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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.