Greece and Spain hurt euro, drive down metals prices

 

Precious Metals are trading lower this morning, as central bank buying finally wasn’t enough to keep prices in positive territory.  Renewed concerns out of Greece and Spain have driven the euro downwards and strengthened the dollar.  However, analysts at Commerzbank noted, “Central banks are likely to continue to buy gold for the remainder of this year, thereby stripping supply from the market and contributing to climbing gold prices.”

Protesters have taken to the streets of Greece and Spain yet again.  The fresh Greek government is currently working on a budget with the European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund, and European Commission in order to receive more bailout funds.  The problem is that the Greek people have apparently reached a breaking point on austerity measures.  Author and economist Vicky Pryce said, “They are trying to see whether they can have a stay of execution, and the protests are actually probably going to help, because it’s obvious that they can’t take any more austerity.  The cost has been great for the Greeks … There’s just no light at the end of the tunnel at present.”

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy seems to be gambling with his country’s well-being.  The latest speculation out of Spain is that Rajoy is delaying a bailout request because he believes that issues in Italy will worsen, making the bailout terms more friendly for Spain when it does finally request a bailout.  Raphael Gallardo of Rothschild Asset Management said that Spain “would be in better company and would suffer less stigma if it was to ask for a rescue at the same time as Italy.  Italy needs further austerity efforts so those are probably more reachable with the support of the European Union and the ECB.”

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

  • Gold, $1,747.90, Down $17.50.
  • Silver, $33.69, Down $0.27.
  • Platinum, $1,621.60, Down $11.20.
  • Palladium, $624.00, Down $16.80.

 

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America waits for further stimulus; how are investors measuring the euro

 

Gold fell slightly today with investors taking their earnings after last week’s gains, which was encouraged on the assumption that central banks will provide additional stimulus actions.  “Everybody seems to be waiting for this huge money printing that they think is going to happen which hasn’t happened yet. So, nobody really wants to bet against it, but at the same time they don’t want to go long,” said Doug Roberts, chief investment strategist at Channel Capital Research.

As the European debt crisis continues, it is evident that Europe’s foundation is ultimately taking care of the peripheral countries that have more or less had to be bailed out by the troika of the European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund and European Commission.  The concerns are beginning to rise as the growth numbers for France and Germany are slipping.  Also, for the months of May and June, Germany’s factory orders fell by a disturbing 1.7 percent compared to the forecasted 0.8 percent.  Gerard Lyons, chief economist at Standard Chartered, told CNBC.com. “In the good times, the euro encourages money to go from the core to the periphery, creating booms and busts. In the bad times, it encourages money to go the other way and increases the liabilities of the core.  The euro is a fundamentally flawed concept, and that’s why the core is facing greater challenges. The core can’t cut themselves off completely from the periphery and that’s what markets are responding to.”

At 5 p.m. (EDT), the APMEX Precious Metals spot prices were:

  • Gold, $1,610.60, Down $10.70.
  • Silver, $27.87, Down $0.31.
  • Platinum, $1,388.50, Down $12.40.
  • Palladium, $574.50, Down $9.20.

 

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Euro tanks as Spain. Greece issues resurface

 

Renewed worries of a deepening eurozone debt crisis have sent the euro to a two-year low against the American dollar, and Precious Metals are following the former downwards.  Jeremy Stretch of CIBC said, “What began as a Spanish banking bailout looks to be moving rather quickly towards a possible sovereign bailout.  Overlay that with increasingly negative news on Greece and you get a fairly negative mix, so the path of least resistance for the euro is down.”  Spanish bond yields rose to the highest levels in the history of the euro.

The bad news out of Greece comes from reports that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will no longer provide additional financing for the country.  Greece could be broke by September if it does not receive additional aid from the IMF.  The problem is Greece not being able to (or simply refusing to) meet goals set by the Troika in order to receive aid.  German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said, “If there were delays, Greece must make up for them.”

“Dr. Doom” Nouriel Roubini believes that the U.S.A. economy is still on a downward slope.  After saying that rosy forecasts by economists are out of line, Roubini said, “In 2013 … as some tax cuts are allowed to expire, disposable income growth and consumption growth will slow.  The U.S. will then face not only the direct effects of a fiscal drag, but also its indirect effect on private spending.”

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

  • Gold, $1,569.30, Down $15.20.
  • Silver, $26.86, Down $0.53.
  • Platinum, $1,392.90, Down $21.60.
  • Palladium, $565.40, Down $11.70.

 

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Europe Crisis Affecting Gold Prices, Global Economic Forecast Lowered

The economic turmoil in Europe has taken its toll on the global economy with gold being no exception. The euro has fallen to a two-year low with the news that the troubled countries are no closer to resolving their issues. The other driving factor in gold this week is the upcoming Federal Reserve report to the U.S.A. Senate Banking Committee. The report is crucial to the economic forecast in the United States. “Gold has been pulled and pushed on the back of expectations of further quantitative easing and remains under pressure from the stronger U.S. dollar,” Suki Cooper, an analyst at Barclays Plc in New York, wrote today in a report.

