David Franklin

‘Fedspeak’ was first used to describe the long, often vague statements by Alan Greenspan on changes in Federal Reserve policy. In fact, Greenspan claims opaque answers to straight forward questions were part of the job as he did not want to make markets overreact. In his words, “What tends to happen is your syntax collapses… All of a sudden, you are mumbling. It often works. I created a new language which we now call Fedspeak. Unless you are expert at it, you can’t tell that I didn’t say anything.” Recently, in a departure from ‘Fedspeak’, Central bankers around the world have made their intentions known about how they plan to manage their foreign exchange reserves, giving investors a rare glimpse into how to manage their own portfolios.

Daniel Mminele, Deputy Governor of the South African Reserve Bank, recently gave his view on the impact of the Federal Reserve tapering of its bond purchases. He believes that asset purchases by the Fed have significantly elevated prices for US Treasuries. With more than 60% of South African foreign exchange reserves held in US dollars, he has a lot to lose. To lessen the impact of tapering, the South African Reserve Bank will be diversifying into new asset classes and new currencies outside of the US dollar. In simpler terms, tapering will lower the value of their reserves and they are beginning to move out of US dollar assets now.

Further clarity came from the European Central Bank’s Mario Draghi when asked by Tekoa da Silva recently his thoughts on gold as a reserve asset he responded, “I never thought it wise to sell it [gold], because for central banks this is a reserve of safety… it gives you a value-protection against fluctuations against the dollar. So that’s why central banks which have started a program for selling gold a few years ago, substantially I think stopped… most of the experiences of central banks that have leased or sold the stock of gold about ten years ago, were not considered to be terribly successful from a purely money viewpoint.” That is a surprisingly clear endorsement of gold as an asset for central banks – no ‘Fedspeak’ here – and a clear endorsement for banks to hold some gold.

In contrast to the recent directness from The Reserve Bank of South Africa and the candid comments from Mr. Draghi, we move to the ‘Nospeak’ policy on gold from China. The last time China reported gold holdings was in April 2009 with 1,054 metric tons. However as we have opined previously “you have to watch what they do, not what they say”. China is on pace to consume a record amount of gold this year, which may be partly due to the central bank diversifying its foreign-exchange reserves.

The continued legislative wrangling and a possible debt default next year have only deepened concerns about the outlook for the US dollar and Treasuries. But you won’t hear that from the Peoples Bank of China. While officials have vehemently denied adding to their gold holdings, trade statistics tell a different story. As of September 2013 China has imported a total of 826 tonnes so far this year, double that of the first nine months of 2012, well on the way to being the largest consumer of gold in 2013.

It is hard for us to believe that none of this gold has found its way to the Peoples Bank of China. In fact, Andrew Cosgrove and Kenneth Hoffman of Bloomberg industries estimate that Chinese central bank holdings are likely closer to 2,710 metric tonnes – a significant increase over their disclosed amount. But no clarifying statements are expected from the Chinese any time soon.

If we were to cobble together the advice from Mr. Mminele, Mr. Draghi and the ‘Nospeak’ implications from the Chinese, we can create a ‘how-to-manage’ your own portfolio manual just as central banks do:

  • Begin to diversify your holdings outside of the US dollar because Federal Reserve tapering at some point in the future will have deleterious effects on dollar holdings.
  • Own some gold as a reserve of safety and value-protection against fluctuations in the US dollar.
  • Accumulate your store of gold slowly over time.
  • Never disclose how much gold you own and NEVER sell it.
  • If you are ever asked direct questions about your ownership or intentions on purchasing gold, speak but don’t say a thing.

This is sage investment advice from the world’s top bankers, which unfortunately, they will never share with you.

David Franklin

For The Daily Reckoning

Note: This originally appeared over at Sprott’s Thoughts

P.S. Readers of The Daily Reckoning email version get all sorts of great tips on protecting your wealth and personal liberty from rising taxes and invasive government. Subscribe today by clicking here.

David Franklin

David Franklin is a market strategist for Sprott Asset Management. A frequent guest speaker at conferences across the globe, David has also been featured in numerous newspaper articles and television shows, providing insights on the ever changing financial landscape. David is also a former director of a publicly listed Australian gold company.

Recent Articles

It’s Time to Buy Microcaps for Double-digit Gains

Greg Guenthner

Yup, small-caps are setting up for a comeback year. In fact, I believe they'll retake a leadership role in the markets in 2015. So now's your chance to set yourself up for potentially massive gains before these stocks start grabbing headlines again. Or... you can simply wait until some ex-purt on CNBC or Fox recommends them - and miss out on half the party. Your choice...


Can Money Printing Cause Deflation?

Marc Faber

"There has been an issue that has preoccupied my mind for a long time," writes Dr. Marc Faber. "In economics, it is generally accepted that if the quantity of money and credit is increased, prices will rise… However, since economics is so complex… I question whether the expansion of central banks' balance sheets and policies of zero interest rates could have a deflationary impact…" The good doctor wrestles with the question, in today's essay...


How Low Will Oil Go – And What Can You Do?

Matt Insley

The oil market has been under siege for six months. From service providers to producers this downturn has been painful. Of course, we’ve known all along that oil prices were a little toppy over the summer. In fact, when asked just how low oil prices could go I usually answered with a simple “lower than you’d expect…”


Cuba’s Berlin Wall Moment

Peter Coyne

Our forecast that Cuba would be open and integrated within 5-10 years is on track after yesterday's big announcement. Ahead of schedule, even. Click here to see how some investors have profited and what the island's likely future is...


The $4 LED Trend You Don’t Want to Miss

Chris Mayer

The opportunity to sell and install LEDs is enormous. We’re talking about over a billion lighting fixtures. And the areas with the largest potential -- like parking lots -- have barely begun to change. Banker to the presidents Chris Mayer says you could triple your money in this new tech trend. Here's what you need to know.


Forget the Oil Crash – Crush the Market With Biotech Stocks

Greg Guenthner

The Biotech iShares ETF is up 23% since the Oct. 15th bottom. No, that is not a typo. Biotechs have torched the S&P over the past two months--more than doubling the returns of the big index. And biotechs as a group are up more than 38% year-to-date. In fact, since we first highlighted the June comeback, the Biotech iShares have gone nowhere but up.


How to Make the Casinos Pay You for a Change

Greg Guenthner

It's a theme we've shared with you since April. And it's only gotten worse. The gaming industry has come under all sorts of pressure--a situation I first noticed in the charts. The powerful, multi-year uptrends started showing cracks. And it wasn't long before those cracks turned into gaping holes you could drive a friggin' truck through. That's where things stand today.