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Fed Rate Cuts Soon; Bitcoin Enthusiasts Join Wall Street in Bashing Gold
David Morgan: Swap Gold for Silver at Today’s Extreme 90:1 Ratio
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Welcome to this week’s Market Wrap Podcast, I’m Mike Gleason.
Coming up David Morgan of The Morgan Report joins me to discuss the ticking time bomb that is the trade war with China, why he believes flooding in the Midwest could lead to serious price inflation in food, and also gives us his outlook for the precious metals. Don’t miss my conversation with our good friend David Morgan, resource expert and silver market guru, coming up after this week’s market update.
It was a big week for gold, as prices for the yellow metal advanced toward new highs for the year. The gold market is putting in a 3.0% gain this week to trade at $1,345 an ounce.
Gold does face some formidable multi-year resistance in the $1,350 to $1,375 area. But if it can clear that hurdle and then blow through $1,400, it may be off to the races.
Turning to the white metals, silver has a lot more work to do get back on bullish technical footing. Silver’s price performance has lagged behind gold’s so severely that it trades at its biggest discount to gold in nearly 30 years. It could be a once-in-a-generation opportunity to buy silver on the cheap.
Silver prices currently come in at $15.10 an ounce after rising 3.1% since last Friday’s close. Platinum is up 1.3% this week to trade at $807. And finally, palladium is putting in a weekly gain of 2.8% to trade at $1,374 per ounce as of this Friday morning recording.
Metals markets are benefiting from a selloff in the U.S. dollar. A weakening dollar could become a larger trend as indicators point toward a near certainty of Fed rate cuts in the months ahead.
Earlier this week St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard gave a speech suggesting the central bank would need to cut rates soon. Bullard cited slower economic growth, escalating trade conflicts, low inflation, and falling long-term bond yields.
Futures markets now suggest greater than 90% odds of a rate cut in the next year. Market expectations are effectively forcing the Fed’s hand. Perhaps it’s a case of the tail wagging the dog, but Fed policymakers now have little choice but to slash rates.
Of course, Jerome Powell and company have the technical ability to raise or lower the Fed funds rate at will. But in practice, they will almost always defer to markets when those markets are sending a loud and clear message.
The message of the bond market right now is that interest rates are heading way lower. Yields on the 10-year Treasury plunged to as low as 2.1% this week. That’s significantly lower than the Fed short-term target range of 2.25% - 2.5%. In other words, the yield curve is inverting, with long-term rates below short-term rates. The longer the inversion stands, the greater the risk that it will push the economy into recession.
Fed policymakers – not to mention the Trump administration – would sooner stimulate and let the inflation rate run higher than let the economy contract. When the first whiffs of inflation do hit markets, there could be a massive rotation out of bonds and interest rate sensitive stock market sectors.
Bondholders and equity investors should be careful what they wish for. Rate cuts may lead to adverse side effects in financial markets, including inflation, and a social mood swing toward favoring alternative assets.
Within the alternative asset universe, a huge debate is raging between proponents of hard assets and digital assets. It boils down to the question of which is the superior store of value, gold or Bitcoin?
Obviously, there are advantages to each. Precious metals have thousands of years of history behind them that give holders confidence they will always retain value even if everything else crashes. Cryptocurrencies have spectacular upside potential and the ability to harness the networking effects of digital ledgers.
But at the end of the day, Bitcoin is no substitute for bullion. The value of an unbacked cryptocurrency is inherently speculative. Looking out into the future, there is no way of knowing whether Bitcoin will go to the moon… or be rendered totally obsolete by a new, superior technology.
As it is, the Bitcoin blockchain is clunky and inefficient – requiring enormous amounts of electricity to keep up and delivering painfully slow transaction times. Most Bitcoiners buy in hopes that Bitcoin will appreciate. They almost never actually use it as currency.
Wall Street wants to package Bitcoin into exchange-traded products that will enable brokerage firms to collect fees. Bitcoin derivative instruments that trade on stock exchanges instead of the blockchain seemingly defeat the whole purpose of Bitcoin as a peer-to-peer digital currency that exists outside the purview of financial institutions.
But the securitization of Bitcoin is here. One investment firm is trying to promote its exchange-traded Bitcoin vehicle by bashing gold. Grayscale Investments launched a “Drop Gold” campaign and produced a Hollywood-style TV commercial that takes some rather silly shots at the yellow metal.
