Gold is becoming an increasingly important portfolio balancing tool. The World Gold Council reports that even if investors hold alternative assets, they are not a substitute for the protection offered by a distinct allocation to Gold. The council commented, “Even a small allocation to Gold, by mitigating risk, can consistently increase the returns from a portfolio.”
Gold has had a good week with solid positive gains. “Nobody really wants to go short on Gold,” said Bernard Sin of MKS Finance SA. “I don’t think Europe will be out of the woods yet.” Currently, there is physical demand in India due to the Diwali festival. Nick Trevethan of Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. said, “We’re seeing some progress in Europe, but the market’s been disappointed before. There’s still a lot of good reasons to be holding Gold. The world is still relatively shaky; we’re a low interest rate environment in many parts of the world.”
Leaders in the euro zone have agreed upon a plan to shore up Greece’s debt burden and to contain the debt crisis in the whole region. In the agreement, private bondholders will take a 50% write-down on their holdings of Greek debt, the European Financial Stability Facility will be increased to over 1 trillion euros, and there will be a recapitalization of European banks.
However, even with a plan in place to help contain the euro zone debt crisis, naysayers are already coming out of the woodwork saying the measures taken are short term at best and expect doubts to return. “The very best you can hope for is it buys you time,” said Jonathan Loynes, Capital Economics’s Chief European Economist. “It avoids an imminent catastrophe and means Greece should be able to meet its obligations in the near future, and it may restore a bit of confidence. But it won’t prevent the debt crisis overall from rambling on and indeed escalating.” Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou came out in support of the plan as well, saying, “The crisis gives us the opportunity and this agreement gives us time. We negotiated and managed to erase a very important part of our debt. Tens of billions of euros have been lifted from the backs of the Greek people.”
The U.S. weekly first-time jobless claims report showed a drop of 2,000 while the four-week moving average fell closer to the pivotal 400,000 mark. In an optimistic report, the U.S. gross domestic product rose by 2.5% in the third quarter, showing that the economy is expanding at a rate nearly double that of the second quarter. Inflation is also believed to be down to the 2.0% level, which lowered from the 3.3% level in the second quarter.
Lawmakers may be becoming complacent in their efforts to close the federal spending gap; Reuters reported that many lawmakers do not think another credit rating downgrade could affect the economy. Congressman Michael Grimm said, “There have been some that think we can absorb another [downgrade] and they hide behind the fact that the credibility of the ratings agencies has been called into question.” The attitude that the United States is the “cleanest dirty shirt” may cause paralysis in a congress that is divided on such a hot-button issue.
Hedge funds seem to be betting against another recession. Many have placed bets on commodities which generally increase in value while coming out of a recession. “People are looking around saying, ‘You know what, the world isn’t ending,’” said John Stephenson, SVP and Fund Manager for First Asset Investment Management Inc. Silver, Platinum, and Palladium are all very industrial metals with many uses as raw materials and an increase in manufacturing levels may mean increased demand for those as raw materials.
WEEKLY SPOT PRICES
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,638.40. The high was on Friday, Oct. 28th at $1,754.00, while the low for the week occurred on Monday, Oct. 24th $1,636.60. Gold ended the week up $107.10 at $1,745.50. 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.
Spot Silver prices opened this week at $31.23. Silver reached a high of $35.70 on Friday, Oct. 28th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Monday, Oct. 24th at $31.23. Silver ended the week up $4.18 at $35.41. 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.
Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,509.50 and ended the week up $140.10 at $1,649.60. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $616.40 and ended the week up $52.60 at $669.00. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.
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