Bill Murphy, the chairman of the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee, gave me an exclusive interview, in which he stressed the importance of a clear understanding of the gold market. Moreover, he explained why central banks can’t prevent the gold price from rising anymore, and said: “The Gold Cartel have been winning battles in the last ten years, but they’re losing the war.“
By Lars Schall
Bill Murphy grew up in Glen Ridge, New Jersey and graduated from the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University in 1968. During his senior year he broke all single season Ivy League pass receiving records and was Honorable Mention on the All-America Football team. He went on to become the starting wide receiver for the Boston Patriots (now New England Patriots) in 1968.
Later Murphy went on to a career in the futures industry as a commodities broker. Early on he worked for Shearson Hayden Stone and Drexel Burnham before starting up his own introducing brokerage on 5th Avenue in New York.
In 1998 he opened up www.LeMetropoleCafe.com, a financial market website geared to the gold market. In January 1999 Murphy became chairman of the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee, GATA (www.gata.org), which is dedicated to expose the manipulation of the gold price by The Gold Cartel.
Bill Murphy lives in Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.
Mr. Murphy, it’s more or less exactly one year ago that we both conducted our first interview together.i What happened to you and GATA since then in summary? Do you observe that GATA makes much bigger inroads?
Yes Lars, it’s been a wonderful year for us. I feel in terms of general exposure I can relate it to baseball. We‘ve made it to Triple A ball and we’re just about to make it to the majors. We were featured in a Financial Times Magazine story a few weeks ago and in general we are getting much more coverage by some very smart people, who have picked up on what we have to say. Hinde Capital comes to mind, for example. So I think we’re a stone‘s throw away from being mentioned more often in the mainstream financial press, though right now they’re still fighting us. But we’ve been used to that for 11+ years.
Perhaps the most significant thing that happened to us during the last year was the exposure that we received at the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) hearing in Washington on March 25th, which was web-cast around the world. It was quite exiting actually (despite the CFTC blacking out my testimony when it was live), because we were able to make our statements about how we felt and put them into the public domain. In addition, we got a boost. As you know, Andrew Maguire (who was in contact with the CFTC for months and letting them know in advance when JPMorgan was going to bomb the market in coordinated action with others), thought that he would be allowed to speak at the hearing, but they turned him down. So he sent his information to us at the last minute and we were able to bring his comments into light about specific manipulation of the silver market by JPMorgan Chase in the Q and A period.
It was a big victory for us. Also in the Question&Answer-period, Adrian Douglas was able to put into play out how the gold and silver markets behave more like a big Ponzi scheme in the sense that the dealers sell their bullion over and over to different people by using unallocated accounts. I was even nervous about talking like this, and then Jeff Christian, who is one of our big critics, came and said: “Oh, it’s about a 100:1!“ … of volume traded to bullion on hand, with the actual gold sold to that on hand 10 to 45 to 1.
Of course that exposed the vulnerability of the bullion dealers and we realized then what an incredibly profitable business it is as they take in all this money, tell clients they have the same gold and silver, back it up with their own balance sheets, and then they use this money to fund their operations and investments. Their Achilles Heel there is that there will come a time when investors ask for the physical delivery of their gold and silver, and if that happens quickly, there will be one default after another.
So we made a lot of inroad at the hearing and it has been an exciting year for us. I am very optimistic that we’ll grow even more visible in the months and years ahead.
Well, we at GATA think that the most important thing that people should know is what GATA knows about the gold market – and that is about the manipulation and price suppression scheme. In that regard, we have been right for ten years in a row. We understood what was happening way back when and we realized what had to happen in the future to the price as a result of the scheme. And when you have that understanding, it gives you a framework to figure out what the deal is regarding investments. While the majority of gold/silver pundits flip flop over where both precious metals are headed, GATA does not. They are both going MUCH higher and all dips should be bought.
Most of the Wall Street crowd and mainstream gold world folks have been neutral to bearish all the way up, and that’s the case today. They refuse to deal with all the facts that GATA has discovered.. But the more the market manipulation scandal gets exposed, the more people will realize what has to come down the road for precious metals prices.
