Source: Adrian Day 01/12/2022
In this update, Adrian Day discusses some recent developments that occurred over the holidays, or otherwise got lost in the shuffle.
has been active, with two new streaming deals, bringing its investments for 2021 to $1 billion. It has acquired a gold and platinum stream on the Marathon (WPM:TSX; WPM:NYSE, 39.35) project in Ontario for C$240 million. Wheaton will initially purchase 100% of the gold and 22% of the platinum, reducing to 67% and 15% respectively after hurdles have been met. Following an immediate $40 million deposit, the payment will be made in four tranches during the construction period.
At spot prices, the transaction has a 5% IRR, with production to start in mid-2024. On balance, the transaction adds an additional precious metal in a favorable jurisdiction, but the returns are low and cash flow is not immediate. However, reserve could increase and the mine life be extended, giving a more attractive return in the upper single-digits.
The company also announced a transaction to buy 8% gold and 50% silver streams on the Blackwater mine, for a total of $441. The streams were acquired from two different sellers, with the gold stream being quite expensive, but again it increases diversification among precious metals. The mine will be a long-life operation.
Wheaton is debt free, with $372 million in cash and $2.4 billion in available liquidity. After a fourth-quarter rally from under $37 to as high as just over $45, Wheaton fell, dropping over 10% in the last week on silver weakness. Wheaton is a good buy here.
Pan American’s good news does not last long
, 22.99) reported that the legislature in the Argentine province of Chubut approved a bill allowing for open pit mining in certain areas, a measure voided five days later by the executive following protests. The measure would have allowed Pan American’s world-class Navidad to proceed. Given the foreign exchange restrictions in Argentina, the company is likely in no great rush to proceed, preferring to move ahead first with the re-start of the huge Escobal project in Guatemala. (PAAS:TSX; PAAS:NASDAQ
Notwithstanding the protests and repeal, the fact that the legislature passed the measure in the first place shows some progress. Pan American has demonstrated patience and a willingness to work with the province to amend its mine plan in order to gain more support. The area of the province where the mine would be located is remote and needs
jobs. The opposition mostly comes from other parts of the province where wealthy Argentinians have second homes and from anti-mining protest groups. Eventually, it will receive approval, we believe.
The share price jumped 14% when the bill was originally approved to just over $25. The double-whammy of the reversal on the mining approval as well as silver price weakness, saw the stock price slide back. At this level, Pan American is a very strong buy.
Fortuna gets its permit
, 3.63) announced a few days before Christmas that it had received a 12-year extension on its mining permit at its San Jose mine in Mexico. In mid-November, the environmental agency had unexpectedly rejected Fortuna’s renewal application (see Bulletin 793). The approval follows heavy lobbying from local and national elected officials. The company said the mine has been the subject of 13 environmental audits and has never been cited for pollution or environmental damage. (FSM:NYSE; FVI:TSX; FVI:BVL; F4S:FSE)
But the mine has been controversial. As the largest employer in the region, there is support from workers, though environmentalists and other anti-mining groups have long opposed the mine. There have been blockades in the past. And just last week, it has been reported that the Oaxaca assembly passed a resolution calling for the new permits to be revoked. So although Fortuna has its permit renewal, it does not appear that it will be smooth sailing ahead in this difficult part of Mexico.
After the permit was renewed, Fortuna’s stock price jumped 33% over a week, but that is still a recovery of far less than half of what it lost when the permit was denied. Now, with the local assembly resolution, and a decline in the silver price, Fortuna’s share price has dropped again. We already own Fortuna; it’s a diversified gold and silver company, with growth both in Argentina and West Africa, a conservative management, and a current valuation well below that of its peers. But there could be further stock price slippage, so we shall wait before buying more. Hold.
Positive news ahead for Altius
Altius Minerals Corp. (ALS:TSX.V, 16.76) anticipates a good quarter after a slightly negative third quarter, which saw royalty revenue down 5%, mostly on the back of weaker copper and other base metal royalties. Potash was also down on planned annual maintenance and other shutdowns. Given that the potash revenues have a lag in being recorded, the fourth quarter should be strong. Also copper and nickel had a price recovery.
In a year-end report on its prospect generation business, Altius reported that the value of its junior equities portfolio rose 8% to just over $55 million; it also generated $16 million from sales during the year. Several new equities were added from the sale or option of exploration properties.
The balance sheet remains strong, with just over $30 million in cash, up from under $20 million at the end of Q2. Net debt is $87 million, with $106 million available on its revolver. (Altius also holds $70 million cash in Altius Renewal Resources, which is consolidated, but we have excluded this.) Altius has long been conservative in its balance sheet and given that it is now more in harvesting than planting mode, we suspect more cash flow will go to reducing debt.
Altius stock price had a strong, if volatile move from early November, up from $15 to almost $18 before dropping sharply in the last two days. The stock price has always had broad swings, so we will look for a lower price to add to positions. Hold.
Originally published on Jan. 10, 2021.
Adrian Day, London-born and a graduate of the London School of Economics, is editor of Adrian Day’s Global Analyst. His latest book is “Investing in Resources: How to Profit from the Outsized Potential and Avoid the Risks.”
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( Companies Mentioned: ALS:TSX.V,
FSM:NYSE; FVI:TSX; FVI:BVL; F4S:FSE,
fortuna silver mines inc
pan american silver corp
wheaton precious metals corp
S&P Suffers Worst Start To A Year Since 1939 As Yield Curve Yells ‘Recession’
S&P Suffers Worst Start To A Year Since 1939 As Yield Curve Yells ‘Recession’
Before we start, let’s make this clear right from the start…
S&P Suffers Worst Start To A Year Since 1939 As Yield Curve Yells ‘Recession’
Before we start, let’s make this clear right from the start – despite today’s panic-buying, this is the worst start to a year for the S&P 500 since 1939 (and on course for its worst January ever)…
Nasdaq is down 5 straight weeks (16% from its highs) – the longest losing streak since 2012 – while Small Caps are down 22% from their highs (in a bear market)…
Everything was going so well too… “smooth sailing” they said! “Fed Put” they said! “Transitory inflation” they said…
Today was just a little bit turbo as it seems ugly sentiment data (10 year lows) and plunging growth expectations (Q1 GDP forecasts collapsed), was the ‘bad news’ the dip-buyers needed to reassure themselves that uber-hawkish Powell wouldn’t execte on his plan to crush inflation into a recessionary environment. We have one word for them – stagflation, and it leave Powell in an ugly box.
