Most asset classes continued to fall this week, but each group had a bright spot – and the brightest of all was palladium, which gained 3.4%. Bitcoin continued its tumble, falling another 13.8% to close at 23.3 grams on concerns over a possible split into two currencies, Bitcoin Classic and Bitcoin Unlimited. The next largest drop was in coffee, which fell 4.5%.

The Japanese Yen was the only rising currency, gaining 0.3%. The weakest national currency was the Canadian Dollar, which fell 1.7%. Bonds were mixed but continued to favor the longer maturities: the long term TLT was up 0.4%, while the short term SHY lost 1.3%, and USD cash was down 1.4%.

As in the prior week, the only equities to close higher were the gold stocks: the HUI was up 0.5%. The Dow Jones Industrials and the S&P 500 led the major indexes lower, falling 2.9% apiece. The Euro STOXX and Nikkei 225 each fell 1.0%.

Commodities were all lower except for palladium, which gained 3.4%. Coffee saw the largest losses, falling 4.5%. Crude oil continued its tumble, dropping another 3.1%. Platinum fell 1.0% while silver was little changed, off 0.1%.

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Commodities were mixed, while major stock indexes, bonds and government-issued currencies were lower. Bitcoin volatility continued, as the BTC rose back above one ounce of gold last week, then fell to close down 6.3% at 27.1 grams. The largest gains were in the gold stocks, which rose 2.4% to close at 4.9 grams.

The Japanese Yen was the least weak currency, falling 0.4%. The weakest national currency was the US Dollar, which fell 2.2%. Bonds were mixed but this time favored the longer maturities: the long term TLT was off 1.1%, while the short term SHY lost 2.1%, and USD cash was down 2.2%.

The only equities to close the week higher were the gold stocks: the HUI rose 2.4%. The Dow Jones Industrials led the major indexes lower, falling 2.1%, followed by the S&P 500, which dropped 2.0%. The Euro STOXX FEZ and Japanese Nikkei 225 each fell 0.9%.

Commodities were mixed, with copper up 1.3%, and palladium up 1.2%. Crude oil saw the largest losses, falling another 1.6%. Platinum fell 0.3% while silver rose 0.8%.

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Commodities were mixed this week, while major stock indexes, bonds and government-issued currencies were higher. Bitcoin, volatile as always, gave back all of the prior week's gains, falling 11.7% to 28.9 grams (though as of Tuesday the 14th, it was again above parity with gold). The largest gains were in the Euro STOXX, which rose another 3.1% to 920 mg.

The weakest currency was the Japanese Yen, which rose 1.2%. The Euro rose the most, gaining 2.8%. Bonds were mixed and again favored the shorter maturities: the long term TLT was little changed, adding 0.2%, while the short term SHY gained 1.9%, and USD cash rose 2.0%.

The only equities to close the week lower were the gold stocks: the HUI was down 0.7%. European stocks led the way higher, rising 3.1%, followed by the Nikkei, which gained 1.9%. The Dow Jones Industrials and S&P 500 each rose 1.5%.

Commodities were mixed, with palladium up 1.4%, and cotton up 1,1%. Crude oil saw the largest losses, falling 7.3%, while platinum fell 2.7% silver was down 2.5%.

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The only serious declines this week were in precious metals and gold stocks. The largest gains were once again in Bitcoin, which rose 11.7% to a new all-time high of 32.7 grams, so that 1 BTC can now buy more than one ounce of gold. Gold stocks again fell more than any other asset-class, dropping 5.1% to close at 4.9 grams. The Dow Jones Industrials were headline news again, as the the Dow broke through the 21,000 mark as measured in US Dollars. More on the Dow and Bitcoin stories below.

The Canadian Dollar was the only currency on the list to fall, dropping 0.1%. As a side note, I track quite a number of currencies not on this list, including CHF, GBP, AUD, SGD, ARS, CLP and NZD. All of these were also higher, except the NZD, which fell 0.4%. The USD rose more than any other currency, gaining 2.2%. Bonds were mixed and favored the shorter maturities: the long term TLT was little changed, falling 0.015%, while the short term SHY gained 1.9%, and USD cash rose 2.2%.

