Friday links: Billionaire Paulson Says Buy

Quote of the Week: “By the time inflation becomes evident, gold will probably have moved, which implies that now is the time to build a position in gold,” John Paulson

Precious Metals

Behind Central Banks’ Gold Buying (The Street)

Gold Bulls Expand as Paulson Says Buy (Bloomberg)

Archaeologists strike gold in quest to find Queen of Sheba’s wealth (Guardian.Co.UK)

Markets

Record $6 Trillion of Fake U.S. Bonds Seized (Bloomberg)

Could Twitter predict the stock market? (Reuters)

Cashin: Here’s The Real Risk If Greece Defaults (WSJ)

Economy

Inflation heats up on gasoline prices (Reuters)

January CPI Comes In Tame At 0.2% Headline, 0.2% Core (BusinessInsider)

Weekly Market Recap – February 3, 2012

Now that figures for January have come in, it’s clear that Gold kicked off the new year with a fresh start and a confident outlook. This past month was the strongest January for Gold in more than 30 years. In addition, prices for the precious metal rose more than 11% in January, the largest gain since August 2011. In a note this week, Ross Norman, chief executive of Sharps Pixley, wrote, “With Gold starting 2012 at a cracking pace … Gold may be poised to set fresh highs this year but earlier than many — ourselves included — would have expected.”  Gold still is viewed as directly tied to what is going on in Europe, and according to a note sent to investors this week by Commerzbank analysts, “Concerns about Greece and Portugal are keeping demand for Gold high and supporting the price. … The sovereign debt crisis will thus continue to preoccupy the markets for some considerable time yet and should support the Gold price.”

During a summit attended by leaders from 27 European Union (EU) states this week, a deal was reached on a permanent rescue fund for the eurozone, with 25 of the 27 European leaders present agreeing to back the German-inspired pact for budgetary discipline. The agreement on the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) – which will be worth about $500 billion euros and will go into effect a full year ahead of the previous timeframe of 2013 – is already being criticized internationally as too small to truly handle the debt exposure. Also coming out of the summit, the countries involved in the agreement have signed up for a tighter fiscal union in which the European Court of Justice had the power to fine countries that don’t stick to the budget deficits set by the EU.

There is fear that Portugal will be next in line to receive a bailout once Greece’s debt issues have been resolved. Edward Hugh, an economist in Barcelona, said, “It’s most likely that Portugal will say that it wants one of those, too.” According to Hugh, Portugal “…literally has nothing further to lose, except some of its debt burden.” Lisbon, Portugal’s largest city, is required to repay 9 billion euros of debt in September 2013.

There was positive news out of Germany this week, where unemployment levels reached a 20-year low in January. Germany’s economic expansion has helped soften the blow from the eurozone’s broader weakness. However, eurozone unemployment as a whole increased to 10.4%, the highest rate in the history of the EU.

Here in the U.S., the Case-Shiller report released this week showed that housing prices slid by 1.3% in November, with a 3.7% slide year-on-year. While the housing market seems to be improving, most homeowners are not seeing any part of that with the sliding prices, which have dropped to mid-2003 levels. Precious metals added to gains on the news. Also this week, private research group The Conference Board revealed that its Consumer Confidence Index fell from 64.8 to 61.1 in December, lower than the forecast of 68 that economists had anticipated. According to the Conference Board, although consumers were more positive about jobs, they were not as optimistic about their income prospects. The release of the latest unemployment figures on Friday showed that 243,000 new jobs were added in January, which was more than the 121,000 analysts had estimated.

This week, Christopher Wolfe of Fitch Ratings said that U.S. banks will face a continuing trend of erosion or core earnings this year if they do not offset revenue pressures by finding new ways to cut costs. President Barack Obama urged Congress this week to follow his plan to give homeowners a better chance at refinancing with historically low interest rates. The estimated cost of the President’s program is between $5 billion and $10 billion, which has Republicans already saying they will not support it. Federal Reserve President Ben Bernanke delivered a speech to Congress on Thursday of this week in which he warned about the risk to the U.S. of a sudden fiscal crisis and expressed his concerns about U.S. economic growth. Mr. Bernanke also defended Fed policy against harsh criticism that recent Fed decisions risked igniting inflation, saying that the decisions were necessary in an economy that is still struggling and that is vulnerable to shocks. Precious metals prices showed solid gains in response to Bernanke’s speech.