Atlanta Fed GDP expectations crashed to zero for Q1…
And as that happened, rate-hike expectations shifted dovishly lower (modestly at the time)…
Which helped send stocks soaring (particularly hyper-growth, long duration stocks). But that all came to an abrupt end at 1400ET today (for no obvious reason)… which was immediately met with a wall of dip-buyers amid the total lack of liquidity. Then all the majors just went vertical into the last 10 minutes as a significant buy-imbalance appeared (all helped by AAPL’s explosive gains today). Nasdaq was up a shocking 3% today (from down 1% pre-open). The S&P was up 2.5% today (from down 1% pre-open). Russell 2000 closed up almost 2% today from down 2% pre-open…
As one veteran trader noted, “today was a shitshow, no liquidity, gamma-driven gappy jumps everywhere… it was all algos and no average joes.”
Well that idiotic rampage managed to get the Dow, S&P, and Nasdaq unchanged on the week (which appears to be all that mattered to the machines)…
Just look at the volatility (but Monday’s puke lows held… and so did Wednesday’s pre-Fed highs).
Growth stocks were flat on the week as Value was bid (mostly benefitting on Thursday)…
Both Defensive and Cyclical stocks were hammered equally this week (while obviously cyclicals were more volatile)…
Today’s bounce was not really triggered by a short-squeeze as the size of the swing higher is very modest and unsustained…
The energy sector is the only one up in January while Tech and Consumer Discretionary are down hard MTD…
Real yields continue to rise (to their highest since June 2020 – but still negative), and have recoupled with gold…
…but have completely decoupled from stocks (Nasdaq should be significantly lower relative to Russell 2000)…
Notably, if real yields keep rising, then valuations are going to come under significant pressure…
Credit markets saw very little of the chaotic chop in stocks this week as they just fell with HYG (HY Corporate Bond ETF) at its lowest since Nov 2020…
Treasury yields were extremely mixed on the week with the short-end exploding higher and long-end actually coming all the way back to unchanged…
This week saw 2Y yields jump most since Oct 2019 (up for the 6th week in a row to the highest since Feb 2020).
The yield curve was crushed this week, triggered by The Fed’s hawkish tilt…
…with 7s10s at almost record flats, 20s30s still inverted, and 2s30s at its flattest since March 2020… all screaming The Fed is about to make a big mistake and hinting strongly at recessionary risks rising fast…
Short-term markets are now fully pricing in 5 rate-hikes by year-end (and a 25% chance of 50bps hike in March)
Perhaps even more notably, the forward OIS market is pricing in rate-cuts between 2024 and 2025…
The dollar soared higher for the 5th straight week (best week since June 2021), closing at its highest since July 2020. NOTE, the dollar took out the December USD spike highs and faded…
Cryptos had a nasty drop on Monday, along with stocks, and another puke after The Fed, but bitcoin ended the week modestly higher, while Ether was down around 5%…
Commodities were very mixed this week with most lower by hawkish tilts (Silver slammed 8% on the week) while crude rallied on geopolitical tensions…
Silver dropped back below $23…
WTI came very close to $89 intraday during the week, its highest since Oct 2014 (up for the 6th straight week in a row)…
NatGas went supersonic this week amid chaotic settlement and a new cold front, breaking above the early Jan highs (and up 19%, its best week since Aug 2020)…
Finally, just in case you think the market can handle all this vol, think again – liquidity in the most-liquid global equity futures contract (ES) is at its lowest since the COVID crash in 2020…
Simply put, a moderate-sized order moves ES 10 ticks so how do you think it’s going to handle all the fintwit/tiktokkers “paper hands” puking out of their Robinhood accounts?
The good news is that US COVID cases are following the same trajectories at UK and South Africa and tumbling…
Nevertheless, as we noted above, GDP in Q1 could well print contractionary.
Week Ahead – RBA, BOE, ECB, OPEC+, and NFP in focus
After a rollercoaster January, Wall Street is now expecting the Fed to aggressively raise interest rates over the course of the year as they scramble to…
After a rollercoaster January, Wall Street is now expecting the Fed to aggressively raise interest rates over the course of the year as they scramble to control inflation. The US dollar is once again king as most economists are now expecting the Fed to deliver anywhere between 3-7 rate hikes this year.
The upcoming week is filled with a few big rate decisions from the RBA, BOE, and ECB. The RBA may end its bond purchase program and could bring forward rate hike expectations, given the stronger-than-expected acceleration in inflation. The BOE is expected to deliver a follow-up rate increase and possibly signal a couple more are coming. The ECB will try to stick to the script that it is unlikely they will hike in 2022, which surprisingly has not been tested despite eurozone inflation increasing at a record pace. Financial markets don’t expect the ECB to move until September 2023, but that could shift as all the major central banks enter tightening mode.
After a sixth straight weekly gain, oil traders will pay close attention to the upcoming OPEC+ meeting that should not disrupt how tight this energy market has become. Crude demand is outpacing whatever supply is coming from OPEC+ as they have been falling well short of their commitments. Expectations are for the cartel to rubber stamp the 400,000 bpd increase in March, but no one expects them to actually reach those levels.
On Friday, the January US nonfarm payroll report will show that labor market recovery took a hit from omicron, while average hourly earnings continue to rise. Wage pressures are not going away and that should support optimism for the outlook for the US consumer.
Hot inflation may be public enemy No.1 for triggering the Fed’s hawkish turn, but investors are still keeping a close eye on the whether slower job growth could complicate the Fed’s aggressive tightening strategy. The January nonfarm payroll report will show the labor market recovery continues to moderate as the Omicron variant disrupted hiring. The consensus estimate for jobs created in January is 178,000, which would be a decrease from the 199,000 gain in December. Labor supply is still very tight and that may continue to be the driver behind average hourly earnings increases.
