Roubini on 2012’s “Global Perfect Storm”

Precious Metals are trading mostly flat this morning, taking a cue from the euro.  The common currency has rebounded slightly since hitting a two-year low on Friday.  Adam Myers of Credit Agricole wrote, “The currency market mood is likely to turn more pessimistic this week as investors return their focus to fiscal-policy challenges.  In the wake of [Federal Reserve, Bank of England, and European Central Bank] announcements, there now appears little on the monetary-policy front to lift investor sentiments.”  Lately, Gold and Silver have largely followed the currency markets, moving inversely to the American dollar.

Two months ago, economist Nouriel Roubini said that four key items, if happening simultaneously, could create a “perfect storm” for the economy.  The four items – a slowdown in emerging markets, military conflict in Iran, the European debt crisis, and growth slowing in the U.S.A. – seem to be coming together now.  Roubini said, “Levitational force of policy easing can only temporarily lift asset prices as gravitational forces of weaker fundamentals dominate over time.”  Historically, Gold has reacted positively in times of economic uncertainty.

American stock futures are falling this morning due to news out of Japan and China.  In Japan, machinery orders experienced their largest fall in over ten years.  Mike Lenhoff of Brewin Dolphin Securities Ltd. said, “We’ve had a bit of a shocker out of Japan.  [The three-day losing streak for stocks] indicates a loss of momentum in the underlying global economy.”  Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said that downward pressure on the economy in the country is still “relatively large.”  As mentioned by Roubini, China is a key factor in the global economic recovery.

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

  • Gold – $1,586.90 – Up $6.50.
  • Silver – $27.31 – Up $0.32.
  • Platinum – $1,443.00 – Down $6.50.
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Gold Seeks Direction Amid Global Economic Woes

As the week comes to a close, two things stand out in the marketplace. First are the unexpected positive job reports in the United States. These reports have given life to the dollar and taken the steam out of Gold’s two week rally. Second, negative economic news continues to flow out of Europe and China. Both have cut key interest rates, and that could be a good sign for Gold’s global outlook. “While the ECB cut was near term bearish for Gold, as it weakened the euro, it may be more bullish longer term. Added global liquidity, with policy easing measures from the eurozone, China and the Bank of England, may stimulate demand for hard assets, including Gold,” HSBC financial services wrote in a note.

The United States has been improving steadily in many key economic factors. Employment reports have shown fewer Americans without work. The housing market has turned a corner and is making up lost ground. The issue is with the pace of the improvement. Even with the unemployment numbers dropping, it is such an insignificant amount that the overall percentage remained unchanged. “Growth has been low, and there remains uncertainty about the economy and policy here and abroad. All of those things are weighing on activity, but overall I’d put it on low growth in the U.S.,” said economist Andrew Tilton of Goldman Sachs.

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

  • Gold, $1633.89, Down $21.48.
  • Silver, $28.02, Down $0.48.
  • Platinum, $1490.96, Down $25.89.
  • Palladium, $595.25, Down $7.71.
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Investors nervous; Spain to request aid

American stock futures are taking a hit this morning, now that investors have had a day to digest the big news from yesterday.  Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s reluctance to acknowledge monetary stimulus had a big impact on market sentiment.  China is expected to release economic data this weekend, and some are worried that yesterday’s interest rate cut in that country could signal disappointing numbers.  David Morrison of GFT Markets wrote that “investors are becoming increasingly jittery as we head into the weekend.  As a consequence, many are taking the opportunity to take some risk off the table and book profits.”  Precious Metals are also trading lower this morning as a result.

Reuters is reporting that Spain could request aid for its struggling banking sector this weekend.  Spain would be the fourth country to appeal to the eurozone for aid during the region’s debt crisis.  According to sources, finance ministers are holding a conference call Saturday, and that is when the request is expected.  A senior German official said that after yesterday’s downgrade of Spain’s sovereign credit rating, “The government of Spain has realized the seriousness of their problem.”

Echoing sentiments from many other pundits, Harvard Professor Martin Feldstein said that Greece’s economy is beyond repair, and that the only option they have left is to leave the eurozone.  “Letting Greece go will be painful in the short run but will be better for Greece, and for Europe, in the long-run,” said Feldstein.

