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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Weekly Recap 6.17.11

On Monday, investors were jittery about Friday’s big selloff, and they cashed out their Gold holdings to cover losses in other markets.  Ratings agency S&P cut Greece’s government debt, indicating a strong possibility of a default.  Pimco’s Bill Gross said Monday that the U.S. is financially worse off than Greece and other European debt-laden countries. Mr. Gross makes the point that although the current focus is on the $14.3 trillion dollar debt, when the future costs of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are considered, the total is more than $100 trillion dollars.

On Tuesday, investors went bargain shopping and markets lifted off support from a few days earlier. The People’s Bank of China announced a rate hike indicating that they are making efforts to curb China’s rapidly inflating economy.  Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said, “History makes clear that failure to put our fiscal house in order will erode the vitality of our economy, reduce the standard of living in the United States and increase the risk of economic and financial instability.”

Wednesday brought news of massive strikes and protests in Greece.  Images of riot police clashing with civilians made investors leery and sparked a selloff in the Euro.  Nervousness brought on by the situation in Greece caused a 164-point drop in the Dow.  CPI data indicated inflation in the U.S. and added fuel to the fire.

On Thursday the Euro continued its slide on the back of more chaos in Greece.  The jobs report released on Thursday added some support to U.S. markets but most attention was still focused on Greece.  Jobless claims fell last week to 414,000 claims; this fall in jobless claims was 6,000 more claims than expected. The moving average is still well above 400,000 claims and the June figures are not expected to look much different than the dismal May figures. The unemployment future still appears cloudy.

Germany and France announced Friday morning that they were united on a bailout plan to prevent a Greek default and this buoyed the U.S. equities markets. Continued protests however, indicate a lack of will in the Greek populace to make necessary sacrifices.  According to recent data from Case-Shiller, the current U.S. housing crisis could be worse than the Great Depression. Prices have fallen 33% since the collapse began which is greater than the 31% fall during the Great Depression. This Case-Shiller data is arriving when this QE2 is ending and the Federal Reserve must decide if the U.S. economy is able to stabilize.

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,530.10. The high during the week was on Friday, June 17th at $1,543.00, while the low for the week occurred on Monday, June 13th at $1,511.40. Gold ended the week up $10.20 at $1,540.30. 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 $36.29. Silver reached a high of $36.53 on Monday, June 13th while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Tuesday, June 14th at $34.40. Silver ended the week down $0.30 at $35.99. 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 $1829.10 and ended the week down $70.10 at $1,759.00. 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 $814.80 and ended the week down $66.80 at $748.00. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

Featured Bullion Product:      Austrian 100 Corona Gold CoinsBuy Gold, Gold Prices, APMEX, Austria Corona, Gold Demand, precious metals

The Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins are some of the most interesting coins in the world because of their history. For example, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins were among some of the first gold bullion coins available upon the enactment of an executive order on December 31, 1974, that re-entitled Americans to own gold bullion. In addition to their availability at the time of the 1974 order, the Austrian Corona Gold Coins are also fascinating because they are restrikes, which are official reproductions of coins that were originally minted for circulation. Issued from 1908 to 1914, the Austrian 100 Gold Coins first featured their date of issue. After the death of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph however, the gold coins were only produced as commemorative pieces and were dated 1915.

 Minted in Vienna Austria, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coin is .900 fine gold (21.6 karat gold) and contains 0.9802 troy ounces of gold. Designed by Stephan Schwartz, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coin pays tribute to Austrian nationalism and pride. The obverse of the Austrian Corona Gold Coin displays a portrait of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I, who ruled from 1848 to 1916. The reverse features the Austrian Coat of Arms symbol, depicting a double eagle and a crown. Moreover, the edges of the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins include the lettering Vnitus Viribvs, which means “the unified strength,” a well-known motto attributed to Franz Joseph I. No longer minted, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins are some of the lowest-premium gold bullion coins available on the world coin market. Appealing to both collectors and investors alike, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins have begun to attract attention for both their unique history and low-premium gold status.

