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Gold silver up after traders buy the early price dips

Gold, silver up after traders buy the early price dips

Gold and silver prices are firmer in midday U.S. trading Tuesday, as traders stepped in to do some perceived bargain hunting on early-session price pullbacks. Trading action is more subdued just ahead of this week’s monetary policy decisions by major central banks. February gold was last up $7.10 at $1,930.00 and March silver was up $0.057 at $23.795.

The U.S. data point of the week is the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting that began Tuesday morning and ends Wednesday afternoon with a statement. Most believe the Fed will raise the key U.S. interest rate by 0.25%, following the recent 0.5% rate hikes. Trading in stock and financial markets may be more muted just ahead of the FOMC statement and press conference by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell Wednesday afternoon. The European Central Bank and Bank of England hold their monetary policy meetings Thursday.

Global stock markets were mostly lower overnight. U.S. stock indexes are higher at midday. Another tamer U.S. inflation report this morning mildly boosted trader and investor sentiment. The U.S. fourth-quarter employment cost index rose just 0.1% and was up 5.1%, year-on-year. The U.S. stock indexes are still in price uptrends on the daily bar charts and the stock index bulls have the overall near-term technical advantage.

 Gold is vulnerable to a pullback as Powell prepares to signal 'seriousness', but will hit an all-time high in 2023 – Adrian Day

The key outside markets today see the U.S. dollar index a bit weaker. Nymex crude oil futures prices are up and trading around $78.75 a barrel. Oil traders are awaiting an OPEC-plus cartel meeting Wednesday. Meantime, the yield on the benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury note is presently fetching 3.523%.

 

Technically, February gold futures bulls have the solid overall near-term technical advantage. A three-month-old uptrend is in place on the daily bar chart. Bulls’ next upside price objective is to produce a close above solid resistance at $2,000.00. Bears' next near-term downside price objective is pushing futures prices below solid technical support at $1,885.00. First resistance is seen at this week’s high of $1,933.60 and then at the January high of $1,949.80. First support is seen at last week’s low of $1,912.50 and then at $1,900.00. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 8.0

March silver futures bulls have the overall near-term technical advantage. However, trading has been choppy and sideways for weeks. Silver bulls' next upside price objective is closing prices above solid technical resistance at the January high of $24.775. The next downside price objective for the bears is closing prices below solid support at $22.00. First resistance is seen at $24.000 and then at last week’s high of $24.415. Next support is seen at last Friday’s low of $23.39 and then at today’s low of $23.05. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 6.5.

March N.Y. copper closed up 110 points at 421.25 cents today. Prices closed nearer the session high today. The copper bulls have the solid overall near-term technical advantage. A four-month-old uptrend is in place on the daily bar chart. Copper bulls' next upside price objective is pushing and closing prices above solid technical resistance at 440.00 cents. The next downside price objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at 400.00 cents. First resistance is seen at this week’s high of 424.90 cents and then at last week’s high of 430.25 cents. First support is seen at today’s low of 411.85 cents and then at 405.00 cents. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 7.5.

By Jim Wyckoff

For Kitco News

Time to Buy Gold and Silver

Tim Moseley

Gold silver tread water just ahead of FOMC meeting

Gold, silver tread water just ahead of FOMC meeting

Gold prices are modestly down and silver slightly up in midday U.S. trading Monday. Gold is seeing a mild corrective pullback and a bit of profit taking from futures traders after prices last week hit a nine-month high, and just ahead of this week’s highly anticipated monetary policy meeting of the U.S. Federal Reserve. February gold was last down $6.00 at $1,923.40 and March silver was up $0.123 at $23.75.

The U.S. data point of the week is the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting that begins Tuesday morning and ends Wednesday afternoon with a statement. Most believe the Fed will raise the key U.S. interest rate by 0.25%, following the recent 0.5% rate hikes. Trading in stock and financial markets early this week may be more muted ahead of the FOMC statement and press conference by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell Wednesday afternoon.

Global stock markets were mixed overnight. U.S. stock indexes are lower at midday, on downside corrections. Still, the U.S. stock indexes are in price uptrends on the daily bar charts and the stock index bulls have the overall near-term technical advantage.

 Stock markets are set to crash 37% as 'sucker's rally' ends, gold and silver to 'take off' – Chris Vermeulen

The key outside markets today see the U.S. dollar index firmer. Nymex crude oil futures prices are down and trading around $78.75 a barrel. Oil traders are awaiting an OPEC-plus cartel meeting this Wednesday. Meantime, the yield on the benchmark U.S. 10-year Treasury note is presently fetching 3.557%.

Technically, February gold futures bulls still have the solid overall near-term technical advantage. A three-month-old uptrend is in place on the daily bar chart. Bulls’ next upside price objective is to produce a close above solid resistance at $2,000.00. Bears' next near-term downside price objective is pushing futures prices below solid technical support at $1,885.00. First resistance is seen at today’s high of $1,933.60 and then at the January high of $1,949.80. First support is seen at last week’s low of $1,912.50 and then at $1,900.00. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 8.0

March silver futures bulls have the overall near-term technical advantage. However, trading has been choppy and sideways for weeks. Silver bulls' next upside price objective is closing prices above solid technical resistance at the January high of $24.775. The next downside price objective for the bears is closing prices below solid support at $22.00. First resistance is seen at $24.400 and then at last week’s high of $24.415. Next support is seen at Friday’s low of $23.39 and then at $23.26. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 6.5.

