Eric King:  “Keith, are you hearing anything about physical demand for gold and silver?”

Barron:  “Demand is still huge and it’s not abating.  What caught my eye was the very large seizure of gold in Pakistan.  Of course this gold was destined to go across the border into India....

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“The punitive gold taxes in India are clearly not working.  In fact, the government is now talking about repealing them altogether, or at least bringing them down because what these politicians have done is a very, very unpopular thing in India.

If we look at Europe, they have not done anything to escape the massive structural problems which are haunting that continent.  Even though Europe seems to have vanished off the headlines, from a fundamental basis nothing has been fixed.  We are still seeing massive unemployment in Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal.  That seems to be quite intractable and it’s not going away.  The reality is that during the cold weather months people are less likely to take to the streets and voice their opinions.  But I think we could have a very rough summer in Europe.

Despite the propaganda, the bottom line is the ECB can’t back everything indefinitely.  These periphery countries are basket cases and all they (Northern countries) keep doing is handing them money.  But this hasn’t done anything to create jobs, to create any uptick in employment.

I continue to believe the euro will break apart as a currency.  I don’t think it will be Germany that first walks away.  I think it will be a country like Finland or Austria.  They will simply refuse to finance these struggling countries and they will say, ‘That’s it, we’re done and we’re getting out of the euro and going back to our own currency.’  This is still very much in the cards in my opinion.”

Eric King:  “Any surprises for 2014?”

Barron:  “The big surprise for investors will come from the gold market.  I believe the gold world will be rocked because there will be tremendous strains in terms of available physical gold.  I also believe there will be a problem supplying contracts on the Comex.

If we look at Germany, very little of the German gold has been repatriated even though they’ve requested a large amount of gold be returned to them from the Federal Reserve.  The gold has been slow to be returned to Germany because those gold leases are slowly being unwound. 

I think they are having difficulty finding large quantities of gold because so much physical gold is going to countries like Vietnam, Thailand, China, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, etc.  Every country in the Far-East is accumulating gold in a big way at these price levels.  And of course the Chinese are busy moving to back the yuan with gold.

What the world has witnessed in the past calendar year with gold flowing from the West to the East is truly unprecedented and historic.  This has never happened before in history, and more importantly, this gold is not coming back.  Importantly, this gold will not be available for the Western central banks to lease again.  This gold has gone into a million private hands in the East and it is going to say there.”

Eric King:  “How will this end, Keith?”

Barron:  “I’m starting to believe it is getting easier and easier for a major player or players to pull a ‘Bunker Hunt’ and corner the gold market.  The Hunt Brothers took the price of silver into the stratosphere back in 1980.  With the lack of available physical gold, I believe wealthy entities will shock the gold market and send prices soaring in 2014 because it is now so vulnerable.”

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