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“De-Dollarisation Theme Is Intact”: Latest IMF Reserve Data Shows Continued Flight From Dollar, Into Gold

"De-Dollarisation Theme Is Intact": Latest IMF Reserve Data Shows Continued Flight From Dollar, Into Gold



"De-Dollarisation Theme Is Intact": Latest IMF Reserve Data Shows Continued Flight From Dollar, Into Gold Tyler Durden Thu, 10/01/2020 - 17:00

On Wednesday, the IMF released the latest Currency Composition of Official Foreign Exchange Reserves (COFER) report for Q2 2020. It showed that while the Dollar share of global reserves had increased in Q1 2020, likely on a combination of valuation effects and safe-haven demand, trend reversed abruptly in Q2 as shown in the Goldman chart below.

The contraction in dollar reserves is hardly new: prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Dollar share of allocated reserves had been trending lower over the past two years (chart below, left), but that trend was interrupted in Q1 2020. However, the market recovery in Q2 helped to reverse most of the increase in the Dollar’s share from earlier this year. At the same time, the share of Euro reserves rebounded somewhat in Q2.

Additionally, the share of Yen reserves declined both on a headline basis and after adjusting for FX valuation changes. Here, Goldman notes that a number of central banks appear to take advantage of the yield enhancement provided by wide cross currency bases, so this likely overstates the demand for JPY reserves on a net basis, and the unwind of this trade has likely contributed to the Yen’s declining share in 2020. Meanwhile, the share of CNY reserves continues to steadily but slowly increase in what may be the most ominous trend in global reserve flows.

From the perspective of reserve holders, BofA calculates that total FX reserves rose to over $12 trillion as global central banks aggressively intervened in FX markets, with more than half of all allocated reserves in US currency. As the next two charts highlight, both Israel and Switzerland added to reserves as a result of significant FX interventions to weaken their respective currencies. Indeed, most major countries experienced a rise in FX reserves through Q2, with the exception of Turkey which continues to bleed reserves in order to stabilize its currency.

Echoing the Goldman observations above, BofA also writes that "the de-dollarisation theme appears intact", adding that the share of US holdings has declined to 61.3%, slightly more than expected based on FX, bond and equity valuation changes. The next two charts show the divergence vs USD performance, and the theoretical evolution of USD share based on valuation changes since 2014.

This divergence between the level of USD reserves and that of USD TWI is expected to persist, as the world is decoupling from the USD as the notional reference peg.

Combining all the Q2 COFER data reveals some interesting insights regarding what Central Banks prefer at the moment, as alternative to the USD.

Curiously, according to the BofA FX strategists, a deep dive into reserve flows highlights that there was no currency stood out as having benefited from the process so far. Instead, many central banks had turned to Gold. However, it now also appears that the pace of Gold purchases was levellng off.

So, against the backdrop of global yields heading towards zero, the question of what assets/currency central banks would buy next remained open. Some of BofA's observations:

  • The outlook was becoming more balanced in terms of CB demand for EUR bonds. The yield differential vs USTs had reduced, and new supportive factors were emerging - notably the political stability provided by the EU recovery fund and the growth in EUR-denominated Green bonds, but
  • The synchronized shift towards QE and further unconventional policy measures would likely focus reserve managers' attention on a wider spectrum of assets, and, in the absence of a viable alternative to the USD, we might be entering into a multi-polar reserve currency world, with currency dominance det

The IMF's Q2 COFER breakdown supports both theories:

  • The build-up of reserves in Q2 was most significant in EUR, at c. $23bn. This has allowed a slight increase in the EUR share of FX reserves, even as valuation adjustments would have projected a stable share (Chart 7). But, this increase is still extremely marginal. The share of EUR holdings remains indeed well below the pre-Eurozone crisis levels. Similarly, JPY, GBP, CAD, AUD and CHF holdings combined still account for less than 15% of total holdings. As BofA puts it, "the evidence so far suggests that reserve managers do not currently see any of the above as ready-made single alternative to the USD (instead, what was observed is a small build-up in each currency, except the JPY)."

  • The "other currencies" component has risen markedly. Q2 saw the largest build-up of reserves in RMB and "other currencies" since 2Q18 (Chart 6, and Chart 8). In fact, together, RMB and "other currencies" now total over 4.5% of FX reserves, surpassing CHF, CAD, and AUD holdings. The IMF does not provide a breakdown of "other currencies" but as with CAD and AUD in 2012, it may not be long before another currency is individually reported. It is likely that this will be an emerging market currency.