Pressure from the U.N mounted this week on Syria’s president. Arab leaders have urged the U.N. Security Council to help the Syrian people, claiming that Syria has failed to make reforms and that government forces continue to use deadly force against protesters. The uprising in Syria has endured for 10 months, and Western and Arab diplomats are calling for Assad to step down. Also in the Middle East, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned those who are enforcing an oil embargo against Iran, saying, “Sanctions will not have any impact on our determination to continue our nuclear course. In response to threats of oil embargo and war, we have our own threats to impose at the right time.”  The comments are expected to continue driving up oil prices. Gold traditionally has a positive correlation with oil, and like oil, geopolitical tension is one of the major driving factors for the price of Gold.

According to banking and financial services group UBS, Gold demand in India is significantly above average this year. India has been the largest Gold consumer in the world in recent years. UBS added that new investors are coming into the Gold market for the first time in three months, thanks largely in part to the potential for quantitative easing. UBS analyst Edel Tully said that such easing could give Gold “explosive ingredients” in 2012. In China, Gold buying set records during the week-long Dragon Lunar New Year holiday. The Chinese Ministry of Commerce released numbers showing that sales of Gold, Silver, and jewelry rose by 57.6% at Caibai, one of Beijing’s largest gold dealers. “To most Chinese nowadays, gold is more convenient to cash in than other investment instruments,” said Guan Qiang of Caibai.

WEEKLY SPOT PRICES

Gold: Spot Gold prices opened this week at $ 1,734.20. The high was on Friday, February, 3rd  at $ 1,765.90, while the low for the week occurred on Monday,  January 30th $ 1718.80. Gold ended the week down $7.20 at $1,727.00. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2011 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, and 2011 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver: Spot Silver prices opened this week at $33.52. Silver reached a high of $34.39  on Friday, February, 3rd , while this week’s low for Silver occurred Monday,  January 30th at $33.04. Silver ended the week up $0.18 at $33.70. The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2011 Silver American Eagles, 2011 Silver Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 10 oz. APMEX Silver Bars.

Platinum: Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1614.30 and ended the week up $10.50 at $1,624.80. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium: Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $688.20 and ended the week up $19.20 at $707.40. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

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Market Recap 11/5/10

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day up just over 9 points, as the market failed to continue its strong momentum this week. Friday’s activity was not reflective of the impressive showing throughout the week based on the Federal Reserve Bank’s plan to boost the economy with $600 billion worth of Government Bond purchases.  But even a stronger than expected jobs report, adding 151,000 jobs in October, couldn’t rally the Market higher on Friday.

The Federal Reserve’s plan to purchase Government Bonds drove the 30-year bond higher but also drove the two-year and five-year notes to record lows. The Federal Open Market Committee said that the Fed will expand purchases at the rate of about $75 Billion a month through June 2011.

Precious metal prices continued to climb higher and higher again this week. Gold and Silver both neared important milestones. Gold hit an historic high of $1,398.90 on Friday, while Silver reached a 30-year high of $26.94. Gold had hit 17 new highs over the last five weeks based, at first, on speculation about the Fed’s actions and then on the actual announcement. What will be the newest predictions on the prices of these precious metals now, given their new highs? 

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,351.10. The high during the week was on Friday, November  5th, at $1,398.90, while the low for the week occurred on Wednesday, November 3rd, at $1,327.10. Gold ended the week up $43.80 at $1,394.90. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2010 1 oz. Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs and 1 oz APMEX Gold Bars.

Silver:
Spot Silver prices opened this week at $24.61. Silver reached a high of $26.94 on Friday, November 5th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Wednesday, November 3rd, at $23.94. Silver ended the week up $2.18 at $26.79. The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2010 Silver American Eagles, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 1 oz. APMEX Silver Rounds.