TV Commercial: Why did you invest in gold? Are you living in the past? In a digital world, gold shouldn't weigh down your portfolio. You see where things are going. Digital currencies like Bitcoin are the future. They're secure, borderless, and unlike gold, they actually have utility. Leave the pack behind. It's time to drop gold.
It’s frankly disappointing that prominent crypto promoters are parroting the same tired and false myths about gold that the financial establishment has been propagating for decades.
Obviously, gold has utility due to its unique physical and aesthetic properties. It is used in jewelry, crafts, ornamentation. It is used in high-tech applications including space technology because of its resistance to corrosion. Most importantly, gold also happens to have utility as money.
Bitcoin’s uses are limited to the blockchain. Basically, it can serve as a speculation or as a digital currency. That’s it.
Some may find it useful to hold a digital asset that exists outside the banking system. That’s fine. We have nothing against Bitcoin holders.
In fact, Money Metals regularly processes cryptocurrency transactions. We will gladly sell gold for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Dash, and Litcoin -- or even buy precious metals from our customers and pay them in these digital currencies rather than dollars.
Both gold and cryptos are alternative currencies that can play a role in helping give more people more independence from the banker-controlled fiat currency regime. The real debate should be about centrally controlled fiat money versus free market money.
Well now, without further delay, let’s get right to this week’s exclusive interview.
Mike Gleason: It is my privilege now to welcome in David Morgan of The Morgan Report. David it's always ... we always love having you on, and appreciate the time today, how are you my friend?
David Morgan: I'm doing well, thank you very much.
Mike Gleason: Well David, we're approaching the midpoint for the year, metals got off to a great start, but markets turned over near the end of March. Our take is that gold and silver were challenged on two fronts, one the bullion banks seemed to have complete control, and the downturn we just witnessed was another repeat of familiar cycle with speculative longs being lured in, and then taken to the wood shed by the banks who were short. Secondly, the banks are finding it easy to be short because speculative interest remains pretty tepid. The equity markets have been on a tear, for the most part, since bottoming in December, and it is certainly risk on, there isn't much for safe haven demand these days. But we wanted to get your take on the markets for the first half of the year, David, do you think we have it about right there? And then also, what would you guess might be the main story in the metals markets through the second half of the year?
David Morgan: Yeah, I think you have it right, Mike. I mean if you look at going back in the last year, which is worth mentioning because December was the biggest drop off in the DOW since the 1930s. And what did we see? We saw the most negative correlated asset move against that, which is gold, in January. And then the powers that be or want to be got ahold of the market again, and it's been as you said, not much from there. So, we are right now, in this last few trading sessions really, where gold has gone up through the $1,300 level for the fourth time this year. And it's held that, and it's gone as high as year to date, I think it got up to $1,344 or something, and fell back. So, I think we finally have $1,300 as a psychological level that will hold. And will play around probably there, or maybe test it to the outside, it might not hold. I think it will.
So, I think for the second half of the year we're going to see a stronger market. This trade war situation is getting more and more air play in the financial channels all the time. And it goes all the way from the rare earth elements to possibly coming back to safe haven status. You've got Druckenmiller, that just basically took all his stocks and sold them, and went into the bond market. It's a pretty smart move, because interest rates are almost guaranteed to be lowered here… maybe as much as 75 basis points over the next perhaps, year. And so as we all know, if interest rates go down, bond prices go up. So it's pretty safe to make money in that idea, or in that move that he just made.
I still think without hardly any doubt, Mike, that we are in a situation where the metals are going to perform, not necessarily like this year, hugely perform, but perform over the next few years. There is so little available outside of equities and bonds, that once those markets start to unravel, there's really no room to go hardly anywhere else. Sure there's real estate, and there's private equity, and there's the ETF markets, and there's all kinds of things out there, but if you really want to get on a situation where you're going to not only protect wealth, but probably have substantial capital gains, I think it's going to filter back in the gold and silver sector. I'm not as bullish in the whole commodity sector, because we have a contraction in the overall global picture, which I believe we will, than it's the money metals that are going to lead.
