12.30.11 Weekly Recap

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APMEX Wishes You a Prosperous New Year!

The price of Gold has been heavily affected by the euro zone crisis this week. In the words of one analyst, “The developments in Italy have perked up the dollar, and that is pushing Gold down.” The long-term outlook for Gold continues to be supported by consistent purchases of Gold by central banks. Although there has been a recent correction in the Gold price, the viewpoint is still positive for the asset. According to James Moore of TheBullionDesk.com, “Precious metals have been hit, as traders and investors continue to lock in profits and bolster cash positions in the run-up to year-end. But, it is worth remembering that despite the recent correction, Gold is still on course to post its 11th consecutive year-on-year gain. And that, given the ongoing debt problems facing many economies, record-low interest rates and the highs in Gold this year, those with a longer-term outlook could view current levels as a buying opportunity.”

Gold demand in China caused the Chinese central bank to step in and ban most Gold exchanges, with the exception of the Shanghai Gold Exchange and the Shanghai Futures Exchange. The People’s Bank of China claims that illegal activity and lax management caused risks to emerge; the bank is now leading a team to clean up problems. Chinese citizens will still be able to buy the Gold they covet, however through limited means. Chinese officials and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda agreed to start directly trading their respective currencies with each other. This has been an ongoing issue between the United States and China, as China views the current currency landscape as too dependent on the U.S. dollar. The short-term effect is relatively limited to helping the current U.S. trade deficit with China; however, the long-term effect could be a devaluation of the U.S. dollar.

The situation in Syria escalated to a point where the Arab League finally intervened this week. The Arab League monitors tasked with observing the situation in Syria said that they saw “nothing frightening” in Homs, the city of 1 million people who has been the epicenter of protests. Some estimates have indicated that one-third of the 5,000 people killed in the Syrian crisis were killed in Homs. Many independent video reports have shown parts of that city that resemble a war zone. The Arab League’s worry has been that their monitors would not be allowed to search during their observation; this initial report only supported those fears. Despite continued observation by the monitors throughout the week, 10 people were reportedly killed Friday morning during protests. Activists hope to meet with the monitors soon to discuss the government crackdown on the protests.

The European Banking Authority set a June 2012 deadline for European banks to raise more than 114 billion euros in fresh capital in order to assure that European banks will have enough cash on hand after the price drop in European sovereign bonds.  The Italian debt auction showed no promise after Italy’s announcement of an austerity package and the recent lending done by the European Central Bank (ECB). Spain also benefited as its six-month debt costs were halved to 2.4%. The ECB has flooded euro zone banks with almost 500 billion euros in the hope that it would be used toward sovereign debt. Last week, markets rallied on the news in the hope that banks would buy sovereign debt or loan money to other banks and businesses to stimulate the economy.

The euro, clearly dealing with a significant lack confidence, experienced a rapid and drastic drop this week, falling through an important price point of 1.30. The euro fell relative to the U.S. dollar; Gold and Silver followed their historical trend to move down as the dollar moved up. There are several opinions as to why the euro fell so rapidly. One opinion is that the European Central Bank (ECB) might still decide to roll the printing press. Another opinion is that the weaker euro has to do with the rapid expansion (10%) of the ECB balance sheet. European banks took the money loaned to them by the ECB. Instead of investing the money, they risked less by parking the money in the ECB overnight depository. A third opinion revolves around the Italian bond market, which has been very unstable lately. All three of these scenarios may very well be playing a part, but the increase in the ECB’s balance sheet is probably the current driving factor.

U.S. analysts expected that the struggling housing market was in recovery. However, data released this week indicated that U.S. single-family home prices dropped significantly in October. The focus in the U.S. has been on improving the housing market to strengthen the overall economy. The number of people contracting to buy existing homes in November went up 7.3%, higher than the 1.5% expectation. Currently, mortgage rates are at all-time lows, while housing prices continue to fall. This provides strong stimulation for increased demand. Most economists see an improved housing picture as essential for job growth and a recovering economy.

