Last Wednesday, September 7, I was one of the invited guests to the 9-11 Memorial & Museum benefit dinner in New York, held at Cidriani Club 55 restaurant at 55 Wall Street near Ground Zero. It was a very moving experience to privately tour the below-ground museum, the above-ground memorials and to hear the testimonials to the heroes of that day. Our host was former New York mayor and financial publisher Michael Bloomberg, who is also chairman of the September 11 Memorial & Museum. We recalled many stories of great heroism, including the 343 firefighters and 60 officers from the Port Authority and Police Departments of New York and New Jersey who died on the scene, rushing into the flames and danger.
On 9-11, average workers became heroes, dying while helping others escape while sacrificing their own lives. (See Peggy Noonan’s column on Welles Crowther, an intern on the 104th floor of the South Tower.) There were also the several heroes who saved the U.S. Capitol by storming the cockpit of United Flight 93 over Pennsylvania. There were also many hero dogs helping at the crash sites for days.
As I wrote here two weeks ago, I was invited to represent our company due to our role in raising over $400,000 for the 9-11 Museum in 2002, marketing the 2001-dated American Silver Eagle coins (certified by PCGS) which were buried in the ruins of the World Trade Center). These coins have tripled in value since we sold 50,000 of them in 2002. It took almost two months, until November 1, 2001, for workers to dig down to the level at Iron Mountain Depository where these coins were buried. We were the first company to seek the necessary photo and video evidence that these coins came from out of the wreckage of the World Trade Center. Then, one of the top certification firms, PCGS, certified the coins as being recovered from Ground Zero. These are the kinds of beautiful historic artifacts that collectors want to own for long-term gains and for pride in America. This 9/11 coin offer also helped give our company a level of credibility many other dealers lacked.
We were chosen by a major financial institution that lost employees in the tragedy to market their coins to raise funds for this memorial. We donated 12% of the purchase price of each 9-11 silver coin to the World Trade Center Memorial Fund, which resulted in my invitation to last Wednesday’s inspiring event, honoring the 2,983 people killed at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and aboard Flight 93, plus those who died in the earlier (1993) attack on the World Trade Center. The tragedy of 9/11 brought great pain and sorrow but it was also a time of unprecedented unity. Wednesday’s program helped recreate that sense of unity. That’s why I was so sad to hear that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton created conflict and disunity at the very same restaurant two nights later (Friday), when she said that 50% of Donald Trump’s supporters are nothing more than a “basket of deplorables,” calling them “racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, Islamophobic, you name it.”
Four years ago, Mitt Romney said something similar – but not so critical – when he told a private group of donors that 47% of voters will inevitably vote for President Barack Obama, since they rely on their government handouts. Romney’s words did not contain the stronger words of Hillary Clinton’s statement, but his election chances faded fast after his 47% remark went public. I think it’s pretty safe to say that Hillary’s “50% deplorable” remark will not doom her campaign. Will the liberal media keep rehashing Hillary’s remark as they did with Romney’s jab?
As it turns out, Hillary Clinton had been diagnosed as having pneumonia last Friday, which may have contributed to her dehydration, dizziness and near-fainting experience at a 9/11 memorial Sunday morning in rather cool 80° weather that I experienced there.
Gold gained a little ($3) last week while stocks fell sharply, down 2.5% on Friday alone. Once again, some Federal Reserve governors began chatting up an interest rate increase, which scared stock traders and gave gold a boost. In this case, Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren argued for a rate increase at next week’s meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) in order to keep the economy from “overheating,” but there is very little “heat” in this economy, with the GDP growing barely 1%. Still, his words pushed the odds of a rate increase next week (on September 21) up to 24% from 18% previously.
As we honor America on this 15th anniversary of 9-11, let us recall that it also contributed to gold’s latest bull market. In the 15 years since September 10, 2001 – the Monday before 9/11 – gold has risen 390% vs. just 88% for the Dow Jones industrial index and 95% for the S&P 500. Silver is up 356% in the same time frame. That means gold and silver are up about four times as much as stocks since the attack on 9/11.
China and India Continue to Increase Gold Demand in the 2nd Half of 2016
China and India continue to be the two countries providing the most annual physical demand for gold, even though America’s “paper gold” traders have been the main force behind gold’s rise during the first half of 2016. We just found out from the People’s Bank of China last week that China’s gold reserves rose by 160,000 Troy ounces last month, from 58.79 million troy ounces to 58.95 ounces. Gold-backed ETFs are also gaining popularity there. Gold ETFs were introduced in China in 2013, but they got little attention at first, since the traditional demand there is physical gold, which has always been highly regarded in Asia, but now China’s gold ETF holdings have risen from 7 metric tons in January to 35 tons as of August 31.
In India, the monsoon season (June through September) has brought more rain than average. In 2014 and 2015, gold and jewelry demand in India was down due to low rainfall, since about one-third of Indian gold demand comes from rural farmers who convert a percent of their crop revenue into precious metals to be held as their “insurance” in case of future droughts or other dire needs. In addition, India’s Diwali season come in late October. This “Festival of Lights” is like Christmas in America, the most festive and sacred holiday of the Hindu year. Like Christmas, Diwali is also a major shopping and gift-giving season, including gold jewelry gifts. After Diwali, India enters wedding season, which also involves golden gifts.
With the help of China and India, and continued ETF demand in America, we should see gold rise during its traditionally stronger half of the year – September through February – perhaps surpassing $1,400/oz.
Mike Fuljenz is the Official Precious Metals Expert for Townhall