July 6, 2022

Gold Bullion Coin Sales Jump 9% In December, But Decline 18% For The Year

Demand for physical gold increased in December as buyers took advantage of a recent pullback in gold prices.

According to production figures from the U.S. Mint, sales of American Gold Eagle bullion coins in December totaled 65,500 ounces, an increase of 9.2% from December 2010.  Total sales of gold bullion coins for 2011 declined by 18% from the prior year.  For all of 2011, a total of 1,000,000 ounces were sold compared to previous year sales of 1,220,500 ounces.

The sales figures cited above do not include gold numismatic coins sold by the U.S. Mint.  Collector versions of gold coins such as the American Buffalo Gold Proof Coin can be purchased directly by the public from the U.S. Mint.

The American Gold Eagle bullion coins cannot be directly purchased by the public from the U.S. Mint.  Instead, a network of authorized purchasers (AP’s) buys the coins in bulk from the Mint at a fixed markup.  The AP’s in turn resell them to secondary retailers for public sale.  The AP distribution system established by the U.S. Mint was determined to be the most efficient method for selling gold bullion coins to the public at competitive prices.

Although sales of gold bullion coins increased during August and September when gold was soaring to all time highs, the largest  monthly sales of gold bullion coins occurred in January when gold was trading in the $1,350 range (please see chart below for monthly sales figures).

U.S. Mint Gold Bullion Sales By Month

 

2011 marks the third year in a row of reduced purchases of gold bullion coins but this is not indicative of an overall reduction in investment gold demand.  Competing investments such as gold trust ETFs may be responsible for a large part of reduced demand for physical gold.

Besides much lower transaction costs, investors in gold ETFs or other paper gold products do not have to worry about security and storage costs.  Since their launch in 2005, investors have poured billions of dollars into gold trust ETFs.  For example, the SPDR Gold Shares Trust (GLD) and the iShares Gold Trust (IAU) now hold gold bullion valued at over $82 billion.  By contrast, the approximate value of all American Eagle Gold bullion coins purchased last year amounts to only $1.6 billion.

The all time record sales of American Eagle gold bullion coins occurred in 2009 when 1,435,000 ounces were sold.

Gold Bullion U.S. Mint Sales Since 2000
Year Total Ounces Sold
2000 164,500
2001 325,000
2002 315,000
2003 484,500
2004 536,000
2005 449,000
2006 261,000
2007 198,500
2008 860,500
2009 1,435,000
2010 1,220,500
2011 1,000,000
Total 7,249,500

 

Will gold bullion sales continue to decline?  The recent implosion of MF Global along with unrestrained money printing by central banks should provoke some clear headed thinking by investors.  Customers of MF Global who thought they had warehouse receipts for physical gold and silver were shocked to find that the bankruptcy trustee put all assets into a single pool to cover  claims of all customers who have lost billions of dollars.

Paper assets can be vaporized in an instant, even those that are allegedly backed by physical assets such as gold and silver.  A question well worth pondering is “Could what happened at MF Global also happen to investors in the gold trust ETFs”?

 

Gold Bullion Coin Sales Plunge 63% In November and 20% YTD – Have Americans Given Up On Gold?

Total sales of American Gold Eagle bullion coins plunged in November according to production figures from the U.S. Mint.

Total sales of gold U.S. Mint bullion coins declined by 63.4% in November from the previous year.  Sales of U.S. Mint gold bullion coins declined by 19.5% on a year to date basis through the end of November.  A total of 41,000 ounces were sold in November 2011 compared to sales of 112,000 ounces in November 2010.  Year to date sales through November totaled 934,500 ounces compared to the previous year to date totals of 1,160,500 ounces.

The reduction in the purchase of U.S. Mint gold bullion coins continues a trend of reduced sales since the record breaking year of 2009 when a total of 1,435,000 ounces were sold.  Total gold bullion sales  for 2011 will probably slip below one million ounces for the first time since 2009.  If sales decline in December by the same percentage amount as in November, total 2011 sales of gold bullion coins will come in at 956,500 ounces.

A summary of gold mint bullion coin sales since 2000 is shown below.

Gold Bullion Sales Since 2000

Gold Bullion U.S. Mint Sales Since 2000
Year Total Ounces Sold
2000 164,500
2001 325,000
2002 315,000
2003 484,500
2004 536,000
2005 449,000
2006 261,000
2007 198,500
2008 860,500
2009 1,435,000
2010 1,220,500
2011 934,500
Total 7,184,000

Why would gold bullion coin sales be plunging when gold has been steadily rising?  Have Americans given up on gold?  Let’s look at various trends in gold sales to get some perspective.

-Annual sales of gold bullion exceeded a half million ounces only once before 2008.  The financial crash of 2008 precipitated concerns about the integrity of both the banking system and the U.S. dollar, causing a huge increase in demand for physical gold.  Gold bullion sales exploded higher in 2008 and sales for 2011 remain far above levels seen prior to 2008 despite the recent drop in sales.