Weekly jobless claims in the U.S. rose more than expected but the unemployment claims amount remained below 400,000. Initial claims for jobless benefits went up 15,000 to 381,000. Economists polled by Reuters had forecasted 375,000 claims. Although this did break the streak of three weeks of declining claims, most analyst expect a gradual positive trend to continue.

WEEKLY SPOT PRICES

Gold: Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,595.20. The high was on Tuesday, Dec. 27th at $1609.20, while the low for the week occurred on Thursday, Dec. 15th at $1,523.90. Gold ended the week down $27.20 at $1,568.00. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were  Gold American Eagles Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, and Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver: Spot Silver prices opened this week at $28.71. Silver reached a high of $29.22 on Tuesday, Dec. 27th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Thursday, Dec. 29th at $26.15. Silver ended the week down $0.77 at $27.94. The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were Silver American Eagles, Silver Maple Leafs, Silver Buffalo Rounds and APMEX Silver Bars.

Platinum: Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,437.40 and ended the week down $36.20 at $1,401.20. Popular Platinum products this week included,  Platinum Bars Platinum American Eagles, and  Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium: Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $665.50 and ended the week down $8.70 at $656.80. Palladium investors preferred  Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week.

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2012 Gold Australian Kangaroos

The Perth Mint in Australia released the third product in its 2012 Australian Gold and Silver Bullion Coin Program: the Australian Gold Kangaroo. Much like the previous products in this series, the Gold Kangaroos are issued as Australian legal tender guaranteed by the Commonwealth Government of Australia. The 2012 Australian Gold Kangaroos are offered in sizes of 1/10 oz, ¼ oz, ½ oz and 1 oz, as well as the larger 1 kilo size.

The Australian Gold Kangaroos have been offered by the Perth Mint since 1989, with each year featuring a different reverse design. The jeweler to Queen Elizabeth II, Dr. Stuart Devlin, created the 2012 design, which features a single kangaroo with a bush scene and windmill in the background. The kilo coin differs slightly, in that the image is instead a hopping Red Kangaroo. The mint mark “P” appears on the reverse of each coin, along with the inscriptions “Australian Kangaroo,” the date, the size of the coin, and the purity, “9999 Gold.” The obverse of each coin shows the Ian Rank-Broadley likeness of Queen Elizabeth II, as well as the coin’s monetary denomination, 100 Australian dollars.

The Perth Mint originally opened in 1899 as a branch of Britain’s Royal Mint to help supply Gold sovereigns and half sovereigns, which were used as everyday circulating coins throughout the British Empire. In 1970, control of the mint passed from Britain to the Western Australian Government, which still owns it today.

Order Gold Kangaroos today at APMEX.com!

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12.27.11 Weekly Recap

Gold prices have been affected by the ongoing European debt issues.  The precious metal is tied closely to the fate of both the dollar and the euro. Moves by the two currencies this week have been reflected in the price of Gold.  The recent trend for Gold has been to track the euro and move opposite the dollar.  Although there has been a correction in Gold prices over the past few months, most experts are unfazed and see the precious metal rising again in 2012. Jeffery Wright, a senior research analyst with Global Hunter Securities, said that Gold prices of $2,000 are likely if Washington lawmakers continue to be at odds on how to address fiscal problems in the U.S.  Wright also said, “Once we get back into those discussions, there will be further pressure on the U.S. dollar and a refocusing on Gold as a safe-haven asset.”

Leo Larkin, a metals and mining analyst with S&P Capital IQ, said, “Gold has been going up without interruption for 10 years.” Larkin said the current dip in prices is “totally normal” and stated that he expects this upward trend to continue in 2012. Over the past 10 years, Gold has experienced an average rise of 17% annually.  The demand for the metal continues to surge, and according to commodities strategist Sabine Schels, “The negative outlook for sovereign debt coupled with easy monetary conditions in the eurozone, the U.S. and Japan, meant Gold would retain its safe-haven status while still offering comparatively strong returns. Gold will also benefit from a continued need for central banks in emerging markets to diversify their holdings.”