So, that's the way I see it from, not necessarily from July onward, but it'll probably start, I believe it started at as I said, $1,300 and we want to watch that level. And the psychology usually takes a while to shift. But Druckenmiller is a good indicator. Enough with the stock stuff, I'm going to go to the bond market, and then from the bond market, where would he go? He'd probably go into gold. So anyway, he may not, but that's a logical choice from my prospective.
Mike Gleason: Let's talk about the plot and group metals here for a moment. There's an interesting disparity between the platinum price and the palladium price. Palladium has really outperformed the prices of recently corrected some. Platinum on the other hand, has seriously under-performed. It's currently more than $500 per ounce cheaper than both palladium and gold. As we understand it, the platinum and palladium are pretty interchangeable when it comes to the primary industrial application for both metals, that being catalytic converters. However, platinum has seen more usage in diesel engines, and palladium is more commonly used for gasoline powered cars. The Volkswagen scandal hurt demand for diesel. You have to think that has played a big part with the weakness in platinum. However, it seems there's probably more to the story when it comes to this price disparity. Do you have any insights as to what is happening there in the PGMs, David?
David Morgan: Well you covered it really well, and I know you read my work. I mean it is a misnomer that just platinum is good for diesel and palladium is good for gas, they are interchangeable, but very few people know that. The other part of it is, that I was really a big proponent of doing the gold and platinum spread trade. And I did it several times. For some reason, thank goodness, when it hit the disparity this time, I just watched, and watched, and watched, and watched. Because it's been, I don't know how many years now. I finally did take a move physically when I traded some gold for platinum. I couldn't take it any longer. The spread was so big in favor of gold, I felt that platinum was so cheap in terms of gold, that I went down to a local dealer. I didn't do it, Mike forgive me, but I didn't want to mail it was easier just to do it in town.
Mike Gleason: That's okay.
David Morgan: And I went down and traded some gold for platinum. So I'm on board there. And the other one was, I thought palladium was overdone. I called the palladium (move), in fact, if you go back I think three years, I wrote a pretty good size article for The Morgan Report paid members, about why I like palladium so much more than platinum. And we advocated getting into palladium, and several did, and we rode it all the way up, but not long enough. I got out about a year or two early. We got out after it was over $1,000, and as we all know it went up to $1,500. But you’ll never go broke taking a profit. Got out a little early. Left something for the next guy, probably a little too much. Probably could have done a little better. But nonetheless, I have to give myself credit from the aspect of that I picked the correct one. And so having said all of that, it looked to me like once the trend reversed, it might be a good spread trade. I like spread trades, they take less margin, they're a little safer. Usually able to get a margin call.
So, I'm very big on making the trend be established before you enter. So the trend was established where platinum was out performing palladium. If you look at a chart you can see it clearly, so I got in. And I got out. My entry point was good, the trend was established, so it was safe, safer than it would be trying to pick a top, which is kind of a fool’s game. And it was trending my direction for a short time, and then went the other way, and I just kind of stopped out, about a week and a half ago. But that may be one to reenter, if you're so inclined. All I'd say is that platinum is undervalued, relative to palladium. Platinum is undervalued relative to gold, and they really are pretty much interchangeable for most things. In fact, platinum has a jewelry component that palladium really doesn't have. But nonetheless, they're both extremely rare, platinum and palladium come out of the ground roughly equal. And they're 15 times more rare than gold is. So, that's something if you are a gold, silver bug and you own them, and you're well off, then you might consider the light metals. But if you're just a basic investor, you're probably better to stick with the two primary metals, silver and gold.
Mike Gleason: Speaking of those two primary metals, silver and gold, the ratio right now as we're talking nearly 90 to 1. If you were to pick one of the two, how do you see those performing, and do you see that spread widening or getting more narrow? Gosh, I can't imagine it gets above 90, could it?
David Morgan: Well it's done it twice. I mean it's hit round numbers 100 two times. It didn't stay there very long. So I don't rule it out at this point. I certainly don't know. If you're going to enter, I'd still think strongly that silver will outperform gold, once this metals rally starts to really take hold and get into more of a mainstream, gold’s the place to go. But that probably won't take place until fourth quarter of this year, as a start. I mean you can look at the $1,300 level I keep mentioning, as the beginning on a chart. But as far as the psychology is concerned, I think it's going to take more than just a technical level, it's going to take a stock market coming down. I mean I've been seeing that on other interviews that until you see people wanted to give up in the equity market, we're not going to see a lot of money moving into the gold market.
