GoldMoney Founder and Chairman James Turk knows how to find great deals on gold and silver. He claims that the 2012 bottom for gold came during the first week in January. If the year's low is already history and if his projection that gold will hit the $2,000/oz mark within three months is on target, you do the math. "Gold is way too cheap," he tells The Gold Report in this interview.
The Gold Report: Given the volatile 2011 market and the fact that gold trades at seasonally lower prices in the summer, James, what led you to say you believe we've already hit the low for the gold price in 2012?
James Turk: We started this year in an unusual position. Normally, we see seasonal strength in the last quarter. We didn't get it. We'd been in a correction since the high in silver back in April 2011. The high in gold came during the summer, which was very unusual, but basically both metals have been moving sideways. Starting from the end of a correction, value is more important than seasonality. Clearly, gold and silver both represent good, undervalued assets at the moment.
The other factor is continuing problems in the financial system. The European banks are still on the brink and many American banks are in a similar situation. Questions about the currency – whether the euro will survive – and the ongoing sovereign debt issue will cause people to look at the precious metals. I've said we saw the low in the gold price the first week of January, and the further into the year we get without going lower, the greater the probability that it was, in fact, the low for the year.
TGR: Considering all the issues you mentioned that existed last summer as well, why didn't that seasonal strength return late in 2011?
JT: An interesting thing about markets is that nothing works all of the time. You just have to respond accordingly in looking at how things are going to unfold. That's why I think the low has been made already.
TGR: You also mentioned in a recent interview that you thought gold could get above $2,000/ounce (oz) in the next three months. With all the monetary issues on the table, not to mention a few new wrinkles, what will make the gold price pop up so much in such a short period of time? What's the catalyst?
JT: I can't tell you what the event will be, but I look at charts and things of that nature to give me an indication as to when something's ready to move. The fact that we've been in a correction for several months is one indication that something will happen. Whether it's a bank failure or a problem with the euro or some European bank, you can't really tell. But whatever is coming, the markets reflect it. It's like following footprints in the sand on the beach, leading a certain way. The charts and the circumstances are telling me to expect a big pop in the gold price this year.
TGR: And would it correct immediately afterward?
JT: Not necessarily, because at some point, the currencies will collapse. When they do, gold won't correct. It will just keep going up.
TGR: So are you projecting currency collapses within the next few months?
JT: No, I'm not, but they will at some point. It could happen in the next several months; it could happen in the next several years. We are in a bubble, not a gold bubble but a fiat currency bubble. The belief that fiat currencies have value will be tested. I think fiat currencies, which are backed by nothing but government promises, will collapse, and gold will return to center stage in global commerce. When it does, expect a straight shot up. It may be three months or three years. Take it month by month and see how it goes. Don't try to trade the gold market. Continue to build your gold and/or silver holdings, and when all is said and done, you'll be very, very happy.
TGR: You've also indicated that you expect the US to get into hyperinflation, citing examples of currencies in the Weimar Republic, Argentina and Zimbabwe. None of those currencies was world reserve currencies as the U.S. dollar is. Would the world allow the US dollar to go into hyperinflation?
JT: The world can't do anything to stop it. President Nixon's Treasury secretary, John Connally, captured it perfectly when he told one of his European counterparts, "The dollar is our currency but your problem." That's still true 40 years later.
The dollar continues to be the world's problem, and the US government isn't doing anything to make the dollar worthy of the esteemed position of being the world's reserve currency. There is no pressure that can be brought to bear on the dollar that would cause the US government to reverse course and go in the right direction.
We are seeing countries around the world accumulating more gold in case the dollar collapses, which is what individuals should be doing as well. Countries around the world are also taking other steps to protect themselves. For instance, they're entering bilateral trade agreements that don't involve US dollars. China has been doing a lot of bilateral trade agreements that completely exclude the dollar. India and Iran, of all places, just recently announced an agreement whereby they're going to use gold for transacting.
TGR: In King World News in October you wowed the world with the Gold Money Index discussion and how it shows that the fair price of gold is really $11,000/oz. You based your calculation on the combined total of central banks' foreign exchange reserves divided by their gold holdings. Why do you use only foreign-exchange reserves in that calculation and not total reserves?
JT: Because gold is international money, and I'm trying to focus solely on the monetary component. Instead of moving gold around as they did under the classical gold standard, the central banks have been using foreign currencies as a money substitute. If you're using a money substitute, the money itself should be equivalent to gold. The real factor underlying all of this is that gold is way too cheap, and accepting paper currencies instead of gold is the wrong thing to do, which is what the Gold Money Index shows.
So it's basically reestablishing gold's role in the international monetary system and what its value would be based on historical evidence, particularly from the 1960s and 1970s, when the index was working much more clearly. Over the last 20 years, the gap between the fair value of gold and its actual price has become huge.
TGR: Have you gone back to 1900 with that calculation?
JT: It's hard to get all the data, but the logic is basically there. I've gone back prior to 1900, not with the Gold Money Index, but with my Fear Index, looking at domestic money supplies. The Fear Index is at about 3% now, so gold today backs about 3% of the domestic money supply. When Sir Isaac Newton devised the classical gold standard, an average of 40% of the monetary system's value was based on gold and 60% on paper. That we're so far below the guideline he established is an indication to how undervalued gold is relative to all the paper money systems out there.
TGR: You mentioned using foreign-exchange reserves because they mimic the way gold was transferred under the gold standard. But wasn't it part of being on the gold standard that each currency unit reflected a gold component?
JT: Yes. But, the Fear Index and the Gold Money Index distinguish between domestic and international money supplies. That's why I was saying this 40% on the Fear Index is the historical norm.