The death of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il was at the forefront of the news.  Il’s death only adds to the list of uncertainties affecting the world economy; there is concern about the effects his passing will have on North Korea’s economy and its relationship with South Korea.  Stock markets slipped over comments made by European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi regarding the ECB not being able to step in to buy bonds based on the founding treaty of the eurozone. Other news causing concern was England’s refusal to participate in an increase of the IMF’s resources to help the debt crisis.  There are still plenty of hurdles and difficulties within the eurozone, including Finland’s resistance to how the European Stability Mechanism is run, which could cause issues as early as July 2012. Fitch Ratings stated that it is too late for a comprehensive solution to be reached in Europe’s debt crisis.

The business sentiment in Germany rose sharply in December, which went against expectations that such sentiment would decline. This was looked on as a good sign for the eurozone, as Germany is often considered the workhorse of the European economy. As the markets stabilized, investors wondered what would happen as events continued to unfold in North Korea. Regional tensions were on high alert, even as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. is ready to help the North Korean people create lasting peace and security on the Korean peninsula. Also, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on extending the payroll tax cut.  Although an agreement to extend the tax cut and unemployment benefits had previously passed in the Senate, congressional Republicans, unhappy that requested cuts to President Barack Obama’s health care law and changes to the unemployment insurance system were removed from the bill passed in the Senate, rejected the proposed two-month extension.

The European Central Bank (ECB) announced that its lending program would be giving eurozone banks a total of 489 billion euros to meet liquidity needs.  The announcement jump-started the markets, as the expectation was that those banks would use some of the loaned money to buy sovereign debt. However, Europe’s initial rush of excitement faded quickly after it was realized that would not be the case.  The eurozone news pulled all major indexes down, although by the end of the day Gold and Silver had climbed back near their Wednesday morning levels.  In the U.S., Republicans and Democrats reprised their roles in a drama similar to the debt ceiling issue earlier in the year, with both sides blaming each other for halting the extension of the payroll tax cut.  Also on Wednesday, the National Association of Realtors announced that existing home sales increased by 4% in November. However, those results were muddied after the association revised its calculations for 2010, saying the housing crash was, in fact, about 14% worse than previously thought.

Thursday began with both U.S. stock futures and the U.S. dollar rising in response to the release of the weekly jobless claims report. The report showed that 4,000 fewer people filed for unemployment benefits the week before. Third quarter Gross Domestic Product numbers for the U.S. reflected a revision downward of 0.2%.  The numbers also indicated that consumer spending had been weaker than originally reported. Fitch Ratings placed the U.S. on warning again  regarding its AAA credit rating, though it said a decision likely wouldn’t come until 2013. Also on Thursday, Republican and Democrat lawmakers in Congress continued their fight over the payroll tax cut extension.

The debt issues in Europe continued to hobble efforts for economic recovery, and there were talks of a ‘Quantitative Easing’-like effort within the European Union. Such a program, which would involve the European Central Bank (ECB) stepping up and buying debt, goes against the principle set forth for the ECB and is a touchy subject with ECB President Mario Draghi, who has indicated that he feels instilling trust in Europe should be the priority. Draghi said in an interview, “We won’t achieve that (trust) by destroying the credibility of the ECB.” The International Monetary Fund showed no signs of stepping in with any sort of financing plan for European debt, either. Former ECB board member Juergen Stark said, “Practically, I don’t see any countries other than eurozone states that want access to the money. It is an attempt to circumvent the ban on direct monetary financing in Europe.”  The domestic economic news on Friday was that U.S. manufactured goods rose quite a bit in November, based on aircraft demand. However, business spending decreased in an indication that investing might be starting to wane.  In other U.S. news, after a week of fighting between Republicans and Democrats, Congress finally passed a two-month extension of the payroll tax cut.

