Time to sound the alarm with Spain?

Precious metals have been generally even to climbing through early morning trading. Investors are wary of world events and slowly re-establishing their safe haven mentality in regards to global and domestic economic situations. The FOMC is set to release a statement tomorrow, which analysts feel are corralling prices for now. Analyst Lynette Tan said, “Ahead of the FOMC meeting, gold bugs will watch for signs of more quantitative easing or an extension of Operation Twist when it ends this month. A failure to confirm more asset purchase or the like could see gold dropping again. For the moment, we expect policy decisions from the Fed to influence gold price more than risk appetite linked to the euro crisis.”

Is it time to sound the alarm on Spain? That’s the question facing the global community, with a call for help so far falling on deaf ears, but is readily apparent in the debt sale attempts. German Chancellor Angela Merkel continues to compromise, but the firm line in the German sand is not sharing the burden with the euro bonds. Spanish Treasury Minister Cristobal Montoro has asked the ECB for its help. However, the ECB continues to put the onus of responsibility on the countries themselves. Spanish Economy Minister Luis de Guindos said, “We think … that the way markets are penalizing Spain today does not reflect the efforts we have made or the growth potential of the economy. Spain is a solvent country and a country which has a capacity to grow… I don’t think things look catastrophic for Spain as eventually some solution will have to be found, or the ECB will have to step in again. It’s in no one’s interest to see Spain bailed out, because then there will be questions as to whether there are enough funds, and questions over Italy.”

At 9:00 a.m. (EDT) – the APMEX Precious Metals spot prices were:

  • Gold – $1,630.70 – Up $3.20.
  • Silver – $28.85 – Up $0.08.
  • Platinum – $1,489.30 – Up $3.20.
  • Palladium – $634.30 – Up $0.10.
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Gold gains momentum & Spanish Yields

Gold continues to march in positive territory during today’s mid-day trading and appears to be gathering momentum. The euro gained ground relative to the dollar and other commodities (copper) are seeing their prices moving up as well. “(We had) a small pop higher in the euro and that was it,” Saxo Bank vice president Ole Hansen said. “The market wants to go higher now and it has taken comfort from the fact that buyers returned fairly quickly after the sell-off last week.”

The U.S.A. stock market is holding on to some gains today while absorbing the impact of Spanish bond yields hitting historic highs. There is still concern over Spanish debt levels and questions about the bank rescue deal. “Into their close, both Spanish and Italian bonds are bouncing off their (price) lows. The daily egg shells we walk on this week over Spain will of course be followed by Sunday’s election in Greece and what, if anything, the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) will announce next week,” said Peter Boockvar, at Miller Tabak & Co. The coming election in Greece is being viewed as a major factor in its status in the Eurozone.

At 1:00 p.m. (EDT) – the APMEX precious metals spot prices were:

  • Gold – $1,612.90 – Up $16.10.
  • Silver – $28.96 – Up $0.26.
  • Platinum – $1,454.50 – Up $3.20.
  • Palladium – $623.20 –Down $2.00.
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Gold price dips as Fed Chairman testifies

The Gold price has taken a tumble in midday trading as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben 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.”

Bernanke’s testimony to the Joint Economic Committee highlighted many of his concerns without much substance on how the central bank might act. Bernanke also warned lawmakers that “a severe tightening of fiscal policy at the beginning of next year that is built into current law — the so-called fiscal cliff — would, if allowed to occur, pose a significant threat to the recovery.” Next up will be the Federal Open Market Committee meeting June 19-20, which is expected to deal with slowing employment growth.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has 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,” the chancellor said.  Merkel, however, has not backed off her rejection of debt sharing or access to euro bailout funds for Spanish banks.

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

  • Gold, $1,591.60, Down $40.10.
  • Silver, $28.73, Down $0.85.
  • Platinum, $1,444.20, Down $27.00.
  • Palladium, $625.00, Down $7.80.
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China rate decision boosts stocks

News out of China is driving the markets this morning, as the central bank in the country cut interest rates by 25 basis points.  Jordan Lambert of Spreadex Ltd. said “The unscheduled rate announcement by the Chinese central bank has been long awaited and has satisfied the growing expectations of a rate cut by a major economy … It is also worth being mindful that sometimes such interest rate moves are coordinated with other central banks therefore there could be further surprises to the upside.”

Also in focus today will be Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony to the Joint Economic Committee.  Bernanke always seems to move the markets when he speaks, and today may be no different.  Another top Fed official, Janet Yellen, is not closing the door on a third round of quantitative easing.  “I am convinced that scope remains for the (Federal Open Market Committee) to provide further policy accommodation,” Yellen said.  She said that jobs numbers lately have been “pretty disappointing,” and that, among other topics, could be reason for further intervention.

This week’s jobless claims report showed a drop of 12,000 new claims, which is better than expected.  However, numbers from two weeks ago were revised upwards by 6,000, and continuing claims rose by 34,000.  Precious Metals prices and stock prices seemed to take this in stride, continuing to be more influenced by the Chinese rate cut.

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

  • Gold – $1,623.20 – Down $10.50.
  • Silver – $29.54 – Down $0.04.
  • Platinum – $1,467.50 – Down $1,467.50.
  • Palladium – $628.50 – Down $4.30.
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Weekly Gold & Silver Market Recap for April 06, 2012

by John Foster. Email John.

Modern-day meeting of the Federal Open Market ...

Modern-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee at the Eccles Building, Washington, D.C. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

FED MINUTES MOVE THE MARKETS:

The major news of the week was the release of minutes from the Federal Open Market Committee meeting.  There was little discussion of any plans for future quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve.  Stocks and commodities — including precious metals — experienced a significant selloff, with prices for Gold and Silver dropping to levels not seen since mid-January, making both metals particularly attractive from a physical demand perspective. However, some analysts are saying that the Fed’s current policy can still support Gold prices, even without more easing. In a recent report, James Steel of banking giant HSBC said, “Policy is already ultra-accommodative by conventional monetary standards, and therefore Gold-friendly. This may be overlooked or underestimated in the current sell-off, we believe.”

 SPAIN THE NEW GREECE?

The euro is feeling the effect of Spain’s debt crisis, which is not being fully contained at the same time borrowing costs are on the rise. “We haven’t seen any major improvements in the European debt situation,” said Marito Ueda, senior managing director in Tokyo at FX Prime Corp. (8711), a currency-margin company. “After Greece, investors may be beginning to shift their focus onto countries like Spain, Portugal and Italy. I expect the euro will gradually sink as the region’s economy deteriorates.” In Spain, last week’s budget announcements coupled with the release of less-than-stellar debt-to-GDP ratio have a number of investors concerned, as the levels are well in excess of previous estimates. This is the highest debt level in 22 years. Last year, the debt-to-GDP ratio was 68.5 percent, while this year it has climbed to 79.8 percent. Although this ratio is less than the European Union average, it is still quite high and climbing. Continue reading