At the beginning of the year, there were positive signs of an economic turnaround. The job market was getting stronger, profit margins were up, and the industrial markets had solid gains. Today, those same key factors to the economy don’t have the same appeal. The employment numbers have slowed to a crawl, retail numbers are falling, and consumer confidence is waning. A recent survey of economists shows a 30% decrease in employment from last year and a 60% decrease in sales since April. “The survey results suggest worsening economic conditions,” said Nayantara Hensel, a business professor at National Defense University who analyzed the results for NABE. “The rising sales and profit margins experienced earlier in the year may have been short-lived.”

The global growth forecast as set by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is used to gauge the economic outlook for the world. Today the IMF lowered their expectations for the rest of 2012 and 2013. The main issue continues to be Europe and the economic crisis In the European Union. “Downside risks to this weaker global outlook continue to loom large,” the IMF said in an update of its World Economic Outlook. “The most immediate risk is still that delayed or insufficient policy action will further escalate the euro area crisis.”

At 1:00 pm (EDT), the APMEX precious metals spot prices were:

  • Gold – $1591.70 – Down – $1.80
  • Silver – $27.35- Down – $0.10
  • Platinum – $1417.30 – Down – $17.90
  • Palladium – $578.90 – Down – $7.80
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Gold price holding stady; China looks to increase holdings

The Gold price has been steady today after last week’s drop in price. The well documented economic crisis in Europe has the market in a holding pattern until further news warrants movement. There has been much talk of how the yellow metal is being affected by global issues, however those issues may not be the strongest influence of late. “While commentators spend much time talking about how Gold is being influenced by the risk to the global financial/banking system from euro troubles, Gold seems to be primarily tracking one trend, namely the trend in the U.S. dollar,” Citi said in a note.

The focus of European economic trouble seems to be on Spain. While the issues with Greece and Italy have been well documented, the issues with Spain are maybe even more complex. Spain has historically been a strong economic force in Europe. Spain’s banking system has been seen as well managed, unlike those in Greece and Italy. Dr. Peter Morici of the Robert H. Smith School of Business said, “Simply, Spain’s resort industry, home values and banks are collateral damage of the wider global crisis and European recession. Indeed, the IMF, in a detailed report published on May 30, found the core of Spanish banking sound, regulation generally effective, and needed restructuring well under way.”

China has taken notice of the financial issues in Europe and is looking to Gold for diversity. “Investors here want to hold part of their assets in Gold to hedge for the risks, especially now that the financial crisis has evolved into a sovereign crisis,” Zheng Zhiguang, general manager of the Precious Metals department at Industrial and Commercial Bank of China Ltd., said in an interview in Shanghai. Gold demand was 13 percent higher in the first quarter of this year compared to 2011.

At 1:02 p.m. (EDT), the APMEX Precious Metals spot prices were:

  • Gold, $1,593.00, Up $1.60.
  • Silver, $28.56, Unchanged.
  • Platinum, $1,450.90, Up $23.80.
  • Palladium, $625.60, Up $13.60.
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Prediction on QE3 Roll out; S&P Foresees Greece Exiting Eurozone

Today, gold followed the trends of the euro and oil as all three assets clearly began to strengthen.  The safe haven appeal continues to coincide with gold as Jeffrey Sica, at SICA Wealth Management LLC suggested the yellow metal is an essential tool to deal with the global economic worries.  Sica said, “Right now the tools to deal with the European crisis and the U.S. economy are limited and questionable.  So that puts the financial market in a very vulnerable position and enhances the desire to accumulate safe-haven-type investments” such as gold.

Dennis Gartman, the editor and publisher of The Gartman Letter, spoke to CNBC today about the likeliness of the Federal Reserve announcing the next round of quantitative easing (also known as QE3) as early as this month.  Gartman bases his predictions on the latest jobs report that was released Friday with disappointing numbers.  Gartman said, “The Fed has made it abundantly clear that it has kept QE3 up on the table; (it) would be executed if economic circumstances deteriorated.  And you have to admit that Friday’s number — no matter how you try to slice it — was deterioration.”  Gartman also mentioned QE3 will happen far ahead of the U.S.A. presidential election in November so that it is not linked in any political manner to the current administration.

Standard & Poor’s (S&P), one of the big three credit rating agencies, has announced it foresees a one in three chance that Greece will exit the eurozone in the coming months. “ A rejection by Greek voters to enact financial reforms demanded by the European Commission, International Monetary Fund, and European Central Bank would likely result in a cutoff of international aid and subsequent defaults,” S&P said.

At 5 p.m. (EDT), the APMEX Precious Metals spot prices were:

  • Gold – $1,619.90 – Down $1.70.
  • Silver – $28.30 – Down $0.30.
  • Platinum – $1,430.70 – Down $4.50.
  • Palladium – $612.90 – Down $1.10.
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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