Gold Investors Weekly Review – June 6th

In his weekly market review, Frank Holmes of the USFunds.com nicely summarizes for gold investors this week’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the gold market. Gold closed the week at $1,253.25, up $3.52 per ounce (0.28%). Gold stocks, as measured by the NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index, gained 0.73%. This was the gold investors review of past week.

Gold Market Strengths

The gold price declined on Friday morning after U.S. employment data was released, but recovered intraday, closing unchanged. U.S. employers added 217,000 jobs in May after a 282,000 gain in April. The median Bloomberg forecast called for a gain of 215,000 jobs in May.

Gold rose $9.77 per ounce on Thursday after the European Central Bank (ECB) cut its deposit rate to 0.1 percent. The ECB became the first major central bank to take one of its main rates negative, as President Mario Draghi unveiled historic measures to fight deflation. By cutting the deposit rate to 0.1 percent, the central bank will effectively charge banks for holding money overnight. The bank also cut its main refinancing rate to 0.15 percent. Dennis Gartman, author of The Gartman Letter, said “the ECB’s policy changes were very expansionary and that on-balance is supportive of gold…I think more is coming.”

China and India (Chindia) are consuming more gold than the global production, according to Bloomberg’s Ken Hoffman. His research shows that China is consuming gold at a rate of 5.15 million ounces per month, while India, at the current import-tariff reduced rate, is consuming 2.85 million ounces per month. The total Chindia consumption is 8 million ounces per month, or 560,000 ounces higher than the estimated 7.44 million ounce per month global-mine output. With this deficit in mind, any relaxation of Indian import curbs will likely skew the fundamental supply-demand balance even further into deficit.

Gold Market Weaknesses

The U.S. Mint’s gold coin sales slumped in May, reaching a total of 35,500 ounces, 7.9 percent lower than the preceding month. The report reinforces the expectations for weak seasonal demand as we head into the summer. On a positive note, the Mint reported silver coin sales rose 12 percent from April and 15 percent from a year earlier.

Spread-GOLD-vs-Gold-Miners-June-2014

spread gold vs gold miners – June 2014

PwC, in its latest Mine Report published Thursday, says “2013 was a year that forced the global mining industry to realign expectations in one of the most difficult operating environments for years.” Gold’s greatest decline in three decades, coupled with record impairments of $57 billion last year, saw global mining profits plunged 72 percent to a decade low of $20 billion in 2013. Gold miners lost $110 billion off market capitalization, while gold reserves fell 8 percent in 2013, to 431 million ounces.

Gold Market Opportunities

While its commodities analysts bash gold, calling it a “slam-dunk” sell, Goldman Sachs is actually buying gold. The bank has agreed to swap dollars for gold with the government of Ecuador, a total 466,000 ounces (or $580 million), at an estimated price of $1,245 per ounce for a three-year term. Even though the Ecuadorian side denied that the transaction was a sale, it is highly unlikely the South American government will have the means to recover its gold in three years. This is especially possible since Ecuador’s use of the dollar as official currency means it can’t finance its deficits by printing money. Actions speak louder than words, and Goldman is buying gold.

Gold Market Threats

Gold prices are set to decline below $1,000 per ounce by 2016, according to a recent report by Societe Generale. The French bank believes the Federal Reserve is likely to hike rates at a much faster pace than currently discounted by the market. As such, bullion prices will trade below $1,200 next year and below $1,000 in 2016. In addition to selling gold, the bank also recommends selling silver due to high physical ETF holdings, as well as copper due to the Chinese slowdown.

The Philippines government expects to double its annual returns from mining under a new revenue-sharing scheme approved this week. The scheme aims to retain as much as 55 percent of the industry’s net revenues, or 10 percent of gross revenue, whichever is higher. In a similar move, the Tanzanian government, Africa’s fourth-largest gold producer, is reviewing mining contracts to ensure the government earns a larger share of revenues.

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