One final point: while the accumulation of the Chinese yuan continues, it remains at a very muted pace and hardly a threat to the dollar's reserve status any time soon. Indeed, as BofA noted above, "the evidence so far suggests that reserve managers do not currently see any of the above as ready-made single alternative to the USD."

However, it is worth noting at the same time that foreign investor purchases of Chinese government bonds continued to gather pace in 2Q, with an estimated $19bn of inflows. The majority of the foreign bond holdings (66% according to BofA) are attributed to foreign central bank and sovereign wealth funds. Moreover, this pace of buying appears to have picked up in 3Q, with the first two months of the 3Q posting $20bn of inflows.

As shown in the chart below, foreign investors now account for 9.2% of outstanding Chinese government bonds. Foreign central bank buying and diversification into Chinese government bonds will likely gain more legitimacy following the September 24 announcement by FTSE Russell that China will be included into the WGBI next October 2021, after China was awarded a maximum score of 2 for "bond market accessibility" (which is hilarious and is why foreign investors are in for a shock once the next default cycle hits China).

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You can strike gold and silver investment opportunities at Costco

Costco (NDAQ:COST), known for its wide array of products, also offers a distinct opportunity for investors: gold and silver.
The post You can strike gold…



Costco known for its wide array of products ranging from groceries to electronics and sporting goods, also offers a distinct opportunity for investors: precious metals Costco began selling 1-ounce 24-karat gold bars, in the United States in October 2023 and sold more than US$100 million by November Investors are looking for inflation-proof opportunities and as Stockhouse’s recent Thematic Insights report details, the gold supply has remained essentially flat over time, so it is never diluted Costco Wholesale Corp. stock last traded at US$725.63 on the NASDAQ and C$34.01 per share on the NEO Exchange

With gold prices hovering around all-time highs, one of the top warehouse retailers and Canada’s favourite grocer has brought the precious metal to its consumers.

Costco (NDAQ:COST), known for its wide array of products ranging from groceries to electronics and sporting goods, also offers a distinct opportunity for investors: precious metals. While the retail giant might not be the first place that comes to mind when thinking about gold and silver investments, Costco’s offerings in Canada have caught the attention of savvy investors looking to diversify their portfolios.

Let’s delve into what Costco Canada has to offer in terms of gold and silver investments and explore the potential benefits and considerations.

Gold and silver bullion at Costco

Costco began selling 1-ounce 24-karat gold bars, in the United States in October 2023 priced around US$2,000 and sold more than US$100 million by November.

Observing Costco shoppers can provide interesting economic and cultural indicators. Just like the early days of COVID-19 in 2020 when consumers emptied pallets of toilet paper, the supplies of gold and silver at Costco might reveal how confident the public is in Canadian currency and the economy.

Costco Canada stocks a selection of gold and silver bullion available online at, providing investors with the opportunity to add physical precious metals to their investment portfolios. Gold and silver bullion are typically offered in the form of bars or coins, each carrying intrinsic value based on the metal content.

(Source: Benefits of investing in gold and silver Portfolio diversification: Gold and silver have historically served as a hedge against inflation and economic uncertainty. By adding precious metals to their portfolios, investors can diversify risk and potentially protect their wealth during times of market volatility. Tangible assets: Unlike stocks or bonds, which exist only as digital entries or paper certificates, gold and silver bullion offer investors tangible assets they can hold in their hands. This physical presence can provide a sense of security and stability, especially during turbulent economic times. Liquidity: Gold and silver are globally recognized as valuable commodities, making them liquid assets. Investors can easily buy and sell gold and silver bullion in various markets around the world, providing flexibility and accessibility. Store of value: Throughout history, gold and silver have maintained their value over the long term. While fiat currencies may depreciate because of factors such as inflation, political instability or economic crises, precious metals have proven to retain their purchasing power over time. Considerations when investing in precious metals Price volatility: Like any investment, the prices of gold and silver can fluctuate based on supply and demand dynamics, geopolitical events, and macroeconomic factors. Investors should be prepared for price volatility and hold a long-term perspective. Storage and security: Owning physical precious metals requires adequate storage and security measures to protect against theft or damage. Investors might opt for secure vault storage services or invest in home safes to safeguard their bullion. Transaction costs: When buying and selling gold and silver bullion, investors might incur transaction costs such as premiums, commissions or storage fees. It’s essential to factor these expenses into investment decisions to accurately assess potential returns. Costco also marks up its precious metals at a few hundred dollars above its market value, but you will likely find it slightly cheaper than what the big Canadian banks offer, if their stock isn’t sold out. Market timing: Timing the market is notoriously difficult, and attempting to predict short-term price movements in gold and silver can be challenging. Instead, focus on the long-term fundamentals and consider dollar-cost averaging as a strategy to mitigate market timing risk. Why buy gold and silver at Costco?

