Weekly Gold & Silver Market Recap – 1/24/2014

GOLD REMAINS AT SIX-WEEK HIGH

Lower equities and a weaker U.S. dollar buoyed Precious Metals at the beginning of the week. Though gains were modest, Gold futures traded at their highest levels in almost six weeks. “I think the worst of the outflows is behind us,” Danny Laidler, head of ETF Securities’ Australia and New Zealand business, said. “A lot of our clients are still holding onto Gold as a risk-event hedge.” Gold bugs will continue to eye metals prices as Chinese demand ahead of the Lunar New Year, coupled with other economic factors, could continue to boost the yellow metal.

INVESTORS ANTICIPATE EARNING RESULTS FOR FOURTH QUARTER

The U.S. stock market closed Monday in observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. However, it was expected investors would be focused Tuesday as earnings season continues and several Dow Jones Industrial companies were slated to announce fourth quarter results. Strong earnings reports were needed to boost stocks as poor industrial output and weak employment data have weighed on equities to start 2014.

PRECIOUS METALS PRESSURED FROM QE SPECULATION

Precious Metals prices headed downward through mid-day trading Tuesday, giving back gains earned at the end of last week. Speculation of continued quantitative easing (QE) tapering, a stronger U.S. dollar and a downbeat price forecast for Gold this year have weighed on Precious Metals. Mike Cullinane, head of Treasuries trading with D.A. Davidson in St. Petersburg, Florida, said, “The view out there is there’s going to be continued tapering on a gradual basis. Another $10 billion in tapering is a logical way to go.”

THREE RISKS POSED TO STOCK MARKET

MarketWatch’s Jeff Reeves wrote about three risks that could crash the stock market  in 2014, the first being disappointing jobs numbers. Reeves wrote that December’s disappointing report (released at the beginning of this month) was an outlier due to the bad weather, but “of course, the second option is that December’s jobs numbers weren’t a fluke… Friday, Feb. 7 [is] going to be a big day for the markets when January jobs data hits.” The second risk is bad earnings. “Profit margins have been at record highs for a while and haven’t cracked, so why would they this earnings season? Or the next? That’s the million-dollar question, and a huge risk to watch.” A lending drought is also a large concern for the markets. “If reports continue to show slowing lending in the U.S. and around the world, it could get painful for investors.”

PLATINUM REMAINS STRONG AS STRIKES BEGIN

Precious Metals prices fell slightly Wednesday as the U.S. dollar and equities strengthened over the course of the day, which encouraged some profit taking. Gold has already felt pressure this year as the U.S. economy continues to reflect growth and stability, along with concerns of further stimulus reduction measures. The next Federal Reserve policy meeting is set for January 28-29, and the market predicts that the Fed will announce its second round of tapering. Platinum, on the other hand, was the only metal with positive performance Wednesday, due mainly to Impala Platinum shutting down production at all of its South African operations a day ahead of planned strikes concerning wages.

EUROPE TO EXIT DEBT CRISIS SOON

Europe’s financial crisis has been a major concern for several years; however some economists suggest they may be exiting their fiscal issues soon. For instance, Switzerland appears to have escaped its recessionary bonds and may begin to show growth again. Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO at WPP Group and noted British businessman, said, “I think the answer is yes-ish. There are two Europes. There’s a Western Europe and there’s an Eastern Europe. I’m very bullish about Eastern Europe,” which includes Germany, Poland and Russia. German economist Axel Weber said, “Everyone expects the eurozone to grow, so that’s good. After several years of crisis, it’s quite normal to look on the bright side of things, to get excited about improvements. It may be too one-sided of a view.”

WEAK JOBLESS CLAIMS SUPPORTS GOLD

The Gold price overturned Wednesday’s losses on Thursday as a weaker U.S. dollar and a flat jobless claims report indicated economic growth is not as robust as predicted. Federal Reserve policymakers look to employment numbers as an overall gauge of domestic economic growth and use the data to determine the future of their quantitative easing (QE) program. This week’s downward revision of jobless claims projections marks the second week in a row that employment expectations were altered. As next week’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting approaches, jobs data will remain central to Fed officials’ decision to perpetuate QE or not.

GOLD PRODUCTION TO BE CUT IN 2014

As U.S. investors look to employment numbers, stock momentum and the Federal Reserve to gain insight into the future of Precious Metals prices, last year’s price drop has affected production of physical Gold. “The miners were mining at the highest possible cost because the Gold price was going up and when it stopped going up, they had to reduce that. So that means that they will mine less Gold,” Peter Hambro, chairman of Russian Gold mining company Petropavlovsk, said. With smaller scale mining operations closing up shop, larger firms like Petropavlovsk are cutting production back significantly this year. The diminished supply of physical Gold prompted Reuters to predict the yellow metal would be unable to slip much below current levels.

