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  1. You probably want something more diverse than just S&P 500. At the moment, a lot of institutional money is in emerging markets. Bridgewater, for example, has a substantial part of their funds in emerging markets, and they have a strong track record. Also, you don't want to be 100% in stocks. Some cash and some gold are a good idea.
  2. Commentators I follow disagree about the chances of a crash this year. On the positive side: The economies of most developed countries are showing some signs of growth. QE has inflated bond and stock prices, so traditional measures of value may be misleading. Stocks are still being inflated by buy-backs: the recent change to corporation tax in the USA will continue this. The capital markets are much more strongly influenced by the central banks than they used to be; there is a greater probability of intervention to prevent a fall. Investors can still get dividend yields of 4% and more from some stocks, so they are not expensive unless the dividends are unsustainable. On the negative side: Bear markets tend to occur roughly every 7 to 10 years and we are coming up to 10 years since the last one. By traditional measures, such as CAPE and Dow/gold, stocks are very expensive. Governments, corporations and households have a serious debt problem and if the debt continues to grow it will drive up interest rates which will be negative for bonds, and possibly stocks as well. The USA may start a new war, with Iran or North Korea, which might cause a panic sell-off.
  3. From what I understand, this happened because the card issuer, WaveCrest, broke Visa's rules and so Visa ordered them to withdraw all their cards. Unfortunately for Bitpay, their non-US customer cards are issued by WaveCrest, so this hit them. They will have to find another card provider. Bitpay in the USA was unaffected.
  4. What will happen to gold if we go digital

    DIgital currency doesn't of itself create a problem for owning gold. The problem is that all the arguments that are being made for banning cash - that it is used for money laundering, drug dealing, tax fraud, terrorism, etc. - are also arguments for banning ownership of gold, and for that matter cryptocurrencies as well. If you own a few gold coins and you have purchase receipts, you should still be able to trade them, but if you have larger amounts you might be better off holding them offshore, e.g. in Switzerland or Singapore.
  5. Need help/advice with gold from USA

    Investment gold is not subject to VAT in the UK. Silver, platinum, or other metals are subject to the usual 20% VAT. According to the UK government website, a gold coin is exempt from VAT if it was minted after 1800, is legal tender in its country of origin, is of at least 900/1000 purity, and is not more than 180% of the value of the gold it contains. All of these are true of the American buffalo. Link: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/vat-notice-70121-gold/vat-notice-70121-gold
  6. Free movement of capital within the EU does not override anti-money laundering considerations. An individual or business can move money within the EU, but if there is a suspicion that the money is illegal, it can still be subject to confiscation. And the UK is going along with this, so even if the UK does leave the EU, it won't matter. Already in the UK if you try to pay or withdraw £10,000 in cash from your bank, your bank will report it as a potentially suspicious transaction to the tax authorities. They may even refuse to give you that much cash: try it and see. The latest updates to the anti-money laundering regulations in the UK require banks and brokers to hold much more information about their customers in order to confirm who they are and what the source of their money is. If you have a brokerage account in the UK you have probably already been contacted recently about updating your information. What I am identifying here is a trend. It used to be that if you didn't break the law, the authorities left you alone. Now you can have your cash confiscated if you can't prove that you obtained it legally. Gold and cryptos will be next. Governments will require crypto exchanges to register customers in their real names, perform ID checks and disclose those identities to the tax authorities. I predict it won't be long before governments require their citizens to make an annual disclosure of the value of all their assets, including gold and cryptos. If the existing cryptos prove too difficult to regulate effectively, governments will introduce their own controlled cryptos and ban the 'rogue' ones.
  7. Under EU rules, gold is now classified as 'cash' for the purposes of restrictions governing what may be transported between EU countries and also across borders with non-EU countries. Similarly with rules for seizure: an officer needs only a suspicion about the source of your 'cash' and it can be confiscated. The onus will be on you to prove that you acquired it legitimately. Before long, any gold coins will be assumed to be the product of money laundering or drug dealing unless you can prove otherwise. Press release from the EU: http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-16-4458_en.htm Briefing note on the use of gold for money laundering: http://www.fatf-gafi.org/media/fatf/documents/reports/ML-TF-risks-vulnerabilities-associated-with-gold.pdf
  8. gemstones

    A few years ago someone recommended to me to buy some tanzanite, on the grounds that it is only found in one place in the world (a tiny area in Tanzania) and that the Tanzanian government had started to treat it as an important natural resource and were likely to restrict its export. I believe it remains fairly rare but not specially expensive.
  9. And what's to stop the ratio going up to 100+ ? Gold and silver are quite different, both in their supply and demand characteristics. Gold is mainly mined from primary gold mines, while silver is mostly a by-product of mining other metals. Gold has huge stocks of inventory in the form of bullion: the ratio of the stock of gold to annual production is nearly 50 to 1, while silver has comparatively small stocks. Gold is kept as a store of wealth and has few industrial uses, while more than 50% of silver produced each year is consumed and not recycled. The metals are so different I wouldn't expect the gold/silver ratio to have any particular significance. The gold market is sufficiently large that the time may come when physical demand for gold breaks the control of the paper market traders on Comex. Many have predicted this, though it hasn't happened yet. But the silver market is much smaller than that of gold and so it is easier to manipulate: maybe the traders on Comex can keep the silver price low indefinitely. Believing that the gold/silver ratio will go lower is basically a speculation on silver functioning as the "poor man's gold" and consumers switching to silver when they cannot afford gold.
  10. I daresay some of the demand for BTC is coming from contrarian investors who might otherwise have bought gold. Maybe even some are selling gold to buy BTC. But I don't see them as opposites whose prices will vary inversely. Both are, in effect, votes of no confidence in the currencies of the central banks. Both will tend to do well if there are negative real interest rates, or a perceived risk of bond defaults, currency collapse, bank failures or a large stock market drop. Once the price of BTC has stabilised and the speculative frenzy has died down, I would expect them to move in parallel.
  11. If you are a coin collector and enjoy owning platinum coins, then by all means go for it. I don't care for platinum from an investment point of view. Its main industrial use is for catalytic converters for diesel engined cars. This means not only will battery powered cars reduce the demand for it, but the shift away from diesel and towards petrol (gasoline) will reduce the demand for it. The biggest producer of platinum is South Africa which is economically highly stressed and cannot afford to cut production because it is a substantial source of jobs and foreign currency.
  12. Gold Monitoring Thread £ only

    Sixgun, I like what you say and I hope you are right. My only reservation is that for the last two years the commentator Andrew Maguire has been saying the same thing about physical demand for gold being about to break the paper market and cause a sharp rise in price, and it hasn't happened yet. He is an experienced professional PM trader so I'm sure his facts and figures are correct, but the capacity for the manipulators on Comex to hold the price down shows no signs of ending.
  13. This is an interesting presentation by Frank Holmes, a gold fund manager, about data mining, PM share price movements and bitcoin. The section near the beginning about the "Trump and Dump Bot" is hilarious.
  14. Bank Vaults

    A bank isn't necessarily the best place to use for a safe deposit box. If there is a major financial crisis the banks will close and you won't be able to get to your valuables just when you might need them most. An alternative in the UK is to use a bullion seller such as Sharps Pixley or Baird. If you do use a deposit box, the provider is legally liable for ensuring that you do not store anything illegal in it, so they have the right to open it. Also, they will open the box if the police or some other authority obtains a warrant under the RIP act.