On Monday, Qatar’s emir will meet President Biden to discuss several issues, primarily focusing on the global energy crisis and security. Thursday is a big day for Biden’s Fed nominees as Raskin, Cook, and Jefferson as they will appear before the Senate. If confirmed, this will represent a landmark demographic overhaul of the Fed.
Wall Street will also pay close attention to a busy earnings season week as several European banks, technology, car manufacturers and industrials will report results.
A lot of economic data to come from Europe next week, with every day offering a selection of important readings that could influence the currency markets.
But there’s no doubt what the headlines will be, with flash CPI readings coming a day before the ECB meeting. The central bank is one of the few remaining in camp transitory and they are expected to persist, something that will be helped by a softer inflation number the day before.
Markets are ahead of the curve once more with at least one 10 basis point hike priced in by October and maybe another by the end of the year. Christine Lagarde pushed back to no avail last time, a similar outcome could be on the cards if the CPI data isn’t kind to them.
Developments in Ukraine appeared to hit European markets harder than the US on Monday so we could see similar sensitivity should the situation continue to deteriorate.
Next week is all about the BoE meeting, with markets pricing in a more than 90% chance of a second consecutive rate hike, taking the base rate to 0.5%. With up to three more priced in this year, there is scope for the central bank to follow the Fed in leading investors further down the hawkish path.
An unusual side note, the Prime Minister’s job looks far from safe as the Sue Gray investigation has turned into a full blown police inquiry into numerous alleged parties during lockdown. Boris can survive the embarrassment but will he survive an inquiry? The timing of the Sue Gray report remains unknown but could make life very difficult for the PM. Perhaps the oddest thing is how little markets seem to care (for now).
The ruble has had a rough time the last couple of weeks as tensions between Russia and the West have intensified. It’s down around 5% since the start of the year after a recovery on Thursday, with a diplomatic response still being sought, despite the wide gap that still seemingly exists. There remains the risk of invasion which could punish the ruble as the country gets hit with sanctions.
The SARB raised interest rates for the second consecutive meeting, taking the repo rate to 4%. This comes as inflation was running at the upper end of its 3-6% target range and despite growth falling short of previous expectations last year. Growth is still expected to be 1.7% this year, with inflation at 4.9%, up from 4.3% previously.
No major events next week.
The quarterly inflation report showed little sign of a change of course for the CBRT, with the central bank remaining bullish on the direction of the economy despite dramatically raising inflation forecasts for 2022 to 23.2%; driven by the lira, food prices, labour costs, and administered prices.
Next week we’ll get PPI and CPI data on Thursday which will offer some more insight into price pressures. Not that it will have an impact on the direction of travel for the enemy of interest rates. The lira remains stable, as it has for most of the year so far but when it comes to the currency, you can never expect it to last.
The trading week kicks off early in the weekend with China Manufacturing and Services PMIs for January. The PMIs are expected to show that China’s economy slowed down slightly at the start of the year and that manufacturing and services showed no growth in January.
Manufacturing had to deal with seasonal factors and the services sector was dragged down due to the government’s zero-Covid policy, which has meant strict lockdowns. China will likely continue to increase spending to support the economy.
Chinese markets will be closed for most of the week due to the Lunar New Year holiday.
A big focal point will be the start of the Winter Olympics in Beijing on February 4th. President Xi is expected to meet President Putin at the opening ceremony.
India will continue to try to foster a recovery with modest fiscal consolidation in the annual budget for FY 2022-2023 on Tuesday. The country has been hit hard by Covid-19 and the recovery remains fragile. Tax revenues in FY 2021-2022 were higher than expected and the government is expected to use the windfall to fund Covid-19 programmes as well as reduce the ballooning deficit so as to cut borrowing costs.
The RBA policy meeting on Tuesday could be significant, as the central bank is expected to announce the winding up of its asset purchase program. Governor Philip Lowe has stated repeatedly that he will not raise rates before wages rise to 3%, so a rate hike is not happening until much later in the year. However, if the RBA announces that it is bringing forward the timing on eventual hikes, the Australian dollar could receive a boost.
New Zealand releases Q4 2021 employment data on Wednesday. The economy continues to improve despite the Omicron wave, and there are expectations for a slight increase in employment. The unemployment rate fell to a 14-year low in Q3 to 3.4%, and is expected to remain unchanged. The labour market remains tight, which could lead to acceleration in wage growth.
A decent amount of economic releases will include industrial production, labor, and housing data, but nothing that should move the needle for the Bank of Japan.
Natural gas prices have been a rollercoaster ride after a short squeeze on Thursday, and now a major snowstorm for the East Coast could pump up prices again. The Ukraine situation may see a short period of calm as diplomacy is entertained.
Crude prices have been on fire, rising for a sixth straight week as the demand outlook improves and over geopolitical fears could lead to severe disruptions. The supply side continues to support a tight market as OPEC+ is expected to stick to their plan of increasing output by 400,000 bpd in March, even though their compliance last month only hit 60% of plan.
Gold’s pain may last a little longer until the Fed’s aggressive pivot with tackling inflation is fully priced in. The $1,800 level was a key support level for gold, so momentum selling has the potential to make this an interesting trade. If it gets ugly quick and $1760 breaks, gold may not see much support until $1720.
Bitcoin looks like it is stabilizing but many investors are still concerned about a crypto winter which could mean the current rebound might not last. The biggest risk right now is if Bitcoin mining continues to lose key hubs as more countries battle surging energy costs.
The cryptoverse is eagerly waiting for President Biden’s executive action that will begin regulation of cryptocurrencies as a matter of national security. This could be done in the coming weeks and could have an impact on stablecoins, NFTs and cryptos.
Key Economic Events
Sunday, Jan. 30
- Portugal holds an early general election after PM Costa‘s 4-year term ended early
- China Jan Manufacturing PMI: 50.0e v 50.3 prior; non-manufacturing PMI: 51.0e v 52.7 prior, Caixin manufacturing PMI: 50.0e v 50.9 prior
Monday, Jan. 31
- Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani meets with US President Biden to discuss global energy crisis.