I'd like to take a moment to explain why I always include the US Dollar in my listing of bond prices. The USD is not really cash, although this is how we commonly refer to it. It is a debt instrument issued by the Federal Reserve (Federal Reserve Notes). These notes pay 0% interest (more than you get in some European banks!) and have zero maturity (meaning that you don't have to wait to redeem them at par value – although they are not really redeemable in any meaningful sense at all; instead they are traded amongst their holders and used to settle day to day transactions in barter style). So looking at the three bond prices (TLT, SHY and USD), we have a spread in maturities from 20+ years, to 2-3 years, to 0 years. I find it useful to watch how the various maturities rise and fall in price relative to each other. This week, for example, the shortest maturity (cash) rose the most, while the medium maturity rose somewhat less, and the longest maturity fell slightly. This time preference can be affected by many factors, including expectations of inflation or deflation, changes in interest rates, and the availability and terms of credit from banks and other lenders.

Although the Dow Jones Industrials garnered the most headlines this week by closing at a new high above 21,000 USD, the best performing equities were the European STOXX, which rose 5.4%. Gold stocks had the largest losses of any asset category, falling 5.1%. The Dow stocks rose 3.1% to 532.7 grams, and despite their sky high USD prices, they are in fact 0.9% below their high for the year to date, and 62% below their all time highs set back in August of 1999. The Nikkei 225 rose 0.7%, the smallest rise among the major stock indexes.

Commodities were mixed, with cotton up 4.1%, and copper up 2.5%. All the losses were in precious metals, with platinum off 1.8%, palladium off 1.7%, and silver down 1.2%.

So, what about Bitcoin? Unlike the Dow, Bitcoin really has hit a new all-time high this week. And in so doing, it passed the point of parity between one Bitcoin and one ounce of gold. There really isn't anything magic about this number, any more than when Bitcoin's price exceeded that of the USD in 2011, or 1 gram of gold in early 2013, or 10 grams of gold in late 2013 and again in late 2015. There are many pundits out there predicting everything from Bitcoin's imminent collapse to its reaching $5,000 or even $1,000,000. Without referencing the general price level that goes with these predictions, they make little sense to me.

Bitcoin's price may be the same as gold's, but is Bitcoin as Good as Gold? Which one should you buy now, since their values are about equal?

In many ways, Bitcoin is an attempt to create "digital gold", with built-in scarcity that eliminates the ability of anyone to create more without limits. It cannot be "double-spent" or counterfeited. It is not amenable to control by a central bank, and does not need any central authority to issue or keep track of it. You either have it, or you don't. If you want more of it, you have either do work or trade something of value to someone else to get it. But in other ways, it is very different from gold (in fact almost the polar opposite of gold). It has no mass and takes up no space, being purely digital in nature. It can move almost instantly and for very little cost to anywhere in the world, crossing any border or boundary. No bank account, passport, or paperwork is necessary to get it and use it. There are no storage fees or insurance fees to keep it. If you have a smartphone or computer, you are ready to go. There are no limits on transfers, and no way to seize or freeze your funds (other than coercing you into handing them over.)

These advantages over gold have led some to claim Bitcoin will make gold obsolete, but there are still some factors in gold's favor. Gold has a long track record, going back thousands of years, and it is widely recognized all over the world, even in places where there are no smartphones (although those are getting harder to find these days). Gold does not require a working internet infrastructure to support it. It cannot be hacked and does not have the potential to fail due to undiscovered software bugs. It does not have to worry about block sizes, transaction rates, confirmation times, 51% attacks or other technical issues. Its value is well established through a very high volume of trading on multiple exchanges worldwide, and generally changes only gradually, making it an excellent choice for measuring the prices of other things – especially over long periods of time.

Gold and Bitcoin are not investments. Gold is the ultimate long-term store of value, and is useful as a unit of measure for tracking the prices of other things. Both gold and Bitcoin can be used to hold funds outside of the banking system and its maze of counter-party risks. Bitcoin should be the asset of choice when portability is paramount. Bitcoin could also be held as a speculation, but its volatility can work for you or against you, so position sizing is critical for this application. (In other words, don't bet the farm – you could lose it all!)

I would say that gold is for the core savings you feel you cannot afford to lose, and do not want to put to work, and thus at risk. Bitcoin is for funds you can afford to lose, and want to have available to you anywhere in the world on a moment's notice. Bitcoin is also a way to accept payments from all over the world with very low fees and no merchant account hassles, excellent for running an online business.

