Weekly Recap 7.1.11

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Happy Independence Day, America!

As U.S. Independence day approaches, the American debt crisis is becoming the main focus of the news. The attention on the European Union’s problem was lessened due to recent developments in Greece making a bailout seem more likely. Greece and the euro zone crisis has not resolved, but the shift in focus probably reflects a sentiment that the American debt crisis is more imminent. 

The week started with the bipartisan meetings on debt ceiling already fractured after republicans walked out on Friday, citing disagreement over tax increases.  On Monday, President Obama met with leaders from both parties individually in an attempt to restart talks.  The deadline to pass an agreement to lift the debt ceiling is August 2, at which time the U.S. would have a bond payment due without the means to pay it.  This would result in default, which most analysts agree, would push the U.S. back into a recession.  Standard & Poor’s, a ratings agency, said they will lower the rating on U.S. debt to “D,” the lowest possible, if an agreement to raise the debt ceiling isn’t reached in time.

Things didn’t look much better for the U.S. on Tuesday.  Republicans and Democrats became further entrenched in their respective camps.  Things were on the upswing for Greece however, as France and Germany pushed for a “Plan B” for Greek debt in an effort to prolong a default and allow themselves as long as possible to prepare for it.  A default still looks inevitable. Also, the IMF got a new chief, Christine Lagarde.  This announcement follows the arrest in New York of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, former head of the IMF.

Greece’s parliament passed new austerity measures on Wednesday. This move was demanded by EU members and by the IMF in exchange for another round of bailout aid.  Some experts remain skeptical of the final outcome, and hold the view that a default is still inevitable.

QE2 officially ended on Thursday.  The weekly jobless numbers were released and the report showed an extremely slight improvement in the unemployment situation; the data only showed a decrease of 1,000 unemployed workers.  Also on Thursday, protests sprang up in Egypt.  Thousands of people, mostly youths, took to the streets of Cairo, were frustrated at the slow pace of court cases against top officials of the previous regime.

The Institute for Supply Management released data on Friday showing an increase in manufacturing productions, easing fears of a double dip recession.  The stock market had a strong positive response with major indexes posting impressive three percent gains for the week.  The dollar also strengthened which brought the price of metals down somewhat.

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,501.40. The high during the week was on Thursday, June 30th  at $1,514.80, while the low for the week occurred on Friday, July 1st at $1,478.30. Gold ended the week down $13.70 at $1,487.70. 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 $34.43. Silver reached a high of $35.16 on Thursday, June 30th while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Monday, June 27th at $33.38. Silver ended the week down $0.50 at $33.93. 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 $1,678.40 and ended the week up $42.10 at $1,720.50. 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 $734.30 and ended the week up $27.70 at $762.00. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

 

Featured Product of the Week:    1 Ounce Silver Britannia Coins

Silver, Buy Silver, Silver Bullion, Silver Coins, Gold, Britannia

In 1997, the Royal Mint produced one-ounce Silver Britannia coins issued only as proofs with a mintage of 20,000. Created to appeal to both collectors and investors alike, the design of the Silver Britannia coin pays tribute to British nationalism and pride.

The obverse of the 1997 issue of the silver coin features the “Third Portrait” used on British decimal bullion coins dated from 1985 to 1997. In 1998, the obverse design of the Silver Britannia coin changed to depict the “Fourth Portrait,” a more mature likeness of Queen Elizabeth II. The reverse of the Silver Britannia coin illustrates the Standing Britannia, which appears in a horse-drawn chariot and resembles the Roman figure Boudica. The Standing Britannia image was originally engraved by G.W. De Saulles and used on the Gold Britannia coins for most of the issues following 1987. The Royal Mint seems to have settled on a pattern of alternating the classic Standing Britannia image and a special design on the reverse of the Silver bullion coins.

The Silver Britannia coins are also popular for their Silver value. With a face value of two pounds, the Silver bullion coins are .958 fine Silver, as opposed to the standard British sterling of .925 fine Silver. APMEX sells Silver Britannia coins in uncirculated and proof. APMEX makes it easy to buy the Silver Britannia coins of your choice by offering a wide selection of Silver Britannias and competitive Silver prices on all Silver bullion coins.

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Take the APMEX 5 Day Challenge!