March N.Y. copper closed down 310 points at 419.15 cents today. Prices closed nearer the session low today. Profit taking was featured. The copper bulls still have the solid overall near-term technical advantage. A four-month-old uptrend is in place on the daily bar chart. Copper bulls' next upside price objective is pushing and closing prices above solid technical resistance at 440.00 cents. The next downside price objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at 400.00 cents. First resistance is seen at today’s high of 424.90 cents and then at last week’s high of 430.25 cents. First support is seen at last week’s low of 417.20 cents and then at 411.05 cents. Wyckoff's Market Rating: 7.5.

By Jim Wyckoff

For Kitco News

Time to Buy Gold and Silver

Tim Moseley

Will the Fed stop gold’s run? Gold price sees longest weekly winning streak since the summer of 2020

Will the Fed stop gold's run? Gold price sees longest weekly winning streak since the summer of 2020

Gold is looking to close Friday with its sixth weekly gain — the longest winning streak since the summer of 2020 when gold hit new record highs above $2,000 an ounce. But the question is whether the precious metal can maintain its rally as analysts see inevitable profit-taking in the short term.

One argument analysts raise for next week is why wouldn't gold investors take some profits off the table after seeing stellar gains this January.

Earlier this week, gold was up more than 6% year-to-date — the best start to the year since 2012 — as the precious metal hit a fresh nine-month high at around $1,949. At the time of writing, February Comex gold futures were last at $1,930 an ounce, up 0.10% on the week.

"With big data points coming in, the market will back off, and you will take profits off that table," Walsh Trading co-director Sean Lusk told Kitco News Friday.

The top event to watch next week is the Federal Reserve meeting on February 1, followed by central bank Chair Jerome Powell's press conference.

There is a lot of noise regarding the pace of rate hikes potentially slowing down, Lusk said. But the Fed could still surprise with a hawkish stance.

Markets are currently pricing in a 98.9% chance of a 25-basis-point hike next week, according to the CME FedWatch Tool. But Lusk is not ruling out a 50-basis-point move. "I don't think the Fed will be less aggressive as they are looking at the long term," he said. "With China opening up, there will be more demand. The Fed could keep its foot on the pedal here."

Lusk warned that a move below $1,917 an ounce could trigger a drop to $1,920, and then the market is at risk of re-testing $1,890 and $1,860 levels. "I wouldn't be surprised if we saw a wipeout. We had a big rally since early November," he said.

The market believes the Fed is close to being done, OANDA senior market analyst Edward Moya told Kitco News. However, with too much inflation in the system, the Fed could signal that more needs to be done. "The Fed is sticking to the dot plot — 25 bps, 25 bps, and 25 bps," Moya said.

The Fed's preferred measure of inflation — the core PCE index — told an interesting story Friday, Moya added. "It showed that annual inflation is still more than twice the Fed's target. And the month-on-month basis, it rose and snapped a streak of declines," he noted. "Gold will be a tough trade going into the Fed. And what it does after will be key."

Many analysts see gold as overbought at current levels. TD Securities noted that gold had been driven by massive Chinese purchases leading up to the Lunar New Year.

"Even more important than the Fed meeting will be the first signs whether massive Chinese buying is continuing post-Lunar holidays. This is one of the larger drivers for gold," TD Securities senior commodity strategist Daniel Ghali told Kitco News.

Longer-term, the majority of analysts are bullish on gold. "The upward trend is still intact," RJO Futures senior market strategist Frank Cholly told Kitco News. "I am disappointed the market hasn't managed to get above $1,966. We had quite a run, and the market is getting a breather," Cholly said.

Once gold can get above $1,966 an ounce, prices will shortly see the $2,000 an ounce level, Cholly added.

Data to watch next week

Another key event to keep a close eye on next week is the U.S. jobs report from January. Markets expect to see additional 185,000 positions added, with the unemployment rate climbing to 3.6% from 3.5%.

"Employment creation remains strong for now, but job lay-off announcements are coming in thick and fast," ING's chief international economist James Knightley said. "We expect to see a softer nonfarm payrolls increase than seen in recent months, but it is still likely to be well above 100k given the large number of job vacancies that remain."

Also on the radar next week are the European Central Bank and Bank of England monetary policy meetings.

Tuesday: U.S. CB consumer confidence

Wednesday: Fed meeting, U.S. ADP nonfarm employment, U.S. ISM manufacturing PMI

Thursday: ECB meeting, BoE meeting, U.S. jobless claims, U.S. factory orders

Friday: U.S. nonfarm payrolls, U.S. ISM services

By Anna Golubova

For Kitco News

Time to Buy Gold and Silver

Tim Moseley

Webtalk News amp Product Updates

 RJ Garbowicz

Founder, CEO and Chairman at Webtalk

Webtalk News & Product Updates

Webtalk was just accepted into the next NewChip Accelerator class to help the company raise another $5MM in our late seed funding round.

As mentioned, we are going to be making some major product enhancements with the new funds.

What will be upgraded:

1. Onboarding

We will be removing the use of affiliate links and all invites will need to be via phone number and email so we can not only track referrals better, we will also be able to customize the experience more.

Ie. You will be able to send invites with prelabled contact management recommendations(John has recommended you as his lawyer at ABC company. {Accept Recommendation}

We will be adding 2FA for more security, mobile onboarding, and SMS onboarding

2. New Subscription | Webtalk Verify

We will be adding a new subscription called Webtalk Verify that will verify each member’s identities, employment history, income, education and references.