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Stocks and government-issued currencies fell this week, while bonds and commodities were mixed. The largest gains were once again in Bitcoin, which rose 11.1% to 29.3 grams, now approaching parity with one ounce of gold. Gold stocks fell more than any other asset-class, dropping 4.7% to close at 5.1 grams.

The Chinese Yuan and the Canadian Dollar led the drop in currencies, falling 1.1% each. The Japanese Yen again fell the least, losing 0.4%. Bonds were mixed and favored the longer maturities: the long term TLT rose 0.5%, while the short term SHY fell 0.8%, and USD cash dropped 0.9%.

The Dow Jones Industrials were were the best performing equities, being unchanged for the week, while the European STOXX fell 1.4%, the largest drop for a major index. Gold stocks had the largest losses in the equity category, falling 4.7%.

Commodities were mixed, with cotton up 3.2%, while coffee fell 3.1%. Among the metals, platinum and silver rose 0.7% and 0.5% respectively, but palladium and copper fell 1.8% apiece.

Looking back over the last year, we see that holding stocks and commodities has been quite profitable, particularly crude oil and palladium. The most profitable of all was Bitcoin, which has risen 178% over the last year. Bonds and government-issued currencies have all lost value, with the exception of the Canadian Dollar, which is up 5.1%. The Chinese Yuan and long term US bonds were the worst places to have your money. These trends may continue – and even accelerate – as the Chinese and Europeans dump their USD bonds and move their money into Bitcoin to escape capital controls and negative interest rates.

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Government-issued currencies and bonds were all lower this week, but stocks and commodities were mixed. The largest gains were in Bitcoin, which rose 4.9%, more than making up for the prior week's losses. Cotton fell more than any other asset-class, giving up 4.2%.

The US Dollar led the drop in currencies, falling 1.1%. The Japanese Yen fell least, losing 0.7%. Bonds were lower; the short term SHY was down 1.1%, while the long term TLT was off 1.5%.

Major US stock indexes were higher, but the Nikkei 225 was 1.5% lower and the European STOXX was little changed, off 0.1%. In the US, the Dow gained 0.6% and the S&P 500 added 0.4%. Gold stocks had the largest losses in the equity category, falling 3.0%.

Commodities were mixed, with coffee and silver up 1.5% and 1.1% respectively, while cotton and copper fell 4.2% and 3.1%.

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Currencies were all lower this week, but bonds, stocks, and commodities were mixed. Copper was the best performing asset, rising 4.7%. The largest losses were in Bitcoin, which fell 3.5%, giving back almost half of the prior week's gains.

The Euro led the drop in government-issued currencies, falling 2.1%. The US Dollar fell least, losing 1.1%. Bonds were mixed; the short term SHY was down 1.0%, while the long term TLT was 0.4% higher. Both outperformed USD cash.

Major stock indexes were mostly lower, with only the Nikkei 225 rising. After the prior week's 3.5% drop, the Nikkei managed a 0.8% gain this week. Stocks in Europe were the weakest, with the Euro STOXX falling 2.3%. In the US, the Dow fell 0.1% and the S&P 500 lost 0.3%. Gold stocks continued their rise, with the HUI gaining 2.1% to close at 5.54 grams.

Commodities were mixed, with copper and palladium up 4.7% and 3.4% respectively, while cotton and coffee fell 1.5% and 1.4%.

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This week saw government-issued currencies, bonds, and major stock indexes all lower. Commodities were mixed, with precious metals higher, while food and energy were lower. The week's biggest winner was once again Bitcoin, which gained 8.1%. Gold stocks also rose, with the HUI gaining 2.0%. The largest losses were in coffee and copper, down 6.4% and 5.0% respectively.

All national currencies fell, led by the US Dollar, which dropped 2.5%. The Japanese Yen fell least, losing 0.7%. Bonds were also lower; the short term SHY was down 2.6%, and the long term TLT was 3.0% lower. Both were outperformed by USD cash.