-Based on the current price of gold, the total value of all gold bullion purchased from the U.S. Mint since 2000 is $12.6 billion.  This amount represents only a fraction of the amount of investment dollars that have flowed into gold over the past decade.  In addition to purchasing physical gold, investors now have the option to purchase gold through gold trust ETFs.  The amount of money poured into the gold trust ETFs is many multitudes greater than the investment in physical gold bullion coins.  For example, since their inception in 2005, the combined gold holdings of the SPDR Gold Shares Trust (GLD) and the iShares Gold Trust (IAU) have grown to 47.2 million ounces valued at $82.5 billion.

-Gold ETFs have grown exponentially from their inception a short six years ago but the largest gold ETF, the SPDR Gold Shares Trust (GLD), has not been able to exceed its record gold holdings of 1,320.47 tonnes reached on June 29, 2010.  In addition, billionaire John Paulson recently liquidated a substantial portion of his GLD holdings, although much of the selling may have been forced due to severe losses in his hedge funds.

-Gold trader sentiment is either bullish or bearish, depending on who you talk to.

-Central banks, which have been increasing their purchases of gold since 2000, have sharply accelerated their purchases of gold bullion over the past several years.  Central banks from Asia and Latin America have accounted for most of the increased purchases.

-According to the World Gold Council, global gold investment demand increased by 33% in the 2011 third quarter compared to the prior year.  Investment demand for gold bars and coins increased by 29% and global gold holdings by gold trust ETFs increased by almost 78 tonnes.  Demand for gold increased notably during the third quarter in Europe and China.

While it is indisputable that global gold demand has increased, the appetite for gold by U.S. investors seems to be diminishing.  What do you think?

 

 

Chinese Seek To Buy Undervalued Gold Mining Company

China has been steadily adding to its gold reserves as it attempts to diversify its huge holdings of foreign currency.  From only 395 tonnes in 1988, the Chinese central bank has increased its gold reserves to 1,054 tonnes.  As the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasury debt, the Chinese have complained loudly about America’s addiction to debt and the nonstop efforts of the Federal Reserve to debase the U.S. dollar.

Besides buying ever increasing amounts of gold bullion, the Chinese have now decided to add gold mining companies to their shopping list.  Given the incredible disconnect between the market value of gold mining companies compared to the value of gold bullion, the decision to buy gold mining companies should come as no surprise.   Many gold mining stocks are selling at a substantial discount to their net asset values of proven gold reserves.

As reported by Bloomberg, China’s second largest gold producer, Shandong Gold Group Co, Hunts for Brazilian Gold Acquisition.

Jaguar Mining Inc. (JAG), which is exploring its options after receiving acquisition proposals, is proving that even a record takeover premium for a gold company can be a bargain.

Shandong Gold Group Co., owner of China’s second-largest gold producer, offered to buy Jaguar for $785 million in cash, two people familiar with the deal said Nov. 16. The $9.30-a- share bid is 77 percent more than Jaguar’s prior 20-day average, the highest premium in a cash takeover of a gold miner greater than $500 million, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Jaguar is still trading at a 3.5 percent discount to its net asset value, cheaper than 94 percent of comparable gold miners.

“Relative to their peers, Jaguar is trading at a pretty substantial discount,” Sachin Shah, a Jersey City, New Jersey- based special situations and merger arbitrage strategist at Tullett Prebon Plc, said in a telephone interview. “Even a $9.30 offer may be undervaluing the company. They could actually get a longer-term value asset at a cheap price. It’s the Brazilian assets that make Jaguar so appealing.”

After closing at $7.80 in New York on Nov. 16, Jaguar fell 3.5 percent yesterday to $7.53. The company is trading at 0.97 times its net asset value of $7.80 a share, based on the average of analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That means it’s still cheaper than 16 of 17 other gold companies with similarly sized mines, the data show. Jaguar’s rivals are worth an average of 1.8 times the value of their underlying assets.

“The stock has lagged the group and generally underperformed, and as a result the company was ripe for the picking,” Mark Kellstrom, a senior partner at Summit, New Jersey-based Strategic Energy Research and Capital LLC, which focuses on energy and natural resources, said in a phone interview. “For a purchaser like Shandong, there’s a real opportunity here to buy gold reserves at cheaper valuations, improve the operating results and therefore reap a nice return.”

It was simply a matter of time before cheap gold mining companies became acquisition targets.  Gold mining companies have lagged far behind the gains of gold bullion and are selling at huge discounts to the value of their gold reserves.  A look at the comparative performance of the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) to the PHLX Gold/Silver Index (XAU) shows that since 2008, gold has returned approximately 200% compared to a return of only 50% for the XAU.

The fundamental appeal of gold mining stocks is further bolstered by increasing demand for gold bullion.  The Gold Demand Trends released by the World Gold Council shows that global demand for gold increased by 6% in the third quarter.

