In the 1800s, a $20 Gold coin (which has 0.9675 ounce of pure Gold) would buy a nice gentleman’s suit. In 2013, with the price of Gold at $1,300 per ounce, you could also get a very nice gentleman’s suit, plus a pair of shoes, a shirt and a tie to match.
We recently have been hosting a series of Q&A sessions on Facebook and Twitter for our fans and followers to partake in. Previous topics that we have covered were about Investing in Silver and Investing in a Precious Metals IRA. For this Q&A session, Peter helped answer questions about Investing in Gold. Here below is a recap of that session.
Q- Does APMEX utilize any hedging strategies? If so why do their premiums remain so high?
A- APMEX hedges 24/7 when the Precious Metals markets are open. (Markets close at 5PM Friday ET and reopen on Sunday at 6PM ET). Hedging allows us to lock in prices at the time you place your order. All Precious Metals dealers have experienced unprecedented demand as of late, which has drastically cut into available products. The manufacturers had no way of anticipating this sudden increase in demand. When supplies are low and demand is high, they charge more for their products. APMEX pays more to purchase the products, so premiums go up. APMEX is also paying higher prices to our customers who wish to sell their products to us. It does work both ways.
Q- Do you see a split coming in the way paper and physical Gold and Silver are priced?
A- The paper products (ETFs) claim they correlate to the actual spot prices of the metals. However, the recent drop in spot prices demonstrated that this is not always true. The paper products fell even more than the spot prices. Jim Cramer has always recommended Gold through GLD…He now says buy the physical coins. I do not see how there could ever be a split in how they are priced. They are both based on spot prices.
Q- In your opinion, why has gold dropped so much?
A- Most of what I read says gold dropped because of the paper markets (ETFs). (Speculators) The big hedge funds, who always leverage their purchases, started taking money off the table. As prices dropped, automatic sell signals hit computers and a snowball effect took place. At the same time, the physical market (Investors) bought at levels we had never seen before. There is a re-balancing between investors and speculators. The basic reasons for owning Gold as an investment would seem more valid than ever….as a long term investment
Q- Do you see Precious Metals reacting to the over flooded market of Gold and Silver certificates? Do you believe the Silver incident is coming?
A- I do not know if the certificate market is big enough to move the overall market. If you are referring to ETFs, then yes, they definitely move markets. I am not sure what you mean by Silver incident, but I am not seeing anyone predict an explosive move up or down.
Q- Taking into account Gold’s recent volatility and the current economic environment, what are your thoughts as to where Gold is headed in the short/mid-term?
A- I only think of Gold as a long term investment strategy. Many analysts advise that a 4-12% insurance policy should be considered by all. I am not aware of anyone who consistently predicts short term prices with accuracy. Short term becomes more of a bet than an investment.
Q- My local coin dealer says don’t go for 90% junk. Rather go for bouillon bars and rounds. Thoughts?
A- Our customers who believe there could be a time they need real money to buy food, often buy 90%. If purely for investment purposes, I would not disagree with your dealer. Keep it simple and buy 1 oz. coins, rounds or bars.
Q- It reminds me of what happened to Silver a few years ago when it dropped from like $30 to $10 but yet you couldn’t find any physical Silver at $10.
A- Yes, similar for sure. It is not that Gold and Silver are in short supply. The problem is that the manufacturers who make products cannot keep up with demand.
Q- Peter, personal question. What is your personal favorite product, round, bullion and manufacturer?
A- I like the simple Gold & American Eagles. It is just a personal choice, many of my colleagues like Maple Leaf, rounds or bars. If you want rounds I would go APMEX rounds because most of the time they are the best price. They are made by the Sunshine Mint. For bars, I personally like the Pamp Suisse in assay.
Q- Why did the mint suspend production of the 1/10th oz Gold round?
A- I do not know, but I am fairly sure the reason was they were struggling to keep up with production of 1oz. coins
Q- Is there a shortage in physical Silver? I still see people selling plenty of Silver.
A- It is not that there is a shortage of Silver; there is a shortage of Silver products. The manufacturers did not anticipate the buying frenzy. They are struggling to catch up to demand.
Q- Exactly how does the paper futures market effect the Precious Metals market and how much can the price be manipulated through the futures market?
A- This is not an area of expertise for me, but I think of it like this. The future markets allow speculators to place leveraged bets on whether prices are going up or down. Other speculators can monitor the direction of the bets and either jump on board or play the opposite view. The reason it can really move markets is that they control much more Gold or Silver than they actually had to pay for. It is a leverage bet. I might buy a Gold contact at 100 oz. but I only have to put 10% down. The market reacts as if 100 oz. has been sold. Hope this helps.
Q- If APMEX hedges when they make their sale instead of when you purchase from your suppliers, aren’t you basically helping to drive down prices after you have sold your product?
A- it is actually the opposite. If we sell 100 oz. of Gold we buy a futures contract. If we buy 100 oz of Gold we sell a futures contract. Our goal is to stay neutral.