Platinum:
Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,711.30 and ended the week up $57.30 at $1,768.60. 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Platinum Bars, 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles and 1/2 oz. Platinum American Eagles were popular purchases this week.

Palladium:
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $649.00 and ended the week up $39.90 at $688.90. 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs continue to keep the interest of Palladium investors.

Featured Bullion Product:
Each week, APMEX will review a different bullion product for the benefit of our readers. This week, we will review the section on Pamp Suisse Gold Products.

PAMP is a French acronym for “Artistic Precious Metal Products.” PAMP is one of the world’s leading independent refiners of precious metal products. In 1977, PAMP established its refinery in the Castel Saint Pietro in Switzerland. Their die-struck bars are made to exacting standards and have been considered “Good Delivery” bars by the London Bullion Market Association since 1987. All of PAMP’s bars are struck in .9999 quality and fineness.

The PAMP Gold bars are often struck with the very attractive likeness of the ancient Roman goddess “Fortuna,” who was believed to rule good luck. The bars are often available in sizes ranging from a tiny 1 Gram up to a large 10 Troy Ounces.

Market Recap 4/9/10

On Wednesday, General Motors Co. reported a $4.3 billion loss for its first six months out of bankruptcy. In spite of this, the car maker envisions a turnaround in 2010, according to The Wall Street Journal. Chief Financial Officer Chris Liddell said GM stands a good chance of making money this year if the car maker improves its sales performance and further reduces costs, but was cautious about predicting a profit this year. “I don’t want to sit here and predict profitability and disappoint,” Liddell said.

The U.S. economy still faces significant headwinds, including a housing sector that has yet to recover convincingly and an ailing employment market, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday. “Many Americans are still grappling with unemployment or foreclosure, or both,” Bernanke said. “We are far from being out of the woods.”

In international news, the Canadian dollar briefly pushed above parity with the greenback for the first time since July 2008, but slipped back to end the day just below the one-for-one level, reported Reuters. Continued concerns for the Euro, and rising commodity prices have gold and silver investors rallying to hedge against the increasing likelihood of interest rate hikes and inflation. Firmer economic data helped fuel investor demand for commodities and linked currencies this week.

Gold:
Spot gold prices opened this week at $1,129.10. The high during the week was on Friday, April 9th, at $1,165.90, while the low for the week occurred on Monday, April 5th, at $1,120.90. Gold ended the week up $34.80 at $1,163.90. This week, Gold Canadian Maple Leafs, 1 oz. .9999 Pamp Suisse Gold Bars and Gold American Eagles remained popular with investors.

Silver:
Spot silver prices opened this week at $17.96. Silver reached a high of $18.45 on Friday, April 9th, while the low for silver occurred on Monday, April 5th, at $17.81. Silver ended the week up $0.47 at $18.43. This week, the most popular silver items included Silver American Eagles, Silver Canadian Maple Leafs and 1 oz. APMEX .999 Fine Silver Rounds.

Platinum:
Spot platinum prices opened this week at $1,675.50 and ended the week up $49.60 at $1,725.10. 1 oz. Credit Suisse Platinum Bars, Platinum American Eagles and 1 oz. Scotiabank Platinum Bars were popular with platinum investors this week.

Palladium:
Spot palladium prices opened this week at $494.00 and ended the week up $22.50 at $516.50. Popular palladium products this week included Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs and 1 oz. .999 Fine Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars.

Featured Bullion Product:
Each week, APMEX features a different bullion product for the benefit of our readers. This week’s featured product is the Palladium Bar.

Palladium is a silver-white metal belonging to the platinum group that is more precious than silver and of a higher rarity than gold. Like platinum, palladium plays an important role in a variety of the complex systems used by the burgeoning hybrid vehicle market. Increases in the sales of these types of automobiles could significantly impact the value of this precious metal in the future.