Since it’s important to understand what’s going on at the gold market, I think we should address therefore that gold isn’t in a bubble. Can you give us your reasons, please, why this statement of mine is correct?
Gold has been in a bull market for ten years and now it’s about to explode. But boy, it’s not even close to a bubble. As a matter of fact, I would say gold is in a reverse bubble in the sense that the price is nowhere near where it should be. If it would kept pace with inflation, the price would be $2300 per ounce, and that is according to Planet Wall Street accounts. Gold critics say the price has acted poorly in that regard. Of course, we at GATA can raise our hands and explain why that is the case.
But even more importantly, the gold sentiment is just not there. It’s been greatly restrained. That’s why there is little interest in the smaller exploration and junior companies, although it’s picking up. Nevertheless, if you ask people in the United States how many of them own gold, you might get one out of a hundred, maybe one out of five hundred. The real excitement is still to come like it was during the internet frenzy in the late 1990s when that sector went into a real bubble … except this move will be for real whereas the internet move was based on a false premise. Gold fever is coming, but we are not there yet.
Again, if anything, it’s in a reverse bubble, and that’s because “The Gold Cartell“ – the bullion banks, the United States government, the Fed, the U.S. Treasury, the Bank of England and so on – have suppressed the prices for gold and silver for too long and kept the prices from where they ought to be.
Would you say that the rigging of the gold market is the precondition to rig other markets or is it rather the case that it is necessary to rig the other markets because one has begun to rig the gold price?
Well, good point. We think it all started with the rigging of the gold price. My colleague Chris Powell says: “There are no markets anymore, just interventions.“ I think that’s true. The gold price rigging started a long time ago with Robert Rubin when he supervised Goldman Sachs‘ London business and used cheap gold loans to fund their operations. We learned all about it from GATA supporter Brian Hinchcliffe who reported to Rubin in the late 1980‘s.
Can you describe once again the basic scheme that Mr. Rubin developed?
From my testimony to the CFTC:
As an executive at Goldman Sachs, Robert Rubin developed an idea to borrow gold from central banks at minimal interest rates (around 1 percent), sell the bullion for cash, and use the cash to fund Goldman Sachs’ operations. Rubin was confident that central banks would control the gold price with ever-more leasing or outright sales of their gold reserves and that consequently the borrowed gold could be bought back without difficulty. This was the beginning of the gold carry trade.
When Rubin became U.S. treasury secretary, he made it government policy to surreptitiously operate an identical gold carry trade but on a much larger scale. This became the principal mechanism of what was called the “strong-dollar policy.” Subsequent treasury secretaries have repeated a commitment to a “strong dollar,” suggesting that they were continuing to feed official gold into the market more or less clandestinely to support the dollar and suppress interest rates and precious metals prices.
Lawrence Summers, who followed Rubin as treasury secretary, was an expert in gold’s influence on financial markets. Previously, as a professor at Harvard University, Summers co-authored an academic study titled “Gibson’s Paradox and the Gold Standard,”ii which concluded that in a free market gold prices move inversely to real interest rates, and, conversely, if gold prices are “fixed,” then interest rates can be maintained at lower levels than would be the case in a free market. This was the economic theory behind the “strong dollar policy.”
It has led to the rigging of all markets. The Plunge Protection Team supports the stock market and the government forces interest rates down, which is a form of manipulation. They intervene everywhere and I think it became a way of doing business. And how ironic that we used to get on the Europeans, the Chinese, and other Communists for their interference in markets. Today we interfere probably in the markets more than the Chinese do. It’s bizarre!
So it’s a planned economy?
In essence, that’s what they are trying to effect. They don’t let markets function properly and don’t let things fall or rise to where they should. Right now, as we are heading into our election season, they’re protecting the Dow from going under 10.000 and trying to prevent gold from closing above $1260 and silver above $20. I don’t think that they can do it, it’s a big Battle Royale as I call it and they’re gonna lose. The Gold Cartel have been winning battles in the last ten years, but they’re losing the war.
GATA’s logo shows Don Quixote. Ultimately, Don Quixote will triumph?
