June 21, 2024

Another Precious Week: Back on Track – Record Breakers

Gold, Silver, Platinum, and Palladium Weekly Recap

So the price of gold has broken the $1,400 mark, whatever.  The biggest news is that we shrug off records such as these being broken.

The pundits are saying that this is a “flight to safety”, to which we say that’s so last week.  Literally last week.  If you’re memory was at the top end of the gold fish scale (and we’re talking about market pundits here) you’d remember that the flight to safety was last week when all the other metals were going down but gold was up.

Now gold is up less than the other metals, and we know what that means.  Inflation, baby.  Sure enough, oil is up as well.  In fact gold really didn’t show much form until Friday, and that was only because of Chinese figures.

Precious Metals Prices
Fri PM Fix Weekly Change
Gold $1,403.50 +48.50 (+3.58%)
Silver $28.74 +2.12 (+7.96%)
Platinum $1,718.00 +79.00 (+4.82%)
Palladium $758.00 +88.00 (+13.13%)

This inflation hedging should be slightly puzzling, after all the Quantitative Easing announcements were a few weeks ago and the bank rescues in Europe may have been mildly inflationary, but they are also a reminder that the whole thing could go down in a deflationary spiral that will hit precious metals.

That’s because we’re looking at the west.  As we’ve been arguing for some time the consumer demand in the east is where the action is.  And the Chinese are very worried about inflation.  China has released figures that have shocked the markets showing that the demand for gold is five times what it was last year.  This is about a third of the total consumer gold demand. The Chinese are scared stiff of inflation, which is going out of control, particularly with a weak currency due to the dollar link.

Precious metals are the answer, and China has historically been particularly fond of silver rather than gold.

Governments are also actively buying, particularly Russia which has overtaken Japan to become the eighth biggest Central Bank holding gold.  And they got the World Cup soccer competition.  Lucky Russia.

In the silver market the talk is about market manipulation and short positions, with some people speculating that the traders who took out the massive short positions need to cover their positions and actually buy silver.  Well perhaps.

Palladium and platinum have also proved to be very tight markets, with palladium getting to its highest price since April 2001.  Palladium in particular has a very narrow supply base, with much of the mines being in Russia.