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Articles by Bullion Star

Lack of audits undermine Lebanon’s claim to be Middle East gold heavyweight

6 days ago

With claimed gold reserves of 286 tonnes, Lebanon’s central bank – Banque du Liban – trumpets itself as being one of the Middle East’s largest sovereign gold holders. In fact, on a regional basis, only the claimed gold reserves of Saudi Arabia are larger.
Indeed, Banque du Liban governor Riad Salameh, made this very claim as recently as 8 April 2022 to Egypt’s Middle East News Agency (MENA), saying that Lebanon has the second largest gold reserves across the Middle East and North Africa.
However, what Salameh didn’t mention in his interview is that the portion of Lebanon’s gold claimed to be held in Beirut has not been audited for at least 30 years or even longer, nor did he clarify anything about the remainder of Lebanon’s gold which is said (by a media narrative) to be held in the

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Spotlight on Gold and Silver Mining Share Indexes – Part 1 – Ronan Manly

April 8, 2022

When glancing through news articles about precious metals prices, you will often come across references to the performance of various gold and silver mining stock indexes, as well as the exchange traded funds (ETFs) that are benchmarked against these indexes.
While old timers will be familiar with the XAU and HUI indexes, there are now a plethora of other gold and silver mining company equity indexes to contend with, from GDM to IMI, and from indexes maintained by MSCI, to indexes calculated by MVIS, Solactive, and Prime, to name but a few.
And with the gold and silver mining sector potentially benefitting from renewed interest in commodities / hard assets, as well as the stocks in this sector being leveraged to any gold and silver price upside, now is as good a time as any to brush up on

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Russian Ruble relaunched linked to Gold and Commodities – RT.com Q and A

April 1, 2022

With Russia’s central bank having just profoundly altered the international trade and monetary system by linking the Russian ruble to both gold and commodities, the journalists at RT.com in Moscow asked me to write a Q and A article on what these developments mean, and the ramifications of these changes on the Russian ruble, the US dollar, the gold price and the global system of currencies. This article is being published on the RT.com website. 
Regular readers will recall that I have contributed to quite a few RT.com articles before, such as about Australian gold (see BullionStar here), US Treasury gold (see BullionStar here), Poland’s gold (see RT site here), China’s gold (see RT’s Spanish site here), why buy physical gold (see RT site here), and gold price manipulation (see RT site

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LBMA a deer in headlights as Western Sanctions show up Russian Gold Refiners

March 1, 2022

Following first the threat of invasion and then the actual Russian invasion of Ukraine, a range of sanctions against Russia by a range of countries have inevitably been announced and rolled out.
UK Sanctions against Russia
On 22 February, the UK Government announced asset freezes against a range of Russian oligarchs and 5 Russian banks, namely Bank Rossiya, Black Sea Bank for Development and Reconstruction, IS Bank, Genbank and Promsvyazbank. At the same time the UK said it was introducing legislation to “prevent Russia from issuing sovereign debt on UK markets”.
Then on 24 February, after Russia invaded Ukraine, the UK Government rolled out further sanctions described as “punishing” and designed to “devastate Russia’s economy and target Vladimir Putin’s inner circle”, and which target a

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BullionStar Financials FY 2021 – Year in Review – BullionStar

February 23, 2022

This post reviews BullionStar’s financial performance and milestones for the financial year ending 30 June 2021 (FY 2021).
At BullionStar, we have a long-standing tradition of sharing our financials transparently. We share key sales and revenue data, including sales percentage per precious metal, sales percentage per product category (bars and coins), and the share of revenue presented by the most popular products within those categories.
The review also looks at gold and silver price movements over the fiscal year, and highlights other notable developments during that time. Previous years financial reviews can be found below:
BullionStar Financials FY 2020 – Year in Review
BullionStar Financials FY 2019 – Year in Review
BullionStar Financials FY 2018 – Year in Review
BullionStar

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Bloomberg hit piece on UAE gold triggers strong response from DMCC’s Bin Sulayem

February 3, 2022

On 28 December, as 2021 was coming to a close, Bloomberg published a curious, slanted and hypocritical article titled “Dubai can’t shake off the stain of smuggled African gold”, in which it attempted to connect gold mined from various troubled African countries to gold imports into the UAE and Dubai.  
The article was curious in that it begs the question of who or what motivated Bloomberg to write such an involved article (the article was lengthy at nearly 2,400 words and used the input of no less than 11 Bloomberg reporters). The article was slanted since by its very nature and crafting it set out to launch an attack on Dubai, and it can only be seen as a hit piece on the Dubai / UAE gold sector. And the article was hypocritical in that Bloomberg could have written about illicit and

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Coordinated Jawboning from Central Bank’s but “You Can’t Taper a Ponzi”

