8.19.11 WEEKLY RECAP

Markets were still highly volatile this week and the lack of certainty has pushed Gold to new record highs.  Stocks are suffering from fears of a double-dip recession due to weak economic data in practically every sector. 

Early in the week, the markets were buoyed by the European Central Bank announcing that last week it began buying Italian and Spanish securities. According to Christoph Rieger, head of fixed-income strategy at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, “The market optimists will interpret this number as good news as it underscores the ECB’s resolve…Equally, the pessimists will point out that it is bad news as it shows how much money the ECB had to commit for the yield compression seen.” This came about primarily due to a failure of politicians to convince investors that the debt crisis could be contained.  Many experts are pushing for a new “Eurobond,” saying that such a common bond issuance would allow euro zone members to borrow at affordable rates, thereby solving the current debt crisis. However, the German government is strongly against the idea of issuing Eurobonds, fearing that such a move would increase borrowing costs for Germany while also reducing the incentive for troubled euro zone countries (such as Greece) to make necessary economic reforms.

All hopes of a common Eurobond went away on Tuesday; however, as the highly anticipated meeting between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel yesterday did not satisfy world investors. The growing feeling is that plans for closer monitoring of fiscal policy in the euro zone are not enough to stop the debt problem from spreading to other countries.  This news, along with weak data about the overall health of the German economy caused jittery traders to lose the shred of confidence they had gained over the previous few days.

All of this culminated in a massive selloff late in the week, led by large losses in European financial sector.  World equity markets are plunging Thursday and Friday and the European banks are the cause for concern. Major Banks across the euro zone are sharply lower, as the news broke that the European Central Bank lent $500 million Euros to a euro zone bank, that had not requested a loan since last February. Although no details were offered, the market reads this as another sign of escalating difficulties in the European financial system, which could also affect U.S. banks.

Weekly Spot Prices

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,744.40. The all-time record high was on Friday, Aug. 19th at $1,881.80, while the low for the week occurred on Monday, Aug. 8th at $1,730.80. Gold ended the week up $112.90 at $1,857.30. 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 $39.18. Silver reached a high of $43.04 on Friday, Aug. 19th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Monday, Aug. 15th at $38.69. Silver ended the week up $3.86 at $43.04. 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 $1,801.00 and ended the week up $79.10 at $1,880.10. 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 $749.00 and ended the week up $6.10 at $755.10. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week.

 GOLD BUFFALO COINS 

 In 2006, the United States Mint introduced its first 24-karat pure Gold coin: the Gold Buffalo Coin. The Gold Buffalo coin is designed after the famous 1913 Type 1 Buffalo Nickel created by James Earle Fraser. The obverse shows the well-known Indian Head design, and the reverse features the classic buffalo design.

The Native American depiction on the Gold coin’s obverse is believed to be based on three different American Indians.  Before his death, Fraser named two of the American Indians- Chief Iron Tail of the Lakota Sioux and Chief Two Moons of the Cheyenne.  Although many Indians have claimed to be the third Indian, Fraser could not recall the person’s name.  It is widely believed that the bison on the coin’s reverse was modeled after Black Diamond, a popular attraction at the New York Zoological Gardens.

The 2006 and 2007 Gold Buffalo coins were a huge success; they provided pure-gold competition for the Canadian Gold Maple Leafs. The 2008-W Gold Buffalo is the prize of the Buffalo collection.  2008 is the only year fractional Gold American Buffalos were minted and they are scarce. The 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 Gold Buffalo coins are .9999 fine and are only available in a 1 oz coin.

To add the stunning 24-karat Gold Buffalo coins to your Gold coin collection or Gold portfolio, shop APMEX’s wide selection of Gold Buffalo coins. APMEX makes it easy to buy Gold by offering competitive Gold prices on all Gold coins.

 

Balance your portfolio with Gold today.

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Weekly Recap 7.22.11

All eyes were focused this week on the European debt crisis and the U.S. debt ceiling discussions.  While there was serious progress made on one of these issues, it’s certainly debatable whether any real progress was made on the other.

Following a day-long meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday, the European Union leaders approved a bailout plan for Greece.  Details of the European Union’s bailout of Greece have emerged, and the package is being seen as stronger than expected.  Fitch Ratings said it will declare Greece to be in “restricted default,” however this was an expected consequence, according to EU leaders.  The deal is expected to stave off any contagion to other countries in the euro zone.

In the U.S., every time progress appeared to be made, it stopped dead in its tracks.  A major deficit plan was agreed upon by the bipartisan “Gang of Six” in the Senate. This deal would reduce federal deficits and is seen as a major step forward in debt ceiling negotiations. President Obama had publicly backed the plan, but he has since backed off.  House Republicans voted this week in favor of a campaign to reinforce their budget views and eliminate the need for compromise. The slogan for this campaign is “Cut, Cap and Balance.” A bill the Republicans are promoting this week would condition any increase in the debt limit on immediate spending cuts, set caps on future outlays and require a congressional passage of a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution. Obama has specifically said that he will veto this bill if it passes the Senate.

President Obama is now said to be working on a major deficit-reduction package that includes $3 trillion in cuts while not including immediate revenue increases.  This is a sticking point to Democrats, who are said to be upset with the plan.  Obama would have to convince his fellow Democrats that this is the right deal, and he will need to do it quickly; the U.S. is now a mere 11 days away from defaulting on its debts.

