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http://www.nytimes.c...-why.html?_r=4

 

An Afghan Mystery: Why Are Large Shipments of Gold Leaving the Country?

 

 

KABUL, Afghanistan — Packed into hand luggage and tucked into jacket pockets, roughly hewed bars of gold are being flown out of Kabul with increasing regularity, confounding Afghan and American officials who fear money launderers have found a new way to spirit funds from the country.

 

Most of the gold is being carried on commercial flights destined for Dubai, according to airport security reports and officials. The amounts carried by single couriers are often heavy enough that passengers flying from Kabul to the Persian Gulf emirate would be well advised to heed warnings about the danger of bags falling from overhead compartments. One courier, for instance, carried nearly 60 pounds of gold bars, each about the size of an iPhone, aboard an early morning flight in mid-October, according to an airport security report. The load was worth more than $1.5 million.

 

The gold is fully declared and legal to fly. Some, if not most, is legitimately being sent by gold dealers seeking to have old and damaged jewelry refashioned into new pieces by skilled craftsmen in the Persian Gulf, said Afghan officials and gold dealers.

 

But gold dealers in Kabul and current and former Kabul airport officials say there has been a surge in shipments since early summer. The talk of a growing exodus of gold from Afghanistan has been spreading among the business community here, and in recent weeks has caught the attention of Afghan and American officials. The officials are now puzzling over the origin of the gold — very little is mined in Afghanistan, although larger mines are planned — and why so much appears to be heading for Dubai.

 

“We are investigating it, and if we find this is a way of laundering money, we will intervene,” said Noorullah Delawari, the governor of Afghanistan’s central bank. Yet he acknowledged that there were more questions than answers at this point. “I don’t know where so much gold would come from, unless you can tell me something about it,” he said in an interview. Or, as a European official who tracks the Afghan economy put it, “new mysteries abound” as the war appears to be drawing to a close.

 

Figuring out what precisely is happening in the Afghan economy remains as confounding as ever. Nearly 90 percent of the financial activity takes place outside formal banks. Written contracts are the exception, receipts are rare and statistics are often unreliable. Money laundering is commonplace, say Western and Afghan officials.

 

As a result, with the gold, “right now you’re stuck in that situation we usually are: is there something bad going on here or is this just the Afghan way of commerce?” said a senior American official who tracks illicit financial networks.

 

There is reason to be suspicious: the gold shipments track with the far larger problem of cash smuggling. For years, flights have left Kabul almost every day carrying thick wads of bank notes — dollars, euros, Norwegian kroner, Saudi Arabian riyals and other currencies — stuffed into suitcases, packed into boxes and shrink-wrapped onto pallets. At one point, cash was even being hidden in food trays aboard now-defunct Pamir Airways flights to Dubai.

 

Last year alone, Afghanistan’s central bank says, roughly $4.5 billion in cash was spirited out through the airport. Efforts to stanch the flow have had limited impact, and concerns about money laundering persist, according to a report released last week by the United States Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

 

The unimpeded “bulk cash flows raise the risk of money laundering and bulk cash smuggling — tools often used to finance terrorist, narcotics and other illicit operations,” the report said. The cash, and now the gold, is most often taken to Dubai, where officials are known for asking few questions. Many wealthy Afghans park their money and families in the emirate, and gold dealers say more middle-class Afghans are sending money and gold — seen as a safeguard against economic ruin — to Dubai as talk of a postwar economic collapse grows louder.

 

But given Dubai’s reputation as a haven for laundered money, an Afghan official said that the “obvious suspicion” is that at least some of the apparent growth in gold shipments to Dubai is tied to the myriad illicit activities — opium smuggling, corruption, Taliban taxation schemes — that have come to define Afghanistan’s economy.

 

There are also indications that Iran could be dipping into the Afghan gold trade. It is already buying up dollars and euros here to circumvent American and European sanctions, and it may be using gold for the same purpose.

 

Yahya, a dealer in Kabul, said other gold traders were helping Iran buy the precious metal here. Payment was being made in oil or with Iranian rials, which readily circulate in western Afghanistan. The Afghan dealers are then taking it to Dubai, where the gold is sold for dollars. The money is then moved to China, where it was used to buy needed goods or simply funneled back to Iran, said Yahya, who like many Afghans uses a single name.