Yes. 12 years ago GATA artist Alain Despert came up with that logo showing a Don Quixote figure riding a horse, carrying and marching with the little people on Washington – shining light on a dark situation. Alain was very prescient, as that is just what is happening.
How would the course of the last 15 years have been different if some powerful interests had not suppressed the price of gold?
This is key, and to answer it I should mention our full-page ad in the Wall Street Journal that was published January 31, 2008. This ad, for which we spend $264.000, can be seen at the GATA website.iii We did this ad before the market crash, and expressed what The Gold Cartel was doing would lead to catastrophe and disaster in the end. And sure enough, the markets began to crash months later.
Getting back to the paper co-authored by Larry Summers entitled “Gibson’s Paradox and the Gold Standard“ – if gold had been allowed to trade freely, interest rates would have been much higher and we probably wouldn’t have gone into the kind of excesses that we did in America … and we probably would not have the terrible circumstances we have today if gold only been allowed to reflect what was really going on.
Instead they rigged the price, kept it artificially low and by half of what it should be. Things could have been quite different today. But that is not the kind of mindset of Larry Summers crew. It’s manipulation everywhere.
Dimitri Speck, the author of the German written book “Secret Gold Policy“ (http://www.geheime-goldpolitik.de/), said recently in an interview here in Germany that central banks can’t stop the gold price from rising anymore (in fact, since 2001), and that they can only prevent it from rising too fast.iv Why is this the case?
Well, Dimitri is one smart fellow and GATA has the highest regard for him. Moreover, he is correct. GATA calls this a “managed retreat“ by The Gold Cartel. The reason is they are running out of available central bank gold to meet the huge supply and demand deficit. This deficit was met over the years by surreptitious gold lending and selling. GATA believes that the central banks have only half of the gold they say they have. Most likely somewhat less than half. The establishment says the central banks have 30.000 tonnes in their vauls, but GATA consultants James Turk, Reg Howe and Frank Veneroso all came out with numbers showing less than 15,000 tonnes. And each of them used different methodologies to come up with their numbers.
The central banks are hitting the wall. For example, the European central banks could sell 400-500 tonnes of gold per year under the Washington Agreement and so they did for years and years and years – and yet since past November or December, they haven’t sold anything. They are tapped out and don‘t want to sell what they have left. As available central bank gold supply continues to decrease, there’s no way for The Gold Cartel to stop the price from eventually rising. What’s left for them is to keep the exitement down. Everytime there is serious exitement over gold, they bomb the price. However, at the end of the day, the price goes up and up and up.
Where do you see the gold price at the end of this year?
Lars, that’s a tough one.
I know (laughs).
I think it will be much higher, that’s for sure. We ought to be at $1400-1500 by the end of the year with the price action becoming much more volatile. Back when we held our Gold Rush 21 conference in Dawson City, Yukon, Canada in August of 2005 and the gold price was $436, I said that gold needed to go up to $3000-5000 per ounce to clear up the market. I think that’s a pretty fair number.
Could it go higher than that
Of course it could go higher than that. It could go much, much higher than that. But for now if you talk about those realistic numbers, investors in this market sector will be happy campers should the price go there.
What are your thoughts related to the explosive growth of the ETF’s managed by the bullion banks and how that has been part of the gold suppression scheme? As you have already mentioned, earlier this year you caused some trouble for the CFTC with this issue.
This is an interesting subject, because the GLD and the SLV attracted a great deal of attention lately, especially GLD. What’s interesting to us is: The custodian of GLD, which is the biggest gold short, is HSBC; and the custodian of SLV, which is the biggest silver short, is JPMorgan Chase – and that is what we made a big stink of at the CFTC as you’ve mentioned. I’m not an expert in this area, but I know from our people (like the former number two at HUD under the first Bush Presidency, Catharine Austin Fitts) who have read the prospectus of GLD very thoroughly, that it has all kinds of holes in it which allows the custodian to play games with their gold. Some of us think they are using those vehicles to aid their short selling operations. Why are JPM and HSBC so short and yet building up gold and silver inventories from the public? Smells fishy to me. But there is a difference betweeb them and some other funds like the Sprott Physical Gold Trust, which do not have these loopholes and are much more secure exchange traded funds.