GOLD TRADING FLAT, STILL SET FOR FIFTH STRAIGHT WEEKLY GAIN

Precious Metals prices took a slight pullback Friday, though Gold was still poised for its fifth straight weekly gain. Even with today’s decline, an approaching Fed meeting and speculation that India will lower its import duty, many investors still have a positive outlook on Gold. Jeffrey Wright, managing director at H.C. Wainwright, said, “The existing pullback in equities markets has led to some ‘safe-haven’ buying, the potential for an increase in Gold imports to India if they lower the import duty, along with efforts in Europe to continue their own quantitative-easing policies are all supportive of Gold at the present time.”

 

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End of week Gold and Silver report

 

Gold waited all week for direction:

As the week started gold and other markets had all eyes on a small town in Wyoming called Jackson Hole. That is where an annual meeting is held by the U.S. Federal Reserve and in the past has given way to significant monetary action such as two rounds of easing. There was a lot of speculation and waiting for news. For some, it was not going to be an extraordinary event.  Many financial specialists believe the Jackson Hole meeting will not be the critical event that could trigger further government financial stimulus this time around. “The critical period is really from Friday to the 12th (of September) — the constitutional court decision,” said Paul Mendelsohn, chief investment strategist at Windham Financial Services in Charlotte, Vt. Many others shared a different view of the meetings of the Fed. While the question remains whether there will be another round of monetary easing, if the answer is “no,” it could affect Gold’s price. “We see near term risks of a reversal if Jackson Hole does not deliver what the market is hoping for,” said Nick Trevethan, senior metals strategist at ANZ in Singapore. Friday came and so did the report with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke giving indications that the Fed will soon embark on another round of bond buying, otherwise known as quantitative easing (QE). “It is important to achieve further progress, particularly in the labor market,” Bernanke said. “Taking due account of the uncertainties and limits of its policy tools, the Federal Reserve will provide additional policy accommodation as needed to promote a stronger economic recovery and sustained improvement in labor market conditions in a context of price stability.” Bernanke cited previous rounds of easing as effective in stimulating economic development and job creation without hastening inflation.

Europe still trying to work through issues:

Europe clearly took a backseat this week to the Fed’s potential monetary easing announcement, but the European Central Bank (ECB) is readying for an ECB Governing Council meeting next week. James Reid of Deutsche Bank said, “For now, Europe is in a holding pattern ahead of clarity surrounding the next move in the great ECB bond buying maneuverings, and the U.S. is in limbo ahead of Bernanke’s Jackson Hole appearance tomorrow. For the latter, speculation mounts that Bernanke won’t say anything overly new in his speech.” The eurozone is in a battle of its own, regardless of what the Fed decides. Spain is being sucked into the center of the eurozone debt crisis. Spanish consumers have pulled as much as 5 percent of their private sector deposits. The other side of this coin is that Greek banks are seeing a boost in their deposits since June elections. Private sector deposits are up about 2 percent. The World Gold Council is suggesting a creative way of looking at Gold in the eurozone. Many pundits have suggested that troubled eurozone countries sell Gold to take care of their debts. This ill advised idea sounds like a simple resolution, but of course it is more complicated than that. The World Gold Council has suggested bonds and loans backed by Gold. Some groups (LCH.Clearnet, Intercontinental Exchange, and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange) have begun accepting Gold as collateral for margin requirements recently. Gillian Tett of Financial Times wrote that this “suggest(s) that a slow evolution of attitudes is under way — not so much in terms of the desirability of Gold per se, but the increasing undesirability and riskiness of other supposedly ‘safe’ assets, such as government bonds.”

United States economy still giving mixed reports:

In the U.S.A., a trend of economic growth could be a reason the announcement of another round of easing by the Federal Reserve was not made today. One discussion is surrounding the small amount of growth and whether it is enough to sustain a positive direction moving forward. The United States’ gross domestic product (GDP) went up in the second quarter by 1.7 percent, which was 0.2 percent more than a previous estimate. The GDP is seen as a key indicator of the economy. While there was improvement, many believe it was at a level low enough to warrant more action by the Fed. The release of the weekly jobless claims report has had little effect on Gold and Silver. The four week moving average of new claims rose by 1,500, while the week to week change was flat. Personal consumer spending increased in July to a five month high, according to data from the Commerce Department. Falling gasoline prices coupled with moderate increases in income to provide consumers a bit more to spend this midsummer. Despite July’s increase, consumers have been cautious on spending for most of the year, with a decrease in June and a flat report in May. “In the first quarter of the year, Americans saved less in order to spend more,” said Chris Christopher, senior economist at IHS Global Insight. “In the second quarter, job prospects were not very promising, so Americans put more money aside and spent less.”

