Credit Outlook Dims for Germany; U.S. Fiscal Cliff Looms

 

Precious metals continue to hold firm in the serious head winds afflicting other commodities markets. Gold in particular has been relatively range bound but in the current market conditions, that’s not an entirely bad thing. Analyst Hayden Atkins said, “Markets sold off really heavily yesterday, and gold held up pretty well against that. It is maybe the one thing that has really stayed solid against some pretty solid headwinds elsewhere.” Meanwhile the issues facing the euro have actually helped Gold in the eurozone as evidenced by Commerzbank’s note to investors which read, “Thanks to the euro’s depreciation vis-a-vis the U.S. dollar, gold in euro terms has been making gains for some time now. Since mid-May an upswing has become evident which in the current market environment should take the yellow metal on a further upward trajectory.”

Meanwhile Moody’s downgraded the credit outlooks of a few of the remaining Aaa rated countries in the eurozone. Those countries are Germany, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. Basically the main countries that would provide assistance to other countries in the region that may need financial assistance. The service released a statement saying, “Moody’s now has negative outlooks on those Aaa-rated euro-area sovereigns whose balance sheets are expected to bear the main financial burden of support — whether because of the need to expand the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) or the need to develop more ad hoc forms of liquidity support.”

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has already begun speaking towards the potential outcome of kicking the can down the road with the current fiscal situation. In an interview yesterday he said, “Many people who look at this say that, yes, you’d at least get a recession out of this. The cumulative size of those cuts – tax increases and spending cuts – are very, very large relative to the economy.” He also warned that any governmental failure could be quite damaging, relating it to the negative impact of losing the U.S. credit rating last year over debt ceiling talks. He said, “You saw huge damage to consumer confidence, to business confidence, and to confidence around the world in the United States because you had people in public office threatening to default on our nation’s obligations.”

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

  • Gold, $1,579.90, Up $1.00.
  • Silver, $27.06, Down $0.08.
  • Platinum, $1,397.60, Down $1.30.
  • Palladium, $569.40, Down $2.60.

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Investors look for monetory easing

The global economy is slowing, and that is driving a higher demand for Gold. Economic issues have been abundant lately. The situation in Europe has shown no signs of improvement. China’s economy has slowed to a pace not seen in almost three years. The reports in the United States also show a slowdown in key economic areas. “Issues surrounding Europe’s debt crisis and a slowing economy in the U.S. and China will offer support to (Gold) prices,” said Sun Yonggang at Everbright Futures Co.

On the European front, many observers say that Germany holds the key to economic recovery for the entire region. While that might be true, don’t expect the German people to agree to that theory. “Right now, people are making the same mistake and assuming that what is good for Volkswagen and BMW is good for Germany. But that isn’t true, either. The voters have already caught on. Whatever bailout their leaders might agree to at one of the endless ‘save the euro’ summits will simply get thrown out at the ballot box,” said Matthew Lynn, the founder of Strategy Economics.

In the United States, much talk has been about the lack of action taken by the Federal Reserve. With the reports of manufacturing and employment slowing, the conditions could be pointing toward another round of monetary easing by the Fed. “Extending Operation Twist was a less overt move for the Fed to keep interest rates low, but I think economic conditions are moving in a direction that it could become necessary for the Fed to pump money into the system in a more obvious way through QE3,” said Tom Schrader, managing director at Stifel Nicolaus.

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

  • Gold, $1,581.30, Up $0.00.
  • Silver, $27.27, Up $0.32.
  • Platinum, $1,430.10, Up $0.40.
  • Palladium, $584.00, Up $6.50.
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Gold jumps over 3 percent on EU deal

Gold jumps over 3 percent on EU deal, logs monthly gain (CNBC)

Consumer Spending in U.S. Stalls as Hiring Weakens: Economy (Bloomberg)

S&P Posts Best Day This Year (WSJ)

What Really Happened at the European Summit? (BusinessWeek)

Gold Prices Jump Most in Four Weeks on Europe Relief Plan (BusinessWeek)

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EU shocker sends precious metals higher

Precious Metals prices moved noticeably higher in early morning trading as 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.”

Eurozone leaders came together 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 has been a boost to global markets. The biggest shock of all was 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.”

At 9:03 a.m. (EDT), the APMEX Precious Metals spot prices were:

  • Gold, $1,598.50, Up $46.60.
  • Silver, $27.73, Up $1.38.
  • Platinum, $1,428.00, Up $40.20.
  • Palladium, $580.00, Up $15.10.
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European summit not looking good; dollar rising

Precious metals prices are weathering the blows of investors concerns over the eurozone debt crisis. The concerns ahead of the European Union summit, has influenced investors and even world markets. The rupee continues to struggle, which has curbed the primary gold-investing nation of India’s normal buying. Analyst Robin Bahr said, “There’s no semblance of a safe-haven at the moment but as the price goes lower that bid does come back as you maybe get some renewed investor interest – sovereign wealth funds and central banks looking to nibble away and even some physical buying.”

The concerns now are growing, as concerns over Germany’s own economic issues mount. As executive and consumer sentiment fell from 90.5 in May to 89.9, the lowest for Germany since late 2009 and unemployment is on the rise. The issue is that now core member nations, not just secondary nations, are affected by the growing debt crisis. Economist Christoph Weil said, “Germany won’t be able to disconnect from the euro-region developments… The second quarter will show an economic contraction and there are no signs of improvement for the following three months. Whether the situation stabilizes afterward hinges decisively on the euro crisis and latest developments are no real reason for optimism.”

The pressure continues to build for German Chancellor Angela Merkel within the European Union as she continues to be attacked on all sides from nations that find her intransigence off-putting. However, it is not just her partner nations, but she is even pressured globally. The issue is that as unpopular as her beliefs are in the EU, they are quite popular with the German people. Billionaire George Soros feels her position is a bit myopic. He said, “Merkel has realized that the euro is not working, but she cannot change the narrative she has created because that narrative has caught the imagination of the German public, and the German public has accepted it.”

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

  • Gold – $1,570.10 – Down $9.90.
  • Silver – $26.96 – Down $0.11.
  • Platinum – $1,402.30 – Down $9.50.
  • Palladium – $577.00 – Down $3.80.
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