- Informal meeting of EU ministers for industry and for the Internet market in Lens, France.
- Germany CPI
- Eurozone GDP
- Italy GDP
- Mexico GDP
- Poland GDP
- India GDP
- South Africa Trade data
- Turkey Trade data
- Japan Unemployment Rate
- Australia inflation gauge, private sector credit
- Singapore money supply
- Thailand capacity utilization, BoP
- India fiscal deficit, eight infrastructure industries
- Japan industrial production, retail sales, housing starts, consumer confidence index
- Norway credit indicator, foreign exchange purchases
Tuesday, Feb. 1
- US construction spending, ISM Manufacturing, light vehicle sales
- UK Nationwide house prices, mortgage approvals
- RBA Rate Decision: Expected to keep Cash Rate unchanged at 0.10%
- Australia retail sales, house prices, home loans, consumer confidence
- Hungary PM Orban meets Russian President Putin in Moscow as his government stresses the importance of maintaining close economic ties, even amid the tensions of the Ukraine crisis.
- Sweden Financial stability hearing with Riksbank, FSA in Parliament.
- India budget presentation
- Euro zone Manufacturing PMI, Unemployment
- Germany Manufacturing PMI, Unemployment
- India Manufacturing PMI
- UK Manufacturing PMI
- Australia Manufacturing PMI
- Thailand Manufacturing PMI
- Switzerland Manufacturing PMI
- New Zealand Trade, Unemployment, house prices
- Czech Republic GDP
- Japan jobless, PMI, vehicle sales
- Thailand business sentiment index
- Mexico international reserves
- Switzerland consumer confidence, retail sales
- South Africa PMI
Wednesday, Feb. 2
- OPEC+ meeting on output
- Eurozone CPI
- RBA Governor Lowe addresses the National Press Club.
- New Zealand unemployment
- Japan monetary base
- Russia industrial production
- Denmark foreign reserves
- EIA Crude Oil Inventory Report
Thursday, Feb. 3
- US factory orders, initial jobless claims, durable goods
- Fed Board of Governors confirmation hearing
- ECB Rate decision: No changes expected on rates, but Lagarde could provide guidance on when rate hikes could happen
- BOE Rate decision: Expected to raise Bank Rate by 25bps to 0.50%
- Eurozone Services PMI, PPI
- German Services PMI
- UK Services PMI
- Australia Services PMI
- India Services PMI
- Turkey PPI
- Turkey CPI
- Singapore PMI, electronics sector index
- Australia trade balance, building approvals, private sector houses, business confidence
- Switzerland total sight deposits, UBS real estate bubble index
- Amazon reports earnings reports after the close
Friday, Feb. 4
- US Jan Change in Nonfarm payrolls: 178Ke v 199K prior; Unemployment Rate: 3.9%e v 3.9% prior
- President Putin meets President Xi at Beijing Winter Olympics opening ceremony
- Canada Employment Report
- France industrial production, manufacturing production, wages
- Germany factory orders
- Switzerland CPI
- UK new car registrations
- Eurozone ECB survey of professional forecasters, Retail Sales
- Singapore Retail sales
- New Zealand building permits
- Thailand CPI, forward contracts, foreign reserves, consumer confidence
- Turkey effective exchange rate
Sovereign Rating Updates:
- Norway (Fitch)
- EFSF (S&P)
- ESM (S&P)
- Sweden (S&P)
- Russia (Moody’s)
- Czech Republic (Moody’s)
- Sweden (DBRS)
President of Money Metals Exchange and the Sound Money Defense League, Stefan Gleason, joins David Morgan to discuss active sound money legislative battles across the US.
Stefan Gleason sits down with David Morgan on The Morgan Report to discuss attempts to remove taxes and regulations on gold and silver across the coun…
President of Money Metals Exchange and the Sound Money Defense League, Stefan Gleason joins David Morgan to discuss active sound money legislative battles across the US.
Welcome everyone. This is another video blog or podcast, whatever you want to call it. This is David Morgan, from the Morganreport.com. Stefan Gleason, been a long time since I’ve seen you in person. He started a bullion dealership which we want to hear about just basically your background. And before I give you the mic, Stefan’s done a lot more than become one of the top-rated bullion dealers in the country. He’s been an advocate for sound money for a long time, and has basically spearheaded the sound money project, which is why I asked him on for this interview. But Stefan, before we start that let’s get a little background from you, what your past has been, and what your bullion business is like and we’ll start it.
Sure thanks, David. Of course, it’s an honor to be on your show and your podcast. I’ve been listening to you for probably 20 years first as an investor and then ultimately in 2010 as a precious metals dealer, and we’ve gotten to know each other over the last 12 years and developed a great friendship and working relationship. But my background is I first started out by going into public policy. I worked for conservative free market organizations in Washington DC, in particular National Right to work. And where that was an issue that deals with compulsory unionism and the whole idea of forcing people to join and pay money to unions as a condition of employment. And I’ve always had sort of a political and free market, libertarian leaning background and interest.
And that’s kind of what led me into precious metals in the early 2000s and just looking at interest rates, looking at the federal reserve system and just kind of figuring out what an incredibly just ridiculous monetary system we have. And that’s what got me into precious metals as an investor about 20 years ago, and then about 12, 13 years ago as a precious metals dealer. And so, my full-time focus has been for the last 12 years money metals exchange. And we built that up to be one of the top two or three or four precious metals dealers online in the country, in the US. But I still have a very strong interest in the public policy side and of course, precious metals and sound money and the whole relationship of the monetary system to enabling big government and the federal reserve system and how that is really part of the problem of big go in our country and the lack of restraint on big government that flows from our current monetary policy.