 

He declined to name those involved in aiding Iran. But Western officials said his description of how the process worked tracked with their knowledge of money laundering networks that operate in Afghanistan and the surrounding region.

 

 

Before officials can say whether the gold shipments are part of an illicit financial scheme, though, they first have to figure out how much gold is going out — or, for that matter, coming in.

 

It is a task easier said than done. The Finance Ministry, which is supposed to collect taxes on each shipment, did not have figures, said Wahidullah Tawhidi, a spokesman for the ministry. He suggested that the Commerce Ministry would know. The Commerce Ministry did not, and officials there said it would be best to contact airport customs officials.

 

At the airport, a reluctant customs official, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity, brushed aside concerns that there had been an uptick in gold shipments out of Afghanistan. He then ended the conversation with the cryptic promise to one day share “the real story of what is happening to the gold.”

 

M.Y. Rassuli, the president of the airport, said shipments had begun increasing over the summer. He said that he could not offer specifics because he deals with operations, not customs. But he expressed frustration about the problem. “If it’s 5 kilograms or 500 kilograms, that’s not a normal thing to transfer,” he said in an interview. “This is why Afghanistan is No. 1 in corruption.”

 

Without knowledge of how much gold is leaving, it is impossible to calculate the value of the trade. But airport security forms that cover the last two weeks of October indicate about 560 pounds, worth about $14 million, were carried by hand out of Afghanistan during that period.

 

That is a princely sum in one of the world’s 10 poorest countries. But it is perhaps a measure of the current state of affairs in Afghanistan that seemingly no one — not Afghan bank regulators, not American investigators of illicit financing, not European economic experts — found it particularly surprising that gold appears to have joined bank notes in the skies over Afghanistan.

 

The addition of gold to the flight of cash from the country, the Afghan official said, only proves that “if it is a thing that has value and we can put it in our pocket, some of us are going to fly away with it.”

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http://www.businessi...nd-gold-2012-12

MARK DOW: Here's Why The Gold Trade Is Finally Going Bust

 

Basically goes like this: It used to be that everyone was SURE that QE would cause inflation to boom. They piled into gold, even though that assumption was flawed.

Now the mentality is working in the reverse. People believe QE is ineffective, right as monetary policy is starting to gain some teeth and actually work.

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http://www.nytimes.c...-why.html?_r=4

 

An Afghan Mystery: Why Are Large Shipments of Gold Leaving the Country?

 

KABUL, Afghanistan — Packed into hand luggage and tucked into jacket pockets, roughly hewed bars of gold are being flown out of Kabul with increasing regularity, confounding Afghan and American officials who fear money launderers have found a new way to spirit funds from the country.

 

Most of the gold is being carried on commercial flights destined for Dubai, according to airport security reports and officials. The amounts carried by single couriers are often heavy enough that passengers flying from Kabul to the Persian Gulf emirate would be well advised to heed warnings about the danger of bags falling from overhead compartments. One courier, for instance, carried nearly 60 pounds of gold bars, each about the size of an iPhone, aboard an early morning flight in mid-October, according to an airport security report. The load was worth more than $1.5 million.

 

The gold is fully declared and legal to fly. Some, if not most, is legitimately being sent by gold dealers seeking to have old and damaged jewelry refashioned into new pieces by skilled craftsmen in the Persian Gulf, said Afghan officials and gold dealers.

 

But gold dealers in Kabul and current and former Kabul airport officials say there has been a surge in shipments since early summer. The talk of a growing exodus of gold from Afghanistan has been spreading among the business community here, and in recent weeks has caught the attention of Afghan and American officials. The officials are now puzzling over the origin of the gold — very little is mined in Afghanistan, although larger mines are planned — and why so much appears to be heading for Dubai.

 

“We are investigating it, and if we find this is a way of laundering money, we will intervene,” said Noorullah Delawari, the governor of Afghanistan’s central bank. Yet he acknowledged that there were more questions than answers at this point

. . .

 

Last year alone, Afghanistan’s central bank says, roughly $4.5 billion in cash was spirited out through the airport. Efforts to stanch the flow have had limited impact, and concerns about money laundering persist, according to a report released last week by the United States Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction.

