|»The Daily Reckoning by Bill Borner|
Why are central banks buying gold?
12 DECEMBER 2012
Demand for gold coins in the US has soared since the presidential election, as small investors fret about the lack of action to address America's ballooning debt.
But what's this? Apparently, foreign central banks are being silly too. Here's another FT report:
In 2009...China announced that it had been buying gold and India purchased 200 tonnes from the International Monetary Fund.
Since then, Thailand, South Korea, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh have all bought significant quantities for the first time in years, making Asian central banks the driver of official sector purchasing.
Now the gold bug appears to be catching in Latin America.
And we're not so sure either. If the US really were in a recovery we'd soon see interest rates rise...and consumer prices go up too. You would expect gold to go up along with everything else. Then, things would get very interesting. The Fed would have to choose - either back off from EZ money policies or risk runaway inflation.
If the Fed were to "pull a Volcker," we'd agree; it will be time to sell gold. But 2013 is not 1979. And Ben Bernanke is no Paul Volcker. More than likely, Bernanke will "pull a Gono." Gideon Gono was responsible for the hyperinflation in Zimbabwe, 2006-2008, when the value of the Zim dollar didn't just go down - it disappeared completely.
And now, a new feature, Zombie Watch...
First, from Bloomberg:
Among the largest states, almost every category of worker has participated in the pay bonanza. Britt Harris, chief investment officer at the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, last year collected $1 million -- including his $480,000 salary and two years of bonuses -- more than four times what Republican Governor Rick Perry received. Pension managers in Ohio and Virginia made up to $678,000 and $660,000, respectively, according to the data, which Bloomberg obtained using public- record requests. In an interview, Harris said public pension pay must be competitive with the private sector to attract top investment talent.
Psychiatrists were among the highest-paid employees in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan and New Jersey, with total compensation $270,000 to $327,000 for top earners. State police officers in Pennsylvania collected checks as big as $190,000 for unused vacation and personal leave as they retired young enough to start second careers, while Virginia paid active officers as much as $109,000 in overtime alone, the data show.
The numbers are even larger in California, where a state psychiatrist was paid $822,000, a highway patrol officer collected $484,000 in pay and pension benefits and 17 employees got checks of more than $200,000 for unused vacation and leave. The best-paid staff in other states earned far less for the same work, according to the data.
Luckily, the city didn't even have to foot the$69,000 bill. The funds instead came from a Federal Emergency Management Agency program known as the Urban Area Security Initiative, which has so far spent more than $7 billion trying to make about five dozen of America's cities safe from the threat of terrorism.
When officials in Louisiana calculated how they could best deal with the terrorism threat in their own backyard, their answer in part was - yes, really - a teleprompter and a lapel microphone, again purchased with funds from the FEMA initiative. Similarly, Oxnard-Thousand Oaks officials in California deliberated and decided to buy new fins and snorkels for their dive team.
But the City of Clovis in that state was even more creative: They used a $250,000 FEMA grant to buy an armored vehicle known as the BearCat, which wound up being used to patrol at an Easter egg hunt and other public events.