End of the week report: Spain, QE3 and Gold Prices

 

Gold Consolidates:

 

 

 

 

 

“After rapidly rising between mid-August and mid-September, Gold has since been consolidating,” BNP Paribas analyst Anne-Laure Tremblay said. “Short term, we could see a limited correction before the price resumes its ascent. The U.S. dollar has been strengthening of late, particularly against the euro. This is likely weighing on the Gold price. Beyond this, the Gold market is just taking a breather, as it is not far off the $1,800 an ounce level, which constitutes a strong resistance.” The break in price in Gold has not gone unnoticed by investors. Gold-backed funds increased by almost 300,000 ounces this week according to reports.  One piece of news that also gained attention this week is the amount of Gold that countries have been adding to their central banking systems. South Korea and Paraguay lead all other countries by adding more than 24 tons of Gold to their reserves in July alone. “Whether you’re looking at physical flows into ETFs or the options market, activity has clearly been on the bullish side, and that will see prices move higher as we go through the fourth quarter,” said Credit Suisse analyst Tom Kendall.

 

 

 

 

 

QE3 Questions?:

 

 

 

 

 

Not all members of the U.S. Federal Reserve appear to agree on the benefit or effectiveness of the recently announced new round of quantitative easing (QE3). Charles Plosser, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, is concerned that not only will the new bond-buying program not work, but that it might also call into question the credibility of the U.S. central bank. “We are unlikely to see much benefit to growth or to employment from further asset purchases,” said President Plosser. “Conveying the idea that such action will have a substantive impact on labor markets and the speed of the recovery risks the Fed’s credibility.” U.S. investors are buying U.S. Treasuries at a quicker pace than international investors for the first time since 2010. This has certainly contributed to the U.S. debt climbing above $16 trillion USD for the first time. U.S. Treasuries have become popular despite their record-low yields because many investors also share the concern that QE3 will not succeed in stimulating the economy and creating more jobs. International investors still own 50.4 percent of the U.S. Treasuries, but this is down from the 55.7 percent share owned in 2008.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spanish Gamble?:

 

 

 

 

 

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy seemed to be gambling with his country’s well-being. The latest speculation out of Spain was that Rajoy was delaying a bailout request because he believed that issues in Italy will worsen, making the bailout terms friendlier for Spain when it does finally request a bailout. Raphael Gallardo of Rothschild Asset Management said that Spain “would be in better company and would suffer less of a stigma if it was to ask for a rescue at the same time as Italy. Italy needs further austerity efforts so those are probably more reachable with the support of the European Union and the ECB.”  Protests on the streets of Spain intensified during the week as the country began to roll out economic reforms along with its new budget.  Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said, “We know what we have to do, and since we know it, we’re doing it. We also know this entails a lot of sacrifices distributed… evenly throughout the Spanish society.” His words, and the measures he intends to enact, are not enough to soothe all dissenting voices. A member of parliament was quoted as saying, “On paper they can make it all add up, but it will be hard to make the budget credible given all the reasonable doubts on the deficit target. It will be really tough to make the markets buy it.”  An audit of Spanish banks was also expected to be completed this week. The eurozone’s third largest economy has seen much trouble lately, and has been hit hard by the housing crisis. Citizens of Madrid continue to protest the announced austerity measures , and one region of the country has even threatened to break away from Spain. The overwhelming expectation is that these measures are the first part of Spain formally requesting a bailout from the European Union. At one point, Spain was feared as “too big to fail,” or at least too big to bail out, so it will be interesting to see how the EU handles this situation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Will European Central Bank Take Action?

 

Precious Metals prices continue to trade mixed, as many investors are still waiting to see what (if anything) the European Central Bank does this week. “Uncertainty is growing regarding the outcome of the ECB meeting Thursday. In this context, the Gold market may trade largely sideways ahead of the meeting,” said BNP Paribas analyst Anne-Laure Tremblay said. “However, given the publication of U.S. nonfarm payrolls on Friday, any market reaction to the ECB meeting may prove short lived,” she said. While the U.S. Federal Reserve is also meeting this week, most analysts are of the opinion that it will not take any immediate action.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government has rejected issuing a banking license to the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). If permitted, it would provide the ESM access to increased liquidity via the European Central Bank, and proponents contend that might lower borrowing costs. All three parties of Merkel’s coalition have issued statements against the license. “Those who try to circumvent their own rules through the back door lose their legitimacy in the eyes of the public,” said Hans Michelbach of the Bavarian Christian Social Union. “Financing debt by means of the printing press leads to growing inflation dangers.”

At 1 p.m. (EDT), the APMEX Precious Metals spot prices were:

  • Gold, $1,615.50, Down $6.10.
  • Silver, $28.06, Down $0.07.
  • Platinum, $1,417.10, Up $5.30.
  • Palladium, $590.90, Up $1.80.

APMEX’s Account Managers now have extended hours Mondays through Thursdays and are here to serve you until 8 p.m. (EDT)! Or call us Fridays until 6 p.m. (EDT)! 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.

 

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ECB president’s comments boost euro, Gold

 

Uplifting comments from European Central Bank President Mario Draghi have boosted the euro for the second straight day, and Gold is following suit. BNP Paribas analyst Anne-Laure Tremblay said that positive news from the eurozone may not be the only thing supporting the Gold price. “Yesterday’s move above $1,600 an ounce was driven by more positive sentiment towards Gold on the back of growing anticipation for QE (quantitative easing). A move above $1,630 an ounce would be the sign of a more durable upward trend,” Tremblay said.

