Precious Metals prices are relatively flat today, as the equity markets in the U.S.A. climbed 100 points during morning trading hours. Better than expected business sentiment out of Germany boosted the euro and pushed Gold prices slightly higher. In general, Gold prices are caught between the unlikelihood of QE3 versus its safe haven appeal in the face of a ramped up European debt crisis. The International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are meeting this weekend to discuss the euro crisis. News from that meeting should affect Gold prices at market open, 6 p.m. (EDT) Sunday. While Gold serves as a safe-haven investment for sectors ranging from individual investors to central banks, it may also be helping in an area that is a key to economic recovery: jobs. The Colorado School of Mines has a 94 percent employability rate for its 2011 graduates. Starting salaries are in the mid-$60,000 range, which is significantly higher than the average starting pay for other college graduates. In the 1990s, Gold averaged $350 per ounce; now, the price is more than $1,600, and with that comes an overflow of opportunity for the next generation’s precious metals work force. Analyst’s reference to Gold as a safe-haven investment is not always referring simply to economic turmoil. Geopolitical tensions can also cause a boost in Gold’s appeal, such as the current situation with North Korea. After that country’s rocket failure last week, the U.S. is looking at “all options” to stop North Korea from conducting a third nuclear test. The U.S. already has halted food aid for the country after an agreement was broken by the aforementioned rocket launch.
Testing the Markets:
The March retail report came out better than expected, but the manufacturing report for the New York region dropped sharply. Total retail sales were up by 0.8 percent, which beat expectations. However, this news was somewhat offset by the dismal New York manufacturing report. Economists expected a drop from 20.21 in February to 17.50 in March for that region, but instead the index dropped to 6.56. U.S.A. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the United States government is going to be put to the test by the end of the year. There are three major decisions that have to be settled by 2013. Decisions have to be made on extending tax cuts that affect most taxpayers, automatic budget cuts, and raising the country’s debt limit. “It will be … a big test of the country to govern itself in how Washington deals with those challenges; hopefully we use it as an opportunity to make another significant step towards long term fiscal reform at that time,” Geithner said.
Pain in Spain:
Many economists and investors are concerned with the extent of debt Spain is facing and the steps it would need to take to rectify its economic situation. In Carsten Brzeski’s opinion, “They’re going to need EFSF (European Financial Stability Facility) money to recapitalize the banking sector. … I think we’ll only see a real end to the Spanish misery if the real estate market stabilizes.” Does real estate stabilization sound familiar? However, Spain already has taken a number of steps that some economists don’t feel are necessary. Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said, “The fundamental data in Spain is not comparable to those in the countries that are under a program. Spain needs to work to win confidence, however, if the positive developments are to continue.” The uncertainty over just how bad the Spanish housing issue is continues to be a source of concern, as well. Spain is not only having its own debt issues that it needs to overcome but an unexpected seizure of an asset by Argentina has left the country quite angry. Argentina has announced plans to seize YPF, a subsidiary of Spanish energy giant Repsol. The move is lauded by Argentines but has caught a number of foreign governments by surprise. Spanish industry minister Jose Manuel Soria said, “With this attitude, this hostility from the Argentine authorities, there will be consequences that we’ll see over the next few days. They will be in the diplomatic field, the industrial field, and on energy. … Argentina has shot itself in the foot.” Privatization of oil production is viewed as a key element with foreign powers, like China and Venezuela which have also privatized their oil production.
In the Chinese Lunar Calendar, 2012 is the Year of the Dragon. The dragon is known for its strength, beauty and noble nature. The Perth Mint of Australia has beautifully captured these traits with the newest issue in its lunar series: the 2012 Year of the Dragon Silver coin.
This magnificent design, featuring a serpentine dragon with a “pearl of wisdom,” comes in a wide range of sizes, from 1/2 oz to one full kilo, which allows for more options when purchasing. Along with options in sizing, these Silver coins also come as Mint State, Proof or with beautiful coloring to even better display the wonder of the dragon. Each coin is legal Australian tender and carries a face value, ranging from 50 cents to $300.
People born in the Year of the Dragon are said to be healthy, energetic, excitable, short-tempered and stubborn. They are also honest, sensitive, brave, and inspire confidence and trust. Dragon people are the most eccentric of any in the Eastern zodiac. These Silver coins would make a great gift for the dragon person in your life, someone born in 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000 or 2012.
The Year of the Dragon only comes around once every 12 years so these dragon coins will not be minted again for a while. Also, this particular design will not likely be used again, so shop our wide selection of 2012 Year of the Dragon Silver coins today!