The service will be built on the blockchain and Verify members will receive a WebID API that you can use for any online platform to create an account (online banking, crypto wallets, loan applications, job applications, etc.) whereever the API is accepted.

Verifed members will receive a host of benefits to be discovered for more opportunities including:

*Featured on the top of member searches
*Content featured on the top of Discover searches
*Recommendations featured on the top of profiles and recommendation searches
*Featured on the top of matchmaking results
*Featured on the top of job application submissions
*Unlimited peer-to-peer messaging to non-connections
*Earn up to 3 verifed badges for each verification step that will be displayed with your name and avatar

3. Rewards Enhancements

A. Only verifed members will be eligible to earn rewards

B. Refer 3 verifed members and get your verifed subscription for FREE

C. Non-verifed members will have rewards displayed and held for a calendar month but rewards will be removed if verification is not completed within a single calendar month.

D. Ad rewards will be updated to provide a fixed cash payout per every 1,000 views based on where you reside, which will include charts for every newsfeed post you make and your profile views.

This will make your ad rewards 100% transparent.

4. New Credits Platform

We will be removing annual prepayments and replacing it with a new credits platform that will offer discounts on larger credits purchases.

Credits will be redeemable for subscription purchases and advertising purchases.

Credits will be transferrable if you would like to gift or sell your credits.

Rewards payouts will be able to purchase Credits.

Webtalk Credits will also be able to purchase Webtalk shares when available.

5. New Marketing Campaigns

As we introduce the new services, we will be pivoting our messaging to the world

“Join the world’s most trusted community of verified members.

-Real People
-Real Credentials
-Real References

“Find and make trusted relationships faster”

“Find, validate, organize, manage and grow relationships in Webtalk, the world’s only all-in-one networking community offering due diligence-on-demand”

6. Become a Webtalk Investor

If you would like to participate in our funding round and become a Webtalk investor you can do so with as little as $100 by visiting https://WeFunder.com/webtalk

Lastly, when Webtalk Verify is launched, it has the ability to become the most valuable database of people and businesses in the world, both to Webtalk and to its members.

Think about how much faster you will be able to make new relationships for new friendships, new romantic relationships, new job opportunities, new hiring opportunities, new partner opportunities, new cofounder opportunities and all other types of relationships… knowing all of the data a person shares about themselves is real and verified.

A recent study revealed that 80% of all user profile data online was either inaccurate, misleading, or completely falsified. This makes it impossible to trust anything you read about someone.

Webtalk is setting out to solve this problem!

Join us in helping to make the world safer and more prosperous for all.

Tim Moseley

Gold declines in light of the report that revealed inflation continues to decline

Gold declines in light of the report that revealed inflation continues to decline

As of 6:00 PM EST, the February contract of gold futures has fallen for the second time in the last seven trading days. Currently, gold futures are fixed at $1927.60, a decline of $2.40 or 0.12%. Gold traded to a high of $1935.40, and a low of $1916.50.

The key takeaway from today’s PCE inflation index report was that the core PCA index declined in December by 0.3%. The preferred inflation index used by the Federal Reserve was at 4.7% year-over-year in November and declined to 4.4% year-over-year last month.

Both reports will influence decisions made by the Fed at next week's FOMC meeting.

They will be critical components used by the Federal Reserve next week and will most likely strengthen the conviction of hawkish Fed officials to maintain their extremely aggressive monetary policy. Currently, the Federal Reserve’s forward guidance is composed of additional rate hikes and maintaining elevated rates for a longer time.

The most likely outcome is that the Fed will raise the rate by ¼% at the next two meetings. The Federal Reserve has stated they continue to work to reach its inflation target of 2%. A vast majority of market participants continue to believe that the Fed will backpedal on its commitment to keep rates elevated through 2023.

I will be speaking at the VRIC 2023 (Sunday, January 29-30) at the Vancouver Convention Center. Both Kitco News and I wish to welcome you if you're available.

By Gary Wagner

Contributing to kitco.com

Time to Buy Gold and Silver

Tim Moseley

Expert Bitcoin Price Predictions

Bitcoin Price Predictions by Experts

bitcoin

Bitcoin, the world's largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, has been one of the most talked-about topics in the financial world. Despite its ups and downs, it has shown tremendous growth over the past few years, making it an attractive investment option for many. With the increasing popularity of Bitcoin, several experts have shared their price predictions for the future of this digital currency.

Tom Lee, the founder of Fundstrat Global Advisors, is one of the most vocal Bitcoin bull. He predicts that Bitcoin's price could reach $100,000 by 2024. Lee is bullish on Bitcoin's future because he believes that the increasing institutional adoption of the cryptocurrency and its scarcity, which is capped at 21 million coins, will drive its value higher.

Another well-known expert, Anthony Pompliano, the co-founder of Morgan Creek Digital, believes that Bitcoin will reach $500,000 within the next decade. He is optimistic about the future of Bitcoin due to its decentralization and scarcity, which make it a valuable asset for investors. Pompliano also believes that the increasing institutional interest in Bitcoin will drive its price higher.