Each year around this time, we begin to see stock and Gold price predictions for the coming year. Last year, most of the predictions for stocks were bullish, and Gold predictions were more modest. But there was no way to predict the Arab Spring, the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan, the downgrade of the U.S. credit rating, the continued lack of jobs or the severity of the European debt crisis. In the end, it has been a poor year for stocks and another robust year for Gold, despite the recent price decline. It makes one wonder what the unexpected (Black Swan) events might be in 2012. According to an article by Patti Domm, CNBC news editor, there are five geopolitical risks we need to watch for in 2012:

  • The conflict with Iran. Tensions already are escalating as Western countries seek to push sanctions on Iran for its nuclear weapons program.
  • North Korea. Who is this new 28-year-old leader? There is very little known about Kim Jong Un, who leads a secretive and closed country that possesses nuclear weapons.
  • Iraq’s civil war. The exit of U.S. forces leaves behind an unstable situation that creates even more uncertainty amid the world’s major oil supplies.
  • Deteriorating Pakistani-U.S. relationship. The U.S. relies on Pakistan to assist in the ongoing war on terrorism. However, the U.S. also needs India as an ally, which creates quite a balancing act.
  • Russian elections. There could be a shift of power in Russia, and this brings added uncertainty. Russia still carries economic clout and remains the world’s largest oil producer.

WEEKLY SPOT PRICES

Gold: Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,596.30. The high was on Wednesday, Dec. 21st at $1643.70, while the low for the week occurred on Monday, Dec. 19th at $1,585.50. Gold ended the week up $13.40 at $1,609.70. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2011 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, and 2011 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver: Spot Silver prices opened this week at $28.85. Silver reached a high of $30.21 on Wednesday, Dec. 21st, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Tuesday, Dec. 20th at $28.70. Silver ended the week up $0.32 at $29.17. The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2011 Silver American Eagles, 2011 Silver Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 10 oz. APMEX Silver Bars.

Platinum: Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,411.10 and ended the week up $21.10 at $1432.20. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium: Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $617.10 and ended the week up $43.40 at $6660.50. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

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12.9.11 Weekly Recap

Gold this week was heavily influenced by the European debt crisis, with prices rising or falling based on the latest the news from Europe.  Tuesday morning saw gold reach its lowest point for the week, with the price dropping as low as $1,708.  The highest price for gold during the week came late Wednesday afternoon, when the precious metal rose to more than $1,744.  By week’s end, Gold was responding to the European news positively, rising along with the euro.  Oliver Pursche, co-portfolio manager of the GMG Defensive Beta Fund, said, “When you have so much retail and ETF interest (in Gold), you’re not going to trade on the fundamentals on the short term. (But I) would not be surprised to see higher Gold prices longer term.”

Monday started with the focus still on the debt crisis in Europe, with Gold prices dipping and U.S. stock futures rising amid optimism regarding a resolution to the eurozone debt crisis.  With a European Union summit planned for the end of the week, Rockwell Global Capital’s Peter Cardillo said, “The (stock) rally continues, but it’s all about Europe and any disappointing news out of Europe later in the week could mean an about-face for this market.”  French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel found themselves under fire to agree on a “master plan” regarding the budget for the eurozone. They announced their proposal for the “Stability and Growth Pact” treaty to assist with strengthening the eurozone financial policy to reinstate confidence in the shared currency.  Commerzbank, in response to news that the European Central Bank (ECB) was expected to cut interest rates, stated in a note, “This should lend support to the Gold price, since the opportunity costs of holding Gold will remain low.”  Also, the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported that the U.S. service sector performed at a slower pace than expected in November.  Standard & Poor’s (S&P) came out with very harsh wording in its credit rating review for the eurozone, warning fifteen countries (including France and Germany) about a possible credit downgrade.