American stock futures are also higher on Draghi’s comments. Miller Tabak strategist Peter Boockvar said, “We’re seeing another instance of central bankers trying to save the day with the threat of their printing machine. Whenever Draghi talks about ‘policy transmission’ being hampered, it’s his Morse code for restarting their bond buying program.” In his comments, Draghi said the euro is irreversible, reaffirming his stance to save the common currency from breaking up.

United States jobless claims historically tend to be volatile in the month of July, and 2012 has been no different. The report today showed a larger than expected drop in new claims, though many economists aren’t sold on the good news. Bob Baur of Principal Global Investors said, “I’m not sure we can see a clean number for another week or two yet. I look at the labor market and see it’s gradually healing, just healing very slowly.  Businesses are reluctant to do anything.” The less volatile four week moving average dropped, as well, and is currently at its lowest level since March.

At 9 a.m. (EDT), the APMEX Precious Metals spot prices were:

  • Gold, $1,615.60, Up $5.50.
  • Silver, $27.69, Up $0.14.
  • Platinum, $1,411.10, Up $11.70.
  • Palladium, $573.80, Up $7.50.

APMEX’s Account Managers now have extended hours Mondays through Thursdays and are here to serve you until 8 p.m. (EDT)! Or call us Fridays until 6 p.m. (EDT)! 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.

 

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APMEX End of Week Report 6/29/2012

Silver Undervalued and Golden Haven:

Precious Metals closed out the week on a positive note rebounding from losses Thursday.  Precious Metals prices have been following the global economic situation and the movement of the American dollar.  The dollar weakened against the euro on news of a European plan to lower eurozone member nations’ borrowing costs.  Economist Vishnu Varathan said, “It still falls short of a concrete solution, but the removal of severe pessimism over what’s going to come out of the EU summit is driving markets higher.” Meanwhile, the news has led analyst Lynette Tan to offer a positive year end outlook for Gold. She said, “In the long run, we’re still bullish on Gold. It’s still likely to hit last year’s high of $1,920. The global economy is not doing well, and we expect safe haven demand to be back for Gold.”  There is speculation that Silver is undervalued at current levels and about what actually is driving the price. Julian Phillips at silverforecaster.com said, “With the monetary stresses now and for the next few years at current levels, there is little reason why prices should fall. Gold will react more and more as a monetary metal and the Silver prices will move with it, not with economic conditions.”

European House in order?:

Eurozone leaders came together this week and hammered out a surprising compromise plan to help member nations. There are still issues to be worked out, but going from “no hope” to at least a road map of a plan on which everyone agrees was a boost to global markets. The biggest shock of all is Germany’s agreement to a majority of the provisions. Banker Holger Schmieding said, “The summit result offers no ‘silver bullet’ to solve the euro crisis once and for all. … It is another attempt to buy some extra time for the underlying fiscal repair and structural reforms to show results.  All in all, there is some progress.” However, strategist Charles Diebel stated what many investors are probably thinking: “It is one step on a very long road.  But we don’t have any details, and arguably the detail is where the risk lies, because the market will start to pick holes in it, as we’ve seen previously.”  Crude oil and Gold prices began to climb after European Union leaders announced a strategy to have a single financial director for the region. The European Central Bank will step into this supervisory role for banks in the eurozone. This approach should help calm the markets. In some bearish news affecting crude oil, Saudi Arabia is planning to resume an oil pipeline project that has been on hold for a reported two decades, which should relieve some concerns involving the Strait of Hormuz.

Health Care & Jobs:

The “individual mandate” portion of President Barack Obama’s health care reform act has been upheld as constitutional in Thursday’s 5 to 4 Supreme Court ruling. This ruling comes just months before the presidential election, and Republicans are vowing to push for a repeal of the bill. While the long term effect of this ruling is not clear, it will be interesting to see how this affects the broader economy going forward.  This past week showed little improvement in the American labor market, as applications for unemployment benefits approached a high for the year. Concerns over the eurozone debt crisis and the potential end of the Bush era tax cuts have many employers running lean in terms of their headcounts. “There is no progress,” said Jeremy Lawson, a senior U.S. economist at BNP Paribas in New York. “There is clearly an underlying weakness that is troubling. The labor market is sputtering along, struggling to create jobs. The pace of consumer spending will slow in the second quarter.”  United States consumer sentiment for June fell to its lowest level since December. Americans’ attitude toward the economy isn’t necessarily optimistic now, especially from the viewpoint of those in households with incomes of more than $75,000. Richard Curtin, a survey director, said, “Since these households account for a large share of total spending, if the declines continue in the months ahead, it could have a substantial impact on total spending.”

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Precious metals under pressure; Euro keeps falling

Gold is continuing its downward trend during midday trading, as the euro continues to fall and a resolution to the problems in Spain and Greece remains unseen. “Gold looks fragile at the moment,” BNP Paribas analyst Anne-Laure Tremblay said. “It could rebound if U.S. durable goods orders disappoint tomorrow, as the market would then anticipate a greater probability of the Fed easing.” American consumer confidence and outlook data have both hit lows for the year.

The European stock market closed lower on concerns over waning American consumer confidence and lackluster interest in a recent Spanish debt auction. The European Union is also coming under fire from Germany for focusing too much on plans that include debt sharing. “Stocks have ended in a soft manner today, with clients holding back from taking on risk ahead of the EU summit later this week,” wrote Ishaq Siddiqi, a market strategist at ETX Capital in London. “Worries that leaders are set to disappoint continue to grow, as Germany refrains from its stance on euro bonds.”

At 1 p.m. (EDT), the APMEX Precious Metals spot prices were:

  • Gold, $1,574.10, Down $15.80.
  • Silver, $27.11, Down $0.54.
  • Platinum, $1,432.50, Down $8.70.
  • Palladium, $594.10, Down $14.20.
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