Cameron Winklevoss, co-founder of Gemini exchange, has also made his predictions about Bitcoin's future. He believes that Bitcoin will reach a price of $500,000 within the next decade. Winklevoss is optimistic about Bitcoin's future due to its decentralization, scarcity, and security. He believes that the increasing institutional interest in Bitcoin will drive its price higher.

ecosystem for entrepreneurs

However, not all experts are bullish on Bitcoin's future. Nouriel Roubini, also known as Dr. Doom, is a well-known cryptocurrency critic. He believes that Bitcoin is a bubble that will eventually burst, and that its price will fall to zero. Roubini believes that Bitcoin's decentralization and anonymity make it an attractive option for illegal activities, and that its price is driven by speculation rather than actual use cases.

In conclusion, Bitcoin's future remains uncertain, and its price will likely continue to be driven by a combination of factors, including institutional adoption, regulatory developments, and market sentiment. While some experts are bullish on Bitcoin's future, others are more skeptical. However, one thing is for certain, the future of Bitcoin will be exciting to watch, and it will continue to be one of the most talked-about topics in the financial world.

In conclusion, the expert opinions on Bitcoin's price range widely, but the majority of the experts are optimistic about its future. The increasing institutional adoption, scarcity, and security of Bitcoin are factors that are expected to drive its price higher. While no one can accurately predict the future, it is important to keep an eye on the developments in the cryptocurrency world and make informed investment decisions.

Tim Moseley

Gold consolidating gains above 1900 into Fed week

Gold consolidating gains above $1900 into Fed week

The gold price is up over $100 in the first month of 2023, its best start to the year since 2012. After a false breakout to the downside during the final quarter of 2022, gold has zoomed $332 an ounce from its November low at $1618. This now 20% rally over the past three months has technically placed the safe-haven metal in a bull market, suggesting further gains ahead.

Since a triple-bottom in its monthly chart was completed in November, gold has advanced for five straight weeks and in 10 of the past 12. The safe-haven metal has virtually been a one-way trade, with every U.S. dollar and Treasury yield dip becoming an opportunity to bid bullion higher. And with the S&P 500 remaining entrenched in a bear market that began at the start of 2022, the gold complex has quietly outperformed stocks since its early Q4 2022 low.

Strategas Research Partners' technical and macro research team, headed by Chris Verrone, points out that this is the first time in the past 50 years that the S&P has lagged the gold price coming off a market bottom. From the March 2020 lows, stocks outperformed gold, rising 36.3% to the latter's 13.2% over the next three months. And from the December 2018 low, the gap was 20.6% to 2.1% in favor of U.S. equities.

The closest spread was from the October 1990 lows, when stocks rose 6.2% to gold's 1.7% in the subsequent three months. Gold's outperformance, relative to stocks, suggests that the expectations of future Fed easing are less than bullish for equities, and that smart money rotation into the gold space has quietly begun.

Gold Futures are beginning to resemble an identical trend seen during the first quarter of 2020, just before prices skyrocketed to new all-time highs. In February 2020, Gold Futures reached a low of $1626 an ounce, roughly the same level bullion hit in November last year. Three months later, gold prices have come just $51 from a headline attention grabbing $2000 per ounce on Thursday, despite Chinese gold markets being closed for the “Golden Week” holiday.

Moreover, daily trading volumes in CME's micro contracts for gold, which it uses as a proxy for retail activity, are currently up 93% year on year. That is almost three times higher than in 2020. This continued bullish momentum suggests a healthy pullback in overbought Gold Futures may not begin in earnest until the key $2000 level has been tested.

With policymakers being set to move forward with raising borrowing costs by 25 bps during the FOMC meeting next Wednesday, bond markets have been pricing in the move for weeks and Fed officials have not pushed back. Fed Chair Jerome Powell and his colleagues were also signaling a ¼ point raise in advance to avoid surprises before this week's official "blackout" period.

This morning's Personal Consumer Expenditures (PCE) index report for December showed core inflation rose 4.4% on the year, in line with economist expectations. Core inflation has dropped compared to November's rise of 4.7%, while core PCE is the Federal Reserve's preferred inflation gauge.

Fed-funds futures are pricing in a final quarter-point hike in March and a peak of 4.75% to 5%, while the most recent set of Fed projections from December point to a median fed-funds peak of 5.1% by the end of 2023. Yet, the sharp fall in bond yields has brought the benchmark 10-year Treasury down from 4.25% last October to 3.49% on Thursday, suggesting interest-rates topping at 5% with cuts starting later this year.

Over the past few weeks, the gold price has been sniffing an end to rate hikes by gearing up for its third attempt at the all-time high resistance zone as it approaches $2000. The third attempt at a major resistance level is typically not successful. But following a likely pullback from $2000-$2100, gold should make a fourth and successful break to new all-time highs. Once gold broke out above the psychological $1000 level after its fourth try in mid-2009, the price had nearly doubled by late 2011.

The $2000 level may then attempt to become the new floor, as opposed to very strong 13-year overhead resistance. On the downside, if support at $1900 is broken, there is more support at $1875.

A monthly close in Gold Futures above $1950 on Monday would be extremely bullish in the near-term, while an eventual break above $2100 would be a very bullish signal for the gold market in 2023, with targets of $2500-$3000.

Meanwhile, weakness continues to be bought in select quality junior gold stocks, with capital markets improving recently. There have been several bought-deal financings announced in the junior space this week, along with private placement activity heating up since the start of the new year as well.