On Tuesday, optimism that eurozone leaders would come up with a concrete plan to shore up the debt crisis continued to spread, spurred on by investor belief that Standard & Poor’s (S&P) downgrade warning to 15 European countries the day before would help that process along.  In a commentary written for Marketwatch, author Satyajit Das stated, “What happens in Europe will not stay in Europe.  The shock will be rapidly transmitted through trade, investment and the financial system to the rest of the world.  It may truncate the nascent U.S. economic recovery.”  There was fear that the European Financial Stability Facility also might face a downgrade of its respected credit rating if even one of the bailout fund’s six guarantors (Germany, France, the Netherlands, Finland, Austria, and Luxembourg) was downgraded from a rating of AAA.  U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was in Germany Tuesday to attend the three-day eurozone summit aimed at finding a European economic resolution.  He indicated his support for the German-French initiatives pushing closer European financial cooperation, and urged policymakers to look to central banks to help provide protection from the growing debt crisis.

Wednesday saw many investors waiting on the results from Thursday’s European Central Bank meeting, in which the result is expected to be a lowering of interest rates.  The big card on the table for the meeting was the proposed new EU treaty that would include tougher budget rules.  Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner headed to France to continue promoting the American agenda while meeting with French, Italian, and Spanish officials.  Geithner stated, “I have a lot of confidence in what the president of France and the minister are doing, working with Germany to build a stronger Europe.”  The U.S. senate appeared to put “too-big-to-fail” banks back on its radar, with Senator Sherrod Brown holding a hearing Wednesday regarding “new oversight authority to shield Main Street from Wall Street megabank risk.” Comments made by German officials and the new economic figures had diminished hopes that a resolution would come out of the EU summit planned for Friday.

News about the European Union drove major market movement during this past week. Precious metals prices and U.S. stocks were both down Thursday morning after the announcement from the European Central Bank (ECB) that it would be cutting its key lending rate from 1.25% to 1%, while also introducing further measures in an effort to ease lending for banks.  Investors appeared to be hoping for news that the ECB would aggressively begin to buy bonds.  However, ECB President Mario Draghi announced the oppositeEuropean Union leaders meeting in Brussels came to an agreement on new fiscal rules for stricter budget discipline in the eurozone.  However, EU leaders were unable to come to an agreement on how to shore up the EU’s future permanent rescue fund, and the looming question about whether any new agreement would require major changes to the EU treaty wasn’t even brought up.  French President Nicolas Sarkozy stated, “Never has the risk of Europe exploding been so big.” The German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered, “The euro has lost credibility, and this must be won back.  We will make clear that we will accept more binding rules.”  Not everyone was convinced.  Scotia Capital economist Alan Clarke said, “One step forward, two steps back.  The eurozone leaders might as well not bother.  Pack their bags, go home, enjoy the weekend, and do their Christmas shopping.”  In the U.S., weekly jobless claims fell by 23,000 to 381,000, a better number than the expected drop of 9,000.

By Friday, after overnight talks in Belgium, 23 European nations (including all 17 eurozone members) were planning on a new intergovernmental treaty for fiscal discipline, which would include caps on Gross Domestic Product deficits, consequences for deficits exceeding 3% of GDP, additional contributions to the International Monetary Fund, and other features.  However, not every EU member was on board for a revision of the treaty.  British Prime Minister David Cameron, after telling journalists present that Britain “would never join the euro,” argued for regulatory exemptions that would protect the United Kingdom’s financial services industry. He said that the ideas proposed by French President Sarkozy and German Chancellor Merkel were not something he could “in good conscience” take back to the UK and put to a vote in parliament.  In response, President Sarkozy said, “Our British friends made unacceptable demands.”  Also on Friday, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded three French banks based on the continued negative economic outlook in Europe, explaining, “The probability that the (banks) will face further funding pressures has risen in line with the worsening European debt crisis.”