Would you invest in ETF‘s like SLV or GLD?
Again, I can only speak for myself, and I think the rest of GATA – we would stay away from those particular EFF‘s. Go Sprott!
A few weeks ago there was much buzz related to the supposed swap of 349 tons of gold between commercial banks and the BIS, the Bank for International Settlements.v What’s your takeaway from that story?
The bottom line, I believe, is that there’s great stress in the physical markets. Demand is surging and a number of people asked to put their gold into allocated accounts from unallocated accounts. The swap situation was to relieve the bullion banks with physical gold that they needed to keep their operations solvent.
Do you expect that Ron Paul’s initiative for next year to audit the American gold reserves could be a success?vi Is there a difference to the “Audit the Fed“-initiative?
Well, I would put the “Audit the Fed“ and the “Audit the gold reserves“ in the same category. I know that Ron Paul is getting some daylight on this, but as far as an audit of US gold reserves is concerned, nothing will happen until there is a crisis – it’s like with everything else we deal with. When gold goes nuts, all of a sudden we’ll get an audit, and I think that is coming down the road. Could be quite a revelation.
So would you agree in a way with Edward Harrison, the publisher of “Credit Writedowns“ (www.creditwritedowns.com), who wrote a month ago that there will be no subsubstantive change to the financial system whatsoever unless we get a full economic collapse in the United States?vii
I don’t talk of a total collapse, but I think that nothing is being done in America to correct our economic ills. Our politicians don’t do anything about our fiscal problems, our problems just grow and grow.
Can we do a little two-question guessing game?
Then let’s pretend Ron Paul’s initiative will be a success and we’ll have transparency related to the American gold reserves:
a) how much would you expect is left compared to the official figures?
My bet would be that we have only the half of what we say we have in Fort Knox and the other depositories. The official figure is about 8134 tonnes, so my bet would be about 4000 tonnes that are not swaped, leased, sold or gone in some way. What is key for an audit, and what Ron Paul is proposing, is that he used the word encumbered. That’s key, because 8134 tonnes of gold might be in our vaults, but it might not be ours.
Okay stop, because:
b) how much of it do you expect is leased or already sold, although it’s still in the books?
That’s a good question, though it’s still the same answer. I say half of it is swaped or leased out to different countries.
If we would have knowledge what’s left, then the future rigging of the gold market would be a lot more complicated, right?
Oh, yes. My colleague Chris Powell says that the United States would rather have our nuclear secrets revealed than what they did with their gold operations. Once people know that we have only half of our gold that we have been telling others, first of all the dollar would come under huge pressure and the confidence in the United States, and in our financial system, would be severely jolted. That’s the reason why they are so secretive about what they are doing with the U.S. gold. President Obama says that he will be more transparent. Garbage! He is as transparent as any of the other presidents.
How many cases in the sense of requests related to the “Freedom of Information Act“ does GATA (or “affiliates“ like Ted Butler) have these days in the courts or are underway?
Well, if I might say I would put us in a different camp than most other people, because we are first of all activists. We are out there doing things. We had three international gold conferences; we speak all over the world; and are trying to make things actually happen, instead of just talking about what is going on.. And in that regard we suing the Fed in Washington District Coulrt … related to the Freedom of Information Act … to find out what the U. S. is doing with our gold. We don’t know. There hasn’t been an audit of our gold reserves since 1955.
We are doing it because President Obama, again, spoke about transparency. So we want the truth from the Fed about what has happened to our gold reserves, but Fed Governor Kevin Warsh says they have an exemption and don’t have to tell us. They won’t answer us, so we took it to the Court. It’s in the process now, and we are a little hopeful because Bloomberg had some success with two FOIA court verdicts and their case now goes to the Supreme Court. We have some precedent on our side here and we’ll have to see what the Fed comes back with. I expect to hear something about our case within the next month.