December 13, 2021

For the world’s financial markets which have become literally dependent on the pronouncements of central banks, this week is lining up to be one of the most important in a while.
Because this week no less than 4 of the world’s most powerful central banks are each meeting to discuss quantitative easing (QE) and interest rate decisions, after which they will ‘inform’ financial markets as to what extent the markets will be kept on life-support stimulus. QE here literally refers to central banks buying government bonds (debt) and other forms of debt and equity securities. 
Professional Jawboners – Christine Lagarde (ECB head) and Jerome Powell (US Fed head)MOPE
First up is the operator of the world’s most influential fiat currency, the US Federal Reserve, whose Federal Open Market Committee

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Amid ongoing hyperinflation, gold shines as money in Venezuela

November 12, 2021

With inflation surging worldwide in everything from the prices of energy to raw materials to consumer goods, there is growing acceptance (except from central bankers) that this inflationary trend is not only not transitory, but given the backdrop of accelerated global money printing and fiat currency debasement, that it could be hyperinflationary.
It is therefore helpful to look at the example of one economy which has already entered hyperinflation and which is still in the midst of hyperinflation, that economy being Venezuela.
Whichever way you define hyperinflation – as a rise in prices of goods and services by more than 50% per month, or a rampant and accelerating inflation rate – Venezuela has been experiencing hyperinflation since about 2016, and at one point in 2018-2019 Venezuela

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Swiss pressure against UAE gold imports causes sharp rebuttal from Dubai

October 28, 2021

There have been some intriguing new developments in the ongoing competitive confrontation between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) / Dubai gold market and the incumbent  ‘western gold market’ (centred on the LBMA London gold market and the LBMA Swiss gold refineries).
Readers may recall some previous BullionStar articles on this theme, such as “In Delusional Push, LBMA Threatens to Blacklist Entire Gold Trading Centres”, 24 November 2020, and “In Ongoing Saga, Dubai Stands its Ground with the LBMA”, 18 June 2021.
While the latest intrigue involves the economic arm of the Swiss Government taking a swipe at the UAE / Dubai gold sector via a warning to the big Swiss gold refineries, these latest developments are best viewed in the wider context of the recent attacks against Dubai / UAE by the

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Poland accelerates gold buying: Plans to purchase 100 tonnes during 2022

October 10, 2021

Poland’s central bank, the National Bank of Poland (NBP), which stunned gold markets back in 2019 when it purchased 100 tonnes of gold bars in London and then promptly flew the gold back to Warsaw, has just confirmed that it now plans to buy another 100 tonnes of gold during 2022.
The news was confirmed this week by Adam Glapi?ski, president of Poland’s central bank, in a 5 October special interview with Polish magazine ‘Strefa Biznesu’ in advance of the ‘Congress 590’ economic conference in Warsaw. As well as heading the Polish central bank, Glapi?ski is also an economics professor.
While Poland currently holds 230 tonnes of monetary gold reserves and sits in 24th place in the world sovereign gold holdings table, the planned addition of 100 tonnes of gold during 2022 would boost the

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Indian Central Bank Accumulating Large Quantities of Gold almost under the Radar

October 1, 2021

While large one-off central bank gold purchases get a lot of media attention and the same is true for central banks accumulating gold reserves over a two or three month period, sizeable accumulation of gold by central banks on a month in, month out basis, with the exception of the Chinese and Russian central banks, tends to go almost unnoticed.
A prime case in point is the gold buying strategy of India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which almost under the radar, has now become one of the world’s biggest and most consistent central bank gold buyers every year for the last four years.    
Starting in early 2018 and up to the end of August 2021, over that time the RBI has added a staggering 166 tonnes to it’s strategic gold reserves, and now holds a claimed 724.24 tonnes of

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Central Bank Digital Currencies – A Future of Surveillance and Control

September 24, 2021

One of the most potentially far-reaching trends in the financial landscape right now is the imminent roll-out of Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), and the parallel attacks which central bankers are waging on private digital currencies and tokens as they tee up the launch of their CBDCs.
First some clarifications. While the majority of central bank issued currencies (fiat currencies) in existence around the world are already in digital form, a fiat currency held in digital form is not the same as a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC).
What is a CBDC?
A CBDC generally refers to electronic or virtual central bank (fiat) money that is created in the form of digital tokens or account balances which are digital claims on the central bank. CBDCs will be issued by central banks and will be

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Can Corporate Treasurers Afford to Ignore Palantir’s Gambit on Gold?

