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The Mortgage Crises and Gold Investing

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Why Fannie and Freddie point to gold

Article posted July 2008 

An open letter from Paul Tustain, director of BullionVault

At the weekend our global financial crisis took the first step down an ugly new path, with the creditworthiness of America's two great mortgage brokers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, being called into question.  The US Treasury were forced to issue announcements appearing to guarantee their protection.


If you don't already know about these two organizations, it's hard to appreciate the scale of the news.  Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are the giants of mortgage business in the USA.  They stand behind an incredible $5 trillion of mortgage guarantees.


But with US house prices in free-fall their share prices have collapsed; Freddie's decline last week was from $14.50 to $4.28.

This time last year it stood at $55.


Fannie's and Freddie's mortgages are financed mainly by bond issues, and the bonds are sold to the world's financial organizations.


"The Economist" magazine has for years been commenting on the strangeness of these bonds' status, because although officially they are NOT government backed, they have been treated by everybody as if they were.


Their status is now important because their solvency has been called into question both by the markets and by William Poole - until March this year a full member of the US Federal Reserve.

Poole is notable for being a lone dissenting voice on the Fed's Open Market's Committee.  We don't know if he's a loose cannon or a beacon of truth.


The protective reaction of the Treasury certainly suggests a national guarantee stands behind Fannie and Freddie.  Yet the strangeness of the bonds - their quasi-private status - means they are not on the public accounts.  That is wrong.


In accepting responsibility for these liabilities the US government has catapulted its public debts from $10 trillion to $15 trillion.


The $100,000 of debt owed by every American family, and borrowed on their behalf by successive US governments since 1980, is the unmentionable whore in the family of US fiscal competence.  A 50% increase in it overnight is very, very serious, especially when it is known that the underlying asset backing is already insufficient and is still falling.


Perhaps we are entering a new phase of the dollar collapse, with double-digits for both interest rates and inflation.  Bonds look more and more risky.


TODAY -----------------------------------------


Very few people have the foresight to buy gold bullion.  Those who do are insuring their savings against the awfulness of our current situation, and naturally enough the 'premium' for that insurance is rising.


Perhaps you have heard commentators comparing our ugly 2008 economic situation to the 1930s depression, and to the 1970s 'stagflation'.


Well, between 1929 and 1934 bonds and businesses were collapsing everywhere, and gold's investment purchasing power rose 17 times.


Then between 1971 and 1980 it rose 15 times. 


So far in this cycle gold has only risen three times from the bottom.

With organizations like Fannie and Freddie in trouble that looks like denial.  I believe we're still nearer the bottom than the top of gold.


When you first registered on BullionVault we were quite a bit smaller than we are now.  You may remember I offered you a free gram of bullion to allow you a chance to experience owning gold in Zurich.  I'm writing to repeat that offer to you.  We're a much bigger organization now.  We have 50,000 registered users and 7.5 tonnes of gold bars stored on their behalf in London, New York and Zurich.  According to the IMF that's twice as much gold as Canada's central bank.


Our business is to make owning gold simple, secure, cost-effective and totally transparent.


If you're like most of our clients you'll want to know exactly what you're getting into.  (Edited) Visit our site and see how the BullionVault service makes safer bullion buying and costs you less:

When you're ready, visit our site for the next step.  There's a simple step-by-step guide there.


Best regards,

Paul Tustain, Director of


Caveat : Please remember that neither I nor anybody else actually knows how serious the economic situation is going to get.  I believe gold offers protection, but prices could fall as well as rise.

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