WEEKLY SPOT PRICES

Gold: Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,735.00. The high was on Thursday, Dec. 8th at $1,760.50, while the low for the week occurred on Friday, Dec. 9th at $1,704.90. Gold ended the week down $22.10 at $1,712.90. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2011 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, and 2011 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver: Spot Silver prices opened this week at $32.36. Silver reached a high of $33.09 on Monday, Dec. 5th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Thursday, Dec. 8th at $31.43. Silver ended the week down $0.08 at $32.28. The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2011 Silver American Eagles, 2011 Silver Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 10 oz. APMEX Silver Bars.

Platinum: Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,533.60 and ended the week down $16.60 at $1,517.00. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium: Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $643.80 and ended the week up $43.50 at $687.30. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

2011 Kilo Silver Aztec Calendar coin

Honor the rich heritage of Mexico and its people with the 2011 Kilo Silver Aztec Calendar coin, now $100 off the regular price. With a full 32.15 oz. of .999-fine Silver, these incredibly detailed coins were minted in limited quantities. APMEX ships them with a magnifying glass, mint-issued box and certificate of authenticity. Order yours today, while supplies last.

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The Sun Stone (also known as the Aztec Calendar) was unearthed in Mexico in 1790. The original Sun Stone measures 12 feet in diameter and weighs 24 tons. The Banco de Mexico minted only 1,500 of the 2011 Kilo Silver Aztec Calendar coins.

Given the coin’s large size, Banco de Mexico was able to recreate this historic artifact in stunning detail. The 2011 Kilo Silver Aztec Calendar coin:

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  • Includes a magnifying glass so you can fully appreciate the coin’s beauty
  • Packaged in a beautiful, laser-etched wooden display box

The front of the coin features the Mexican national shield (an eagle on a cactus with a snake in its beak) surrounded by previous Mexican national shields used throughout history.

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11.23.11 Weekly Recap

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APMEX wishes you a

Happy Thanksgiving!

Markets posted significant losses this week because of the worsening European crisis, negative reports on the U.S. economy and Congress’ failure to agree on budget cuts. Gold dipped below $1700 on Monday but rebounded on Tuesday as investors chose Gold as their safe haven asset. Stocks have continued their run of losses; the S&P 500 posted a loss for the sixth straight trading day on Wednesday as the U.S. markets prepare to go on holiday for Thanksgiving.

The lack of an agreement among lawmakers in Washington raised the speculation that further downgrades to the U.S. credit rating could be coming, as well more large losses in equity markets. “Failure to reach agreement on at least the minimum required savings will reflect poorly on Congress and the S&P 500 could fall by 10 percent to 1,100 percent,” said David Kostin, an Goldman Sachs equity strategist. Kostin said,“The wide range of possible outcomes on both the super committee process and the unstable political economy in Europe drives our view that investors should assume the worst while hoping for the best.” Daniel Clifton, policy strategist with Strategas Research, stated, “We would expect further downgrades, a first downgrade from Moody’s and Fitch and possibly a second downgrade from S&P.”

The U.S. Commerce Department reported that the gross domestic product (GDP) grew at a less-than-projected rate of 2% from July to September. With the S&P 500 hitting its most prolonged slump in nearly four months, there is continued speculation that the Federal Reserve will provide another round of stimulus in response to this country’s sluggish economic growth. Peter Boockvar, an equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co., messaged his clients about the possibility of QE3. He wrote, “The bottom line with the Fed at this point is when they embark on QE3, as the top people there seem to want it. Whether they couch it in future economic conditions or not, the result is still the same:  printing money that they think will create a better environment for economic growth that they haven’t been able to achieve.”

Even Germany is not immune from the world’s aversion to risk. At an German bond auction, few traders showed interest in Germany’s debt, expressing concern that Europe is a risk. “[I]f even Germany cannot attract buyers, then the structural negatives are even worse than we thought,” said Jeremy Stretch, CIBC currency strategist. “The German bond auctions were the straw that broke the euro’s back,” said Kathy Lien, director of currency trading at GFT Forex.  “German bonds are normally perceived as the safest investment in Europe, so if investors aren’t willing to buy German bonds, then Europe is really in trouble.”

