Official portrait of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Gold has had ups and downs this week. The market has many investors questioning the long term outlook for Precious Metals. As with all investments, there will be unknown factors. At present, there is the European economic crisis, the Chinese economic slowdown, and underachieved goals for a better American economy. With these situations being in play, it could signal good news for investors. Dennis Gartman, author of The Gartman Letter, said, “The trend for Gold is still from the lower left to the upper right. I think that you want to own Gold in dollar terms; I think you want to own Gold in euro terms; I think you need to own Gold in yen terms. And quite honestly at this point, given the economic circumstances, I think you’d like to be long of gold and short the stock market.” There was a lot of cautious optimism bubbling ahead of Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony before Congress this week. Global strategist Dan Greenhaus said, “There’s just been, for the last 48, 72 hours, a growing feeling that a 10 percent decline in the stock market is as deep a decline as you would get with Ben Bernanke lurking tomorrow.” He also added, “The fate of the market in the next couple of days is in Ben Bernanke’s hands, and it’s over his interpretation of the state of the economy.” That interpretation wasn’t as clear as some would hope, as Chairman Bernanke refused to tip his hat regarding any new stimulus package. Bernanke indicated that while the central bank is willing to protect the economy from “worsening,” he did not specify what actions (if any) the Fed would take. “The Gold bulls are desperately hoping for further mention of some form of stimulus from the Fed,” said David Govett of Marex Spectron. “If some form of this is put on the table, then I expect Gold will react very positively. If however, as I personally believe, the Fed leaves things as they are for the time being, this will be viewed as negative and Gold will fall.”
Spanish Debt Downgrade:
MADRID, SPAIN – MARCH 30: Spain’s Minister of Treasury and Civil Services Cristobal Montoro Romero unviels Spain’s budget for 2012, during a press conference at the Moncloa Palace on March 30, 2012 in Madrid, Spain. The budget for 2012, which comes in the wake of a 24-hour general strike, includes over 27 bn euros in savings. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
At the G-7 conference this week, Spain’s Treasury Minister Cristobal Montoro 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. 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.” That problem grew later in the week when ratings agency Fitch downgraded Spanish debt from A to BBB on concerns that the country will need a bailout package to avoid economic disaster. Furthermore, Fitch’s outlook is negative, which means that more downgrades are likely. German Chancellor Angela Merkel reacted by reiterating Germany’s commitment to helping its weaker eurozone partners. “It is important to stress again that we have created the instruments for support in the eurozone and that Germany is ready to use these instruments whenever it may prove necessary,” she said.
Germany Holding the Reigns:
Germany appears to be willing to trade a greater role supporting its indebted EU partners for more centralized control over government spending in member nations. While
Deutsch: Dr. Angela Merkel Bundeskanzlerin der Bundesrepublik Deutschland Vorsitzende der CDU Deutschlands (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
continuing to stay away from the idea of “eurobonds,” there is growing interest in pooling the bad debt with a payoff timetable of 25 years. “The world wants to know how we expect the political union to complement the currency union,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said. “We have to find an answer in the foreseeable future.” In comments later this week Chancellor Angela Merkel said that Germany will use all the tools it has available to support the 17-nation eurozone. “In view of the current difficulties, it’s important to emphasize that we have created the instruments of support in the eurozone, that Germany is ready to work with these instruments whenever that is necessary, and that this is an expression of our firm desire to keep the euro area stable.” Merkel, however, has not backed off her rejection of debt sharing or access to euro bailout funds for Spanish banks.