And so, while on one hand, I’m helping my company and our team is helping people get out of the dollar and hedge themselves and get some protection outside of the financial system, through individual ownership in precious metals or sound money, but also now in the last five or six years, really focusing on public policies at the state and federal level and using some of the resources of money metals to try to affect positive legislative change around the country. And that’s kind of the main focus here today is talk about the sound money defense league and the project that we have going on with the help of many, especially our customers and people in the grassroots, and even some other precious metals dealers in looking at some of these policies that we have of that can be reformed at the state level, where there’s actually a pretty decent chance in getting some of these laws fixed or enacted.
And so kind of as at the outset, about five years ago, we established the sound money index, and we basically figured out what are the policies that impact precious metals at the state level that we should be focused on as trying to improve. And we’ve ranked all the states, we’ve evaluated all the state’s laws on these 12 different topics or areas and now we’re over the last few years been focusing on introducing bills and gaining allies to do things such as repeal sales taxes on precious metals, remove income taxes on precious metals, and then a whole other range of policies that deal with, whether a state will hold gold as a reserve asset, whether a state has a depository type of structure in place, such as Texas, whether a state has gold bonds or issues gold bonds, none of them do currently, but that’s something that we score.
And then even things like state laws that harass investors and dealers and make it difficult for the dealers to do business and invade the privacy of the investors. And so we’re working on all of these fronts to try to improve public policies. And then of course, to defend those laws that are on the books that are good, such as sales tax exemptions, which are still being threatened from time to time, including in your state, Washington state, where there is an exemption, but the state legislature has tried to remove it on several occasions. And fortunately we’ve been to stop them with the help of a lot of folks in the state as well. So the main thing is the sound money index. We actually have this on our website, how money metals exchange or MoneyMetals.com and it’s a ranking of each year of all the states. And I encourage people to go there and check it out and we can go down some of the things in the index if you like.
Sure. Well, let me pause you there for a minute. First of all, full disclosure, one is I’ve bought many times from your dealership, another disclosure is that you were, won’t call it disclosure. I mean, we’ve known each other for some time and you gave me a heads up that the governor of Utah was going to sign an act into law about using precious metals as basically any transaction whatsoever. And so thank you for that. And I was actually invited and stood behind him as did you, as he signed that in the law. And I wouldn’t say there’s a flaw, but maybe I will. I’m mixing my words. I actually proposed at that time, that the only way I could see it working well is for the state to have a depository, deposit the precious pedals in there, and then make a transparent it to the merchant, which means to use like a debit card that’s precious metals back.
And then the bank interface between the depository and the merchant could take care of particulars like what is the exact price of silver, gold when you sell it, what’s the premium and make that transaction, put it into federal reserve notes and put it on your debit card. And it got a little bit of pushback from the legislature. I highly respect, I mean, a great deal of work went into it, but it really hasn’t been utilized that much. I gave that speech at the silver summit. And as you know, one of the audience members came up to me and basically established that parameter, where you can deposit your metal and then it’s a debit card that you can use. Wouldn’t want to go down that hole too far? What I really wanted to bring to the fort is the tax part. That was the other full disclosure.
I get asked a lot, well what’s tax treatment? And it depends. It’s not only what jurisdiction you are in the world. And we have a worldwide audience. I think we have subscribers in about 40 countries approximately, but primarily the US and Canada. It depends state to state. I don’t want to go through every state, but if you could give me kind of a one, two, three, like the best, the worst and the middle, let’s say taxation, give me ones and then give easiest to do business and hardest to do business. And I think is it, Michigan is the only one where there’s actual regulation on all precious metals dealers?
Minnesota sorry. Okay I think explain a little if that’s okay.
Yeah. And part of that law was just gutted by a group of dealers that sued the state and it’s now being battled on appeal, I believe. But yeah, there’s interesting differences between the states and Utah, by the way, there were some people in the state that worked very hard on that. Larry Hilton and UPMA and some of the folks there. Utah did eliminate the income tax on precious metals, that law removed the income tax. It’s actually an income tax credit offsetting your capital gains taxes, but essentially the sale of precious metals in Utah, and several other states, Arizona passed a similar exemption is exempt from income tax. So you don’t pay for any gains if you have them. And that’s only fair because if you think about it, a lot of times, the gains that people have in precious metals are really any asset is a result of inflation, it’s not even a real gain.
So, Utah and a few other states have no income tax on precious metals. Some of them be by virtue of not having income tax at all. And some of them by virtue of having passed something like Utah did or Arizona did. At the top of our index are Wyoming, Texas, South Dakota, Alaska, New Hampshire, Utah. And that’s because none of them have any sales tax taxes on precious metals. And several of them do not have income tax on precious metals. I mentioned Utah, Texas doesn’t have an income tax at all. Wyoming doesn’t have an income tax at all. And Wyoming has passed a couple other things similar to Utah to say that gold and silver are money specifically sort of calling that out as they already are prescribed under article one, section 10 of the US constitution that states have like Utah and Wyoming have reaffirmed that principle and said, we’ve in our statutes, say that gold and silver are money.
And so those are some of the things that have put those states at the top. The worst states would be. And some of those have some of these worst states have bills this year that would make them jump probably to the middle of the index. But the worst states would be Hawaii, Mississippi, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Maine, New Jersey, and Vermont. And all of these states have full taxation on precious metals purchases. And they also have income tax on the sale of precious metals. And some of them also have higher than average income tax and sales tax rates, which is another thing that we factor in. And so those are the things that make those the worse states because more than 50% of our index is based on the tax policy, because we think the tax policy is probably the most meaning full thing that either helps or hurts sound money in a state, at least that can be handled at a state level.
Because if you think about it, tax is the friction on the buying and selling, it’s what makes it difficult to transact in precious metals because of the friction or the costs on both sides. And so we feel that taxes really in order to sort of remonetize gold and silver in a practical sense, removing the taxation is probably the most important thing that you can do. Of course, there’s federal income tax, that’s a federal problem and we have a bill there with Congressman Mooney that would address that, but that’s a much more difficult battle to win. And at the state level we have found the sales tax exemptions have been pretty much the top policy for us. And really the one that probably hurts or helps our customers the most is whether a state has an income tax and or a sales tax.