So, I think silver is the place to be from this 90 to 1 ratio. You don't have to jump in all at once, if it does go to 100, but certainly accumulate silver at these levels, you're buying it for less than most primary silver miners can produce it. You're getting it at a ratio that's a historic good value. This is a once in 26 year opportunity, we haven't had this high of level, gold-silver ratio for 26 years. And it usually doesn't stay here very long. So I think everything that we know, from past events, we obviously can't use to project the future, but certainly get a hint that now's a good time, if you're not over weighted in silver, or let's say you're over weighted in gold, it might be a good time to get with Money Metals, and just ship it into you guys, or if you got an account there, storage from there, swap some gold for sliver. I don't think you’ll get hurt.
I made that swap years ago. In a lecture giving up in Vancouver, British Columbia, and it was mostly a gold centric audience, not too many people familiar with the silver story at all, and I said, "Look a lot of people that just want gold, do this, it's 80 to 1," it was 80 to 1 at the time, "Buy silver, and then when silver outperforms gold, take that silver, swap it into gold." And had they done what I suggested, they would have doubled their gold position, because silver from 80 to 1 to actually 35 to 1 so could have swapped for about 40 to 1, in real terms, and doubled your gold position. Because silver's ratio went from 80 to 40 beings silver out performed gold on a 2 to 1 basis.
Mike Gleason: Yeah that was definitely a winning trade if somebody took advantage of that back in, I guess it's been seven, eight years now since we've seen the ratio down in the 30s. But yeah, that was a good call for sure.
Switching gears here, I wanted to touch on the trade war. Obviously, that's the big news here over the last several months. And one of the potential black swans in the seemingly contentious negotiations between the U.S. and the Chinese are the rare earth elements. You obviously cover the entire resource space there in The Morgan Report, and I know you've actually been on national TV this week discussing the rare earths on major financial networks. So, I wanted to put this question out to you, David, is China going to weaponize their stockpiles of rare earths? Because they control a massive amount of the world's supply. What can you tell us about the situation there?
David Morgan: Yeah, well they control about 80% of it. In fact, they mine probably over 90% of it. And they are threatening to do so. They are threatening to, and the buzz word is weaponize it, and use it as a bargaining chip, and a big one at that in this "trade war". Whether or not they follow through all the way or not, remains to be determined. What we do know is, that in the past they cut off a significant supply to Japan in about 2010 if memory serves. And what really took place was that there was almost an immediate opening of a black market, which means that there was supply through other channels that did make it to Japan.
The other part of it is, if they succeed in doing this, eventually, and it won't be over night, the market will adjust in the United States and find partners that are more friendly like Australia, Brazil, others that have REEs and will have to process them. And maybe we'll process them ourselves. And once we overcome that hurdle, then China's lost a big market. Because if we could find another supplier that's more "reliable". So it kind of goes both ways, Mike, I mean it's something that certainly is a concern, and something that certainly could hurt us in a short-term basis, but if it were to occur, it isn't like everything's going to shut down over night. But it would have an effect, there's no doubt.
Mike Gleason: And just setting the stage for people that maybe are not aware of the rare earth elements, just give a brief description on what they are, and what they're used for, and why people should care.
David Morgan: Well, everyone says there's 17, really 15, but I won't go into that. There's 17 on the periodic table, they're absolutely required for high tech societies. They're used primarily for cracking, which means taking oil into gasoline, that's Lanthanum, and then there's Neodymium that's used primarily to make magnets, and magnets are used in motors, and there's motors everywhere, from windshield wipers to Tesla motor and everything in between. So, they're very, very important, and those are two key areas, defense, MRIs, Gorilla Glass on your iPhone. All this stuff uses rare earth elements, and some of them in a rather significant amount. So they are key, and without them, we wouldn't have, again, the high tech society that we enjoy. So it is important, and how this plays out remains to be determined. I don't know, no one does at this point. But I think it's more rhetoric now than substance. Although, again, it needs to be determined.