The GDXJ closed above formerly strong resistance at $37 to begin 2023, which is a level that has become important support. On the upside, a back-test of the key $2000 level in gold would likely fill an open weekly downside gap in GDXJ at $45, which has become resistance. This gap in the Junior Miner ETF was created back in April, ushering in a devastating capitulation phase in a sector that remains deeply undervalued in relation to metals prices.

After a significant 7-year bottom was reached late last year, the mining complex is experiencing an impulsive rally with multi-day to multi-week sideways price congestions. Since bottoming last September, both GDX and GDXJ have had two such pullback/consolidations, between 5 to 8%, and have been currently experiencing a third for the past three weeks.

Once a $2000 per ounce gold price that has been strong resistance for over a decade becomes a floor, a speculative frenzy in junior mining stocks may already be in progress. Before this relatively tiny sector comes back into favor, it is best to accumulate full positions in select quality juniors on weakness ahead of the coming herd of momentum trader's and institutional investors.

Many of the best in breed junior gold stocks have been popping higher one by one from 4 to 6-month basing patterns since late Q4. During the second half of 2022, the Junior Miner Junky (JMJ) newsletter carefully constructed a concentrated portfolio of exceptional junior resource stocks with 3x-10x upside potential to hold for long-term gains during the current up-leg in the mining space.

If you require assistance in accumulating quality precious metals related juniors, and would like to receive my research, newsletter, portfolio, watch list, and trade alerts, please click here for instant access.

By David Erfle

Contributing to kitco.com

Time to Buy Gold and Silver

Tim Moseley

Gold declines after a solid 4th quarter GDP report is released by the BEA

Gold declines after a solid 4th quarter GDP report is released by the BEA

As of 4:35 PM EST, the February contract of gold futures has fallen for the first time in six trading days. Currently, February gold is fixed at $1929.30, a decline of $13.30 or 0.68%. Gold traded to a high of $1949.80 overseas last night, which was before the release of the GDP report. Following the released GDP report gold traded to a low of $1918.40.

The key takeaway from today’s 4th quarter GDP report was that economic growth was strong at the end of 2022 and contributing factors were a strong jobs market and declining inflationary pressures.

According to the BEA (Bureau of Economic Analysis) GDP for Q4 2022 increased at an annual rate of 2.9% when adjusted for inflation. This is a decline from the 3rd quarter of 2022 whose GDP indicated growth of 3.2%. The report conveyed that consumer spending, which grew by 2.1% was the foundation of the strong growth in the United States.

The second half of last year greatly differed from the beginning of 2022 a time of economic contraction. The fact that the United States economy rebounded in the second half of the year reduced the speculation that the Federal Reserve’s rate hikes would lead to a recession. However, it must be noted that the average GDP of last year indicated growth at only 1%, an immense contrast compared to the 2021 annual GDP of 5.7%.

Today’s GDP report will strengthen the conviction of hawkish Fed officials to maintain their extremely aggressive monetary policy which includes more rate hikes and keeping those elevated rates for a longer time. This raises the probability that the Federal Reserve will continue to raise rates at the next two FOMC meetings. Market participants are expecting rate hikes of ¼% next week and at the FOMC meeting on March 22.

As long as the Federal Reserve raises rates no more than ¼% at the next two FOMC meetings this would continue the bullish market sentiment that has been prevalent in gold since the major rally began at the beginning of November 2022.

The caveat to the statement above is tomorrow’s PCE inflation index report. Currently forecast our predicting that tomorrow’s report for the core PCE will show a decline from 4.7% in November to 4.4% in December.

Many analysts including myself believe that inflation will continue to decline but become sticky at a certain level well above the Fed’s target of 2%. If this assumption unfolds it will create more challenges for the Federal Reserve to either raise its target of 2% or become more aggressive for a longer period.

I will be speaking at the VRIC 2023 on Monday, January 31st in Vancouver. Both Kitco News and I welcome you there if your available

By Gary Wagner

Contributing to kitco.com

Time to Buy Gold and Silver

Tim Moseley

Economists experts and market participants await Friday’s Core PCE report

Economists, experts, and market participants await Friday’s Core PCE report

The financial markets are currently in the process of factoring in or getting in front of the upcoming release of the core PCE (Personal Consumption Expenditures) report. On Friday the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) will release the most current information on inflation for December. Current estimates are anticipating a continued decline in core inflation from 4.7% in November to 4.4% (year-over-year) last month.

This is welcome news to Americans, but more importantly, is the last critical economic report that the Federal Reserve will have available as it convenes to decide the pace and size of upcoming interest rate hikes. Although Federal Reserve members have expressed mixed messages regarding their opinion on the pace of upcoming rate hikes as well as their upside target to take their benchmark “fed funds” rate to. It is currently widely accepted that the Fed will raise rates by ¼%, the first small rate hike since their first rate hike in March of last year.

The Federal Reserve had maintained rates between 0 and ¼% since 2018. That ended in March 2022 when the Federal Reserve raise rates by ¼%. What followed a series of extremely aggressive rate hikes of ½ a percent in May. Followed by four consecutive ¾% hikes in June, July, September, and November. Finally, in December they only raise rates by half a percent. Collectively the seven consecutive rate hikes took interest rates from near zero to between 4 ¼ and 4 ½%.

It is widely expected that the Federal Reserve will slow the pace of rate hikes with a ¼% rate hike during the January FOMC meeting. The CME’s FedWatch tool currently is forecasting that there is a 99.7% probability that the Fed will raise rates by only ¼% and a 0.3% probability that the Fed will raise rates by ½ %. The Federal Reserve is also on record according to their most recent economic projections released in December of last year that they expect to take their benchmark rate just above 5% and not reduce that level for the entire year and possibly into the first or second quarter 0f 2024.