Already up more than 5 per cent since the beginning of the year, the value of gold is expected to continue to climb this year. Earlier this month it hit record highs above $2,181/oz. as speculation rises around the prospects of June interest rate cuts.

… but is it a good investment?

In an interview with CBC Radio’s The Current, Will Huggins, an associate professor of finance and economics at McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business called this a good marketing strategy by Costco, but believed that buying gold from Costco doesn’t offer any advantage compared with the big Canadian banks.

“It’s not like a herd of cattle or some land or a corporate entity that we can keep bringing new people into,” he said. “It’s just a yellow rock.”

(Source: Costco Wholesale Corp.) Final thoughts on buying gold and silver

Costco Canada’s offering of gold and silver bullion presents an intriguing opportunity for investors seeking to diversify their portfolios with tangible assets.

Investors are looking for inflation-proof opportunities and as Stockhouse’s recent Thematic Insights report details, the gold supply has remained essentially flat over time, so it is never diluted and is essentially immune to inflation.

Whether you’re a seasoned investor looking to bolster your portfolio’s resilience or a newcomer exploring alternative investment avenues, the availability of gold and silver bullion at Costco Canada may offer a convenient and accessible option to incorporate precious metals into your investment strategy.

While investing in precious metals carries certain benefits and considerations, it is important for investors to conduct due diligence, assess their risk tolerance, and consult with financial professionals before making investment decisions. As with any investment, prudent decision-making and a long-term perspective are key to navigating the complexities of the financial markets.

Costco Wholesale Corp. (NDAQ:COST) stock last traded at US$725.63 on the NASDAQ and C$34.01 per share on the NEO Exchange.

Join the discussion: Find out what everybody’s saying about this stock on the Costco Wholesale Corp. Bullboard, and check out the rest of Stockhouse’s stock forums and message boards.

The material provided in this article is for information only and should not be treated as investment advice. For full disclaimer information, please click here.

The post You can strike gold and silver investment opportunities at Costco appeared first on The Market Online Canada.

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Home buyers must now navigate higher mortgage rates and prices

Rates under 4% came and went during the Covid pandemic, but home prices soared. Here’s what buyers and sellers face as the housing season ramps up.



Springtime is spreading across the country. You can see it as daffodil, camellia, tulip and other blossoms start to emerge. 

You can also see it in the increasing number of for sale signs popping up in front of homes, along with the painting, gardening and general sprucing up as buyers get ready to sell. 

Which leads to two questions: 

  • How is the real estate market this spring? 
  • Where are mortgage rates? 

What buyers and sellers face

The housing market is bedeviled with supply shortages, high prices and slow sales.

Mortgage rates are still high and may limit what a buyer can offer and a seller can expect.  

Related: Analyst warns that a TikTok ban could lead to major trouble for Apple, Big Tech

And there's a factor not expected that may affect the sales process. Fixed commission rates on home sales are going away in July.

Reports this week and in a week will make the situation clearer for buyers and sellers. 

The reports are:

  • Housing starts from the U.S. Commerce Department due Tuesday. The consensus estimate is for a seasonally adjusted rate of about 1.4 million homes. These would include apartments, both rentals and condominiums. 
  • Existing home sales, due Thursday from the National Association of Realtors. The consensus estimate is for a seasonally adjusted sales rate of about 4 million homes. In 2023, some 4.1 million homes were sold, the worst sales rate since 1995. 
  • New-home sales and prices, due Monday from the Commerce Department. Analysts are expecting a sales rate of 661,000 homes (including condos), up 1.5% from a year ago.

Here is what buyers and sellers need to know about the situation. 

Mortgage rates will stay above 5% 

That's what most analysts believe. Right now, the rate on a 30-year mortgage is between 6.7% and 7%. 

Rates peaked at 8% in October after the Federal Reserve signaled it was done raising interest rates.

The Freddie Mac Primary Mortgage Market Survey of March 14 was at 6.74%. 

Freddie Mac buys mortgages from lenders and sells securities to investors. The effect is to replenish lenders' cash levels to make more loans. 