Major stock indexes were all down, giving up most or all of the prior week's gains. The decline was led by the Nikkei 225, which fell 3.5%. In the US, the Dow fell 2.6% and the S&P 500 lost 2.4%. Gold stocks bucked the trend and continued their rise, with the HUI gaining 2.0% to close at 5.43 grams.

Commodities were mixed, with only precious metals making gains. Silver and palladium rose 0.9% each, while platinum gained 0.2% to close at 25.4 grams. The largest losses were in coffee, down 6.4%, and copper, which dropped 5.0%. Crude oil finished the week down 1.3%.

Bitcoin, while volatile as ever, has been having a good year so far. In the first few days of the year it closed at new all-time high of 30.2 grams, just 3% below parity with an ounce of gold. A week later, it had fallen to 20.5 grams on concern over a Chinese central bank investigation. Since then, Bitcoin has been gradually working its way higher, and ended this week at 26.1 grams, about 16% below gold parity.

With governments all over the world declaring a war on cash so that they can "fight deflation" (that is, accelerate inflation) by the use of negative interest rates and other voodoo economics, Bitcoin continues to attract more and more users – and this is pushing its price higher. While holding physical gold is an excellent way to preserve purchasing power and keep savings outside the world's corrupted and failing fiat money banking systems, physical metal is expensive to store and transport, and is subject to seizure, especially at borders.

Although it is more volatile than gold, Bitcoin offers an excellent alternative that addresses many of gold's concerns, and may be the better choice for those interested in the mobility of their assets: Bitcoins can be sent anywhere in the world, for almost no cost, with a few mouse clicks, or carried across borders in a "brain wallet" that cannot be seized or stolen. And while volatility is a negative for some, it can also be a positive for traders looking to grow their gold.

2017 may be the year we finally see one BTC buying more than one ounce of gold on a persistent basis.

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This week saw a trend reversal, with almost every asset class rising in value; the lone exception was palladium, which fell 3.9%. The week's biggest winner was once again Bitcoin, which gained 4.4%. Copper and coffee were also strong, rising 3.8% each.

All government-issued currencies were higher, led by the Canadian Dollar, which rose 3.0%, more than offsetting last week's losses. The Chinese Yuan gained least, adding 0.9%. Bonds were also higher, with USD cash up 1.3%, the short term SHY up 1.4%, and the long term TLT up 1.1%.

Stocks were all higher, led by the Nikkei 225, which rose 3.0%. In the US, the Dow gained 2.7% and the S&P 500 gained 2.4%. Gold stocks continued their rise, with the HUI gaining 1.4% to close at 5.32 grams.

In spite of the hoopla over the Dow price in dollars making new highs and closing above 20,000 this week, it is worth noting that measured in gold, the index is actually down 3.3% from one month ago, and down 63% from its all-time highs.

Commodities were mostly higher; only palladium lost ground, falling 3.9% to close at 19 grams. The largest gains were in copper and coffee, up 3.8% apiece. Platinum rose 1.5% while silver was little changed, up just 0.2% at 0.44 mg.

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The last two weeks have seen a steady downtrend in government-issued currencies, bonds, and major stock indexes, along with violent swings in Bitcoin and mixed gains and losses in commodities. This week's biggest winner was Bitcoin, which gained 7.0%, mostly offsetting the prior week's 8.9% drop. Coffee was also strong, rising 1.7% on top of the prior week's 3.2% gain. The week's largest losses were in copper, which gave up 3.2% against the prior week's 4.3% gain.

All government-issued currencies were lower, led by the Canadian Dollar, which dropped 2.2%. The Japanese Yen fell 0.9%. The CNY fell least, dropping 0.2%, but this follows a dismal performance the prior week, where the CNY fell 1.3%, more than any other national currency. Bonds were lower, with USD cash and the 1-3 year SHY each losing 0.8%, and the long term TLT falling 2.0%.

Major stock market indexes were also all lower, led by the Nikkei 225, off 1.7%. In the US, the Dow fell 1.1% and the S&P 500 fell 1.0%. Gold stocks were the only rising equities, with the HUI gaining 0.8% to close at 5.25 grams, about where it closed two weeks ago.

Commodities were mixed; the largest gains were in coffee and palladium, up 1.7% and 1.1% respectively, while the biggest losses were in copper and platinum, down 3.2% and 1.7% respectively. Silver was little changed at 0.44 mg.

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