Will they keep buying more Gold? The US debt situation is actually quite remarkable for the way it's being ignored, frankly; and I think we've hit peak gold.
TGR: That should be good for the Gold Price...
Sean Brodrick: Absolutely. The ore bodies being discovered now are smaller and lower-grade than in the past. We aren't finding big, rich ore bodies anymore. The amount of gold we can produce in any one year is probably hitting a peak, so the price is just going to go higher. So I think gold will get more valuable for that reason, as well.
TGR: Does that also bode well for Silver Investing, particularly if you look at silver as a monetary metal?
Sean Brodrick: Again, absolutely. Silver is not only a monetary metal, it is an industrial metal. But it's always a problem for any silver investor to gauge how much silver's price reflects global economic conditions. Maybe there will be a global recovery. Things don't have to get worse just because I see that possibility; the global economy could improve. If it does, we'll see increased demand from multiple sectors of society – more demand for silver for all of its many industrial uses.
The economy is on an improving track globally now, but will a return to recession drive the price of silver down? It can do that. Also, if the global economy slows and we see less demand for industrial metals, remember that much of the world's silver production is a byproduct of other industrial metals. If they shut down industrial metals mines, it pulls silver supply out of the market. That might cause a financial panic, which will send people looking for hard assets again. That would drive silver up. None of this means silver can't go lower, but I think the trend will be up for silver and gold alike.
Either way, I think we'll see silver reassert itself as a monetary metal, as well as an investment metal. More small investors, in particular, will start putting money into silver because, as gold gets more expensive, it becomes unaffordable for some people. It's kind of an interesting situation for silver.
TGR: So the two primary demands are industrial, which depends on the global recovery; and monetary or physical silver, which will go up in tandem with gold. Do you know the percentage of physical silver held versus what's used for industrial purposes?
Sean Brodrick: I don't have that statistic in front of me. But people are buying bars and coins in addition to ETFs. If mint production doesn't keep up with demand, it tends to feed into the price of silver. That's the funny thing about precious metals – everybody wants more when it's not available.
TGR: If everybody will want more, where would you peg the price of silver in two or three years?
Sean Brodrick: It has to get through $20, and I think we'll see that fairly soon. I'm expecting the pullback in gold to work out over the next week or so, and then it should head higher again. My target for gold would be $1,450 by year-end. We could easily see silver at $25 – if not by then, certainly next year. We haven't hit the mania phase for either metal yet. Most people remain completely unaware of the gold and silver markets. If anything, people are actually selling to all these outfits that are in the scrap market now, urging people to bring in their old and broken jewelry. They aren't taking a part of each paycheck and running to their local gold and silver dealer to purchase more every month. That's not happening yet.
When the mania phase does come, I don't want to put a price target on either gold or silver. I don't know how high they can go, but whatever it is, it won't stick. You want to buy before the mania.
TGR: And then?
Sean Brodrick: We'll have to see what happens. Usually after a period of mania, you get some kind of blowoff. This could be years down the road, by the way; these things take time to unfold. I'm not expecting this to happen next year. We're in a good bull market for both gold and Silver Bullion. They're both continuing quite nicely, so I expect higher prices for both for the next two or three years at least. Then we can finally get to the mania.
TGR: If the global economy is recovering, albeit slowly, from where will the fear that fuels the mania originate?
Sean Brodrick: That is a good question. I'm not really sure that most manias in investments are necessarily caused by fear. It could be greed. But we can have a nice bull market for quite some time. If the global economy continues to grow, perhaps slowly, it will increase industrial demand for silver.
A lot of people worried about demand when they stopped using silver in photography, but now it's used more and more for many other things. It's an amazing metal in the way it conducts heat; it's really far beyond the competition. Something like 300 tons are used every year just as chemical reagents for plastics and so forth. Silver's also used now in solar power technology. They're talking about using silver for catalytic converters. They don't quite have that technology yet, but silver would be a great replacement because platinum and palladium are scarce.
TGR: That brings up an interesting possibility. Everyone gets all riled up about rare earths because China mines most of the world's production. If silver can replace rare earths in such applications, would we see an exponential rise in the Silver Price?
Sean Brodrick: I'm not talking about silver replacing rare earths. It doesn't mean they can't find new substitutes for lithium for batteries, but I don't know what would replace rare earths now. That's the beauty of metallurgy, right? You can always find substitutes. They may not work as well, but once you get down into nanotechnology, that's coming. That will probably be the next big industrial wave; we'll see some really amazing things. That's actually one of my hopes for the future.
TGR: What's that?
Sean Brodrick: That we might be able to engineer our way out of the mess we're in if we can get that technology to come fast enough.
TGR: Back to silver. Do you focus on Mexico?
Sean Brodrick: As natural resource analyst for Uncommon Wisdom Daily, I cover everything. But yes, I certainly cover silver in Mexico.
TGR: One of your articles talks about Mexico being relatively unexplored for various political and historical reasons, which leaves plenty of bonanza-grade deposits. Would you talk a bit about that?
Sean Brodrick: Sure. Blame it on the Mexican Revolution. They had some really serious troubles at the beginning of the 20th century. Many people who were investing in mines there got very nervous, so they up and left. They were able to invest in other places without the headaches. As a result, Mexico missed out on a whole phase of exploration and expansion that the US went through. Now there are these really high-grade ore bodies there – many of which were mined before; that's the amazing thing.
Mexico's become a very mining-friendly country. As long as a few decades ago, many smart Canadian miners went to Mexico and put together land packages of properties that had been abandoned. They're finally getting to work on them and are finding some amazing grades. An average grade of 500 grams of silver per ton is a very rich mine. You don't even have to drill much, you just go along the same path the previous miners followed. The ore you get is just really excellent.
TGR: Quite the bonanza. One of your recent articles said that the Mexican silver miners are underpriced. With those amazing grades and amazing land packages, what's causing them to be underpriced?
Sean Brodrick: Part of it is the fact that some are better at public relations than others. Not all of them are underpriced, but some just don't get their message out well. If you do your research and check into them, you can find some really good bargains. Another factor is that they aren't really being followed on Wall Street; so, to that extent, people don't know about them either. They are being followed up in Canada, of course. As you might expect, only people who know the niche in the US and tune in to what's going on in Canada realize the great things going in Mexico. Right now, they're a few steps removed. But their story will get out, especially as the world gets more focused on what's happening with gold and silver. These companies will become much better known.
TGR: Any other suggestions for potential investors?
Sean Brodrick: Yes. Be very careful where you put your money, especially in this kind of market – and very careful how you go in. I usually go in one slice at a time and take the same way out, so as not to move the stock too much. Another point – if you like something because it's cheap and it gets expensive, don't chase it. You might have another chance to buy it on the cheap again.
Buy Silver at the very lowest prices, and store it securely – at the lowest costs – by using Bullion Vault...