Palladium’s attractive price has made it popular in industries such as automotive, electronics, oil refining, dentistry, jewelry, chemical, medicine, fuel cells, coinage, hydrogen purification, water treatment and more. As a result of increased industrial use, specifically by a variety of “green” technologies, many investors have been stocking up on palladium in recent months with expectation that the precious metal will earn handsome premiums in the near future. Recent years have given rise to a renewal in the investment demand for palladium. Worldwide, palladium is traded in such common forms as 1 oz. and 10 oz. sizes. This information, coupled with today’s attractive spot price, makes now an excellent time to consider investing in palladium.

APMEX is proud to offer Palladium Bars in 1 oz. to 100 oz. sizes from reputable manufacturers that exhibit exceptionally high quality and standards. These bars have been refined to .999 purity or better, and provide buyers a reliable and dependable product in which to invest.

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Market Recap 3/5/10

The U.S. economy shed an additional 36,000 jobs in February. Although fewer jobs were lost than expected, the unemployment rate remained at 9.7%, according to The Wall Street Journal.  An industry report said the U.S. manufacturing sector grew in February but at a slower rate than was expected.

The Commerce Department said on Monday that spending rose 0.5%, increasing for the fourth straight month, reported Reuters. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected consumer spending, which normally accounts for over two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, to increase 0.4% in January. “The message is continuing progress for the economy, if not as fast as hoped,” said Pierre Ellis, a senior economist at Decision Economics in New York.

MSN Money warned this week that the Federal Reserve’s recent increase in the discount rate may mean that higher interest rates are coming. Although the move came sooner than many had expected, it was a step toward more-normal conditions. The Fed stressed that the move doesn’t mean an imminent rise in the more-important federal funds rate. But despite those words, it’s a clear warning from the Fed that near-zero interest rates won’t last forever. This action has led some to speculate that U.S. consumers may begin to feel the pinch of inflation very soon, making precious metals all the more attractive as a hard asset.

Gold:
Spot gold prices opened this week at $1,119.00. The high during the week was on Wednesday, March 3rd, at $1,145.80, while the low for the week occurred on Monday, March 1st, at $1,112.10. Gold ended the week up $17.20 at $1,136.20. This week, Gold American Eagles, Canadian Gold Maple Leafs, and 1 oz. .9999 Pamp Suisse Gold Bars remained popular with investors.

Silver:
Spot silver prices opened this week at $16.62. Silver reached a high of $17.52 on Friday, March 5th, while the low for silver occurred on Tuesday, March 2nd, at $16.42. Silver ended the week up $0.80 at $17.42. This week, the most popular silver items included 1 oz. APMEX .999 Fine Silver Rounds, Silver American Eagles, and 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds.

Platinum:
Spot platinum prices opened this week at $1,540.00 and ended the week up $41.90 at $1,581.90. 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Platinum Bars, Platinum American Eagles, and 1 gram Credit Suisse Platinum Bars were popular with platinum investors this week.

Palladium:
Spot palladium prices opened this week at $433.90 and ended the week up $48.50 at $482.40. Popular palladium products this week included 2009 Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs MS-69 NGC and 1 oz. .999 Fine Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars.

Featured Bullion Product:
Each week, APMEX features a different bullion product for the benefit of our readers. This week’s featured product is the Australian Gold Kangaroo from the Perth Mint.

Founded in 1899, the Perth Mint is a world leader in the innovative design and minting of precious metal products. The Perth Mint introduced the Australian Gold Kangaroo/Nugget series of bullion coins in 1987. From its beginning, this issue of coins had two unique features: these coins featured a ‘two-tone’ frosted design effect, and each coin was sealed in an individual hard plastic case. Issued as Australian legal tender, gold Kangaroos are a favorite with investors worldwide.

At first, the reverse of these coins displayed an Australian gold nugget. Then in 1989, the design was changed to feature a more world-recognized symbol of Australia — the kangaroo. The Australian Kangaroo designs vary every year, making these bullion coins highly sought after as collectibles. Struck from .9999 pure gold, Australian Kangaroos make a great addition to anyone’s bullion position.

APMEX offers Australian Gold Kangaroo/Nugget coins in a variety of sizes, including 1 ounce gold coins and fractional gold coins in 1/2, 1/4, 1/10 and 1/20 ounce weights.

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