Gold Dips- Jobless Claims Down

Analysts had expected an increase in jobless claims but the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell to its lowest level since January 2008.  This is the second straight week of falling claims.  The unemployment rate held steady at 7.8 percent.  Although is appears many companies are not laying off workers as anticipated, they are adding new jobs at a slow rate. Some economists caution while interpreting these numbers, there is usually a lot of volatility this time of the year.

The Gold price fell overnight without breaking a key technical level.  For five days the Gold price has been just below $1,695 and ounce, an important level for Gold.  Additional pressure came against Gold as the U.S. House voted to suspend the nations borrowing limit until May 19 in effect pushing the debt ceiling threat down the road.

At 9 a.m. (EST), the APMEX Precious Metals spot prices were:

  • Gold, $1,674.70, Down $14.00.
  • Silver, $31.86, Down $0.62.
  • Platinum, $1,683.70, Up $8.10.
  • Palladium, $723.90, Down $3.30.

APMEX’s Account Managers now have extended hours Mondays through Thursdays and are here to serve you until 8 p.m. (EST)! Or call us Fridays until 6 p.m. (EST)! If you have any questions about investing in precious metals or simply would prefer to place your order by telephone, we are here to help.

U.S Mint Sells out of Silver American Eagles

The U.S. mint my not be a common topic of conversation around the dinner table, but so far this month the 6,007,000 ounces of silver they have sold has been enough to suspend silver sales.  In essence, the mint has sold out of silver coins.  We have yet to reach the record of 6.42 million ounces sold in January of 2011 but there is still time left in the month.  When sales resume it will be interesting to see how quickly the 2013 Silver American Eagle coin is consumed again.  The U.S. mint began minting the 2013 coin just this month.

On Thursday the S&P closed at its best level in more than five years and the Dow was very close to a similar record.  There is a sentiment out there that the bull market isn’t finished.  Some investors believe that the stock market could move higher, especially if the political uncertainty is resolved.  Chairman and CEO of Morgan Stanley, James Gorman said, “The U.S. economy is recovering. That’s unmistakable. The speed of it still remains to be determined.”

At 2:19 p.m. (EST), the APMEX Precious Metals spot prices were:

  • Gold, $1,687.10, Down $5.70.
  • Silver, $31.89, Up $0.05.
  • Platinum, $1,699.90, Down $29.20.
  • Palladium, $721.60, Down $5.50.

APMEX’s Account Managers now have extended hours Mondays through Thursdays and are here to serve you until 8 p.m. (EST)! Or call us Fridays until 6 p.m. (EST)! If you have any questions about investing in Precious Metals or simply would prefer to place your order by telephone, we are here to help.

Spanish debt auction a success; Platinum tops

If you are looking for excitement in the U.S. stock market, you may be left wanting. Futures on the Dow and the S&P are not showing us much this morning; however, the euro took a stronger position against the dollar and yen in overnight trading when a Spanish debt auction lifted sentiment toward riskier assets. They sold 4.5 billion euros in new bonds at a lower cost than in previous auctions. This was a sign of growing confidence among investors in the recession prone area.

The Gold price traded in a tight range overnight despite the positive news for the euro. Andrey Kryuchenkov, capital analyst with VTB Capital, said, “We maintain our preference for wider ranges to hold on spot Gold prices as choppy macro trading prevails, with attention to U.S. December housing starts and weekly jobless claims later today.” The Gold price may begin to increase again when debt ceiling talks come back into focus. In positive news for Platinum, the metal surpassed Gold in overnight trading for the first time in 10 months.

At 9 a.m. (EST), the APMEX Precious Metals spot prices were:

  • Gold, $1,671.70, Down $13.40.
  • Silver, $31.19, Down $0.39.
  • Platinum, $1,685.90, Down $7.80.
  • Palladium, $723.00, Down $4.50.

APMEX’s Account Managers now have extended hours Mondays through Thursdays and are here to serve you until 8 p.m. (EST)! Or call us Fridays until 6 p.m. (EST)! If you have any questions about investing in Precious Metals or simply would prefer to place your order by telephone, we are here to help.

 

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Why do you think it is important to invest in precious metals? A Q&A session with APMEX CEO, Michael Haynes

We recently asked our CEO Michael Haynes a few questions about what makes APMEX unique, why he thinks investing in Precious Metals in a good idea and what his favorite products are. We hope you find this interview useful and please let us know if you have any feedback or comments.