According to Investing.com the US core PCE index was at 4.7% (year-over-year) in November and is expected to decline to 4.4% in December. This clearly illustrates that the Federal Reserve’s aggressive monetary policy has effectively decreased inflation during 2022. However, the Federal Reserve’s most recent economic which was released at the December FOMC meeting clearly stated that they do not intend to reduce interest rates during the entire calendar year of 2023.

The Federal Reserve was slow to act and made a stupendous blunder by not raising rates until March 2022. This is when headline inflation was at 8.5%. Considering that headline inflation was at 2.6% exactly one year earlier the decision to not raise rates was one of the worst calculations by any Federal Reserve in history. However, the aggressive rate hikes implemented by the Fed last year although extremely painful were correct and did reduce inflation dramatically.

The question now is whether or not the Federal Reserve will back away from its stance of maintaining interest rates at this elevated level throughout the year, or once again become data-dependent and reposition its policy based upon this new data that they have effectively put a dent in inflation.

By Gary Wagner

Contributing to kitco.com

Time to Buy Gold and Silver

Tim Moseley

Unprecedented Media Censorship Bills By Governments Leave Big Tech Nervous

Unprecedented Media Censorship Bills By Governments Leave Big Tech Nervous

The lack of trust in institutions continues to rise worldwide, prompting governments from various countries to up the ante on controlling the flow of information before their citizens lose complete confidence in them. Many governments have proposed regulations over the past two years that would lead to an unprecedented level of online censorship, and some countries have already passed their legislation. 

This article focuses on the online censorship bills in Canada, the United Kingdom, Europe, and the United States and what effects they may have on the internet, particularly legacy tech and its users. 

Canada – Online Streaming Act 

Canada’s online censorship bill titled Bill C11, also known as the Online Streaming Act, seems to be the most dystopian of all. Bill C11 was first proposed in November 2020 as Bill C10 but failed to pass due to its concerning contents.  Bill C10 was reintroduced in February 2022 as Bill C11 and was approved by the Canadian House of Commons, the first of a two-step process to becoming law. 

The first approval took many by surprise, including YouTube. YouTube’s concern over the bill compelled them to publish a blog post warning about the Online Streaming Act. As explained in the blog post, Bill C11 would effectively give the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC: A government regulator) the power to decide exactly what content Canadians can see on YouTube and other social media platforms. 


Image source: Youtube

This bill states that these regulations will apply to user-generated content. Besides controlling the amount and type of advertising appearing on YouTubers' videos, the CRTC would have the power to dictate what content they make as per CANCON requirements. They would also be able to label any YouTuber as a so-called broadcaster, which means complying with the CRTC’s criteria or risk being blocked in the country. 

Moreover, some broadcasters will also be required to contribute to the Canada Media Fund, which funds mainstream media in Canada. It appears this requirement will only be applied to streaming services and social media platforms, but it could also apply to content creators of other sources. This is significant as most Canadian media is funded directly or indirectly by the Canadian government via the Canada Media Fund. Mandatory contributions by broadcasters would expand the Canada Media Fund, further increasing government control of the media. 

Clearly, the Canadian government is desperate to ensure that it continues to control the narrative in the country. This makes sense, considering that trust in the government has been declining for years and exacerbated since the pandemic began. To put things into perspective, 40% of Canadians trusted their government at the beginning of the pandemic. Today this figure stands at 20%, a 50% drop in three years. 

The Canadian Senate will vote on Bill C11 in February 2023; if passed, it will go to the Canadian Parliament for debate. Although YouTube presented its case to the senate, it failed to convince the Senate to omit user-generated content from the bill. YouTube expressed that the legislation could set a harmful global precedent for other countries to follow suit. This makes it harder for creators to access international audiences and would impact millions of businesses and the livelihoods of entrepreneurial creators globally. 
    


Image source: Legal 60

The United Kingdom – The Online Safety Bill 

In contrast to Canada’s brazen title of Online Streaming Act, the UK politicians chose a more harmless title for their online censorship bill, the Online Safety Bill. The bill was introduced in May 2021 and has been slowly working toward approval since then. Similar to Canada's online streaming act, the UK Online safety Bill initially came under fire for wanting to regulate “legal but harmful content.” 

This provision would have been a concern because it would give the UK government the power to censor whatever it deems harmful. In the case of the UK, the regulator overseeing this provision's enforcement is the Office of Communications (Ofcom), which is comparable to Canada's CRTC. Fortunately, the requirement to police legal but harmful content was removed from the Online Safety Bill in November.

Unfortunately, there are other dubious provisions in the bill, which include various requirements that direct Ofcom to protect “content of democratic importance, protect news, publisher content, and protect journalistic content.” Presumably, it means the mainstream media. Moreover, Ofcom still has the power to police illegal content being distributed online and will issue fines to tech companies that fail to police unlawful content. Fines will start at £18 million or 10% of a tech company's annual total revenue, whichever is higher. 

The fines would specifically apply when illegal content is shown to children meaning tech companies will be encouraged to do age verification to avoid inadvertently displaying harmful content to minors and then getting fined. This means social media companies will be forced to require KYC from all their users, which isn’t bad relating to scammers and bots. But the trust issues with legacy media and governments weigh heavily in this instance. 

