Gold Investors Weekly Review – November 15th

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. The price of the yellow metal went lower after two consecutive weeks of gains. Gold closed the week at $1,290.20 which is $1.6 per ounce lower (0.12%). The NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index rose 0.34% on the week. This was the gold investors review of past week.

Gold Market Strength

Last week saw more action in the Comex warehouses, with a net gain in gold inventories for the week. However, registered gold stocks hit a new all-time low at a little under 639,000 ounces. The ratio of registered Comex gold inventory also hit a new low, reiterating the impending physical delivery shortage. In China, demand volumes for cash gold on the Shanghai Gold Exchange climbed to a one-month high this week, leading traders to cover some their short positions early in the week. In addition, the U.S. Mint sold 764,500 ounces of American Eagle coins as of November 8, compared with 753,000 ounces in all of 2012, according to data on the mint’s website.

Gold rose on Thursday after Federal Reserve Chairman nominee Janet Yellen spoke in testimony before the Senate. Yellen commented that the economy and labor market are performing far below their potential and pointed that large improvements must be made before the Fed reduces its unconventional asset purchase stimulus. The continuation of ultra accommodative monetary policies, together with Yellen’s dovish tone, is viewed as supportive of gold prices.

Gold Market Weaknesses

Ed Yardeni, in his daily commentary this week, thinks that there are lots of grey shades in the latest batch of global economic indicators as well as in the stock market’s reaction to them. For one, U.S. GDP growth isn’t “red hot” as initially believed. When excluding inventory build-ups, real final sales in GDP increased by only 2.0 percent, shy of the headline 2.8 percent. Yardeni adds that real final sales to domestic purchasers rose just 1.7 percent, following a gain of 2.1 percent during the second quarter. All that glitters is not gold, as they say.

Hedge funds cut bullish gold bets late last week, adding the most short contracts in four weeks, as U.S. economic growth fuels speculation that the Fed will trim stimulus. Gold’s negative price reaction to the possibility of a December Fed tapering indicates that the bullion market is likely to remain sensitive to expectations for changes in monetary policy, according to Howard Wen of HSBC. Short bets jumped 37 percent, the most since October 15.

Gold Market Opportunities

In regard to China’s physical demand, a gold vault capable of storing 2,000 metric tonnes, or twice the amount of China’s expected demand this year, opened in Shanghai and is seeking to benefit from rising physical demand in Asia’s largest economy. The facility is a massive vote of confidence for the Chinese gold market, according to Philip Klapwijk of Precious Metals Insights. In addition, recent World Gold Council data shows that China’s demand for gold jewelry, bars and coins rose 30 percent, while gold usage in India rose 24 percent, adding that the bulk of year-to-date growth in consumer demand came from eastern markets. Both Klapwijk and two Bloomberg research analysts have come to the conclusion that the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) has taken 300 tonnes of gold into reserves in the first half of the year, just under 15 percent of global supply. The key highlight of the report is that the conclusion was reached independently. At such a massive rate of accumulation, China could match or even surpass U.S. gold reserves within the next 10 years.

Bloomberg published a brief exhibit this week highlighting that China’s buying and holding of gold has increased contango to $134 per ounce on the five-year futures contract, from $94 over the course of six months. This is because the gold moved from London gold ETP liquidations to China during 2013 may no longer be available should ETP demand return. China has been the world’s largest buyer of gold this year, and it is widely known that gold going into China is not expected to hit the international market again. This is due to the country’s view of gold as a long-term investment, leading traders to increase contango as a result.

Gold_Contango_november_2013

In his Friday commentary, David Rosenberg of Gluskin Sheff gave his take on Yellen’s Senate testimony. According to Rosenberg, Yellen not only pointed towards endless quantitative easing (QE), she also indicated that the Fed will consider lowering the meager 0.25 percent it pays for bank deposits to kick start a more vigorous credit cycle; the era of free money is alive and well, he asserted. The result of Yellen’s nomination, and impending ratification, is that liquidity will remain friendly and will fuel risk appetite for the foreseeable future, implying that investors will be punished for at least another five years of decay, if they are overweight cash underneath Yellen’s mandate. In essence, Rosenberg summarizes to borrow short and lend long and start going long hard assets since we will come out of the other side with inflation.

Gold Market Threats

Despite an expected solid underpinning from industrial demand for silver prices, the possibility of the Fed tapering its stimulus, along with the resulting weakness in gold, should send silver tumbling, according to Thomson Reuters. Thomson Reuters’ analysts add that the rising physical demand for the metal will not be enough to sustain prices when faced with the unwinding of the massive U.S. government QE program, and the stronger U.S. dollar. Despite this opinion, it is necessary to highlight that the 2011 record of 39.869 million American Silver Eagle bullion coin sales was shattered this Tuesday as the U.S. Mint revealed sales of 40.175 million coins sold so far this year.

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