Also, what you could see, and I said this on the TV interview, is where they use one of the elements like Neodymium as an example, as kind of a sub set of the whole REE, and that's critical for the magnet industry, or motors you might say, that they could use that one alone as restricting it to less supply. And the last thing which I didn't get to do on the interview on Fox Business, was that China has a policy of keeping rare earth elements at one price internal to China and another price external to China. So was for an example, I don't know what the exact ratio was, but rare earth elements in China was one-tenth the price of what the goods sold for outside of China. And I don't know if it really was a 10 to 1 ratio, but it was significant. And once that was established, and they were doing it, the WTO, the World Trade Organization came along and looked at it and said, "That's a big no-no."
But if China really starts getting pressure from this tariff thing, and maybe other pressures throughout their political system, and what they do. Because if they do hold the key to this REE situation right now, they could, I'm not saying would, but they could just say, "It's not worth us to be in the World Trade Organization. And we're moving out of it." I mean this silk road that they're rebuilding, they're very purposeful, they're very long range thinking. They're looking at this as a significant trade mechanism for making them key in the global economy. And there's no doubt that it's taking place and will continue.
Mike Gleason: The Midwest is experiencing some serious flooding issues, anyone that's been watching the news of late can attest to that. It's almost certainly going to have a major impact on the food prices in the months ahead. Any comments there, David, could we see some major price inflation in food, and could that have a great effect on the economy as a whole, or inflation, or monetary policy? Give us your thoughts there.
David Morgan: Yeah, thanks for bringing that up, Mike, because it's a key. I'm pretty adamant on this. I really think one, food prices are going to go higher. That's the one place, from my experience where Americans actually pay attention. Because everybody's got to eat. So when mom is out there buying food for the family, or whoever, realizes how quickly food prices are escalating, they equate that with inflation, you can't hide that. Once that idea is, “Oh my goodness prices are going higher” that's when a lot of people start thinking about inflation, again, and that's when they might look to the precious metals, as an example. Because most people understand that inflation is bad, and what can you do? And most people understand precious metals is the one place you can go to be protected, and on and on it goes.
So I think it could have an effect, positively on the metals. I think it's going to happen regardless of anything else in the economy. It's inevitable, as far as I'm concerned, that the agricultural products are going to go significantly higher. Whether or not it hits that tipping point, the trigger point, the psychology that I'm talking about, and people start to really pick up the idea that inflation is back, and they better do something about that, that remains to be determined. But I do think it could, and more likely would, and this is something that also factors into my thinking, saying that I think by the end of the year we're going to see gold over the $1,350, $1,360 level at the minimum. And maybe be on our way. There's a lot of other more established type, mainstream type gold analysts that are stating that $1,375 is about it for gold. And once gold hits that level, maybe silver will pick up, because it's so undervalued relative to gold, but they don't look for much beyond that. And I am. I'm looking for something much beyond on that in the ensuing years, meaning 2021, 2022, 2023, somewhere in that range, I think we're going to see significantly higher prices, and I think we'll be seeing new highs in the precious metals.
Mike Gleason: Well as we begin to wrap up here, David, I'll open it up to you to touch on anything else that maybe we haven't covered today. And then also, I guess comment on what you can for the precious metals listeners out there, who've maybe just be frustrated, I'll ask you to hit on that. And then anything else you'd like to as we close.
David Morgan: Well I think on that precious metals part, if you have the time. I figure out can follow my Twitter feed. Basically, my Twitter feed is what I use Web 1.0. When I took all these articles I read every morning, between 5:00 and 6:30 in the morning, and actually posted them myself. It's been years since I've done that. But I would find three, four, five articles every day, except the weekends, and put them up for people to read, to be informed about what's going on in the financial system, particularly in the metals… a lot of it was bigger picture stuff, what's going on in the bond market, or whatever.
So my Twitter, I pretty much do the same thing, only it takes seconds on my phone. And one I did recently is, Grant Williams, who is, I think one of the best lecturers on the gold market available. He's from Singapore, I consider him a friend, I don't see him that often, but I see them on the speaking circuit. He just did a video that was an interview of several people, and probably half of them in that video I know personally, regardless of me, it was on the gold standard, and what it means. And pointing out what all gold and silver bugs knows that gold has lasted for 6,000 years, no fiat has, there's a reason why it's chosen by the people, there's a reason why it never goes to zero. And it was a great refresher, done in a very objective way. So I put it on my Twitter feed, and said anyone that's feeling down about having bought precious metals the last couple years, please watch this video. I think it's only about 10 minutes long. So there's that.
