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Ask Olivier

Will China’s First Oil Futures Raise Gold Prices?

You are right that China will start trading oil futures on the Shanghai Futures Exchange. Although this move is important in itself, it is part of a bigger trend.

In November 2015, the International Monetary Fund included the yuan in its basket of reserve currencies. In April 2016, Shanghai started trading gold.

These actions mark Beijing’s continued efforts to establish the yuan as a global reserve currency and replace the US dollar in the world’s commodity exchanges.

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What Are Your Shipping Rates for Precious Metals?

You’ve asked an excellent question for which there is no easy answer. The short answer is, “it depends.” First off, let me assure you that we don’t earn from shipping bullion. We charge our customers whatever our shipping partners charge us.

As for rates, it depends on the type of bullion (its size and weight) and the value of the shipment. Small shipments that are usually under $50,000 in value can be shipped with Fedex, whose rates are cheaper and competitive.

If you are to ship more bullion, we use armored logistics companies like Brink’s and Loomis. These companies offer the safest bullion delivery solutions. Plus, they will provide full replacement insurance for any shipment.

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Why Should I Trust Your Advice?

You are right to question whether the CEO and founder of a company that sells precious metals can write an unbiased article about precious metals. So let me give you some reasons why you should not dismiss advice written by me or my team.

First off, the Hard Assets Alliance is one of many businesses I have started in the finance industry. I have been the CEO and partner of two big financial publishing houses: Casey Research between 2007 and 2015 and Mauldin Economics from 2012 to this day.

In addition, I’m managing two hedge funds that invest in the resource sector.

In other words, providing actionable investment advice to investors is at the core of my business. During my entire career, I have never recommended an investment that I don’t strongly believe in and invest in myself. My philosophy is that if it is not good enough for my portfolio, it is not good enough for my customers.

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Are Junior Gold Mining Stocks a Better Investment Than Physical Gold?

As former CEO of Casey Research and CEO of a couple of private funds I manage with Marin Katusa, I am very close to gold mining stocks and the mining exploration business.

You are right that miners and junior miners are a way to leverage a speculation in gold. But they do not necessarily follow the price action in gold.

After all, they are securities and during stock market crashes, they tend to go down with the rest of the market. This is especially true for junior gold explorers and miners due to low-trade volumes. It takes only a few desperate sellers to send these stocks down.

Let me put this into context.

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How Are Gold Certificates Different from Gold Bullion?

I’ve received various questions about gold certificates from our customers lately. So, I thought it would make sense to tell more about them on this blog.

While gold certificates are a cost-efficient and easy way to get exposure to gold, I’d qualify them as paper gold. In theory, they are backed by physical gold bars. However, they usually entitle you to a specific number of grams or ounces in gold bullion. That means gold coins and bars are not fully allocated to you, despite the underlying gold value of your certificate.

In most cases, you only own a percentage of a 400 oz. gold bar with your gold certificates. This raises all sorts of liquidity issues when you decide to take possession of bullion.

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Is Gold Truly Not Correlated to the Stock Market?

Gold being a non-correlated asset does not necessarily mean that market fluctuations can’t affect it, especially in the short term. It means that gold is less vulnerable to volatility in the stock market than asset classes that are closely correlated to market activity.

You are spot-on in pointing out that gold prices dropped in the midst of the 2008 financial crash. But the S&P 500 dropped twice as much. Also, gold quickly recovered and reached new highs while stocks were still way down.

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What Is Gold’s Bottoming Price?

Thank you for your excellent question. I do not pretend to have a crystal ball, nor am I going to make any gold price predictions in this answer.

I’ve invested in gold for decades and have been in this industry for well over 10 years. During that time, I heard many gold price forecasts. Some gold bugs argued that the price was due to climb to $10,000 or more. A number of gold bears and deflationists were predicting gold’s return to as low as $300.

Ever since the gold bear market of 2011 started, many analysts, including some people I have a lot of respect for, have predicted that gold would drop below $1,000.

None of those predictions have come true.

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How to Spot Fake Gold and Avoid Fraud

Counterfeit products exist in almost all industries, and precious metals are no exception. However, there are many safeguards to protect yourself from buying fake gold.

The best way to ensure the authenticity of gold products is buying gold bars and coins strictly from LBMA (the London Bullion Market) approved dealers, mints, and refineries. This way, their authenticity is guaranteed.

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Is Buying Precious Metals Socially Responsible?

I share your concerns about the adverse effect of mining on the environment and the treatment of mine workers. But I am afraid there is no easy answer to your question.

I have followed the mining sector closely for the last 11 years. While there are still abuses and incidents in some areas of the world, I can tell you that all the major mining companies have adopted much higher standards in the past 20–30 years.

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Should I Store Precious Metals in Multiple International Locations?

“Where should I store gold?” and “Should I store in multiple international gold storage facilities?” are some of the most common questions I receive from our customers.

In short, the main reason why investors would consider storing precious metals in more than one international location is risk mitigation.

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Have Questions?
If you have any questions about precious metals or Hard Assets Alliance, ask our CEO, Olivier Garret

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Why I Founded the Hard Assets Alliance

11 years ago, I became the CEO of Casey Research, a leading publisher of investment newsletters. Like me, many of our subscribers where precious metals investors, and we shared the same challenge: How do I safely buy and store precious metals? Read More...


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