With regard to the gold audit, J.S. Kim stated in an interview with me this:
“If they have nothing to hide, let an independent auditor appointed by the people (not selected by them) audit their reserves.“viii
This sounds reasonable to me. I mean, isn’t that the case?
Yes, that’s exactly the case. Why hasn‘t there any audit since 1955? It would make total sense to have an independent audit to see what’s really there.
Also to end all the rumours.
Yes, and it’s not that big a deal. What are we talking about? Very little money.
Here’s something from Bob Chapman, the publisher of „The International Forecaster“ (www.theinternationalforecaster.com), with whom I discussed our interview today. He asks: “Bill, do have any input on rumors that I am hearing out of Switzerland that the banks may be short gold in a big way and have been given permission secretly to access gold on deposit that is specifically allocated and unallocated to cover their shorts?“ He added: “This could be big news if it is correct, and we would see another wave of people closing their Swiss accounts.“
Well, it would be hard to imagine them attaching allocated gold in any way. Maybe the rumours get going because of the gold swap by the BIS. I don’t know. But we do believe that the bullion banks are very short gold, given their fractional gold Ponzi scheme of utilizing the unallocated gold for their own investment accounts. There is great stress in the system. In that sense the market can blow up quite soon.
Do you think that silver prices are about to increase drastically, too?ix
Yes – and an emphatic yes. Silver is trading totally different right now than it has for the past decade. The Comex open interest numbers are rising sharply and we understand that big players are going into the physical market and BUYING! Silver has been trading in a upwards fashion the last weeks like few others in the bull run.
JPMorgan is having trouble calming the market down. The action is spectacular. Technically, if you look at gold and silver on a weekly and monthly basis, both are breaking out of massive bases. Technically, both charts suggest powerful upside action is right around the corner. We think that you are going to see some defaults here and there. Again, the bad guys are losing the war.
Mr. Murphy, one year ago you said with regards to “The Gold Cartel“: They’re about to hit the wall. Are you more optimistic than ever that this will come true soon – or did it already happen?
Well, we have been at this now for twelve years, so one year seems like nothing. But in fact, this is what is happening right now: They ARE starting to hit the wall. And that what it’s going to take to get gold and silver prices in an explosive mood. Should happen this fall.
Two last questions: is there a big, maybe ultimate bubble formatting in the bond market? And what happens to gold if this bubble was to burst the sooner or later?
There’s a lot of talk about the bubble in the bond market and it continues. When the Quantitative Easing really kicks in, the bond prices could collapse. It seems quite vulnerable. At the same time, if the stock market collapses, then bonds could go even lower. Either way, gold will be the beneficiary, because it will become THE GO TO investment (silver too) and the dollar is in deep trouble.. However you look at it, both gold and silver are readying to do the unexpected on the upside.
Thank you very much for taking your time, Mr. Murphy!
i Lars Schall: “They are about to hit the wall”, Interview with Bill Murphy, published on August 31, 2010 under:
ivcompare Lars Schall: „Dimitri Speck: ,Goldpreis wird sich vervielfachen’” [The Price of Gold will Multiply], published on September 5, 2010 under:
vcompare for example Julian D. W. Phillips (www.goldforecaster.com): “Gold Is Back as Money! The BIS 382-Tonne Gold Swap — Good or Bad for Gold and Why?”, published under: http://news.goldseek.com/GoldForecaster/1278723600.php
vi compare: Michael O’Brien: „Ron Paul questions whether there’s gold at Fort Knox, NY Fed“, published at The Hill on August 30, 2010 under:
vii compare Edward Harrison: “On ideology and economics and the apathy of the American public“, published on August 14, 2010 under:
viii Lars Schall: “We don’t need central banks“, published on May 15, 2010 under:
ix compare: “Why Silver Prices Are About To Drastically Increase“, published at Learn Gold Coins on August 10, 2010 under:
See further: “Gold and Silver Ready to Fly?“, published at Expected Returns on August 17, 2010 under: http://www.expectedreturnsblog.com/2010/08/gold-and-silver-ready-to-fly.html,
and Bob Chapman: „Die Marktwahrnehmung hat sich geändert“ [The Market Perception has Changed], published on September 5, 2010 under: