Weekend Gold Forecast - Sunday, Jan. 3

BANKRUPTCIES AND DEFAULTS

How many of the struggles mentioned above will result in bankruptcies and defaults? Hard to say, but I believe it will be significant. Going into the crisis, the personal savings rate was low. Millions of Americans didn’t have enough savings for even three months of expenses. When stimulus and employment benefits run out, I think there will be a reckoning, and we won’t know how bad until next year. 

K-SHAPE RECOVERY

Currently, the markets are pricing in a V-shaped recovery. I am less optimistic for the reasons described throughout this report. One scenario I am considering is a K-shaped recovery. This occurs when people with assets (own stocks and real estate) get wealthier through asset inflation, while those without assets (the have-nots) struggle to find employment, lose skills, and become permanently unemployed. As a result, the wealth-gap widens and produces increased social and civil unrest. 

CYBER ATTACK

 A few weeks ago, SolarWinds – a major US information technology firm, was the subject of a cyberattack that spread to its clients, including the US government. Foreign hackers used it to spy on private companies like cybersecurity firm FireEye and other Government agencies (Homeland Security and Treasury Department). It was the largest cyber-attack in US history, according to experts. 

The combination of supercomputers and artificial intelligence makes cyber-attacks a threat like never before. No longer is it a single hacker in a basement trying to breach a firewall. Today, supercomputers are doing the hacking – they don’t need to sleep, they don’t eat, and they don’t get paid. They work 24-hours a day, relentlessly probing systems for weakness.

An attack on the power system, electrical grid, oil refineries, etc., could cripple utilities and infrastructure. If the payment system goes down, no one would be able to use credit or debit cards. For that reason alone, it’s probably wise to have some cash on hand to pay for essentials in the event of an outage. 

VACCINE EFFECTIVENESS

There is a lot of hope riding on the effectiveness of these vaccines. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are reported to be about 95% effective. What if, for some reason, they aren’t? 

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