May 29, 2024

Precious Metals Prices Stumble In Wild Trading Week

Commodity and precious metal prices tumbled this week, with gold and silver prices snapping a streak of four consecutive weekly increases. Following the recent run up in prices, there had been some anticipation of a correction. In addition, there were concerns that the Fed’s announcement of the end of QE2 would result in an end to the flood of cheap money which has fueled the rise of commodities.

In the precious metals group, silver was the biggest loser with a drop of almost 30% from last Thursday’s closing London PM Fix Price.  (The London markets were closed on Friday, April 28th.)  The losses in silver far outpaced the declines in other precious metals and many place the blame squarely on the rapid fire multiple margin increases by the COMEX for trading silver futures (See How The COMEX Crashed The Silver Market).

Gold, platinum and palladium also had a tough week with respective price declines of 3.19%, 2.51% and 7.21%.

Precious Metals Prices
PM Fix Since Last Recap
Gold $1,486.50 -49.00 (-3.19%)
Silver $34.20 -14.50(-29.77%)
Platinum $1,789.00 -46.00 (-2.51%)
Palladium $721.00 -56.00 (-7.21%)

Precious metals have had previous serious declines without affecting the long term upward move in prices (see Measuring Declines From The High For Gold and Silver).  Overextended markets will correct but the fundamental forces pushing precious metal prices higher have not changed.  While dollars and other paper currencies can be produced in infinite quantity, the supply of gold, silver and commodities are finite.

Despite the Fed’s promise to stop printing money and its pledge of supporting a “strong dollar”, the dollar has had only a feeble recovery and is close to its all time lows.  The markets clearly have no confidence in Chairman Bernanke’s words and the weak dollar proves it.  Every bull market experiences temporary pullbacks and the precious metals are no exception.  Long term investors should view the latest price consolidation as another potential opportunity to increase positions.

Gold and Silver News & Headlines for November 7

Mother of All Short Squeezes for Gold

More and more people are putting together this string of factors and coming to the same conclusion:

1.) the price of physical gold and paper gold have disconnected
2.) instead of paying huge premiums for physical gold, just take delivery from the COMEX.
3.) the COMEX does not have nearly enough gold to cover open contracts.

Gold Hedges Fell 2.3 Million Ounces in Third Quarter

Gold miners hedge book is down to 16.5 million ounces from 29.1 million ounces a year earlier and 41.5 million ounces in the third quarter of 2006.

Equities and Commodities Tumble – Gold Decoupling

Equities and commodities seem to be growing increasingly correlated, while gold seems to be decoupling from both.

Ten Reasons Gold Is Not Above $1,000

Gold reached its all time high price above $1,000 per ounce a few days after the shocking Bear Stearns bailout. In the following months gold often experienced sharp declines and has stubbornly refused to reattain the key $1,000 level despite more shocking bailouts, bank failures, and bankruptcies.

Reporters, analysts, and bloggers have cited a variety of reasons why gold has not exploded higher amidst the ongoing turmoil. Some of the reasons are more valid than others, but all are worth examining. Without further ado, the Gold and Silver Blog brings you the Top Ten Reasons Gold Is Not Above $1,000:

1.) Dollar Strength

Against nearly every world currency, the US Dollar has been strengthening. The Dollar’s path higher has accelerated in recent weeks. Gold is thought of as a weak dollar play. With the dollar strengthening, selling gold is simply the other side of the trade.

2.) Commodity Collapse

Since the summer months, commodities have been on the rapid decline. Oil has fallen by more than half from its peak price of $147. Base metals and precious metals have experienced similar if not more drastic declines. While gold has been holding up well on a relative basis, the weakness in commodities may be keeping any price appreciation at bay.

3.) Deleveraging

After years of using excessive leverage in an attempt to maximize returns, firms are rediscovering the notion of risk. Massive deleveraging is taking place as firms sell any asset available to pay down debt. As an asset class, gold is not immune to such sales.

4.) Speculative Selling

With the dollar rallying and gold breaching key technical levels, traders may be taking speculative short positions in gold, anticipating that prices will continue to move lower. This speculative selling compounds the impact of selling taking place for other reasons.

5.) Recession

Fears of a worldwide economic slowdown and deep domestic recession will have a big impact on consumer discretionary purchases. This would likely hold especially true for luxury items such as jewelry.  Since jewelry production is the largest non-investment use for gold, any slowdown would put a drag on demand.

6.) Deflation

While some fear inflation, others fear deflation. If prices decline across the board, some believe that all asset classes will be dragged down, including gold. Notably some people take the exact opposite position about gold and deflation.

7.) Hedge Funds and Mutual Funds

Some people feel that hedge funds had a hand in driving the price of gold from below $300 to above $1,000. Now that fortunes have turned for their other investments, hedge funds are being forced to unmercifully liquidate large positions in gold. Mutual funds are also being forced to liquidate positions in gold to meet redemptions.

8.) “George Costanza Trade”

On Seinfeld, George Costanza realized that every decision he ever made has been wrong. He discovered if he did the exact opposite of what his instincts told him to do, he would be successful. In relation to investing, when everyone believes that a certain trade or investment philosophy is certain to work, oftentimes with uncanny precision the exact opposite happens. This year, a growing number of people began to believe with absolute certainty that gold would move higher. While the opinion was far from universal, was the opinion widespread enough to invoke George Costanza?

9.) Government Manipulation

There is a growing camp which believes that the primary reason that gold has not moved higher in a big way is due to government manipulation. If gold prices skyrocketed, the public at large would lose faith in fiat currencies and start to panic. It would be in the government’s best interests if this did not happen.

10.) These Things Take Time

Some of the forces mentioned above are going head to head with the economic realities that should be driving the price of gold higher. Eventually we will reach a tipping point when demand for physical gold is enough to overwhelm all other factors. Once we reach that point, the price of gold will rise in leaps and bounds.