And then in the case of the last few years, the Supreme Court actually expanded the ability of states to impose sales tax on businesses that are doing business in the state from out of state. And so all of thedealers, including money metals exchange had had to get into the business of being the bagman for state tax bureaucrats across the country when people do business on our website, and it’s a very, very troubling development. It’s a very difficult program for and deal with and then of course you now have an audit risk in 50 states and these are small, more urgent businesses with not huge numbers of employees. We’re not Wayfair, we’re not Walmart. And yet we have a compliance situation in 50 states. So anyways, but on the sales tax front, in the last several years, we have had more states pass exemptions.
And so today there are now 42 states in the US that either entirely or partially exempt precious metals from the sales tax and of the eight remaining that fully tax precious metals on the sales side, five of them have already introduced bills to repeal the sales tax on precious metals this session. And we may actually pass a couple more of this year, I’m hopeful that we will. Last year, we were involved in helping Ohio enact its sales tax exemption. They had actually reversed it a few years earlier. They had it before and then they put it back on and they repealed it again this year, this last year, but also Arkansas just repealed sales tax on precious metals. And the year before that we had West Virginia and a couple other states in the south. I think Louisiana, Louisiana did also put the exemption in place.
So there’s a lot of progress being made on the sales tax front. I mean, if you think about the sales tax, I mean we all get it, of course, but just to review, I mean, the whole idea of the sales tax, if it’s on anything, is that okay, it’s a tax on the final consumer of a good, like the user, the person who eats it or expends it and they’re the final user and nobody else pays it but the final user. Well, I mean, obviously precious metals especially bullion are held for resale, they’re inherently held for resale. So the whole idea of taxing money in the first place, and then taxing something that’s held for resale just makes no sense at all. It’s also a regressive tax on investors. It’s the only kind of investment that people generally will end up encountering a sales tax with.
I mean, you don’t pay sales tax when you buy a stock or a bond. And then of course it’s double taxation because you have income tax on the other side. And so we feel the arguments have been resonating very well on the sales tax front. It’s also been driving coin shows out of those states. They’re not able to have coin shows because all the coin dealers come in and then the tax bureaucrats mills around and starts hitting people up before their tax certificates at the booths and people don’t want to do a show in a state like that. So it’s also hurting business. It’s hurting businesses in those states that have a sales tax on precious metals.
Their dealers are not able to be as competitive because people can go to another state to make their purchases it’s just there’s plenty of studies. There’s been several studies that have shown people losing business in their state by having an income sales tax on precious metals. And so we’ve very successful so far in both preserving the exemptions that we have and expanding the exemptions.
So this year we have a bill in Hawaii, we have one in New Jersey, we have one in Mississippi and we have one in Kentucky and there’s actually one more and I’ll remember that in a minute, but we’re working in five states already. And then there’s a couple other states where the exemptions are expiring such as Virginia and Louisiana, I’m sorry, Virginia and Alabama. So those are the two states where the exemption actually has a sunset clause unfortunately, because for whatever reason, a few years ago, the legislators felt they had to put that in to get it passed. We obviously don’t support that idea, but it has to be addressed now because if it’s not extended, well those exemptions will go away. So sales tax is cut in the main battle ground.
Let me stop you-
Yeah, go ahead.
One question, of course we get from time to time is at the federal level, if we’re a collectable or a capital gains type of treatment, can you address that before I forget that.
Yeah. And so that’s the root of the income tax problem because most of the states actually follow the federal adjusted gross income. So it starts with federal. So people who have a gain on precious metals are expected by the IRS to report that gain and also to pay a discriminatory high 28% income tax rate. So it’s not even taxed at 15% capital gains taxes or 20% for people over, I think 400 or 500,000 in annual income have a higher capital gains tax rate. But gold bullion is considered a collectible and it’s taxed in a long term capital gains tax rate of 28%, and this is being done without statutory basis. It’s being done primarily as a IRS regulatory approach, the IRS and the department of treasury could, and there were discussions during the Trump administration to deal with this, but the IRS could actually change its policy and say, we’re not going to consider gold or silver gains or losses to be a taxation issue at all.
They could do that unilaterally, but there is legislation by Congressman Mooney that has been introduced. He’s a Republican from West Virginia and he’s been one of the strong advocates of sound money in the last few years since Ron Paul left and a few and there’s others, but he’s kind of the leader. And he has a bill that would remove the income tax from precious metals at the federal level and make it so that it’s literally tax neutral. So you would not report precious metals gains, nor could you deduct so actual losses. Now we know that as a result of inflation and financial repression and the policies that for the most part, people are having gains on precious metals over the long term. So it’s a tax neutral bill that would primarily benefit those who would otherwise pay taxes on precious metals.
And then the problem goes to the state level from there because most states literally just follow your federal number. And so that’s where states have actually been doing things to say, well, if you have precious metals, income or income in your federal income that comes to the state tax return, we are going to deduct it out. And Arizona did that and Utah did that and there are bills in other states, we’re going to have a bill in Iowa this year. There was a bill just introduced in Oklahoma just to do that very thing. So the income tax issue is sort of the second front in the sound money battle. It’s not as big a front, but I see us moving more and more in that direction as we knock out the rest of these sales tax laws.
Great. What about, some of the more onerous states, as far as like coming in, which I’ve done many times and just putting federal reserve notes on the counter and walking out with your couple rolls of Eagles.
Yeah, yeah. One of the things that we rank in the sound money index is something we call precious metals dealer and investor harassment laws. And so what these laws are and some of these are at the municipal level as well and we actually haven’t gone into that. We know they’re there, but we haven’t gone into the full ranking all the way down to the municipal level. But even at the state level, there are laws that harass dealers and customers or investors and we have basically four ways they do it. And the Minnesota law, by the way, that whole regulatory scheme, I’m going to put that aside, that’s a little bit of its own thing. But basically in some states, dealers have to, number one, when they make a purchase from the public, they have to hold that bullion for seven days, 14 days, even longer 20 days and not sell it, number one.