Tell us a little bit about APMEX and what makes APMEX unique

APMEX is one of the few and perhaps the only website for Gold, Silver and other Precious Metals where you receive all of the benefits of the largest selection of products, immediate price lock-in on order, all day and all night and all weekend buying, online ordering or access to helpful phone representatives and much more. APMEX has most products available for immediate delivery; just place an order and we are ready to go. APMEX also provides education and information on the markets and on the products.

Why do you think it is important to invest in precious metals

Precious Metals are perhaps more important for a portfolio today than at any time since the oil embargo of the 1970s. During this financial crisis, all investors have seen their investments and 401ks in stocks move together and generally down. Gold, Silver and Precious Metals have moved generally in the opposite direction from stocks. Balance, or diversification, in a portfolio is when some assets in a portfolio move up under certain circumstances and yet, under the same circumstances, some assets move down. The object of balance is to always have of one of the asset classes in the portfolio moving up. Gold, Silver and other Precious Metals have provided that balance in recent years in this financial crisis. Perhaps every investor should at least investigate the possibility of balance and diversification with Gold, Silver and other Precious Metals.

What are your top 3 precious metals products and why do you think they make a good investment

Asking about the “top 3” products in the APMEX offerings is like asking about your favorite son or daughter. However, in the most diplomatic fashion, here are three products that provide excellent opportunities for portfolio balance and diversification:

Gold: Gold is a currency without a country, and many believe it is the one true currency. All other paper currencies in the world are convertible into Gold and quoted even hourly across the world. It is hard to argue with this concept of Gold as a currency since Gold has been a storehouse of value since the Roman Empire and even before. Central Banks of the world are buying Gold to back up their own currency and using Gold to shore up their dollar holdings. If these countries through their Central Banks are diversifying away from the dollar, perhaps we Americans should take note. Personally, I prefer coins over bars because of the improved liquidity if I want to sell. Some like the American Gold Eagle, a patriotic pick and very liquid in the market, but the best priced one ounce Gold coin is perhaps the Australian Kangaroo. However, one of the very best opportunities is the MintDirect® tube of 20 American Gold Eagles. These are unsorted, unsearched tubes direct from the U.S. Mint, meaning that there could be very high grade — and therefore collectible — coins in that tube. This additional collector demand for any very high grade Gold Eagles in the tube has the potential to provide additional profit.

Silver: Here is an opportunity to diversify if you came into the market as a Gold buyer. Although no one knows for sure, Silver has probably been used as money as long as Gold and perhaps longer. There is a strong relationship between Gold and Silver prices that cannot be ignored. Silver demand in the industrial arena is moving away from photography and very strongly into solar panels. Solar slowed recently with the government investments slowing, but long term, solar demand should grow as the power needs grow and especially as smaller, more personal solar units become available. Who wouldn’t want the sun to lower your electric bill? For Silver, I also prefer coins to bars for the improved liquidity. The American Silver Eagle is the most popular followed by the Silver Maple Leaf. However, one of the best opportunities is the San Francisco American Silver Eagle in MintDirect® tubes of 20, and here’s why: you get the benefit of the unsorted, unsearched MintDirect® tubes which may contain very high grade specimens, but you also get the San Francisco Mint [MH1] (often called the “branch” mint) version that is also sought by collectors. This means you get Silver demand plus potential collector demand from both very high grade coin collectors and the San Francisco Mint collectors.


Platinum: Yes, there is a need for diversification even in Precious Metals, and here I like Platinum because of its industrial demand for automobile converters. If you believe in a recovering economy and more autos replacing old and new growth, then Platinum is one of the key Precious Metals for diversification. Again, I like the coins over bars, and the Australian Platypus (it is a strange animal for a coin) is one of the best buys in the marketplace.

Palladium: I know, I was asked for three, but how can we forget Palladium? Palladium is really improving as a more economical substitute for Platinum in industrial applications and has increased in value substantially as a result of these technological advances. Diversification into Palladium is a move that can provide more exposure to an uplifting economy, like Platinum, but takes advantage of the lower price point in the manufacturing sector. Unfortunately, coins are not as easily obtainable in Palladium but I really like the APMEX “Ballerina” 1 oz fully struck bar in the tamper evident packaging. This bar is made for APMEX by the giant producer Norilsk who mines the ore, refines it and makes this beautifully struck bar. You cannot get Palladium more direct from the mine to your hand than with the APMEX Palladium Ballerina. In my personal opinion, a well-balanced Precious Metal portfolio should have about 5 percent in Palladium.