In the Middle East, Egyptians are protesting their new regime with deadly results; however, the Arab Spring has toppled another leader. Yemeni President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, has signed a power-transferring deal with the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council.  Yemen has joined Tunisia, Egypt and Libya in bringing about regime changes this year.  In a statement today, Saleh said, “We will be cooperative. … It is not the signing that is important; what matters are the good will and the start of serious and faithful work for real partnership to rebuild.”

Gold was pushed down this week, in part, by a stronger dollar brought on by a flight to cash in all asset classes.  The market is in a completely ‘risk-off’ mentality today, and Gold hasn’t been seen as a flight-to-safety vehicle lately,” Bill O’Neill, a partner at Logic Advisors.  “I don’t think the long-term outlook has changed, though.”

WEEKLY SPOT PRICES

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,678.70. The high was on Monday, Nov. 21st at $1,727.40, while the low for the week occurred on Tuesday, Nov. 22nd at $1,667.50. Gold ended the week up $17.10 at $1,695.80. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2011 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, and 2011 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver:
Spot Silver prices opened this week at $31.11. Silver reached a high of $33.04 on Tuesday, Nov. 22nd, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Monday, Nov. 21st at $30.65. Silver ended the week up $0.69 at $31.80. The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2011 Silver American Eagles, 2011 Silver Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 10 oz. APMEX Silver Bars.

Platinum:
Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,549.90 and ended the week down $1.40 at $1,548.50. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium:
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $587.60 and ended the week down $1.60 at $586.00. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

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Buy this beautiful Silver Proof Mexican Libertad proof, box and CoA for the low price of only $8.49 per coin over the spot price! Each coin contains 1 full ounce of .999 fine Silver. This 1986 1 oz Silver Proof Mexican Libertad is contained in an original mint capsule and handsomely displayed in a decorative box with a numbered Certificate of Authenticity.  The value in this offer is sure to please any collector.

On the obverse, the Mexican Libertad coin features Victoria, the winged goddess of victory in Roman religion. The design was inspired by “The Angel of Independence,” a famous gilded victory column erected in 1910 in a Mexico City roundabout to commemorate the centennial of the beginning of Mexico’s War of Independence. On this Silver proof coin, Victoria holds a laurel wreath and a broken chain, symbolizing freedom. Behind Victoria are the two iconic volcanoes Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl, which are steeped in Mexican lore. The legend of “Lover’s Peaks” recalls the Pre-Columbian tale of two lovers whose romance came to a tragic end. The attractive reverse of the Libertad displays the Seal of the United Mexican States, with a Mexican golden eagle perched on a cactus and clutching a snake with its beak and talons.

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11.18.11 Weekly Recap

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The U.S. debt passed the $15 trillion mark this week.  What does a trillion dollars look like?  A trillion is 1 million multiplied by 1 million. 1,000 billion dollar bills in your pocket amounts to $1 trillion which is understandably inconceivable to most people. Americans should be alarmed about this $15 trillion debt when we learn that the ratio of U.S. debt to its GDP is now 102% and rising.  When the debt-to-GDP ratio of a country hits 90%, it begins to become a drag on future economic growth.  If this ratio climbs to 100% or higher, the economic growth becomes nearly impossible.

It appears that until Europe is fixed, its headlines will continue to drive the markets for the foreseeable future Robert Pavlik, Banyan Partners chief market strategist, expressed,“We’re capped, at least until we can knock Europe off the front page.” Gold fell more than $50/oz on Thursday as concerns of expanded contagion from the euro zone crisis caused large selloff in almost every market. There is a lot of fear, warranted or not, over the exposure of U.S. banks to the debt crisis in Europe.  The concern is not over any of the countries we’ve worried about over the past few months; the concern is the exposure of U.S. banks to French and British debt.  The exposure to Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain totaled a relatively manageable $50 billion as of Sept. 30th; however, the exposure to French debt is approximately $188 billion and exposure to British debt is approximately $225 billion.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Europe could be facing its toughest hour since WWII.  Greece and Italy both have new leaders but this does little to nothing in itself to solve the problem.  Both new leaders are rushing to form new administrations and coalitions to stave off the damage of escalating debt problems.  “Europe is in one of its toughest, perhaps the toughest, hour since World War II,” Merkel told her conservative party in Leipzig.  “If the euro fails, then Europe fails, and we want to prevent, and we will prevent, this.  This is what we are working for, because it is such a huge historical project,” Merkel said.  Investors continue to look for decisive action from euro zone leaders.

