South African Strikes Continue; Citigroup Estimates Probability of QE3 at 99%


Gold and silver are trading relatively flat today while platinum and palladium are up following news of further unrest surrounding South African miners and leading platinum producer Lonmin plc. Reports were released today that 10,000 striking platinum miners – many of whom were armed with sticks and machetes – marched on several Lonmin mine shafts threatening violence against strike breakers who are continuing to work. The recent strikes have inspired laborers in South African gold mines to rebel against their own employers. The result has been a stoppage of production at two Gold Fields (the world’s fourth largest gold producer) mines in the last several days. “We haven’t been given any demands but the pattern is the same as KDC East. It is intimidation. The strikers went around from hostel to hostel yesterday to prevent the others going to work,” Gold Fields spokesman Sven Lunsche said.

Despite the conflict, the Gold price has yet to be seriously impacted by concern over a significant stoppage in production. The main focus for investors is the looming concern over the Federal Reserve’s announcement of a third round of bond-buying known as quantitative easing (QE3). An analysis of current market factors and recent news surrounding the state of the U.S. economy have prompted Citigroup Inc. to estimate the chances of QE3 at 99% as many experts await more definitive language from the Fed regarding the steps it will take to aid the struggling economy. “Nervousness and continued agony over in Europe, the fiscal cliff, election uncertainty means there are a lot of headwinds,” said Mark MacQueen, partner and money manager at Austin, Texas-based Sage Advisory Services Ltd., which oversees $10 billion. “Everything is lining up to be more difficult. The Fed will give us language that reassures the market they intend on doing more.”

At 1PM EDT the APMEX precious metals prices were:

  • Gold price – $1,731.10 – down $8.40
  • Silver price – $33.57 – down 12 cents
  • Platinum price – $1,605.00 – up $7.70
  • Palladium price – $672.20 – up $17.40
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