End of week Gold and Silver recap: Gold breaks $1,700


Model of the ECB's new headquarters, which is ...

Model of the ECB’s new headquarters, which is due to be completed in 2014. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Written by John.Foster@APMEX.com

Gold Breaks $1700:

Gold continued it march past $1700 an ounce as growing signs the European Central Bank will take action added to disappointing U.S. economic data this week.  Fridays United States nonfarm jobs report showed 96,000 jobs were created in August. The number was disappointing because it fell short of the 125,000 that had been expected. The August manufacturing report showed the largest drop in more than three years. The nation’s factory activity was rated at 49.6, which indicates an unforeseen contraction in the sector. United States construction also fell off by 0.9 percent; as with the manufacturing report, experts had predicted an increase, as well.  This news was bullish for Gold and boosted the possibility of financial stimulus from the Federal Reserve. The expectation is that the Federal Reserve will announce the next round of quantitative easing, better known as QE3, this year. Jeremy Friesen at Societe Generale in Hong Kong said he believes the Fed will act possibly this month. He said, “We think the payrolls number will be very poor, which should be positive for Gold, as it would confirm that the Fed will do something at the next FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) meeting.”

Europe Announces Bond Program:

The European markets started the week strongly on hopes that the ECB would announce a plan to curb widespread debt in the region. Many economists in the area believed there would be a large bond buying plan to offset short term debt. One media report went as far to say the ECB will spend “unlimited” amounts to do so, and that caused quite a stir. “I think the market saw the word ‘unlimited’ and jumped before realizing that the ECB would not expand its balance sheet as it would sterilize all its purchases, and thus this was not the kind of aggressive monetary expansion that FX traders were looking for,” said Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX Strategy at BK Asset Management in New York.  On Thursday the European Central Bank announced its intention to rebuild the eurozone with new stimulus measures by purchasing sovereign bonds. Alex Merk at Merk Investments commented on how the market may be more interested in the euro. “Now, I’m not going to pretend that everything is going to be great in the eurozone, but it (the ECB’s measures) does take off the so called ‘tail risks,’ it makes the euro less risky.” On a positive note, Merk added, “We think the euro is going to do well in the years to come. … It is becoming a different currency with different dynamics in place.”

China’s Economy Slowing:

The United States and Europe may not be the only economies on the verge of receiving a stimulus. Although the Chinese government has yet to implement any stimulus measures in the face of a slowing Chinese economy, there is additional evidence that the Chinese economy is slowing. On Saturday (09/01), the official manufacturing sector survey reported a 49.2 reading in August. This falls below the level of 50 that separates expansion from contraction. In another survey more focused on small to midsize businesses, published by HSBC, the number was 47.6.  Gordon Chang, author of “The Coming Collapse of China,” spoke with CNBC regarding China’s economy and how some data reflect zero growth for that nation. Chang said that manufacturing surveys, price indices and electricity production are all key indicators of economic growth, and those factors suggest no growth in China’s economy. Chang said, “By far the most reliable indicator of Chinese economic activity is the production of electricity. When you look at the period of April through July electricity production increased by less than an average of 1.2 percent.”  He said electricity production typically outpaces economic growth

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