A hotter-than-expected Producer Price Index released that day has pushed quotes to 7% or higher, according to data from Mortgage News Daily, which tracks mortgage markets.

Home buyers must navigate higher mortgage rates and prices this spring.


On a median-priced home (price: $380,000) and a 20% down payment, that means a principal and interest rate payment of $2,022. The payment  does not include taxes and insurance.

Last fall when the 30-year rate hit 8%, the payment would have been $2,230. 

In 2021, the average rate was 2.96%, which translated into a payment of $1,275. 

Short of a depression, that's a rate that won't happen in most of our lifetimes. 

Most economists believe current rates will fall to around 6.3% by the end of the year, maybe lower, depending on how many times the Federal Reserve cuts rates this year. 

If 6%, the payment on our median-priced home is $1,823.

But under 5%, absent a nasty recession, fuhgettaboutit.

Supply will be tight, keeping prices up

Two factors are affecting the supply of homes for sale in just about every market.

First: Homeowners who had been able to land a mortgage at 2.96% are very reluctant to sell because they would then have to find a home they could afford with, probably, a higher-cost mortgage.

More economic news:

Second, the combination of high prices and high mortgage rates are freezing out thousands of potential buyers, especially those looking for homes in lower price ranges.

Indeed, The Wall Street Journal noted that online brokerage Redfin said only about 20% of homes for sale in February were affordable for the typical household.

And here mortgage rates can play one last nasty trick. If rates fall, that means a buyer can afford to pay more. Sellers and their real-estate agents know this too, and may ask for a higher price. 

Covid's last laugh: An inflation surge

Mortgage rates jumped to 8% or higher because since 2022 the Federal Reserve has been fighting to knock inflation down to 2% a year. Raising interest rates was the ammunition to battle rising prices.

In June 2022, the consumer price index was 9.1% higher than a year earlier. 

The causes of the worst inflation since the 1970s were: 

  • Covid-19 pandemic, which caused the global economy to shut down in 2020. When Covid ebbed and people got back to living their lives, getting global supply chains back to normal operation proved difficult. 
  • Oil prices jumped to record levels because of the recovery from the pandemic recovery and Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

What the changes in commissions means

The long-standing practice of paying real-estate agents will be retired this summer, after the National Association of Realtors settled a long and bitter legal fight.

No longer will the seller necessarily pay 6% of the sale price to split between buyer and seller agents.

Both sellers and buyers will have to negotiate separately the services agents have charged for 100 years or more. These include pre-screening properties, writing sales contracts, and the like. The change will continue a trend of adding costs and complications to the process of buying or selling a home.

Already, interest rates are a complication. In addition, homeowners insurance has become very pricey, especially in communities vulnerable to hurricanes, tornadoes, and forest fires. Florida homeowners have seen premiums jump more than 102% in the last three years. A policy now costs three times more than the national average.

Related: Veteran fund manager picks favorite stocks for 2024


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Mistakes Were Made

Mistakes Were Made

Authored by C.J.Hopkins via The Consent Factory,

Make fun of the Germans all you want, and I’ve certainly done that…



Mistakes Were Made

Authored by C.J.Hopkins via The Consent Factory,

Make fun of the Germans all you want, and I’ve certainly done that a bit during these past few years, but, if there’s one thing they’re exceptionally good at, it’s taking responsibility for their mistakes. Seriously, when it comes to acknowledging one’s mistakes, and not rationalizing, or minimizing, or attempting to deny them, and any discomfort they may have allegedly caused, no one does it quite like the Germans.

Take this Covid mess, for example. Just last week, the German authorities confessed that they made a few minor mistakes during their management of the “Covid pandemic.” According to Karl Lauterbach, the Minister of Health, “we were sometimes too strict with the children and probably started easing the restrictions a little too late.” Horst Seehofer, the former Interior Minister, admitted that he would no longer agree to some of the Covid restrictions today, for example, nationwide nighttime curfews. “One must be very careful with calls for compulsory vaccination,” he added. Helge Braun, Head of the Chancellery and Minister for Special Affairs under Merkel, agreed that there had been “misjudgments,” for example, “overestimating the effectiveness of the vaccines.”

This display of the German authorities’ unwavering commitment to transparency and honesty, and the principle of personal honor that guides the German authorities in all their affairs, and that is deeply ingrained in the German character, was published in a piece called “The Divisive Virus” in Der Spiegel, and immediately widely disseminated by the rest of the German state and corporate media in a totally organic manner which did not in any way resemble one enormous Goebbelsian keyboard instrument pumping out official propaganda in perfect synchronization, or anything creepy and fascistic like that.