Besides, many would argue that it’s up to the parents to take responsibility for what their children see online, not a ruling government body. Furthermore, when you consider the woke society in which some authorities are condoning the content and topics minors are encouraged to see and even participate in is very questionable, to say the least. Also, what’s being taught in schools, specifically relating to gender identity and sexual orientation. We live in a highly polarized society, so who will really benefit from this legislation? 

On another note, an ambiguous provision in section 131 of the bill states that Ofcom will have the power to restrict so-called ancillary services, including “services which enable funds to be transferred.” The mind boggles at what this could mean, but hopefully, decentralized cryptocurrency will circumvent this overreach of power.

Trust in the UK government has also plummeted, particularly during the pandemic. With the recent chaos and resignations of four prime ministers in 3 years, one survey shows only 10% trust the government, with 61% polling an emphatic ‘untrustworthy.’ The primary motive for the UK's online censorship efforts appears to stem from a desire for more oversight rather than censorship per se. A significant reduction in government trust has occurred in other countries; however, the motivations for censorship vary.

 


Image source: Digital Strategy Europa

European Union – The Digital Market Act/Digital Services Act

The European Union (EU) consists of several countries. In contrast to Canada and the UK, European authorities separated their online censorship efforts into the Digital Markets Act (DMA) and the Digital Services Act. (DSA) These are two of five bills known as the Digital Services Package, introduced in December 2020 and the second phase of the EU’s 2030 digital agenda. The EU's DMA and DSA were adopted in July and October 2022, respectively, with the new rules to be applied 6 -15 months after their entry into force. 

The EU’s Digital Governance Act (DGA) was passed in June 2022 and will fully apply in September 2023. They are also in the process of passing the Data Act (DA), and the takeaway here is the mandatory sharing of data with governments and corporations. The fifth Act is the EU’s Artificial Intelligence Regulation (AI Reg), which could enter into force in early 2023 in a transitional period, and late 2024 is the earliest time the regulation could become applicable. Note that all five bills are regulations, meaning they will override the national laws of EU countries.

The Digital Markets Act (DMA)

The Digital Markets Act has little to do with online censorship, and it could paradoxically make it possible to bypass many of the restrictions that the Digital Services Act seeks to introduce. That’s because the Digital Markets Act would impose massive fines on mega-tech or so-called gatekeepers who maintain their monopolies by giving preference to their products and services. The implications of this are profound and could do severe damage to big tech company profits. 

One example is that Apple has a monopoly on its apps for iPhone, meaning all apps must be downloaded from the Apple Store, and some apps can’t be uninstalled. Under the DMA, you can install apps from other stores and uninstall everything from your iPhone. The same would apply to other phones, computers, tablets, etc. 

Given that Apple and the like make a lot of money from mining your data with mandatory apps and making developers pay massive fees, the Digital Markets Act could deliver an enormous blow to their bottom line. Big tech companies are not happy and are expected to look for ways to diminish the impact of this Act through court proceedings. 

The motivation for the DMA is to increase Europe's competitiveness in the tech space. More importantly, the Digital Markets Act could be a precedent for all sorts of innovation in cryptocurrency in the EU because there would be an entirely new set of hardware available to crypto developers in the region. 

The downside of this bill is that it will also require all gatekeepers to provide detailed data about the individuals and institutions purchasing their products and using their services to the EU. This will be facilitated by the Data Governance Act and Data Act which mandate data sharing.

The Digital Services Act (DSA)

The DSA’s motivating force is to create its interpretation of a safer online environment for digital users and companies. In other words, it will establish a Ministry of Truth in every EU country, censoring certain information and pushing government propaganda. Each country will have the deceptive title “digital services coordinator,” which will function as a Ministry of Truth. Each digital services coordinator will appoint “trusted flaggers” to monitor and take down content. Trusted flaggers will be law enforcement, NGOs, and other unelected institutions.

Regarding the kind of content trusted flaggers would track and take down, the scope seems limited to Illegal content, as in the UK. However, the bill suggests disinformation could be on their radar as well. Now, this begs the question of who defines disinformation and the answer is probably the EU. Violators of the EU's upcoming regulations will face fines of up to 6% of their annual income per infraction, and repeat offenders will be banned. The Digital Services act also contains a provision that could impose KYC on social media platforms, in the name of child safety, like in the UK. 

The bill explicitly states that in a crisis, the European Board for Digital Services will instruct social media platforms to enhance content moderation, change their terms and conditions, work closely with trusted flaggers, and tweak the algorithm to “promote trusted information.” In other words, the next time there's a crisis, the government narrative will be promoted, and opposing ideas and positions will be down-ranked or deleted. 

Moreover, there's no limit on how long these emergency social media measures would last. As 'they' say, “never let a good crisis go to waste.” Not surprisingly, the World Economic Forum (WEF) is a big fan of the EU's Digital Services Act and claims it will be used as the standard for online censorship worldwide once other countries see its success. 

Also, not surprisingly, the WEF has criticized the UK for dropping its ‘legal but harmful speech’ regulation. This further supports the idea that the Digital Services Act will apply not just to explicitly illegal content. The WEF’s article suggests they will also include things like hate speech. It’s inherently a human trait to get emotional with certain occurrences, so if people are angry, why not address the cause rather than censor them; now there’s a thought! 