Number two, they have to upload personal information of their customers who come in to sell things to their shop. They have to upload that to the Sheriff’s office in real time with description of the person, driver’s license information, photos of the things that they sold to the dealer and can be penalized severely if they fail to do so. They also, one case in Arizona, they literally are not allowed to accept federal reserve notes other than via a check or an electronic transfer for a purchase of precious metal. So it’s literally illegal under Arizona law to use cash. I mean, we know there’s a tax on cash, there’s a war on cash, but where is it illegal to use cash to purchase a good or an asset anywhere? I mean yet, I mean, I know that’s where we’re heading maybe, but it’s happening in Arizona.
At least it’s on the books in Arizona and that’s probably the worst of the dealer harassment because they have all those other things I mentioned, so that’s another area. We don’t have any bills currently to deal with that. Well there is a new secondhand law coming up, I think in New York that we’re going to try to stop. But again, sometimes these happen through a broader law that has to do with dealing with pawn shops where I guess the theory is that you have a stolen watch or you have a stolen earring well, somebody’s going to come to a shop and fence it and that they’re going to stop some of these crimes and catch the thieves or prevent it from being liquidated or melted or whatever before so the sheriff can go to the database and, and find all the reports and maybe they find the goods.
But when you’re talking about a silver bar or a Gold Eagle coin, these are fungible items. It’s not even possible to individually identify these things. So it’s really just about surveillance and harassment. And so, that’s the part we take issue with, we’re not really involved in these ancillary things like jewelry, but that’s something we think that needs to be addressed over time and we’re looking at that monitoring it and then where we can, we’re activating. And I should mention by the way that David, a lot of these battles that we’re involved and rely on grassroots support from rank and file investors. And we have a large email list and we encourage people to get on our email list because part of that will enable us to send you an alert.
If you’re in Hawaii, and we have a hearing before the Senate finance committee, which we likely will later this spring, or that just as an example, we will send out emails with the phone numbers of the legislators on that committee and the emails for those individuals and we’ll ask our customers and people on our list and anyone else who’s interested. We’ll share this with other dealers so they can send it to their lists if they wish. And I can tell you that that kind of grassroots contact is perhaps even more effective than just making good arguments, sending in letters, lobbying individually, going around the legislature. When they have phone calls and emails coming in, especially at the state level where they’re not used to this kind of grassroots that happens at the federal level all the time and maybe the staff learn to tune them out.
But at the state level, you’re talking about people generally, they don’t have a staff, they may have one assistant. If they’re getting phone calls and emails from people within their state on a legislative matter, especially if they’re from their district, they actually pay attention. And I can tell you that this last year we would not have passed the sales tax exemption in Arkansas if it were not for the grassroots investors in Arkansas who were alerted by sound money and money metals about this pending legislation and reached out to their committee members and the chairman called us up, he was actually trying to get us to stop, but it let him know these people care.
We’re not going to stop until you pass the law, and he did, and he passed it out and it went out to the House floor and it went on from there. So, don’t underestimate the impact. And, and if people go on MoneyMetals.com and get on our email list and we’ll be able to alert them to these things when they come up. And as I mentioned, we have bills in almost 10 states right now. So there will be a lot of that contact over the next few months.
I want to divert you and if it’s too big a diversion just push back on me, but with Dr. Edwin Viera which thanked you for the introduction. I mean, he’s looked at a lot. And then my view, the number one constitutional attorney/brain in the country. I see he looked at some of this stuff as far as what the legality is of the legal tender laws versus being, I don’t think the silver standard’s ever have been taken out of the law books. I mean, in theory, I think we’re still on a sound money. I mean, I know that sounds preposterous to our listeners, but if I go into Walmart and I throw down 10 silver Eagles to buy something that’s 10 federal reserve notes, they have to accept it as equivalent. Now I know that’s an idiot thing to do. I’m paying $300 of silver value to buy something that’s marked 10 bucks, but my point is that there is no way that they can refuse to do that, correct?
Right now the legal tender laws, yeah. It’s it. If it’s declared legal tender, they have to accept it. I mean, theoretically, they could say no. And then what do you do? Where do you go from there? Edwin Viera is brilliant. And particularly on the topic of the sound money and the constitution as to gold and silver, this has been one of his, he was actually a staff attorney at national right to work, that’s when I met him. He was no longer with us, he was doing outside work, but he had argued some of the right to work cases at the US Supreme Court, but his other issue, his other issues are the second amendment and sound money. And he actually wrote, and you probably have a copy on your bookshelf. And I think I might actually see it back there, pieces of eight, the monetary, the history, the monetary [inaudible 00:26:51] and disabilities of the US constitution.
And he literally has documented all of the legal history of the sound money cases starting with the constitution and the coinage act and the legal tender laws during the civil war. So, I mean, it’s hard for me to speak for him, we stay in touch and he’s certainly somebody who offers input when asked, but I can’t hold a candle to him when it comes to addressing the topics, the questions you just raised. I think you had him on your master mind at one point and definitely a great guy to invite back for something like that. He can just cite chapter and verse on anything. I think a lot of this started with the legal tender laws, which were wrong, the legal tender cases, which came up after the civil war, where they first went to paper money and they tried to put this informado of force of legal tender on this paper money. And then the Supreme Court upheld the notion as valid, and that’s kind of where things went off the rails. Because you don’t need a legal tender law to say something is worth money when it is worth money.
So really legal vendor is compulsion it’s force, it’s government force. And then from there in the 1930s, he can tell you the story of how, of all the dishonest things that were done by the courts and of course, by the Roosevelt administration to demonetize gold and to uphold, to avoid gold clause contracts and all that kind of stuff. So I will just leave, I’ll let him speak for himself. I definitely think he’s a great person to, to talk to and get on your show and in front of your listeners again, but he’s been supportive to the extent I’ve been able to, to work with him and talk to him. He’s been supportive of these efforts. He’s looked at some of the bills that we’ve drafted and he’s offered good input.