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We are a society of “movers” and we are constantly on the go.  We consume gallons of coffee and energy drinks to keep us alert and we eat power bars to keep us going. Who has time to search for news about the economy, the geopolitical scene, and the precious metals market? We want our information to be short, concise and right now.  APMEX realizes the importance of your time, the significance of knowing current events, and how it pertains to your portfolio.

APMEX takes the time to find this news for you. APMEX combines it into a few short bits to keep you informed and prepared for what is happening in the world; saving you from having to put your day on hold to search and sift through an overload of information.  You will find this market information in the APMEX daily commentaries delivered Monday-Friday:  8:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m. (CDT.) You have the opportunity to read the one-page articles as they are posted, or you may read all three posts at the close of each business day. By the end of this 5-day business week, you will be more educated about the value of your precious metals portfolio and the events around the world that affect your investment.

Take the APMEX challenge!

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Weekly Recap 6.24.2011

The sovereign debt crisis in the United States and the European Union dominated the news headlines this week; this has been another volatile week in all markets. 

On Monday,  Mohammed El-Erian, the CEO of PIMCO, told an Italian newspaper, “All of this has terrible human consequences and it’s associated with a transfer of liabilities from private creditors to European taxpayers. … [I]f this approach is kept up, more money will be wasted to save private creditors and the risk of a disorderly restructuring of the debt will be greater.”

Fitch, a ratings agency, reduced Greece’s credit rating to CCC; this rating indicates a 50% chance of default within 3-5 years. Fitch also took the opportunity to warn the U.S. that its credit rating would be placed on negative watch if an agreement to raise the debt ceiling is not reached by August 2. Although other agencies have issued warnings, Fitch was the first to talk about an actual U.S. rating downgrade.

On Wednesday, George Papandreou, Greece’s Prime Minister, survived a vote of confidence required for him to remain in office.  Papandreou is in favor of new austerity measures demanded by the IMF and EU in exchange for a new round of bailouts.  The fact that he received the vote of confidence is a sign that a compromise may yet be possible.

A new jobs report was released on Thursday; the results were a down sliding surprise.  The report showed that the number of people on state unemployment benefits rose by 9,000 when it was expected to fall by 1,000.  While either move would have been relatively small, this is another economic indicator that the recovery is not going as fast as desired.  At a press conference on Thursday, Ben Bernanke said, “We don’t have a precise read on why this slower pace of growth is persisting.”  Also, negotiations between top U.S. lawmakers from both parties broke down as Republicans unexpectedly walked out, citing an impasse regarding the tax increases demanded by Democrats.

Michael Haynes, the CEO of APMEX, was invited to speak on CNBC’s Worldwide Exchange on Thursday about the recent activity of central banks. Traditionally, central banks are a source of Gold supply in the retail Gold market; now many central banks purchase and hold Gold. 

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,539.50. The high during the week was on Wednesday, June 22nd   at $1,559.30, while the low for the week occurred on Friday, June 24th at $1,498.50. Gold ended the week down $36.20 at $1,503.30. 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 $35.88. Silver reached a high of $36.77 on Wednesday, June 22nd while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Friday, June 24th at $34.45. Silver ended the week down $1.45 at $34.43. 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 $1755.00 and ended the week down $67.00 at $1,688.00. 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 $748.00 and ended the week down $12.60 at $735.40. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

Featured Bullion Product:  (1 oz) .999 Fine Palladium Bar/ Pamp Suisse (w/Assay Card)

Palladium, Gold, Silver, Platium, Buy Gold, Pamp Suisse,

The 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bar is a world-renowned bullion staple.  Palladium is considered to be platinum’s little brother, but it is worthy of its own respect.  The design of this bar is uniquely Pamp Suisse and the included assay card guarantees its authenticity.  Like platinum, palladium is considered a precious metal whose market worth is closely tied to the manufacturing sector.  Palladium is used to make everything from surgical instruments to catalytic converters.  The international demand for palladium has caused the spot price to nearly double in the last twelve months.  As worldwide manufacturing increases, so should the spot price of palladium.

Fun Fact: White gold is a combination of gold and palladium.

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Market Recap 5/27/11

The European Union’s debilitating plague of a debt crisis continues to dominate news headlines this week. Italy was downgraded from an A+ to an A-, and while seemingly insignificant, this goes to show even further decay of Europe’s financial situation. As well as the fact that analysts at UniCredit downgraded the insurance sector and the basic-resources sector in Europe to neutral from overweight today, and the industrial goods and services to underweight from neutral. Last weekend, local elections in Spain rejected any move towards austerity measures. This week, the Greek public did the same. This week’s election result in upstate New York are an indication the U.S. may not be ready to experience the pain of cut-backs either.

China is rapidly closing in on India, as the world’s largest consumer of Gold. Although China is one of the leading producers of Gold, they cannot produce near enough to satisfy their appetite. Gold production should reach 400 tonnes by 2014 with a gain of 19%, but still the demand will be for 700 tonnes. In the first quarter of 2011, China bought more Gold than the combined totals of the developed Western Nations. Demand in France, Germany and Switzerland increased triple-digits, yet China outpaced them all put together. Despite this strong rise in per capita consumption, an analyst from Standard Chartered Bank said that there is still much room to grow, “In terms of Gold consumption per capita, there is no doubt that [China and India] have a lot of catch-up potential and the impact on Gold prices could be dramatic.”

The financial instability in the euro zone gave some stabilizing strength to the U.S. Dollar this week but the end result did little to curb people’s appetite for Gold. Adam Klopfenstein, a senior market strategist at Lind-Waldock in Chicago, says, “People see the whipsaw in the currencies market and they want to buy Gold and call it a day.” Most analysts would attribute this to Gold being historically less volatile. Gold is viewed as a means to protect wealth through portfolio diversification and asset allocation.

The U.S. GNP report was released this week and the U.S. economy grew less than expected in the 1st quarter…up only 1.8%. The weekly jobs report again indicated a surprising move upward.

As the week ends, international markets are focused on Greece while our thoughts are on the demise of the QE2 program. The U.S. Dollar Index was down almost 0.9% at mid-day today. Some analysts question if we will be heading toward a double dip recession. “…[W]e continue to expect a disappointing bounce back to just 3% growth in the second half of the year. The slow-down feels very similar to last year’s soft patch,” according to economist Ethan Harris. Will the fragile U.S. economy be able to make a significant move upward in the next 3-5 years?

GOLD PRICES:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,515.10. The high during the week was on Friday, May 27th, at $1,539.50, while the low for the week occurred on Monday, May 23rd, at $1,503.70. Gold ended the week up $23.00 at $1,538.10. 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 PRICES:
Spot Silver prices opened this week at $35.17. Silver reached a high of $38.85 on Thursday, May 26th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Monday, May 23rd, at $34.34. Silver ended the week up up $2.95 at $38.12. 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 PRICES:
Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,774.90 and ended the week up $31.20 at $1,806.10. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

PALLADIUM PRICES:
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $739.60 and ended the week up $24.90 at $764.50. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

APMEX Product of the Week: 40% Silver Coin Bags

Today, a popular and convenient way of investing in precious metals is purchasing bags of U.S. Silver coins containing 40% Silver. As the price of Silver began to increase in the 1960s, the U.S. Government began seeking a more cost-effective alternative to the minting of 90% Silver content coins. In honor of the assassinated President Kennedy, the U.S. Mint began minting half-dollars depicting Kennedy that were 40% Silver instead of 90%. The Kennedy half-dollars consisted of an inner layer containing 79% copper and 21% Silver. This inner layer was clad by an outer layer of 20% copper and 80% Silver. Thus, rather than containing 90% Silver, the Kennedy halves contained a total of 40% Silver and 60% copper.

These 40% Silver Kennedy half-dollars were the last regularly-circulated coins from the U.S. Mint that still contained Silver. Extremely popular among Americans interested in collecting a memento of President Kennedy, the coins quickly disappeared from circulation after their release. Even after the U.S. Mint increased the production of the coins, the Kennedy half-dollar still remained more of a collector’s item than a widely-circulated coin. While the Kennedy halves are still available from the U.S. Mint, the coins continue to have a limited circulation and primarily meet the demands of collectors.

For investors, $1,000 and $500 face value bags of 40% Silver Kennedy halves minted between 1965 and 1969 are convenient and easy ways to own Silver. Not only are 40% Silver coins legal tender that will never lose their face value, but they are also Silver coins that do not have the high premiums associated with one-ounce Silver bullion coins, such as the Silver American Eagle coins. Unlike many other methods of investing in precious metals, buying 40% Silver bags is extremely versatile. Investors who buy Silver bags can trade the bags in units or sell and trade the coins individually.

If you are looking to purchase Silver in the most cost-efficient way, the 40% Silver coins from APMEX are a great option. APMEX makes it easy to buy Silver by offering competitive Silver prices on all Silver products.