Trust in EU governments fell by almost 25% during the pandemic, and that's the average drop. Many EU countries saw even more significant declines in confidence. The Czech Republic leads the pack, with just 15% of Czechs now trusting their government. It’s evident the EU's totalitarian approach has failed so far.

Whereas the Digital Markets Act was created to make Europe's technology sector more competitive, the Digital Services Act was designed to control European citizens. The last thing the EU wants is for people to lose trust in it, but given the magnitude of these laws will only accelerate that process. 

 


Image Source: The Heritage Foundation

The United States – Kids Online Safety Act / Section 230

Similarly to the European Union, the United States has two significant documents related to online censorship. The first bill is titled the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA), and the second is a Supreme Court case and pertains to the Section 230 bill. The Kids Online Safety Act was introduced in February last year and is still sitting in Congress but is expected to pass later this year because it has bipartisan support. 

However, outside Congress and from both sides of the political spectrum, dozens of civil society groups have criticized the bill. They warned the bill could actually pose further danger to kids by encouraging more data collection on minors in the form of a KYC protocol. It will ultimately force online service providers to collect KYC data to ensure they're not showing harmful content to children. 

The provision in the US bill does not explicitly require tech companies to do this, but the bill acknowledges it's the only real option. As in Canada and the UK, a US Government regulator will ultimately decide when kids have been made unsafe online, specifically by the Federal Trade Commission. (FTC) This has also been criticized because it should be the parent's responsibility to watch what their children consume instead of being used as an excuse to monitor and censor everyone else.

What’s more, it's not just the FTC that will be issuing fines. The Kids Online Safety Act will allow parents to sue tech companies if their children have been harmed online. It's assumed social media platforms will turn the censorship up to full throttle to ensure they don't get sued, even with KYC.

Section 230

The second bill relates to Section 230, in which the Supreme Court will hear two cases about central internet moderation in February 2023. For those unfamiliar, Section 230 is a US law passed in 1996, which allows social media platforms to moderate content to a limited extent without violating the First Amendment, which protects freedom of speech and the press in the United States. 

However, big tech has leaned on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act to avoid being held responsible for some of the most controversial content on their platforms. The companies have invoked this federal law to dismiss potentially costly lawsuits in numerous cases. 

The Supreme Court case called Gonzalez v. Google alleges that Google supported terrorism with its algorithmic recommendations and contributed to the 2015 terror attacks in Paris, which killed an American student named Nohemi Gonzalez, among many others. It was picked up by the Supreme Court last October after being passed up by various courts of appeal. The same applied to another case called Twitter v. Taamneh, where a Jordanian was killed in a terror attack in Istanbul, and Twitter's algorithms allegedly contributed to the attack. 

So, what are the outcomes? If the Supreme Court sides with Gonzales, big tech will be hit with related lawsuits and have to engage in more online censorship to ensure no more cases occur. Notably, this is the outcome the Democrats are pushing for as US President Joe Biden filed a legal brief with the Supreme Court, asking them to increase the liability of social media companies under Section 230. The Department of Justice also filed a legal brief with the same request. 

On the other hand, six of the nine Supreme Court Justices were appointed by Republican presidents. Republicans have been calling for Section 230 to be thrown out altogether, arguing that there is too much censorship. Should the Supreme Court decide that Section 230 is unconstitutional, online censorship would instantly become illegal and also apply to algorithms. 

Google and Twitter have argued that stripping Section 230 protections for recommendation algorithms would have wide-ranging adverse effects on the internet. Some argue the internet won’t work very well without algorithms. This begs the question, would they be able to remedy the algorithm issues by allowing the user access, with the ability to shape it to their desires? It makes one wonder about the hidden agendas. 

Another outcome would be for the Supreme Court to rule in favor of Google and for Congress to amend Section 230. However, allowing Congress to change Section 230 would likely result in even more online censorship. Consider that trust in US institutions has been falling fast and recently hit record lows. Only 27% of Americans have confidence in 14 major American institutions on average, according to a poll conducted by Gallup, which found sharp declines in trust for the three branches of the federal government, the Supreme Court (25%), the presidency (23%) and Congress. (7%)

 


Image source: Ricochet.com

The Best Outcome

All is being revealed among centralized entities, governments, and the non-government organization cartels. They are literally turning on each other only to cripple themselves. The Divine end game has been actioned and is very positive for decentralized media platforms. Billionaires are flipping, and technology has made it possible to disseminate critical information that uncovers secrets and lies that have enslaved us, is now prolific. No centralized entity of a few can control the masses if we don’t let them. Free speech will find a way. 

And be mindful that in this world,

“The Ministry of Peace concerns itself with war, the Ministry of Truth with lies, the Ministry of Love with torture, and the Ministry of Plenty with starvation. These contradictions are not accidental, nor do they result from ordinary hypocrisy: they are deliberate exercises in doublethink. For it is only by reconciling contradictions that power can be retained indefinitely. In no other way could the ancient cycle be broken. If human equality is to be forever averted—if the High, as we have called them, are to keep their places permanently—then the prevailing mental condition must be controlled insanity. — Part II, Chapter IX 1984

 

 

Editor and Chief Markethive: Deb Williams. (Australia) I thrive on progress and champion freedom of speech. I embrace "Change" with a passion, and my purpose in life is to enlighten people to accept and move forward with enthusiasm. Find me at my Markethive Profile Page | My Twitter Account | and my LinkedIn Profile.

 

 

 

 

Tim Moseley