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Focus: Rick Rule and Grant Williams — Dissecting The Synchronized Economic Recovery And The Crypto Bubble-Sprott Thoughts (03/04/2018)

Focus: Rick Rule and Grant Williams — Dissecting The Synchronized Economic Recovery And The Crypto Bubble-Sprott Thoughts (03/04/2018)
By Sprott Thoughts 2 years ago 12440 Views No comments

April 03, 2018

Q1 2018 is fast drawing to a close. Growth expectations for the major global economies have moderated and other key fundamentals stole the spotlight in recent weeks. Any rumblings of slowing economic growth were put on the back-burner as inflation woes crept higher at the beginning of the year. With the return of volatility to the broader market and the heightened uncertainty over trade and tariffs the usual suspects received less airtime.

Historically the first quarter of the year has proven to be a time when growth temporarily sputters – at least in terms of economic data. In the U.S. the subsequent quarters tend to show improvement in GDP data after the initial quarter of the year. With so many moving parts in the data cycle and the never-ending barrage of financial news headlines it’s helpful to take a step back and sift through some of the noise.

Rick Rule spoke to Grant Williams, co-founder of Real Vision TV to get his take on the key themes that are on his radar in 2018. Grant also serves as a portfolio and strategy advisor to Vulpes Investment Management in Singapore. Rick and Grant discuss the global economic recovery and take a candid look at cryptocurrencies.


The Federal Reserve raised rates at its March meeting widely in line with expectations. The central bank announced a quarter-point increase in the benchmark rate bringing it to 1.5% to 1.75%. In addition, the economic forecast got an upgrade with the U.S. GDP growth estimate for 2018 increasing to 2.7% from the December projection of 2.5%. For 2019, the median forecast for GDP comes in at 2.4% from the previous projection of 2.1%. Interestingly enough the Fed forecasts that the U.S. economy will grow at a slower pace of 2% in 2020. [1]

Grant acknowledges that a global recovery is underway. At the same time, he questions the pace and tenacity of the current recovery especially considering the steps taken by the central banks. With $13 trillion to $14 trillion USD of global quantitative easing, Grant says he would expect a strong more robust recovery. It makes sense that Grant calls for a ratcheting down of our expectations for the parameters of what a recovery looks like. He says that the days of seeing double-digit percentage growth in China and India are over and that we should ease back on our GDP expectations. At the same time, the current growth figures are at pre-crisis levels and that’s not a bad place to be.

Risks remain right around the corner so it’s not surprising that Grant remarks on the fact that the “synchronized recovery is a fragile one … we need to be on our toes.” The narrative surrounding the global growth story is a step behind in adjusting to expectations but it may not take much to shock and propel it into reality.


Digital currency prices are now being monitored as closely as any other currency in the foreign exchange market. With U.S. tax season approaching the implications of profits and losses in the cryptocurrency space are receiving plenty of attention. One way to look at the recent volatility in prices and the accompanying speculation is to understand that the infrastructure of cryptos is currently being built. The crypto bubble may just be a necessary step in transforming the technology into one with widespread potential.

While the arguments for and against digital currencies abound Grant shares some interesting observations. He says the technology is indeed tremendous and that there is undoubtedly a bubble. In December 2017, he stated that bitcoin would both halve and double in 2018. Quite a prescient remark that even Grant marvels at given the speed with which both actions unfolded, as he said “If it halves first, then double-up and buy; if it doubles then sell it.” Bitcoin saw massive slide in the first six weeks of 2018.

Grant is not alone in his belief that the exuberance needs to be removed from cryptocurrencies. Only then can prices stabilize and exit the current cycle of exaggerated spikes and dips. If we look in the rearview mirror, we remember how the dot-com bubble swelled and how consumers adapted to and embraced newly introduced technologies. As speculation grew many a dot-com failed and when the bubble burst stock prices plummeted. Yet the technological growth and economic shift that took place was undeniable.

As we gear up for the upcoming quarter market volatility and geopolitics are sure to grab our attention. Rick asked Grant what he will focus on when the two get together in Vancouver for the upcoming Sprott Natural Resource Symposium . Grant expects inflation, the Federal Reserve and precious metals to be at the top of his agenda. He admits that things can change quickly but these topics are sure to be relevant in the best and worst of times.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH: Grant Williams | There is a global recovery underway

CLICK HERE TO WATCH: Grant Williams | We need to get the exuberance out of cryptocurrencies

[1] Federal Open Market Committee, FOMC Projections.March 21, 2018.

Grant will host a

presentation at the 2018 Sprott Natural Resource Symposium in Vancouver,

Canada. Make sure to attend the Conference for further insight into Grant’s


Questions or comments? Contact the author here.

Sprott's Thoughts

Sprott Global Resource Investments Ltd. is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sprott Inc., a public natural resources investment management firm listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (Symbol SII). Sprott Money is pleased to bring selected writings from the financial experts at Sprott Global to our readers from their newsletter, Sprott's Thoughts.

The author is not affiliated with, endorsed or sponsored by Sprott Money Ltd. The views and opinions expressed in this material are those of the author or guest speaker, are subject to change and may not necessarily reflect the opinions of Sprott Money Ltd. Sprott Money does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, timeliness and reliability of the information or any results from its use.

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