Thank you. That was a good summary and you did hit the high points. One more diversion then I want to go ahead and wrap it up. And that is this interface between cryptos and gold and silver. And I just want to take the mic for a moment it’s just been throughout monetary history, whenever there’s this financial repression, it’s obvious that there’s free market thinkers that pop up any resistance. And that means they invent another way of doing business with each other. And of course, the cryptos came on the scene primarily through Bitcoin and at think it was 2009. And now what we’ve seen over the last more than a decade is a lot of precious metals dealers are actually accepting cryptocurrencies for precious metals. I don’t think it goes the other way. I don’t think you can sell precious metals and be given crypto in exchange.
You can for Money Metals, actually, we’ll do it.
Let’s address that. And I want to hear the pros and the cons, because I’m sure you’ve got both because it’s a fairly cumbersome situation I would imagine with the computer, not so much, but these things very wildly at times, and you’ve got to lock in a price and protect yourself if Bitcoin drops down 20% the next day and that kind of thing. So can you, I know it’s not a brief mouthful, but can you kind of outline the basis?
Well, okay. So Money Metals has been accepting various cryptos directly as payment for precious metals and making payment in cryptos for those who are selling us precious metals, if that’s what they want. We’ve been doing that since about 2014 and we also use the payment gateways like BitPay and so forth. Now there’s a difference because if you use BitPay, then BitPay converts it to cash and as the retailer, you just receive the federal reserve denominated amount, you don’t receive the crypto. What’s interesting is on our website, you can use both options. Most people choose not to use BitPay and they instead just pay us directly in the coin and then we receive that as payment and then of course, we have to decide what to do with that because it is volatile like you said.
Now it’s more difficult to hedge. Unlike precious metals, you can hedge very easily in real time and with very little costs. So it is difficult to hedge crypto that you receive as a payment at 2:00 AM in the morning while you’re asleep on your website. So there are limits to how much a dealer can do that. There’s a limit to how much we do that. We have transaction size limits, but that said there, we’re happy to do it even in large amounts, if it’s a really large transaction, then we like to do that manually over the phone and in real time, because if somebody wants to sell us or as I should say, if somebody wants to buy a million dollars worth of gold with Bitcoin or some even more volatile crypto, we’re going to need to either dispose of that immediately or hedge it immediately and these are small margin transact when you’re dealing with golden silver, so you can immediately lose your entire margin.
And then some based on a small movement, what’s considered a small movement in Bitcoin, 5% or something, you’ve lost your margin, particularly on gold where the margin’s generally a lot less than that. So, it’s tricky. We don’t have a high amount of… Percentage wise, it’s not broadly adopted. I mean, it’s just a few percent at most, it tends to be larger transactions on average, but we’re enabled for that have been for a long time. Other dealers are enabled for it as well. I don’t see that as being sort of the driver of what brings the growth in our marketplace, I feel like there is a difference between the average crypto investor and the average precious metals investor, at least at the retail level.
I think the people that are buying precious metals are buying it because they physically want to hold the metal, they want to have it in their possession, they don’t want counterparty risk. They don’t necessarily trust the electronic payment system. And so that’s one type of person. And then you have the crypto folks who are also looking for free market money. And I think they all have that in common, but they have a much greater sort of trust and are willing to transact in that kind of world. And I don’t think there’s a huge overlap.
I mean, there is some, and those are obviously, those are the people that we’re doing business with involving crypto payments, but it’s not as much of an overlap. It’s sort of like a parallel they’re fellow travelers, but they’re not really the same people with a small overlap. But I think it’s promising and obviously I’m in favor of any kind of free market, alternative money. That’s really the way it ought to work and the best money will prevail in a free market system and people will be benefited by that. So all of these things I think are positive developments.
Well, thank you for your time. Let me hand it back to you. Just go over your website again, and how people get ahold of you. And also, I want to emphasize, please get on the [inaudible 00:34:15] list. They put out a great summary electronically and there’s a lot of information and we need to work together as Stefan said on this legislation thing, and nothing would make me happier than seeing some money pervasive throughout the world, but that’s a big wish. But beyond that, just getting this ridiculous collectable status off the precious metals. I know the silver Institute has been working on that ever since I became aware of them and it’s still there. So maybe something.
Yeah. Well, I think there’s reason to be encouraged in the last few years. There’s definitely more talk around the sound money issue. I mean, really part of it is a function of things getting worse financially, unfortunately, but I do think that we’re gaining momentum for these efforts. There’s more people that own precious metals in the US than a couple years ago. By far, we’ve seen an explosion in that. There’s more interest at the state level to pass these bills that we’re talking about, sales tax, removal, income tax removal, and other sound money bills.
So I think that the trend is on our side and yeah, I hope people would go to MoneyMetals.com get on our email list so that we can in particular, get you information about sound money battles in your state. But in general, we have a lot of great content as a precious metals dealer. The overall company, we’re sort of, other than the sound money project, which I’ve been talking about today, I mean, we’re one of the largest precious metals dealers in the US.
We also have a depository that’s fully integrated with Money Metals exchange, it’s called Money Metals depository, it’s seamless. If you’re one of these folks who wants to have a portion of their metal held in a depository, which we always encourage take at least some possession of some of it initially, but for larger amounts, or if it’s something you wanted more easily sell, then that’s where depository plays a role. And we have a great option there both from an ease of use standpoint and a pricing standpoint.
We’re also, we have a monthly savings plan. There’s almost 10,000 people in our monthly savings plan who have a monthly amount that is an automatic purchase. And so we’re involved in all of these projects, the sound money project. We have a scholarship, even if you have a student who’s going into college, sound money, defense league, and Money Metals has a scholarship where every year we give away about $10,000 in scholarships to people who turn in an essay, one of the best essays, we have five or six that we give out. We get about 100 applicants, 50 to 100 applicants a year. So that’s another thing we do, but all it’s there at MoneyMetals.com. And I appreciate the opportunity to tell people about it today, David.
Well, very good, Stefan. Thank you for our interview and our friendship. And I think as time wears on here, I may have you back. I want to explore, and we don’t have time the conjunction, I guess I’ll call it between the crypto world and the precious metals world because as you know, there is that marriage going on in more than one place. And I think it could be kind of the next wave, but really that’s my bias towards [inaudible 00:37:33]. Until next time Stefan, thank you very much.
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