The more the markets change, the more you want Gold & Silver products from the world’s most respected mints, refiners and assayers. That’s all APMEX sells. And no matter what happens in the market, our prices remain transparent, competitive and fair. Here are just a few of the popular bullion products we have in stock:
APMEX offers Precious Metals through the APMEX secure website 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or take advantage of our extended live help hours by calling our Account Managers toll free at (800) 375-9006, Mondays through Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Fridays from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. (CDT).
PHYSICAL BUYERS DRIVE GOLD MARKET
After last week’s Gold and Silver prices hit a two year low, physical buyers jumped on the opportunity to buy at the reduced market pricing. That buying of Gold and Silver gave prices a boost this week. On Monday, the Gold price recovered some of the ground lost after last week’s major price drop as expectations for the metal remain positive among many investors. “As the price moved over $1,400 per ounce, physical traders, on the expectation that Gold could possibly correct back higher, rushed into Gold.” MKS Group Senior Vice President Frederic Panizzutti said. The demand for physical Gold along with continued support by central banks has helped buoy prices over the last few sessions. One of the driving factors of the increase in the Gold price this week was the U.S. durable goods report, which was lower than expected. “Overall, the weak tone of this report underscored the emerging narrative of a considerable slowing in economic growth momentum in March,” TD Securities senior economist Millan Mulraine said. Many economists blame the slowdown on the budget cuts that took place earlier in the year and believe businesses are being more hesitant due to the uncertainty in the economy. Gold climbed to its highest price in ten days during overnight trading on Thursday, hitting $1,447.66 an ounce. The increase is credited to a weaker dollar, firmer prices in other commodities and a ninth straight session of physical Precious Metals demand. Investors have also noted that Russian and Turkish central bank purchases, as reported by the International Monetary Fund, increased in March. Daily outflows from exchange traded funds (ETF) are keeping the largest Gold backed ETF, New York’s SPDR Gold Trust, at its lowest level since late 2009.
IS GOLD UNDERVALUED DUE TO ECONOMIC UNCERTAINTY?
Gold’s price movement over the past few weeks has the market questioning whether the bull run is over. Compared to fiat money, the yellow metal continues to be undervalued, according to Hinde Capital CEO Ben Davies, who believes Gold has held its ground throughout history and is currently being pressured by paper money. Author Detlev Schlichter said, “After 40 years of relentless paper money expansion and in particular 25 years of Fed-led global bubble finance, the dislocations in the global financial system are so massive that nobody in power dares to turn off the monetary spigot and allow market forces to do their work, that is to price credit and to price risk according to the available pool of real savings and the potential for real income generation rather than according to the wishes of our master monetary planners.” The continued easing in the major global markets is not the only sign of uncertainty that investors are taking note of. Volatility in equities markets remains as many experts have cut corporate earnings projections for the second quarter. Economists who initially forecasted a 6.2 percent increase at the beginning of April have scaled back their predictions to 5.5 percent expansion in the coming quarter. “The earnings season has been enough to hold stocks where they are in light of some less than hoped for macro data,” Federated Investors Inc. fund manager Lawrence Creatura said. “Time will tell if it will remain enough as we move through what’s a seasonally more difficult time.” In Europe the debt crisis is spreading to the eurozone’s stronger economies now, according to German industrial giant Daimler, maker of Mercedes-Benz autos and trucks. Daimler said it is feeling the effects of the crisis in Germany, signaling the spread of the problem from the smaller countries to the eurozone’s economic powerhouse. High Frequency Economics chief economist Carl B. Weinberg said, “The EU has made Europe a much more cohesive economy, which is good when things are going up, but when things are going down the multiplier is very strong. An outgoing tide lowers all ships.”
At 5:00 pm (EDT), the APMEX precious metals spot prices were:
- Gold, $1463.70, Down $0.80.
- Silver, $24.04, Down $0.21.
- Platinum, $1479.30, Up $13.70.
- Palladium, $683.00, Down $0.40.
APMEX’s Account Managers now have extended hours Mondays through Thursdays and are here to serve you until 7 p.m. (CDT)! Or call us Fridays until 5 p.m. (CDT)! If you have any questions about investing in precious metals or simply would prefer to place your order by telephone, we are here to help.
The available weekly production of Silver Eagles are being allocated to the buyers from the US Mint presumably because the Mint cannot produce as many as the demand from the buyers would indicate. Year to date (through April 23, 2013), Silver Eagle production and sales are up 50% over the four months through April 2012.
The volume of Gold Eagles (1 oz.) are up 126% year to date (through April 23, 2013) over the four months ended April 2012. Although specific numbers are not readily available, it is reported that the Royal Canadian Mint is allocating production of both the Silver Maple Leaf and the Gold Maple Leaf (1 oz.).
In our recent fill in the blank trivia on Facebook and Twitter, we asked this very question from fans and followers. As the answers were rolling in, many of you felt that you should start investing as soon as you get your first paycheck, while some of you said that you should start investing in precious metals for your children as soon as they are born. So we asked our team of professionals here at APMEX the very same questions and here is what they had to say:
At what age should one start to invest in precious metals?