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Market Recap 6/10/11

Sovereign debt trouble in the U.S. and Europe were the running theme this week. The U.S. experienced a hangover from last Friday’s disappointing economic news.  On Monday, Jim McCaughan, CEO of Principal Global Investors, said that the U.S. might be recovering from their financial collapse of 2008, but Europe has not seen theirs yetIn Portugal, Prime Minister Jose Socrates was soundly defeated in weekend elections by the opposition party, led by Pedro Passos Coelho. Portugal’s parliament had already blocked austerity measures proposed by Prime Minister Socrates for being too severe. Now Portugal has a new party to lead them through a difficult future.

On the heels of the U.S. dollar falling to a one-month low,  Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve Chairman, answered questions at his press conference on Tuesday.  “Until we see a sustained period of stronger job creation, we cannot consider the recovery to be truly established,” he said. After the press conference, both metals and stocks lost ground that was gained early in the day.  President Obama met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and spoke out against rumors of a double-dip recession.

Wednesday brought about an important meeting which was touted as “…one of the worst meetings OPEC has ever had.”  The point was to bring production up, but this dissolved quickly.  Oil prices soared on the news.  In other news from the Middle East, Muammar Gaddafi’s reign in Libya is expected to come to an end.  NATO’s chief is appealing to the UN to help Libya transition to a democratic state.  NATO’s airstrikes are still in placeIn Syria, a number of civilians were killed in clashes between demonstrators and the government’s security forces.  The  situation in Yemen was similar as protestors rallied at the Capitol of Sanna.

The weekly jobless claims report in the U.S. was expected to show a modest dip of around 7,000 claims; however, it ended up swelling by 1,000 claims.  The stock market broke its six-day losing streak on Thursday but lost momentum, closing well off the day’s earlier highs.  The European Central Bank (ECB) met Thursday, and kept interest rates the same, as expected, but indications are that there will be a rate hike in July.  Estimates of a new bailout package for Greece now top 120 billion euros.

Mario Blejer, an Argentine economist wrote an article for Marketwatch titled “Why a Greek Default is Inevitable.”  It explains how the European Central Bank is making the Greek dilemma worse and there is no alternate ending available for Greece.  When that occurs, will it push other debt-troubled countries closer to default, such as Portugal and Ireland, who hold some of Greece’s debt?

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,543.00. The high during the week was on Monday, June 6th at $1,555.00, while the low for the week occurred on Friday, June 10th at $1,526.70. Gold ended the week down $11.00 at $1,532.00. 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 $36.22. Silver reached a high of $37.86 on Friday, June 10th while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Wednesday, June 8th at $36.07. Silver ended the week up $0.02 at $36.24. 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 $1,817.40 and ended the week up $1.70 at $1,819.10. 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 $785.30 and ended the week up $24.50 at $809.80. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

Featured Bullion Product: Australian Lunar Coins – Series 2

The most important of the traditional Chinese holidays, the Chinese New Year, also known as the Chinese Lunar New Year, is a much-celebrated event in China and in countries all around the world. Beginning on the first day of the first month of the traditional Chinese calendar, the festival of the New Year is a centuries-old celebration which includes red decorations, presents, food, clothing and corporate family preparations for luck and good fortune in the upcoming year.  2011 is the Year of the Rabbit in the traditional Chinese calendar. According to Chinese tradition, the Year of the Rabbit will be a welcome change after the Year of the fierce Tiger in 2010. The Rabbit, an emblem of longevity in Chinese mythology, represents grace and kindness and will usher in a period of peacefulness and wise counsel in 2011.

In order to celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year, APMEX offers Year of the Rabbit Lunar Coins which commemorate this event in the Chinese calendar. The Lunar Coins are a great addition to any coin collection since the theme of the coin’s design draws its inspiration from China’s ancient Lunar Calendar. The stories indicate the twelve calendar animals have profound influence over those born under their ‘rule.’ Offered in both Gold and Silver, the Year of the Rabbit Lunar Coins commemorate the Rabbit’s place in the lunar calendar.   

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