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

  • Gold – $1,576.40 – Down $11.10.
  • Silver – $28.24 – Down $0.38.
  • Platinum – $1,417.90 – Down $25.00.
  • Palladium – $609.40 – Down $16.40.
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Gold in Postive Territory

Precious metals are rising again, largely on safe haven appeal, as concerns in Spain and Greece have not abated and gold imports in China are climbing. HSBC wrote, “Gold prices may be supported by China’s growing appetite for bullion, as imports from Hong Kong climbed to record highs. Furthermore, imports of gold coins, which are reported in a separate category in the trade data, increased significantly to 1,876 kg in April from 5 kg in March. The ability of China to sustain gold imports is impressive, considering that the economy is showing signs that growth is cooling and income growth is moderating.” Meanwhile Commerzbank feels that gold has “regained its safe haven status.”

At the G-7 conference, Spain’s Treasury Minister Cristobal Montoro basically sounded the alarm about how bad the banking situation is in Spain at this time. As the debt gets worse the access to credit to help bail themselves out is becoming more and more detrimental. He even called for European assistance, a departure from what other government officials had wanted, which was to raise the funds itself. Germany is pushing Spain to accept the bailout. In an interview Montoro said, “The risk premium says Spain doesn’t have the market door open. The risk premium says that as a state we have a problem in accessing markets, when we need to refinance our debt.”

Central banks remain squarely in the crosshairs as the main target to appease economic concerns. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is expected to testify before a congressional panel Thursday about the current economic outlook and monetary policy. Chief strategist Michael Derks said, “Policy makers would appreciate that both growth and inflation remain too low, and that financial conditions have the potential to be eased still further. As such, Bernanke and his fellow board members are probably considering a further round of [quantitative easing], coupled with an extension of their forward guidance on monetary policy.”

At 8:02 a.m. (EDT) – the APMEX Precious Metals spot prices were:

  • Gold – $1,617.70 – Up $4.30.
  • Silver – $28.41 – Up $0.32.
  • Platinum – $1,440.80 – Up $11.50.
  • Palladium – $613.50 – Down $0.40.
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Weekly Gold and Silver Market Recap for May 25, 2012

by John Foster. Email John.

Golden Range?:

Concerns out of the Euro zone continued to pull down the euro and strengthen the American dollar this week, thus pulling down prices. Gold in particular has remained relatively fluid within a certain price range of $1,530 to $1,590. However a key price indicator in the short term continues to be $1,600 an ounce. However, euro pressure continues to be in the driver’s seat for prices. An unidentified international dealer said, “If we break above $1,600 and even go higher to confirm the bull trend, we will see more buying.”  Gold’s price drop has been well documented during the past few weeks. Many factors have led to the shift in price. However, in the view of many investors, this is an opportunity, based on a closer look at the numbers. CNBC contributor Dennis Gartman said, “The public is massively bearish, and that tells me it’s time to be bullish.” He added, “Most people don’t think Gold and stocks can go higher together, but I expect to see them trade dramatically higher over the course of the next several months. The trend is now higher.”  Prices of Precious Metals were boosted by news of purchases from the biggest of spenders. Central banks in Turkey, Ukraine, Mexico, and Kazakhstan increased their Gold holdings in April, according to the International Monetary Fund. Commerzbank AG said, “We regard the central banks as a stabilizing element on the Gold market and anticipate increasing buying of Gold.” Lachlan Shaw of Commonwealth Bank of Australia said that early signs of an American recovery, a slowdown in Chinese growth, question marks over United States monetary policy and a sovereign debt crisis brewing in Europe are all keeping the market in a wait and see mode. “Any of these four catalysts can drive prices and investment demand,” he said.

U.S Slow but Steady?:

The United States might experience slower economic growth than previously expected with the end of extended benefits for the unemployed. This might influence some job seekers to accept jobs they otherwise would prefer not to, or give up searching for a job and drop out of the labor force. Andrew Tilton at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is optimistic about the end of the extended benefits program. He said, “There has been an improvement in the availability of jobs. In a better labor market, people losing their benefits would be more likely to look and to find a job, and less likely to simply drop out.  However, consumer sentiment in the United States rose to its highest point in more than four years in May. Optimism in the air as a healthier economy is beginning to develop. Richard Curtin, head of the University of Michigan’s consumer survey, reflected on how long the consumer sentiment will remain positive. He said, “The most likely prospect is that job growth resumes at a modest pace and that confidence remains largely unchanged until after the November election and decisions about tax policy are made.” Despite the upheaval in Europe, the United States’ economy continues to push forward. There is concern the debt problems in Europe and China could affect American factory data soon, with the Purchasing Managers Index slowing from 56.0 in April to 53.9 this month. Paul Edelstein said, “We are growing at moderate pace of two to two-and-a-quarter percent, but we have some headwinds that are starting to assert themselves, particularly coming from Europe.” Continue reading