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Weekly Gold and Silver Market Recap for Dec. 21, 2012

Gold drops will fiscal cliff news

The Gold market has seen better weeks this year. The indecisiveness of the United States congress over the impending fiscal cliff has taken the precious metal market on a ride. As of mid-day on Tuesday, Gold has fallen more than $20 an ounce at mid-day. Today’s dip comes as investors eye positive developments in fiscal cliff negotiations. Julian Phillips, founder of GoldForecaster.com, believes the sudden optimism over discussions in Washington is premature by stating, “Small steps toward an agreement are [supposedly] being made in Washington, but we prefer to act on a deal, not the expectation of one.” Many analysts are still bullish on the long-term appeal of Gold. Concerning today’s price pullback, one analyst stated, “Gold is on sale and should be seriously looked at below $1,700.” It appeared that politicians are close to reaching a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff at the end of the month. “If Gold is not able to defend those key supports, one should expect a new wave of technical selling to continue,” said Adam Sarhan, chief executive of Sarhan Capital. At 2 percent down, the yellow metal saw one of the biggest drops since November 2. By the middle of the week optimism over a fiscal cliff deal started to fade and gold fell flat. The back-and-forth sentiment regarding fiscal cliff aversion leaned negatively today after Tuesday saw positive reports, which prompted a major sell-off. Gold has gained 7 percent in 2012 as central banks around the world continue to be net buyers of the metal. However, investors remain concerned over market stability, and interest rates remain close to zero. Economists, financial analysts and individual investors continue to speculate about Gold’s future as the fiscal cliff draws near. As of Friday the market started to get back some of the lost ground from the week but it won’t get back all of it. This week looks to be the worst since June for Gold, though it is still on track for yet another annual gain. Brian Lan of GoldSilver Central in Singapore said, “At the moment, the U.S. budget talks are stalling. Many are unsure if they should enter the market. Perhaps when the U.S. has more concrete news on the outcome, investors will be more comfortable taking positions again. The market volume is thin amidst all these uncertainties, and the year is coming to an end. Many of the investors prefer to take profits and just leave the market.”

It’s not all about the cliff

This week has been a repeat of last week when it comes to the news reports in the United States. There has been much talk about dealing with the fiscal cliff but, not any action as of Friday. Away from the talks in congress the world keeps going and it is not all so negative. Americans are trying to focus on the good news rather than the bad as an upcoming fiscal cliff resolution looks uncertain. Consumer spending in November increased as household purchases rose 0.4 percent. As the unemployment rate has improved and jobs are becoming more stable, Americans feel the economy is more secure. “The numbers are encouraging,” said Brian Jones, a senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale in New York. “There’s business that has to get done whether or not these guys iron out this thing in Washington in a timely fashion. We’re going to start the year off slowly and gradually build momentum” because there will probably be a last-minute deal, he said. Mild indications that the U.S. economy is improving have softened expectations that the Federal Reserve will increase its liberal spending. “The GDP number was better than forecast, so the thinking is that improving conditions in the economy might mean a light at the end of the tunnel on when the Fed will end QE3,” said Phil Streible, a senior commodity broker at R.J. O’Brien & Associates. With all the negatives surrounding the fiscal cliff there are still positives to be found.

 

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Great Buying Opportunity – Both Silver and Gold Prices Retreat

SILVER & GOLD PRICES ARE ON THE MOVE
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS BUYING OPPORTUNITY!

If you’ve been waiting for a price dip in order to begin or expand your holdings in Silver or Gold, now may be a good time to act. Both Silver and Gold prices have pulled back, creating opportunities for savvy investors.

SILVER AND GOLD REMAIN VALUABLE ASSETS

Given the ongoing uncertainty of the global markets and today’s retreat in Silver and Gold prices, now may be the time to build your Precious Metals investments. Read more about Precious Metals prices in our Daily Gold & Silver Market Report, always updated three times throughout the day.

LOCK IN YOUR PRICE WHEN YOU ORDER FROM APMEX

When you buy Precious Metals from APMEX, the price listed is the price you pay (not including shipping) — locked in at the time of your order. There are no commissions and no hidden fees. That means you can take maximum advantage of the recent price pullback in Silver and Gold to buy your favorite items.

 

 

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Special Report: Fiscal Cliff? U.S. Debt Ceiling is the REAL Issue

Debt Ceiling to allow U.S. Debt to hit historic level in early 2013

While there have been and continue to be a significant number of hands wringing over the fiscal cliff , which takes effect on December 31, perhaps the REAL issue is coming very early in 2013: the U.S. Debt Ceiling.