Precious metals should be considered for all investment portfolios. At whatever age an individual begins to save and invest, they should consider precious metals. As a “collector” is another story. Children below the age of 5 are often taught by their parents to collect coins and start a coin collection.
Which precious metals should one start investing in as a first time investor?
Depending on how much you have to invest you would start with gold or silver. Most of our customers who invest $20,000 or more invest in both gold and silver.
What are some of the most popular APMEX products for first time investors?
The most popular APMEX products are the 1oz. Gold and Silver American Eagles. The Canadian Gold and Silver 1oz Maple Leaf is not too far behind. APMEX branded Gold and Silver bars & rounds are also popular.
GOLD REACTS TO ECONOMIC CONDITIONS
As the week began, the price of Gold was mostly flat after positive gains last week. There is a continued move from commodities into equities, though many economists wonder how long this trend will last. “Equities are stronger, and that’s why we are seeing some profit-taking in Gold, but losses could be contained as there is still a lot of uncertainty, especially in Europe, where some issues are re-emerging in Portugal,” MKS Capital Senior Vice President Bernard Sin said. This week’s main focus was on the United States Federal Reserve meeting and the future of their easing policies. “Market participants will be keen to get further clarity on where Fed members stand on QE, particularly given rising talks of flexibility and potential tapering of asset purchases,” UBS said in a note. The monthly Federal Open Market Committee meeting minutes were released early Wednesday morning, though the contents were hardly newsworthy. The report showed a growing number of reserve members questioning continued monetary easing. “In particular, participants pointed to possible risks to the stability of the financial system, the functioning of particular financial markets, the smooth withdrawal of monetary accommodation when it eventually becomes appropriate, and the Federal Reserve’s net income,” the March meeting minutes state. However, these minutes were compiled before the release of the latest employment report, which showed a slowdown in new job creation. Since the beginning of the easing program, the Fed has made it clear the program will continue until employment reports show major improvement. Another catalyst of Gold’s price drop came from Cyprus’ intention to sell excess Gold reserves to help finance their economic bailout. It is not a large enough amount of Gold to affect the price on its own; however, it does open the door to speculations of other countries’ potential plans to deal with economic issues. “A bearish interpretation would be, where Cyprus leads, others will follow. If those others were Spain or especially Italy, they have very large reserves. But there are good reasons to think in this, as in other aspects, Cyprus is a special case,” Macquarie Metals Analyst Matthew Turner said. By the end of the week, Gold had lowered to its lowest level since July 2011. Gold’s response to economic data and U.S. and foreign currencies has adjusted over time and MKS Group’s Senior Vice President Frederic Panizzutti has noticed, saying that lately, Gold “does not seem to respond adequately to the current financial and geopolitical situation. The rumors about Cyprus possibly selling some Gold from its Central Bank reserves had a psychological impact resulting in some selling despite the fact that the amount of Gold being mentioned could easily be absorbed by the market.”
MARKET REACTION QUESTIONED
While the financial markets monitor and react to different reports around the world, many economists are questioning if those reactions are justified. U.S. consumer confidence dropped to a nine month low in April as economic stability has become a concern for Americans. Pessimistic data on jobless reports and recent retail sales is preventing economic growth. The Federal Reserve plans to continue with its monetary easing policy to create stronger job and housing markets. On the topic of monetary easing in the U.S., a prominent Wall Street money manager has joined the list of those criticizing the Fed’s quantitative easing program. Rick Rieder, the managing director of investment firm BlackRock, is calling on the Fed to rein in its bond-buying efforts, describing them as “a large and dull hammer” that is in danger of increasing inflation. This opinion marks a change for Rieder and BlackRock; in the past, the firm had been a proponent of government debt. According to Rieder, “Fed policy has had a distorting effect on capital allocation decisions of all kinds at virtually every level of the economy.” In Europe, the economic issues have been well documented and the news this week did not change the region’s outlook. Credit ratings agency Moody’s cut Spain’s rating as they expressed a pessimistic view on the country’s credibility. Spain’s new credit rating is Baa3, just one level above junk status. “Whilst acknowledging the progress in fiscal consolidation that Spain has achieved at all government levels, the outlook on Spain’s government bond rating remains negative given the continued challenges it faces in meeting the deficit targets,” Moody’s wrote in a note. Surprisingly, the Gold price has yet to react to tensions out of North Korea, instead being swayed more by economic data, monetary policy decisions and currency trades. Wednesday’s news about Cyprus selling a portion of its Gold reserves is also weighing on the Gold price. UBS said in a note, “Given the significantly weaker-than-expected employment print in March, the focus on U.S. economic data is bound to become more acute in the coming weeks and months as the market searches for clues on whether the current momentum of opinion at the Fed continues or stalls.”
At 5:00 pm (EDT), the APMEX precious metals spot prices were:
- Gold, $1485.70, Down $82.20.
- Silver, $26.05, Down $1.77.
- Platinum, $1478.10, Down $48.70.
- Palladium, $707.40, Down $27.00.