- The Gold Cartel
- Borrowing gold is like free money
- Quantitative easing: the final straw?
Brad Zigler's recent feature, "Has Gold Been Manipulated?", which dismissed the possibility of price manipulation in the gold market, ignited a firestorm of comments and emails from our readers. That's why we decided to sit down with Bill Murphy, chairman and director of the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA), and hear the other side of the story.
GATA is a nonprofit advocacy and education group dedicated to exposing and opposing manipulation in gold, precious metals and other financial markets. Before he helped found GATA, Murphy worked as a commodities broker on Wall Street; in 1998, he launched the popular gold market website, Le Metropole.
Recently, HAI's associate editor Lara Crigger chatted with Murphy about GATA and its mission, including how manipulation would occur, where gold prices ought to be and who's really pulling the strings.
Lara Crigger (Crigger): GATA argues that for over a decade, gold prices have been kept artificially low. Who's behind the manipulation, and why?
Murphy: It's what we call "The Gold Cartel": The United States government is the main culprit, with "hit men" like Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase, and other central banks, like the Bank of England. It's been going on for some time now.
Basically, it all started with [former U.S. Treasury Secretary under the Clinton Administration] Robert Rubin, back when he was the head of Goldman Sachs in London. He would borrow gold from the central banks at a 1% interest rate, and then sell it. He took this idea and made it the essence of his "Strong Dollar Policy" [while at the U.S. Treasury].
Then there was Lawrence Summers, who followed him as Treasury Secretary. He once articulated the relationship between gold and interest rates in his paper, "Gibson's Paradox and the Gold Standard": Keep the gold price down, he said, and you keep interest rates down.
Now, the U.S. [government] is very concerned about stock market interest rates, the dollar and so on. The main way to control all that is to keep the gold price down. So they'd borrow central bank gold and surreptitiously put it in the marketplace, via various leasing and swap operations. It's this gold that has kept the price from being $2,000 - or well over it.
Crigger: And the banks, why are they involved?
Murphy: Well, it's a very close relationship between Goldman Sachs and the U.S. Treasury. Half the Treasury is staffed by Goldman Sachs people. And the Federal Reserve - J. P. Morgan is the Federal Reserve's bank. They've worked closely together, sharing information, certainly helping in trading.
Being able to borrow gold - it's like free money when you lease it in the marketplace, as long as the price stays the same or doesn't go up too much. So they've made money trading this market against the specs, with the government's help, for well over a decade. And they made a lot of money doing it.
But now they're running out of central bank gold to meet the heavy demand showing up from everywhere. It's reported that the central banks have 30,000 tons of gold in their vaults. Three of our consultants have shown through different methodologies that they have a good bit less than 15,000 tons, which is less than half of what they say they have. The difference is the gold that's been used over the past decade in the gold price suppression scheme.
So it's become a very risky deal.