September 10, 2021

Recently, Palantir Technologies, the secretive software company that collects and analyses huge amounts of data on behalf of clients which include a broad array of US intelligence and spy agencies, announced in a quarterly filing with the US SEC that it had purchased $50 million in gold bars as part of an investment strategy to hedge against ‘black swan events’.
A black swan event is an event which is difficult to predict, occurs rarely, but can have a severe negative impact. The term is now commonly used when referring to unexpected shocks to financial markets.
CIA – Early investor into Palantir TechnologiesHand in Glove with US Intelligence
Palantir, which is listed on the New York Stock Exchange after going public in a Direct Public Offering (DPO) in September 2020, was founded in 2003

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Infographic: Paper Silver vs Physical Silver

July 23, 2021

In the current global financial system, the international silver price is derived from trading of vast volumes of ‘paper silver’ that dwarf both physical silver exchange inventories and new physical silver supply.
To understand what is real and tangible in the silver market, it is crucial then to grasp the difference between paper silver and physical silver, and how paper silver is traded in practically unlimited quantities, while physical silver is a scarce and valuable commodity that plays a role as both an investment precious metal and an industrial precious metal.
In short, physical silver is a real tangible asset with intrinsic value, that has no counterparty risk and is difficult and costly to mine. Paper silver is not.
Paper silver is altogether different, comprising securities and

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Has Macron’s call for new IMF Gold Sales been slapped down?

July 14, 2021

By Roman Manly
The possibility of renewed monetary gold sales by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) hit international headlines last month when France’s president Emmanuel Macron and former Rothschild banker made a call for such sales during a press conference in the Elysée Palace in Paris on 10 June, in advance of the G7 summit in England a few days later.
G7 Rothschild Banker
In his 10 June speech, titled “G7 / NATO Press Briefing”, while referring to plans to finance African economies via a new allocation and redistribution of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), Macron said that the SDR plan:
“should be supplemented with an agreement to also sell some of our gold reserves and finance investment. Why? Because IMF gold reserves have risen in value because of the crisis. Because gold has

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Thai central bank leads pack, buying 90 tonnes of gold over April and May

June 28, 2021

In early April this year, the Hungarian central bank stunned gold markets with the surprise announcement that it had purchased a massive 63 tonnes of gold during March, and in doing so tripled its gold reserves from 31.5 tonnes to 94.5 tonnes.
At the time, this 63.5 tonnes purchase (the details of which we covered here) was the largest year-to-date gold purchase by a central bank during 2021.
Thailand now in Pole Position for 2021
Fast forward to June and that record has now been broken, as Thailand’s central bank has now made public that over the two months of April and May inclusive, it purchased a total of 90 tonnes of gold, thereby putting the Bank of Thailand in the pole position of the global central bank gold purchases during the first half of 2021.
In fact, with China and Russia

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Central banks operating in stealth at the heart of the London Gold Market

June 3, 2021

Central banks operate at the heart of the London Gold Market, buying, selling, and lending gold, but everything they do is shrouded in secrecy.
While many people will be familiar with the term ‘London Gold Market’, most will have little knowledge about its inner workings, especially when it comes to how, and to what extent, the world’s central banks trade and lend gold in London through the Bank of England and the LBMA bullion banks.
And that’s the way they like to keep it. Never in the history of financial markets has there been a trading venue that has been more opaque, more secretive, and more impenetrable than the London Gold Market. Especially when it comes to central bank gold operations.
That the London Gold Market (meaning the wholesale market) is controlled by a cabal of LBMA

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LBMA misleads Silver Market with False Claims about Record Silver Stocks

May 11, 2021

By Ronan Manly
In a shocking retraction, the bullion bank dominated London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) has just announced that it has been overstating LBMA silver vault holdings by a massive 3,300 tonnes of silver.
This overstatement relates to the total quantity of physical silver bars that the LBMA claimed were being held in LBMA vaults in London as of end of March 2021.
These LBMA vaults in London are operated by three banks, namely the infamous JP Morgan, the equally infamous HSBC, and the maybe not so infamous ICBC Standard Bank, and three security vaulters, Brinks, Malca Amit and Loomis.
On 9 April, to much fanfare, the LBMA published updated monthly vault data for London vaulted silver bars, claiming that as of end of March 2021, total silver held in LBMA London vaults had

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Hungarian central bank boosts its gold reserves by 3000% in less than 3 years

April 8, 2021

With its latest purchase, Hungary’s central bank has tripled its gold reserves to 94.5 tonnes, and since 2018 its gold reserves are up 3000%. Continue reading…
The central bank of Hungary, the Magyar Nemzeti Bank (MNB), has just announced a purchase of a massive 63 tonnes of Good Delivery gold bars, and in doing so tripled the nation’s gold holdings from 31.5 tonnes to 94.5 tonnes.
In its press release about the huge transaction, published 7 April , the Hungarian central bank explains its rationale for the dramatic purchase of what is approximately 5040 large (400 oz) gold bars, highlighting that gold has no credit risk and no counterparty risk, and so reinforces sovereign trust over all economic environments (normal and extreme), while being one of the most crucial reserve assets that a

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