And on what else I'd like to close with, is if you're not on the free list, of free newsletters, I suggest you go to TheMorganReport.com and get on the free list. We have a situation, and I've been pretty high on, and I own it so I'm biased, but it’s an electronic waste situation. And it occurred to me, with all that's been going on with this trending thing about the rare earths, is I asked, "Could one of their chemists take a look at whether or not they could precipitate rare earths out of let's say, used motors?" And the answer is, I don't know, they don't know, they didn't even promise they'll do it. They're very, very busy. But I thought it would be very interesting, because the big problem with rare earths is the amount of earth that you have to move, and how toxic it is to use these acids, 100 times to get to the element itself. And that is why the U.S. and almost every other nation says, "Well, let China do it." It's highly toxic, it's highly deathly environment, and so let them do it. We'll just pay for it.” But obviously they, China, they’ve got sort of the OPEC status in the rare earths market.
So I'm going to be following that story for our paid subscribers whether or not this technology company that I’m just briefly described, has the capability of doing something in the rare earth area, or not. And I do not know at this time, it remains to be determined. But it's an interesting thought. Especially, if it were to work, and it was able to work in the REE space, wow! That would be phenomenal because now you'd be able to process in North America, without having the environmental issues. And again, I want to caution everybody, hear me clearly, it is to be determined. I don't know, at all, if it'll work or not. So we'll want it test it. So that's something that I'll be writing about for our paid people. And the answer could be it doesn't work, so certainly don't get your high hopes.
Regardless of that, what it does do, is it produces probably one of the best returns on investment for precious metals of anything I've seen in my life, and I've been in this market over 40 years. The amount of recovery that you get from printed circuit boards and what they call desk units or top units where you've got your TiVos, Direct TVs, and your cable boxes, all those things have a lot of precious metals, relative to what a gold mine has in the same metrics. So, it's a very lucrative situation, and very few people outside of Morgan Report subscribers know about it. So I'm still excited about it, still a money maker, and the story has been, somewhat long in the tooth, but they just did a couple things I reported in this last issue that's only about two days old, that should have a significant impact on the exposure this company gets with the investment community in particular, the technology investing community.
Mike Gleason: Yeah, I'm excited about that one, too. And watching it closely. Thanks to your advice on that, and through reading The Morgan Report. So, people definitely need to sign up.
Well thanks, David, good stuff as always, it's a real pleasure to have you on. And I know you've had a busy week with other media commitments, so we appreciate you taking the time to talk to us as well. And then finally, just tell people how they can find The Morgan Report, and follow your fantastic information more closely.
David Morgan: You bet. The best thing is to just to go to the main website TheMorganReport.com or forget that, just type in “David Morgan silver” into Google, Bing, or any major search engine, and it'll probably fill the whole page with different links to different areas, our YouTube, I have a minor Facebook presence, but YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, I mean I'm on all of those. And of course, there's been a lot of interviews like yours that show up, because some of these things get massive amounts of hits, others don't. But some of them have been in the 200,000 range as far as views. So that'll take you somewhere.
Mike Gleason: And very good. Well thanks, David. Safe travels to you, I know you got some conferences coming up, but certainly enjoy the beautiful Pacific Northwest summer that we're about to have here. And we look forward to catching up with again before long, take care.
David Morgan: Very good, thank you Mike.
Mike Gleason: Well that will do it for this week. Thanks again to David Morgan, publisher of The Morgan Report. To follow David, just visit TheMorganReport.com. You can also follow him on Twitter, he mentioned that it's @silverguru22. And if you haven't already, grab a copy of his book titled Second Chance: How to Make and Keep Big Money During the Coming Gold and Silver Shock Wave, which is available at MoneyMetals.com, and other places where books are sold. Be sure to check that out. And again, check out TheMorganReport.com, and start getting his wonderful commentaries that David, and the team put out there on an ongoing basis.
And don't forget to check back here next Friday for our next Weekly Market Wrap Podcast. Until then, this have been Mike Gleason with Money Metals Exchange, thanks for listening and have a great weekend everybody.