The fiscal cliff is being discussed on every business report on television, radio, Internet blogs and print media. As you most likely know, fiscal cliff is the name given to the event associated with the simultaneous expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts, the increase in the payroll tax and the immediate reduction of federal government spending. For reference, here are links to APMEX’s special reports n the fiscal cliff.

Fiscal Cliff is but the Beginning

While the sudden and significant impact of multiple changes in the economy is surely creating anxiety and uncertainty in both the personal lives and business of Americans, this is likely only the beginning of issues as the United States begins to respond to the “new normal” following the Great Recession.

However, the next increase in the federal debt ceiling – the maximum amount the U.S. may borrow as set by Congress – will establish the maximum U.S. Federal Debt at about $18 trillion. While this is, of course, a huge level of debt and the largest debt of any country, the U.S. also has the world’s largest economy.

The question that each country must address is “How much debt can this country afford?” The answer depends on a number of factors and is often measured in the ratio of debt to Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the borrowing country. Historically, for the U.S., this ratio has generally been between 30 percent and 65 percent, from 1950 until the beginning of the Great Recession in 2008.

U.S. Debt is at Historically High and Dangerous Levels

When the next debt ceiling is set by Congress, most likely in early 2013, presuming borrowing to the ceiling and low GDP growth, the U.S. Debt to U.S. GDP ratio will most likely be about 120 percent, a level more than double the historical levels since 1950.

How does this compare to other countries? Below is a table of several key countries around the world. Also, here is a complete list of countries with Debt to GDP levels provided by the International Monetary Fund.

countrydata

The History and the Current Status of the U.S. Debt Ceiling

During World War I in 1917, the U.S. Congress passed a law requiring Congressional approval on the aggregate debt outstanding of the United States. Prior to this, Congress was required to approve each and every debt offering. Since 1950, there have been 95 changes to the debt ceiling; since 2000 there have been 13 changes, or about one per year. You can read about the History of the U.S. Debt Ceiling or see a listing of all changes to the U.S. Debt Ceiling, use Table 7.3.histroyofdebt

Since 2000, the increases in the U.S. Debt Ceiling have been larger than in previous years as the United States borrowed more to finance the 2000 dot-com bust, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Federal support of the Great Recession of 2007–2008.

The current status of the U.S. Public Debt and the Debt Limit is shown in the charts below. The U.S. Debt has increased by more than 15 percent since January 2011. The current U.S. Debt is very close to the U.S. Debt Ceiling of about $16.5 trillion and, accordingly, Congress will be required to take action very soon.USpublicdebt

The U.S. Debt has increased $2.1 trillion, or about 15percent, in just two years since January 2011. Despite the large increase, the Federal Government has almost borrowed to the limit.

The U.S. Debt Ceiling must be raised in the very near future, most likely in a few months. As the chart below shows, at the end of October 2012, only about $172 billion remained available under the U.S. Debt Ceiling. In November 2011, federal borrowing increased by $119 billion, and if that were the borrowing rate for November 2012, almost all of the available U.S. Debt availability would be consumed.

Note: In an article in The Wall Street Journalon December 12, 2003, it was reported that the U.S. Treasury currently has only about $67 billion remaining in borrowing capacity.

usborrowingThe red line represents the total borrowing capacity of the United States that is above the current aggregate outstanding U.S. Debt. Since January 2012, U.S. borrowing has increased such that the remaining availability has declined each month , leaving the availability in November 2012 at just $172 billion. Here is the U.S. Treasury Monthly Statement of the Public Debt of the United States.

Gold and the U.S. Debt in 2012 and Beyond

With much debate on the fiscal cliff and future debate on the debt ceiling, the end result will be that the U.S. will most likely continue to be in a period of very high federal debt relative to the GDP. This relationship cannot be changed in a year and perhaps not even in five years.

The Europeans are ahead of the United States in addressing their debt to GDP issues with Greece, Portugal, Ireland and Italy. Spain will most likely become a problem as well. The solution in Europe has been the same as the solution in the U.S.: the Central Banks create more currency to keep the economy from falling even further.

A recent article in Barron’s, titled “Is Bad News Still Good News for Gold?” Randall Forsyth, the author, in the last paragraph says

As long as authorities try to do whatever it takes to hold the system of fiat currencies and indebted governments from flying apart, paper money will continue to lose value relative to the traditional store of value, gold.

Also read

Special Report: Fiscal Cliff is Only 1 of “4 Horsemen of the Economic Apocalypse” for 2013

Special Report: 5 Possible Outcomes of the U.S. “Fiscal Cliff”

Special Report: Read about the United States Fiscal Cliff

 

 

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