The Mexican Congress Debates the Monetization of the ‘Libertad’ Silver Ounce
By Guillermo Barba
On September 13th I participated in the Forum for “The Promotion of Savings by Mexicans” organized by the group “Legislators in Favor of Savings by the People” who are members of the Chamber of Deputies (i.e. “Congressmen”) in the Mexican Federal Congress; the group is led by Congressman Francisco Javier Pinto. The fact that this meeting took place at the seat of one the Legislative Houses of the Mexican Republic is extraordinary news, because there are few things so important for the development of the national economy and the economy of Mexican families, as savings.
According to the poll taken by the “National Poll Regarding Financial Participation in 2015”, 32% of the population saves informally, that is to say, by “stuffing money under the mattress” and other invented measures, and only 15% saves in a formal manner, for example, by depositing money in a bank account, or by purchasing Government Treasury Certificates (“CETES”) or by voluntary contributions to their official retirement account (“AFORES”).
These options are preferable than just saving pesos, though they are not winners, nor do they allow Mexicans to retain the purchasing power of their savings: they are only alternatives that provide less loss of purchasing power.
It is just for this reason that it is imperative to go further. At the Forum we insisted on the proposal to give a stable value to the Mexican silver coin. I’ll explain in few words.
The central feature of the proposal is that the Central Bank of Mexico (Banxico) shall determine a value in pesos for the “Libertad” silver ounce; and that this value shall be slightly higher (by a percentage that would be defined in the corresponding Law) than the price of silver in the international market, in order to provide Banxico with an assured profit in minting and placing these coins in monetary circulation.
Today, for example, at the present rate of exchange and the present price of silver, the Mexican silver ounce is worth $320 pesos. Now suppose the Proposal requires an overprice of 10%. In that case, Banxico’s monetary quote for the “Libertad” silver ounce would be for $352 pesos.
If the price of silver should plunge tomorrow to $250 pesos to the ounce, for example, the Mexican central bank would keep the monetary value of the “Libertad” ounce stable. In that way, the saver would not loose and the silver coin would remain “in circulation”. (Actually, the public will scarcely use the silver “Libertad” ounce as money, due to Gresham’s Law; practically all ounces will be held as savings for the long term or for emergencies, and the public will choose to keep on spending fiat money for daily needs, because it is money of no quality at all).
As a matter of fact, all the coins we carry around in our pockets are also worth less as plain metal, than their stamped nominal monetary value, and when their metal is worth more than the stamped value on the coins, they go out of circulation and are replaced by cheaper coins. (Why do you think we no longer see coins for 5, 10 or 20 centavos (cents) anymore, and you hardly ever see the yellow 50 centavo coins?).
On the other hand, if the price of silver should shoot upward, Banxico would have to issue new, higher quotes for the “Libertad” silver ounce (according to the formula to be established by Law). In this way, again, the coin will remain “in circulation”, and since it has no nominal price stamped on it, it will avoid ending up – like all the old silver coins that had stamped values – at the refineries.
Most of those old silver coins, once their content was worth more than the peso stamped value on their faces, ended up in the refineries. The holders of the coins sold their coins at a profit, for their silver content.
This won’t happen with the “Libertad” silver ounce, whose value will be adjusted upward, and benefit the saver, who will thus retain his purchasing power no matter what may happen with inflation. Thanks to owning silver “Libertad” ounces, the public’s savings will float on the ocean of currency through the years.
The great peace of mind for the investor, great or small, will encourage savings and financial responsibility better than any other policy of public stimulus.
This is not the first time that this proposal comes before the Mexican Congress, but we pray that this time it becomes a reality. We hope so. It’s for Mexico, the world’s Número Uno producer of silver!
This is a follow-up to a post by Hugo Salinas Price from a couple days ago. I knew this proposal was under discussion at the time but I did not have a translation.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock