1.27.12 Weekly Recap

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photo credit: Reuters/ Mike Segar

Gold crossed over the $1700 mark today on news of more stimulus measures by the Federal Reserve.  This news pushed the dollar down; Gold played its usual inverse position by jumping up several days in a row.

Precious metals started the week with a climb that was based on European news.  Negotiations between Greece and private debt holders are still under way. Sources close to the situation report a deal is close and private bondholders stand to take a loss of between 65 to 70 percent.

The Federal Reserve officially announced that the interest rates will not be raised until at least 2014.  The Fed believes that the unemployment rate still needs to be controlled. It anticipates that inflation will remain consistent with firm prices. The Federal Reserve’s actions indicate that they are concerned about a struggling economy, and unfortunately, this depresses the value of the dollar which had been rising compared to the euro. Federal Reserve observers are split on whether there will be another round of quantitative easing. According to the CNBC survey in January, about half of the respondents believe there will be a QE3, while 44 percent say no. These same respondents are optimistic on the economy, as long as the European crisis does not turn for the worse and create a significant global event.

The International Monetary Fund cut its global forecast of 2012 growth from 4% to 3.3%, and already is dropping its projected growth forecast for 2013 from 4.5% to 3.9%. Those forecasts are still not set; they are dependent on the efforts of the 17-country euro zone coming together to fight financial turmoil. The IMF has also called on the European Central Bank and other countries to support the euro zone with additional funding. In an update, the IMF said, “The near-term outlook has noticeably deteriorated … The global recovery is threatened by intensifying strains in the euro area and frailties elsewhere.”

WEEKLY SPOT PRICES

Gold: Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,678.40. The high was on Friday, 27th at $1,738.20, while the low for the week occurred on Wednesday, Jan. 25th, $1,649.20. Gold ended the week up $60.50 at $1,738.90. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2012 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, and 2012 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver: Spot Silver prices opened this week at $32.37. Silver reached a high of $33.94 on Friday, Jan. 27th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Wednesday, Jan. 25th at $31.53. Silver ended the week up $1.67 at $34.04 The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2012 Silver American Eagles, 2012 Silver Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 10 oz. APMEX Silver Bars.

Platinum: Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,565.00 and ended the week up $60.80 at $1625.80. 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 $687.80 and ended the week up $3.60 at $691.40. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

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The unusual Silver bullion coin, the Silver Kookaburra, was released in 1990 by the Perth Mint of Australia. These beautiful coins celebrate the interesting bird native to Australia. Due to the variety of designs and privy marks available on the Silver Kookaburra coins, these are very popular among collectors who buy Silver coins.

Each 1 oz. Australian Silver Kookaburra contains .999-fine Silver and includes proof-like frosting in the central design. The obverse features a portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and lists the face value of the coin. The reverse displays the kookaburra. Every year, the coin has a slightly different design, which makes the Silver Kookaburra coins attractive to collectors. From 1990 through 2010, only 300,000 coins were minted each year; the 2011 and 2012 versions have mintages of just 500,000.

The Perth Mint originally began in 1899 as a branch of Britain’s Royal Mint in order to help supply the 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.

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Incredible Price: 1/2 oz. Gold Canadian Maple Leafs

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Get incredible APMEX Gold Prices on 1/2 oz. Gold Canadian Maple Leaf (Random Year) coins. In the past, these coins have warranted a premium of up to $85 over spot, making this a rare buying opportunity. Add these beautiful coins to your portfolio at the low-cost of spot price plus face value of $20 per coin. Buy as many as you want! Hurry, these coins will sell out fast.

Made of .9999-fine Gold, Canadian Maple Leafs have worldwide appeal among Gold collectors and investors. With fractional coins at this incredible price, you have the flexibility to invest as much as you like and get the best Gold price no matter how large your order is. Order today, while supplies last!

Canadian Maple Leaf coins are a staple among Gold investors, and are one of the most popular entry points into the Gold market. Because of current dynamics of Gold rates, APMEX is able to offer you this rare opportunity to purchase high-quality Gold bullion at the spot price plus face value. Canadian Maple Leaf coins are broadly popular with worldwide appeal and easy to sell. They are approved for Individual Retirement Accounts to help you diversify your long-term savings with precious metals. There’s no minimum purchase required to buy 1/2 oz. Gold Canadian Maple Leaf coins for just $20 face value per coin over spot. At this price, we expect these coins will go fast. Order today, while supplies last!

The Royal Canadian Mint is known for the quality and beauty of its coins. The 1/2 oz. Maple Leaf coins feature an elegant single maple leaf on the reverse or back and a profile of Queen Elizabeth II on the obverse or front. When buying random years, you can expect to receive dates of our choice.

Order Maple Leafs online today at APMEX.com, your online Gold dealer!

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1.13.12 Weekly Recap

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Molten Gold Pour. photo: Flickr.com- Ashvin Mistry

Gold broke the recent trend of following the euro’s movements against the U.S. dollar, thanks to safe-haven investment demand that originated from the renewed jitters in Europe. Economic expectations are pessimistic with inflation rising internationally and economic growth declining globally. Investors are searching for a safe-haven investment, such as precious metals. According to Sundeep Sikka, with Money Manager (India) Inc., “The current global macroeconomic environment is very conducive for higher Gold prices.” Frank Holmes of U.S. Global Investors echoed this sentiment, saying, “People get so caught up with the next three minutes for Gold, and they should really be focused on the next three years. Does anyone really believe in the long-term strength of the U.S. dollar?” Holmes said the Gold price could double within the next five years. Investors are buying U.S. bullion coins at the fastest pace in over two years, and China is importing more Gold than ever.  One analyst noted, “The thing that’s caught people’s minds is the massive increase in Chinese buying.  Gold has demonstrated time and time again its ability to hold purchasing power.” A poll of 164 investors conducted by Nomura showed that 19.5% of them prefer to buy Gold and hold it until the end of the year. The poll compared Gold, bonds and stocks as investment choices.

The United States reached a “symbolic tipping point” as the country’s national debt surpassed $15.23 trillion, which is nearly equal to the value of its entire economy. Debt projections estimate that the U.S. economy grew to around $15.3 trillion in December, a figure the debt level is expected to surpass in January. Estimated retail sales figures for December were not quite to the levels anticipated, and a reported increase in jobless claims defied expectations. The U.S economy is facing several obstacles to successful growth, including a high unemployment rate, low demand in the housing market, and the European debt crisis. Economists will be evaluating their fourth quarter gross domestic product estimates after data was released Friday morning showing that U.S. exports declined in November, and imports rose.  The U.S. trade deficit is at its widest in six months, and is higher than the consensus expectations of economists.

The Federal Reserve’s modifications to its communication approach are drawing favorable reviews, with the Fed indicating that it will provide updates four times a year on its plans for short-term interest rates. According to the Fed, the U.S. economy is expanding at a modest pace. The main crux of further improvement continues to be a less-than-stellar jobs market, which has prevented incomes from rising. Residential real estate is still viewed as sluggish, but commercial property markets have shown improvement. Consumer confidence was generally “characterized as firmer than in recent reporting periods.” Transcripts released from the Federal Reserve policy meeting showed that as late as December 2006, top Fed officials including Chairman Ben Bernanke believed that the housing market was stabilizing and failed to anticipate the subsequent housing crash. Fed policymakers were seemingly oblivious to the threat housing represented to financial markets and the economy. The housing market’s crash resulted in a U.S. banking crisis and the biggest recession this country has seen since the Great Depression, as well as a corresponding increase in the price of Gold.

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy met to discuss Greece’s unresolved debt issues and to create a plan to ensure that the euro survives a potentially failing banking sector. The announcement was made that Greece would not receive its second bailout package (which would prevent a debt default in March) until Greece reaches an agreement with creditor banks on a bond swap. This week’s bond sale in Italy was not as successful as investors had anticipated. Even though Italy met the planned amount of 4.75 billion euros, hopes had been that the sale would bring in twice as much. The European Central Bank (ECB) decided to keep its key lending rate at 1%.  Afterwards, ECB President Mario Draghi warned of the “substantial” downside risks to the eurozone’s economic outlook, including increased debt market tensions, and stated that although there are “tentative signs of stabilization,” uncertainty remains “very high.” Fitch Ratings expressed that the ECB needs to do more to help Italy, the next big euro zone country seemingly in danger of default. The head of sovereign ratings for Fitch, David Riley, described a potential collapse of the euro as “cataclysmic.”  A French newspaper published a story that said that Standard & Poor’s would be downgrading France’s “AAA” credit rating by one notch.  Although the paper didn’t cite any sources and an official announcement wasn’t scheduled until late Friday afternoon, stocks experienced a triple-digit drop.  Gold and Silver saw drops as well, although they quickly climbed back up to the levels they were at before the news was released.  The expectation is that several other euro zone countries will be downgraded; this could force investment funds to sell bonds because they have a requirement that a set percentage of their bonds be AAA-rated. For those countries that would be affected, this could raise their borrowing costs. At a time when debt is rising and GDP (income) is declining, the last thing these countries need is for borrowing costs to rise.

Several hedge funds indicated that they are not willing to accept International Monetary Fund (IMF) proposals to bring Greek debt down to affordable levels by taking a voluntarily 50% loss on bond holdings. Instead, the hedge funds would prefer to either let Greece go bankrupt in the hopes that the hedge funds will be covered by the credit insurance they bought to protect against loss, or to get others involved and force the issue so that the funds will get paid in full. It’s a dangerous game being played by two parties with completely different interests. The hedge funds are focusing on what is best for their clients, and the IMF is trying to fix the entire sovereign debt problem in Europe. Greece is preparing to start final talks that could affect whether that country stays in the euro zone. In a move that will probably not sit well with German constituents already opposed to Germany’s role in the Greek bailout, German Chancellor Merkel announced that Germany would be willing to pay more funds to help conclude negotiations over the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) permanent bailout fund. The Greek bailout is viewed as the key solution before the European Union can work toward growth and job creation.

Tensions continued to grow in Iran, as one of the country’s nuclear scientists was killed by a car bomb on Wednesday. The bombing came as sanctions were being toughened on Iran because of its nuclear program. Although no one has claimed responsibility for the attack, Iran immediately blamed the U.S. and Israel.  U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has denied any American role in the slaying, and the U.S administration condemned the attack. However, Israeli officials, without admitting involvement, have hinted at covert campaigns against Iran, and Israel’s military chief of staff said that similar “unnatural” events could be expected this year if Iran continues along its path of nuclear development. The U.S. is looking for support from the Japanese government on imposing economic sanctions against Iran for its nuclear development program, as Japan is one of the top-three buyers of Iranian oil. President Barack Obama announced this week that the U.S. would freeze out financial institutions that deal with Iran’s central bank.

Recent data from China shows an increase in that country’s trade surplus for December.  Although expectations were met on export growth, import growth declined sharply. China is often seen as a major component of a global economic recovery. Barclays Capital Analysts said, “…the Chinese economy remains on track for a soft landing, with external weakness continuing to pose the biggest downside risk.” The U.S. and its allies are looking to impose stronger sanctions on Iran due to that nation’s nuclear ambitions, and China, as Iran’s top trade partner, seems to be caught in the middle. Hua Liming, former ambassador to Iran, said, “Iran will expect China to support its interests at the U.N. and other international circumstances, while the U.S. will exert tremendous pressure on China and use the Iran issue to judge if China is a ‘responsible’ major power.” Meanwhile, Chinese Gold imports from Hong Kong have climbed to a record high due to investment demand. China bought nearly 103,000 kilos from Hong Kong in November alone.

WEEKLY SPOT PRICES

Gold: Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,609.20. The high was on Thursday, Jan. 12th at $1,622.90, while the low for the week occurred on Monday, Jan. 9th, $1,605.70. Gold ended the week up $32.10 at $1,641.30. 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 $28.25. Silver reached a high of $30.68 on Thursday, Jan. 12th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Monday, Jan. 9th at $28.55. Silver ended the week up $0.86 at $29.81 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 $1,428.40 and ended the week up $64.20 at $1,492.60. 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 $616.80 and ended the week up $22.20 at $639.00. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

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Australian Gold Lunar Coins

Designed by the Perth Mint in Australia, the Australian Gold Lunar coins are among some of the most beautiful coins in the world. Centered around the Chinese lunar calendar, the Australian Gold Lunar coins appeal to collectors and investors all over the world. Created because of popular demand from international investors and the success of the Australian Gold Lunar Series I coins, the Australian Gold Lunar Series II began in 2008 with the Year of the Mouse coins and will end with the Year of the Pig coins in 2019.

Struck from .9999 fine gold, Australian Gold Lunar coins are a great way to acquire and invest in precious metals. Legal Australian tender, most Gold Lunar coins are struck with a larger diameter. Inspired by China’s ancient lunar calendar, the Australian Gold Lunar Series coins feature the 12 animals central to the calendar’s stories. According to the lunar calendar, each of these 12 animals has a profound influence over those born under its year of “rule.”

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Have You Rebalanced Your Portfolio?

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photo: Richard Perry, New York Times

Gold prices are moving up sharply today as the euro is stabilizing against the U.S. dollar. If you have not rebalanced your portfolio in the last six months, now may be the time for a portfolio review. What is your economic outlook for the next 3-5 years? A well-diversified asset allocation strategy — one that includes Gold and Silver — may help mitigate portfolio risk and provide balance.

The Year-end liquidity Push is winding down. Historically, at the end of any calendar year, hedge funds and investors in general rebalance portfolios. Gold can get caught up in this liquidity (move-to-cash) event. With the new year under way, this activity should be settling, and Gold may begin to move more in line with news and events.

An article from CNBC makes three important points about the jump in Gold prices:
1. The price of Gold has breached a key 200-day moving average. Technical analysts say a close above this level could spark fresh momentum for the metal.
2. The market is still dealing with a sovereign debt crisis in the euro zone. Gold should be well-supported against this backdrop.
3. Buyers in India are stocking up ahead of the wedding season later this month. Buying there is expected to continue through March.

What percent of your investable assets should be allocated to Gold? The percent of your portfolio you choose to commit to Precious Metals depends on your personal goals and risk tolerance, as well as your outlook for the economy. Consider your allocations across your IRA, 401(k) and personal portfolio.

To stay ahead of the trends, check out the APMEX Daily Gold & Silver Market Report, updated three times throughout the trading day.

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Consider the well-known, premier Pamp Suisse Gold Bar, As Low As $39.99 per Bar Over Spot. Easy to stack and store, 1 oz. Gold bars are one of the most popular ways to invest in Gold. The 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars are among the purest Gold bars you can own at .9999-fine. Each comes in a tamper-evident assay card stamped with a unique serial number, which guarantees its authenticity. Pamp Suisse bars are well-known, making them easy to sell if you need to liquidate assets. The bars depict Fortuna, the goddess of fortune and luck — widely considered the most beautiful Gold bar design. Order your Pamp Suisse Gold bars today, for as low as $39.99 per bar over spot.

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12 Days of Christmas: Day 5 – Australian Gold Kangaroos

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Now available from APMEX, the 2012 1 oz. Australian Gold Kangaroo is only $44.99 per coin over spot. At .9999 fine, this is one of the purest Gold bullion coins minted annually by the Perth Mint. And with a design that changes each year, the Gold Australian Kangaroo is sought after by collectors and investors alike. Order yours today, while supplies last.

Bullion Pricing + Collectability = Exceptional Value

The Perth Mint is one of the most popular mints in the world and its Gold Kangaroos are bullion coins valued by investors and collectors worldwide. The 2012 1 oz. Gold Australian Kangaroos are:

  • Dated 2012 with a face value of $100.
  • Specially priced, it is the lowest-priced 1 oz. Gold coin we sell.
  • IRA-approved, high-quality products for investors building retirement wealth.

The back of the coin features an adult kangaroo standing tall in a field with a windmill in the background. It also displays the date, weight and fineness of the coin. On the front is a profile of Queen Elizabeth II, along with the words “Elizabeth II,” “Australia” and “100 Dollars.”

An Amazing Value in One of the Purest Gold Coins

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Buy any quantity of 2012 1 oz. Australian Gold Kangaroo coins at the special price of just $44.99 per coin over spot, while supplies last.

Shop Our Full Line of Australian Gold Kangaroos

APMEX stocks Australian Gold Kangaroos from 2012 and prior in a variety of sizes and designs. Choose from sets or individual coins, including some individually packaged in assay cards.

 

Looking for a special silver Gift Idea? How about Australian Silver Kangaroos?

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Minted by the Royal Australian Mint, Australian Silver Kangaroos come in a wide variety of gorgeous designs. You’ll be amazed by the attractive packaging and affordable pricing that make these coins ideal gifts!

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