 

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Economic reports better than expected; Gold stagnates

 

American stock futures and Precious Metals rebounded this morning after two economic reports were released. The trade deficit narrowed to the smallest gap in nearly two years, and weekly jobless claims fell after economists expected an increase. The four week moving average of the jobless claims, however, increased slightly. Recently, good news for the American economy has worked the opposite way with Precious Metals, as good news makes the Federal Reserve less likely to institute another round of quantitative easing.

Economist David Rosenberg said the U.S. economy is not growing as quickly as it should. He said, “The overall story is that with the massive intervention by the U.S. government and the Federal Reserve, they did manage to terminate the Great Recession in the mid part of 2009, but the reality is that we never had much of a recovery, at least in the economy. And in terms of what we’re seeing going forward, I still think that there’s more downside risk than upside potential.”

The Gold price was steady this morning, though losses in the euro seemed to be trying to pull it down. Societe Generale analyst Robin Bhar said, “Gold seems to have gotten a foothold above the $1,600 level and seems to be relatively stable. It’s still showing this correlation to riskier assets. We’ve seen a bit of a rally in the oil market and equities, and Gold has kept a par with those moves.”  Bhar said he believes more stimulus from federal governments is needed to spur the Gold price higher at this point.

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

  • Gold, $1,613.40, Down $0.60.
  • Silver, $28.09, Down $0.10.
  • Platinum, $1,411.70, Up $0.50.
  • Palladium, $586.80, Down $1.20.

 

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Fed Chairman Leaves Markets Guessing

Precious Metals have rebounded from early session declines, as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony again did little to indicate when or what actions the Fed might take to simulate the economy. In short, he simply restated the Fed’s pledge to to act if needed. “The Gold market’s reaction is suggesting that we are not going to get any stimulus anytime soon until the economy deteriorates much further,” said Phillip Streible at futures brokerage R.J. O’Brien. “I think these markets are going to be in a trading range for a while,” he said.

Feedback from some in Congress to Bernanke’s testimony was that the Federal Reserve is the best hope for economic stimulus. “Given the political realities, particularly in this election year, I’m afraid the Fed’s the only game in town,” said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY). “I would urge you to take whatever actions you think would be most helpful in supporting a stronger economic recovery.”

The man who runs the world’s largest mutual fund feels the United States is indeed nearing a recession and expects the Federal Reserve to take more steps to help economic growth. The United States is “approaching recession when measured by employment, retail sales, investment, and corporate profits,” said Bill Gross, who manages the $263 billion Pimco Total Return Fund.

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

  • Gold, $1,589.90, Down $3.20.
  • Silver, $27.38, Down $0.03.
  • Platinum, $1,420.00, Up $2.70.
  • Palladium, $585.10, Up $6.30.

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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Friday’s Jobs Report Could Spur the Fed to More Quantitative Easing

The Federal Reserve Committee has never taken QE3 off the table. The possibility of additional quantitative easing has remained an option should the circumstances warrant it. Many analysts see the dismal jobs report on Friday as just the sort of circumstances that will trigger the next round of easing. Not only was the 69,000 new jobs added very disappointing, but it was all the more lackluster considering the numbers from prior two months were lowered. Dennis Gartman speaking on CNBC this morning said there is a 100% chance of further Fed easing. Frank Lesh, broker and futures analyst with FuturePath Trading said, “Now that it appears the U.S. may have to act with Europe. That just means throwing more money at it. That’s just what gold wanted to hear.”

The call for central banks to take action is not just here in the U.S., but is being heard worldwide. Bond yields have declined and the global stock markets continue to go down. John Noonan, Senior Foreign Exchange Analyst with Thomas Reuters said, “Synchronized monetary easing could happen as early as even this week, as central banks of Australia, England and Europe meet.” According to Michael Gayed, Chief Investment Strategist at Pension Partners, this could be a do or die moment for central banks. U.S. bond yields out at their lowest levels since post-Lehman days, which is a sign the market is expecting QE3 from the Federal Reserve.

Gold is holding on to Friday’s gains in early morning trading. Friday was the biggest one day advance since last August on investor risk aversion and the greater expectations for worldwide monetary easing.

At 9AM EST the APMEX precious metal prices were:

  • Gold price -$1,620.70 down 90 cents
  • Silver price – $28.41 – down 19 cents
  • Platinum price – $1,438.80 up $3.60
  • Palladium price – $612.20 down $1.80
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