Germany, after all, is “an extremely democratic state,” with freedom of speech and the press and all that, not some kind of totalitarian country where the masses are inundated with official propaganda and critics of the government are dragged into criminal court and prosecuted on trumped-up “hate crime” charges.

OK, sure, in a non-democratic totalitarian system, such public “admissions of mistakes” — and the synchronized dissemination thereof by the media — would just be a part of the process of whitewashing the authorities’ fascistic behavior during some particularly totalitarian phase of transforming society into whatever totalitarian dystopia they were trying to transform it into (for example, a three-year-long “state of emergency,” which they declared to keep the masses terrorized and cooperative while they stripped them of their democratic rights, i.e., the ones they hadn’t already stripped them of, and conditioned them to mindlessly follow orders, and robotically repeat nonsensical official slogans, and vent their impotent hatred and fear at the new “Untermenschen” or “counter-revolutionaries”), but that is obviously not the case here.

No, this is definitely not the German authorities staging a public “accountability” spectacle in order to memory-hole what happened during 2020-2023 and enshrine the official narrative in history. There’s going to be a formal “Inquiry Commission” — conducted by the same German authorities that managed the “crisis” — which will get to the bottom of all the regrettable but completely understandable “mistakes” that were made in the heat of the heroic battle against The Divisive Virus!

OK, calm down, all you “conspiracy theorists,” “Covid deniers,” and “anti-vaxxers.” This isn’t going to be like the Nuremberg Trials. No one is going to get taken out and hanged. It’s about identifying and acknowledging mistakes, and learning from them, so that the authorities can manage everything better during the next “pandemic,” or “climate emergency,” or “terrorist attack,” or “insurrection,” or whatever.

For example, the Inquiry Commission will want to look into how the government accidentally declared a Nationwide State of Pandemic Emergency and revised the Infection Protection Act, suspending the German constitution and granting the government the power to rule by decree, on account of a respiratory virus that clearly posed no threat to society at large, and then unleashed police goon squads on the thousands of people who gathered outside the Reichstag to protest the revocation of their constitutional rights.

Once they do, I’m sure they’ll find that that “mistake” bears absolutely no resemblance to the Enabling Act of 1933, which suspended the German constitution and granted the government the power to rule by decree, after the Nazis declared a nationwide “state of emergency.”

Another thing the Commission will probably want to look into is how the German authorities accidentally banned any further demonstrations against their arbitrary decrees, and ordered the police to brutalize anyone participating in such “illegal demonstrations.”

And, while the Commission is inquiring into the possibly slightly inappropriate behavior of their law enforcement officials, they might want to also take a look at the behavior of their unofficial goon squads, like Antifa, which they accidentally encouraged to attack the “anti-vaxxers,” the “Covid deniers,” and anyone brandishing a copy of the German constitution.

Come to think of it, the Inquiry Commission might also want to look into how the German authorities, and the overwhelming majority of the state and corporate media, accidentally systematically fomented mass hatred of anyone who dared to question the government’s arbitrary and nonsensical decrees or who refused to submit to “vaccination,” and publicly demonized us as “Corona deniers,” “conspiracy theorists,” “anti-vaxxers,” “far-right anti-Semites,” etc., to the point where mainstream German celebrities like Sarah Bosetti were literally describing us as the inessential “appendix” in the body of the nation, quoting an infamous Nazi almost verbatim.

And then there’s the whole “vaccination” business. The Commission will certainly want to inquire into that. They will probably want to start their inquiry with Karl Lauterbach, and determine exactly how he accidentally lied to the public, over and over, and over again …

And whipped people up into a mass hysteria over “KILLER VARIANTS” …



And so on. I could go on with this all day, but it will be much easier to just refer you, and the Commission, to this documentary film by Aya Velázquez. Non-German readers may want to skip to the second half, unless they’re interested in the German “Corona Expert Council” …

Look, the point is, everybody makes “mistakes,” especially during a “state of emergency,” or a war, or some other type of global “crisis.” At least we can always count on the Germans to step up and take responsibility for theirs, and not claim that they didn’t know what was happening, or that they were “just following orders,” or that “the science changed.”

Plus, all this Covid stuff is ancient history, and, as Olaf, an editor at Der Spiegel, reminds us, it’s time to put the “The Divisive Pandemic” behind us …

… and click heels, and heil the New Normal Democracy!

Tyler Durden Sat, 03/16/2024 - 23:20

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