 

The unimpeded “bulk cash flows raise the risk of money laundering and bulk cash smuggling — tools often used to finance terrorist, narcotics and other illicit operations,” the report said. The cash, and now the gold, is most often taken to Dubai, where officials are known for asking few questions...

 

 

A Shift in Power in Afghanistan? - More evidence

This might have caused some Afghan drug lords to start moving wealth out of the country

 

U.S. Defense Chief Set To Meet Afghan President

  • RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty-12 Dec 2012
    U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta (right) is greeted by U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan James Cunningham upon Panetta's arrival at Kabul ...

  • Afghanistan: Foreign troops should leave villages
  • Salon-16 Dec 2012
    Afghan President Hamid Karzai, center, arrives for a group photo for an ... But the comments from theAfghan leader suggest he would like to ...

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - President Barack Obama will decide shortly how many U.S. troops he wants to keep in Afghanistan after the U.S.-led coalition military mission ends in December 2014, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Wednesday as he opened two days of consultations with top U.S. commanders and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

Panetta offered no clues to what Obama may decide, but other officials have indicated the White House is considering plans that call for between 6,000 and 10,000 U.S. troops to stay for several years after 2014

===

/more: http://www.wrex.com/story/20322999/panetta-in-afghanistan-to-meet-with-karzai

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Today's action should push that indicator firmly into the >70 BUY territory.

 

I thought equities markets were rising because of inflationary pressures, therefore I cannot understand why gold is falling?

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I thought equities markets were rising because of inflationary pressures, therefore I cannot understand why gold is falling?

 

I find it is always a mistake to try to pin market movement on such obvious headline commentary. The are dozens of things that could influence sentiment to push the price higher or lower, and it is rarely the one that commentators use to explain the action.

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In my opinion you just have to LOOK at the downward lurches themselves to know it's 3-4 Standard Deviation moves in the minutes when it gets 'whacked'.

Boring paper action, eventually will result in physical shortages...

 

TODAY:

gold18122012_zps89ff84f4.jpg

 

 

13-Dec:

gold131212.jpg

 

 

28-Nov:

gold28Nov2012.jpg

 

 

15-Nov:

goldplunge15112012.jpg

 

 

EDIT: I'm running out of WWF-photos... lol.

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http://www.infowars.com/u-s-secret-service-bans-sale-of-silver-and-gold-liberty-dollars-on-ebay/

U.S. Secret Service Bans Sale of Silver and Gold Liberty Dollars on Ebay

 

........... the trade of such coins amounts to nothing short of terrorism because it poses a direct threat to the stability of the United States.....

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Gold down hard through 1700 even after the big meeting. Will be interesting to see whether support at 1670 holds.

 

LG-2.png

 

Perhaps a brief dip below the 50 week MA. $Gold looks to be tracing out a large cup pattern. This dip could be near symmetrical to the earlier dip at the end of last year [though perhaps not so precipitous as the price looks to be stabilizing/ consolidating near the MWA] before heading back to the old highs.

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LG-2.png

 

Perhaps a brief dip below the 50 week MA. $Gold looks to be tracing out a large cup pattern. This dip could be near symmetrical to the earlier dip at the end of last year [though perhaps not so precipitous as the price looks to be stabilizing/ consolidating near the MWA] before heading back to the old highs.

 

I am trying to find a chart which shows Macd over a longish time frame. Where did you get this one from, please?

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I am trying to find a chart which shows Macd over a longish time frame. Where did you get this one from, please?

 

These charts from stockcharts.com. But if you want longer time frames, you need to subscribe.

 

The weekly and daily charts suit me fine for trading. I try to let the MAs do the talking. An excellent time to buy gold wouldn't you agree?

 

stock.png

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GLD

GLDLR_zps68b7483c.png

 

This is over the last few years, doesn't look quite so bad, I would get concerned if it went below $1500...

 

Nice chart.... bet it looks even better on the log though.

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Over in Japan, a small but growing number of pension funds are buying gold as a hedge against zero-bond yields and the long-term decline in equities, says a report in today's Wall Street Journal.