Credit rating agencies were in the headlines frequently this week.  On top of the situation in Greece, the agencies came out in force to warn of the consequences of a U.S. default.  Standard & Poor’s reiterated its position Thursday that if the U.S. government misses its scheduled debt payments, it could cut the U.S. credit rating as early as August. There is some tie-in to both raising the debt ceiling and balancing the budget that S&P needs to see to avoid that type of action. The trickle-down effect could be catastrophic to a number of companies, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, plus the sovereign debt rating and the insurance industry. Senator McConnell’s “back-up plan” that had been discussed as a fall-back option has just been discredited by Moody’s as not doing enough to balance the budget and would still put the U.S. on a path for a negative credit outlook.

Gold hit a record high Monday, and has spent most of the week around the $1,600 mark.  Silver hit over $40 for the first time since May, and remains in that range.

Weekly Precious Metal Spot Prices

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,591.10. The all-time record high was on Tuesday, July, 19th at $1,610.70, while the low for the week occurred on Wednesday, July 20th at $1,581.10. Gold ended the week up $9.50 at $1,600.60. 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 $39.04. Silver reached a high of $40.88 on Tuesday, July 19th,  while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Wednesday, July 20th at $38.22. Silver ended the week up $1.12 at $40.16. 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 $1,758.00 and ended the week up $41.00 at $1,799.00. 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 $783.80 and ended the week up $24.10 at $807.90. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

America the Beautiful 2-Coin Set

America the Beautiful, Silver, Glacier, Gettysburg

This two-coin 2011 America the Beautiful  set contains the five ounce Gettysburg National Military Park coin and the five ounce Glacier National Park coin.

The America the Beautiful Silver bullion program marks a significant change for the U.S. Mint’s coin offerings with the introduction of the larger format of five Troy ounces of Silver bullion. The entire 56-coin collection will display the beauty and diversity of America’s National Parks and sites. The coins will be issued over the course of 12 years. Designs and inscriptions are duplicates of the currently circulating commemorative quarters.

The Gettysburg National Military Park coin shows the Soldiers National Monument, which stands in the center of the Soldiers National Cemetery. This monument was constructed to honor the soldiers who fell at the Battle of Gettysburg in July of 1863. The statue now stands guard over the 6,000 American soldiers laid to rest at Gettysburg.

The Glacier National Park coin depicts the majestic glacier-carved Mount Reynolds. The mountain goat in the foreground reminds us of the diverse wildlife fostered within Glacier National Park. Glacier National Park obtained federal protected status on Feb. 22, 1897 and consists of 1,000,000 acres.

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Weekly Recap 7.8.11

Debt Ceiling, Default, Aug. 2, Gold, Gold Prices, Buy Gold, Precious Metals

Some big gains for Gold and Silver occurred this week even though this trading week was abbreviated.  Gold spot prices went up $62.00 per ounce for a gain of 4%; Silver spot prices ended up $3.00 per ounce increase for a gain of 8%.

Sovereign debt worries around the globe continue to be the dominant news story this week.  Tuesday brought a downgrade of Portugal’s debt to a junk rating by Moody’s.  Moody’s was the first ratings agency to move Portugal’s debt to less than investment grade. Reflecting the sentiment that the euro zone is nowhere near the end of the crisis, Robert Tipp of Prudential Fixed Income said, “[Portugal’s] ratings downgrade reminds markets that it’s not just Greece with debt issues. Once Greece gets wrapped up, you move on to the next country.  …[T]hat will be the shape of things to come over the next year or two…”  The value of the euro tumbled on the news of the downgrade.

President Obama joined with House Speaker John Boehner, insisting that negotiators resist the temptation to “kick the can down the road” and settle for a makeshift, short-term solution to stave off a first-ever U.S. default on August 2. The administration and congressional leaders are going to take this opportunity to focus on a long-term budget plan to raise the debt limit.

The jobs picture looked positive all week, up until Friday.  The ADP employment report was released on Thursday, and indicated the private sector created 157,000 new jobs in the month of June.  This was a big surprise to the upside, as most economists predicted a more moderate number.  However, the nonfarm payroll report (which include private sector jobs, as well as government jobs), released on Friday, indicated that the net number of jobs created in June was only 18,000.  The public sector lost 39,000 jobs in June, indicating that government spending cuts are having a sizable impact on the employment picture.

PRECIOUS METAL SPOT PRICES

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,483.60. The high during the week was on Friday, July 8th at $1,546.00, while the low for the week occurred on Tuesday, July 5th at $1,486.20. Gold ended the week up $62.00 at $1,545.60. 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 $33.75. Silver reached a high of $36.90 on Friday, July 8th ,  while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Tuesday, July 5th $33.80. Silver ended the week up $3.00 at $36.75. 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 $1717.90 and ended the week up $21.30 at $1,739.20. 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 $762.00 and ended the week up $19.90 at $781.90. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

FEATURED PRODUCT OF THE WEEK

   Gold  1 oz. Chinese Pandas

Gold coin, buy gold, gold prices, gold, Chinese pandas, Gold pandas

The 1 ounce Gold Chinese Panda coin is the gem of the Chinese bullion program.  The Gold Chinese Panda has been minted since 1982 and is considered one of the world’s most beautiful bullion coins.  These coins may bear (no pun intended) a mintmark of S or Y.  The S mintmark designates the coin was minted at the Shanghai Mint, while a Y mark denotes Shenyang as the coin’s origin.  In an effort to maintain public interest in the Pandas, the Chinese change the obverse design each year (excluding 2002).  Fortunately for the artists and customers alike, the Panda is a majestic and easily identifiable creature.

As worldwide demand for the Gold Panda grows, counterfeiting has become an issue.  Interested investors should always purchase Chinese Gold Pandas from a reputable dealer (like APMEX) to ensure quality and authenticity.

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Weekly Recap 7.1.11

Gold, Silver, Buy Gold, Gold Prices, Silver Prices, APMEX

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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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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