OFF INTO THE WILD WET YONDER How does this...
Jan Nieuwenhuijs (aka Koos Jansen) turned a serious knee injury into a career-changing experience. Once a sound mixer in the Netherlands for movies, TV series, and commercials, Jan became interested in economics after the financial crisis of 2007–08. While out of commission with a serious knee injury (and subsequent surgery), Jan devoted his downtime to researching gold. The self-taught analyst is now one of the top gold researchers on the Web working for Singapore-based BullionStar.
Jan’s speciality is China, and his reports are both unique and supportable. This is somewhat rare within the gold community, as many “analysts” prefer instead to use rumors or hyperbole to push their own narratives, thereby diluting much of the information available.
We here at knowmadic news reached out to Jan after a recent interview he did with De Telegraaf—a newspaper in his home country. The article, while interesting, left us with more questions. Here is what Jan had to say.
Let me begin by thanking you for taking the time to talk with us. We have been following your work for some time. The recent interview in De Telegraff, was this the first time that you were recognized for your work in your home country?
No, actually I was interviewed in November 2014 by a Dutch news show called “1 Vandaag.” This is a daily show which is broadcasted at 7 PM. The interview was about the Swiss gold referendum. So that was the first time I got serious coverage in the Netherlands. By the way, in the show my real name Jan Nieuwenhuijs was disclosed. Perhaps Dutch viewers didn’t immediately know I was working as Koos Jansen for BullionStar.
So from sound engineer to gold analyst, what was the turning point? The financial crisis or something more specific?
Well, my interest in economics was unleashed after the financial crisis in 2008, but a turning point was a knee surgery I had in 2013. It made me spend time researching the Chinese gold market and soon after launch a blog. Though, at that time I thought I would return to recording sound at some point. It was after I got inexplicable pain in my leg a few months after the surgery that I thought about quitting being a sound engineer and devote myself to researching gold. I always thought of doing something different after recording sound for movies, which is physically intens labor I didn’t want to do until I’m 65. When doctors couldn’t tell me what was a matter with my knee and how long it would take to recover the idea of switching careers started to develop. Luckily, in 2014 BullionStar offered me a job. A few months later I decided to sell my sound equipment and go all-in researching gold.
It appears that a majority of your analysis is focused on China. How do you source your information? And do you speak Mandarin?
The way I research the Chinese gold market is by following every lead I can think of. It’s quite simple actually. For instance, I often call Chinese institutions like banks or exchanges (you can send emails to general email addresses disclosed on websites, but those will never be answered). Chinese who don’t speak English picked up the phone and it took a lot of attempts before I was put through to people who do speak English. Eventually I got email addresses of those people who became sources wiling to help me. From there on things started to grow. Documents were sent to me and on “the Internet” I met more people that wanted to help me translate articles. I speak zero Mandarin.
The Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) seems to be the hot topic these days in the gold community. Why? And do you think it will have a profound effect on the gold market in the near future, or will the price of gold continue to be manipulated?
Because there are amounts of physical gold sold on this exchange, and withdrawn from the vaults, many analysts couldn’t even think of a few years ago. It’s staggering, yet the mainstream media seems clueless of what’s happening. The SGE is certainly a game changer. I don’t like to forecast, but my common sense tells me gold has a bright future. Many countries are showing they value gold for its monetary properties. China and Russia are buying, European countries are repatriating. It fits right in the era the global fiat-standard is failing, which is about now.
Are there any “gold bugs” in mainland China? And do they blog about it?
Yes, of course. Though it’s hard to connect to them because of the language barrier and Internet restrictions from the Chinese government. There are certainly Chinese blogs about gold though that’s not where I get my information. After being a researcher for “some time,” I like to write stories based on real sources (data from official institutions like exchanges, banks, the China Gold Association (CGA), and even central banks). I never copy information from another blog and consider it a source.
How do Europeans feel about gold? Is it similar to the United States, where you have the establishment cheerleading fiat currency vs. the sound money (gold bug) crowd? Or is it more subtle?
I know around me in Amsterdam more and more people are becoming aware of the essence of money. A few months ago a public debate started in the Netherlands about fractional reserve banking. Many people figured out commercial banks can create money out of thin air, they were baffled. The House of Representatives in the Netherlands will now debate money printing by commercial banks. I like it when awareness about paper money is spreading. We’ll see how it all turns out. Of course the status quo is saying gold is a barbaric relic and has nothing to do with money and economics anymore. I beg to differ. (FYI: OnsGeld; in Dutch only)
Europe is large and is not one country. How sentiment is in other countries among the population I’m not sure. Though, the Netherlands and Germany have both repatriated gold from the United States, it’s likely other European countries will follow. This shows (i) these countries have lost confidence in the United States as their custodian, and (ii) these countries are losing confidence in paper money and the current international monetary system. There are many things going on right now that spell out a shift in our financial system, away from the U.S. dollar.
In the De Telegraff interview, you mentioned that China could be taking a first step “this fall” towards some sort of monetary shift. I have heard two other economic analysts, Martin Armstrong and Catherine Austin Fitts, say that this fall is “the turning point.” What is it about this fall (besides the fall being notoriously bad for the stock markets)? What do you guys know that we should?
I was only hinting at the fact the Chinese renminbi could be included into the Special Drawing Rights (SDR) this fall. If so, it’s likely the Chinese central bank will update their official gold reserves from what they have disclosed since 2009, which is 1,054 tonnes. If the Chinese come out with a shocking amount this could change global sentiment for gold and its price. I don’t know when other developments in the gold market will unfold—as in, will be bullish for the price of gold.
Last question: In the future, are we better off with guns, gold, Bitcoin, a farm, or all of them?
I don’t like guns. I own some physical gold and Bitcoin because both are money chosen/created by the free market, not by a board of governors. I prefer gold as the ultimate store of value, Bitcoin I’m not sure if it can become a store of value, or if it will be just a medium of exchange.
I was a bit facetious with regard to guns, yet you never know. Many in the United States feel that you cannot have one without the other.
We very much appreciate the time, Jan.