 

"By diversifying currencies, we aim to reduce risks associated with them," the WSJ quotes Yoshi Kiguchi, chief investment officer at Okayama Metal & Machinery Pension Fund.

 

It began investing in gold this March on behalf of the 260 small and mid-sized company pension schemes it runs.

 

http://news.goldseek.com/BullionVault/1355922791.php

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QE3 was not enough, if the US goes "off the cliff"

 

Fed's Fisher says quantitative easing insufficient to boost U.S. jobs

IT Business Net - 7 Hours ago

By Ann Saphir GAINESVILLE, Texas (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve's bond-buying programs alone cannot bring down too-high unemployment, because there is too much uncertainty holding businesses back

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Nice chart.... bet it looks even better on the log though.

 

I take your point that log charts have a certain logical legitimacy : try bottom fishing immediately after a share price collapse and you'll both understand and more importantly "feel" that ( a share collapsed 99% will still do one immense psychological damage by moving the tiniest amount if you'd gambled a meaningful amount on a retracement ).

 

But all the "theory" and practice I've ever come across in charting seems based, at its root, on one simple "truth" : a chart should supposedly "look" right. Looking right means conforming to the appearance of things in nature. Usually that means having proportions that adhere to Golden Mean proportions. And they certainly are not linear. So linearising a chart by looking at its log plot might turn a golden-mean looking chart into a linear one, but for most of us, that won't make it look "even better" and it certainly won't make it look right.

 

And that's the problem with all these indicators, whether they be bollinger bands, rsi, macd or whatever new flavour some bod might have concocted from historical plot studies: they simply distract, obfuscate and add an air of specious mathematical legitimacy to what is essentially an emotive, intuitive phenomenon : natural appearance.

 

Charts either talk to you or they don't. Bands and lines and oscillators won't help, because charts will always break the mathematical rules we try to impose on them. The bands and other constructs may appear to offer insight, but the nature of trading, even with the best money management techniques, will ensure they take as much as they give, whether we stick to them rigidly or take them only as guides. At best, they are a neat way of commenting on positions w/o being too wide of the mark. At worst they can lose you everything.

 

Sadly, given the uselessness / corruption of administrations, regulators, auditors and management, they are as good as anything else we have.

 

So does anyone else think gold in 2011-12 looks very much like gold in 2006? (and yes, that non-equivalence in time-frames is an acknowledgement of golden mean / log behaviour )

 

au2006.gif

 

 

It put in a low of ~600 just after xmas - a rather "intuitive" fib retrace of 50% of the oct06->sep06 rise from ~550->~650.

 

au2007.gif

 

Anybody else wondering whether the low is nearly in and a decent run up could be due some way through 2013? Just wondering what might inspire that. German elections perchance? Any home grown euro threat in deutschland might be just what a savings savy electorate might need to get them flocking to the gold vending machines ...

 

Personally, I'd be happier to see a completion of the leg down in the leg-down-consolidation-leg-down that's been running since october:

 

au2012.gif

 

Haven't looked in detail but I make that a target of ~1625.

 

Would very much value the boards views.

 

Oh, and before I forget : Merry Christmas.

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Hey Sledgehead, good to see you popping on here from time to time! Always value your input.

 

Gold's current price action and lack of a strong reversal suggests to me that the bottom is not yet in. I always warn against second-guessing the market, but it could be that we are seeing a temporary move away from perceived safe-havens - USD, Yen, and PMs on higher general sentiment about the gobal economy - a deal on the fiscal cliff, Europe will muddle through yet another year, and China continuing to grow.

 

However, current gold:dow oversold levels means that the current level could easily prove to be one of the best entry points in the whole bull market:

 

http://postimage.org/image/hww26gg6t/

dow_gold_20121220.png

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Hi Van,

 

Thanks for replying. Always happy to get my back slapped by you (right back at ya, right there :D ).

 

Always liked the S500 as a yardstick. I see RH pointing out elsewhere that Dow/Gold only looks near completion in non-log terms (so I'm very supportive of log use in that regard). The RSI on either that or GOLD:SPX may well be one of the better tools out there for timing portfolio weightings and thus relative performance, given that diversification seems the only sensible approach in times of markets driven by political whimsy.

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