This time of year, hedge funds and other investment firms are required to make regulatory filings with the SEC to report their holdings.  These reports can give an indication as to the outlook of some of the world’s savviest investors.  It appears that many are cautiously optimistic but are still avoiding risk, mainly due to fears of a contagion from Europe’s financial woes.  Ryan Detrick, senior analyst at Schaeffer’s Investment Research, said, “We still think it makes sense to be cautiously bullish here.  Don’t go overboard, obviously, because those Europe concerns are clearly still relevant.”

In an interview on Wednesday, Christopher Waller, research director for the St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank, warned that economic recovery in the U.S. is likely to be a process that will take several years and that the Federal Reserve can do little to shorten it.  “Something’s happened in U.S. labor markets that we can’t overcome,” he said, adding, “No matter what we do, recovery is going to be slow.” Bullard has said the Fed shouldn’t engage in any additional easing of monetary policy unless the U.S. economy derails from its current modest growth, stating, “There’s no point in trying to say, ‘Cure cancer with monetary policy.’ It’s just not possible.”

Meanwhile, Chicago Fed President Charles Evans is pushing for a commitment from the Fed to do more to decrease the nation’s high unemployment rate.  Evans, who has been pushing for more aggressive action from the Fed for some time, said, “I just think this is the time to stretch the boundaries a little bit more and take a few chances.”  He is pushing for a plan that involves asset purchases (some form of quantitative easing (QE) as well as very low interest rates until the unemployment rate drops below 7% or until inflation rises above 3%.  At the most recent meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, Evans was the lone dissenter on the panel who favored more aggressive action, including a third round of QE.  Now, two more Fed presidents have released statements supporting Evans’ ideas.  But if Evans gets his way, how will the stimulus be paid for?

WEEKLY SPOT PRICES

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,778.40. The high was on Monday, Nov. 14th at $1,797.60, while the low for the week occurred on Thursday, Nov. 17th at $1,711.00. Gold ended the week down $50.40 at $1,728.00. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2011 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, and 2011 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver:
Spot Silver prices opened this week at $34.10. Silver reached a high of $34.92 on Monday, Nov. 14th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Friday, Nov. 18th at $30.93. Silver ended the week down $1.64 at $32.46. The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2011 Silver American Eagles, 2011 Silver Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 10 oz. APMEX Silver Bars.

Platinum:
Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,646.40 and ended the week down $48.50 at $1,597.90. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium:
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $664.30 and ended the week down $57.80 at $606.50. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

100 Corona Gold Coins & Gold 50 Pesos

For decades, these Gold coins have remained a world favorite for people interested in Gold investments because the premiums charged for these coins are normally lower than for most other Gold bullion coins. The 100 Corona coin contains 0.9802 oz. of 21.6-karat Gold. The Corona coins were originally issued from 1908-14, bearing the date of mintage; after the death of Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph, the coins were imprinted with the commemorative date of 1915. The Austro-Hungarian 100 Corona coin is no longer minted. The 50 Pesos coins were minted in Mexico City. The Peso coin contains 1.2057 oz. of 90% Gold and 10% copper that strengthens the coin to endure the wear of circulation.

Increase your Gold portfolio in thrifty fashion by adding Mexican Gold 50 Pesos bullion coins and Austro-Hungarian Gold 100 Corona coins to your holdings. While supplies last, buy Gold 50 Pesos and 100 Corona coins at only $24.99 per ounce over the Gold spot price at APMEX.com.

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