 

Courtesy yahoo finance

Despite the recent volatility in gold prices, the long term fundamental case for gold remains intact and, in fact, grows stronger by the day as one sovereign nation after another stares into the abyss of debt default.  The move by the Chinese to acquire Jaguar Mining could be the spark that sets off a stampede to acquire undervalued gold mining companies.

Why Have SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) Holdings Dropped As Gold Soars?

The SPDR Gold Shares Trust (GLD) reported that holdings of gold bullion remained unchanged from the previous week, after dropping by 39.67 tonnes for the week ending August 24th.

On a year to date basis, GLD gold holdings have declined by 48.41 tonnes as the price of gold has increased by $425 (30.6%) from the first of the year.  Why would the GLD show a decline in gold holdings as the price of gold has soared?   Even more interesting, the GLD reached a record high of gold holdings on June 29, 2010 when it held 1,320.47 tonnes and gold was selling at $1,234.50.  From June 29, 2010, while gold has soared by $579 per ounce, the GLD has actually seen a decline in gold holdings of 88.16 tonnes.

The decline of gold holdings by the GLD as the price of gold bullion has skyrocketed indicates that investor preference for gold investment has diversified.  The demand for physical gold has soared as the world financial system becomes more precarious with each passing day.  Confidence in paper assets is becoming more fragile as hapless central banks desperately print money and drive rates to zero in a futile attempt to restore economic growth.  Investors looking for the ultimate safe haven feel more comfortable  holding physical gold.

There have been questions raised about  the safe keeping and even the existence of the gold held by the GLD.  Although these concerns appear to be unwarranted, the financial panic of 2008 blatantly exposed the fact that even institutions considered to be rock solid wound up failing.  (Also see GATA dispatch – How exchange traded fund GLD lets you pretend to own gold).

The SPDR website stresses that the gold with the SPDR Trust is deposited in an allocated account.  According to the SPDR Gold Trust,  “An allocated account is an account with a bullion dealer, which may also be a bank, to which individually identified gold bars owned by the account holder are credited.  The account holder has full ownership of the gold bars and, except as instructed by the account holder, the bullion dealer may not trade, lease or lend the bars.”

Another reason why the GLD gold holdings have not expanded is competition from numerous other gold trusts such as the Sprott Physical Gold Trust which has advantages over the SPDR Gold Trust.

In addition, the shares of many gold mining companies are selling at extreme discounts and investors may be moving funds from gold trusts such as the GLD into mining shares (see Gold Shares Are Positioned For Explosive Move Up).

The GLD currently holds 39.6 million ounces of gold valued at $71.8 billion.

Meanwhile, the case for holding gold grows stronger as concerns about the stability of the world financial system continue to increase.

The Wall Street Journal disclosed today that Goldman Sachs, in a confidential report, estimates that European banks will need as much as $1 trillion in additional capital and that the current situation in world markets is similar to those that preceded the 2008 financial panic.

According to the Wall Street Journal, strategist Alan Brazil of Goldman told clients “Here we go again.  Solving a debt problem with more debt has not solved the underlying problem. In the US, Treasury debt growth financed the US consumer but has not had enough of an impact on job growth. Can the US continue to depreciate the world’s base currency?”

GLD and SLV Holdings (metric tonnes)

August 31-2011 Weekly Change YTD Change
GLD 1,232.31 00.00 -48.41
SLV 9,836.18 -89.38 -1,174.77

Holdings of the iShares Silver Trust (SLV) dropped by 89.38 tonnes this week after increasing by 109.08 tonnes for the week ending August 24th.  The SLV currently holds 313.4 million ounces of silver valued at $13 billion.

 

Gold And Silver ETF Holdings Remain Steady As Gold Plunges

Gold’s non stop advance since early July saw a rapid reversal on Wednesday as gold lost $104.20 to close at $1,752.30 in New York trading.

Gold prices have soared this year on fears of another financial crisis and the continual debasement of paper currencies by governments that are tottering on the brink of default.  Gold began the year at $1,388.50 and by early May traded over $1,550.  After consolidating for two months, gold broke out of its trading range in early July and breached the $1,900 level earlier this week.  Despite today’s sharp sell off, gold is still up $363.80 or 26% for 2011.

As short term trend traders, hedge funds and speculative buyers jumped into gold, prices became overbought with gold trading $423 above its 200 day moving average.  The same traders playing gold for short term profits jumped out just as quickly when prices started to reverse.  Two factors that encouraged profit taking in gold were reports that the Fed would not immediately announce another round of money printing and the sharp hike in margin requirements on gold futures by the CME Group.

On a short term basis gold was overbought and due for a correction after an almost vertical rise from $1,500 as can be seen below.

 

Gold - courtesy stockcharts.com

A view of a longer term chart gives a different perspective – the long term bull market in gold remains intact and the fundamental reasons for owning gold have not changed.

 

Gold - courtesy stockcharts.com

The non stop “gold bubble” chatter by talking heads who missed participating in the decades long gold rally are focusing on a short term price movement instead of the fundamentals that will continue to drive gold prices higher.  Every bull market has corrections and are an opportunity to add to positions.  As a long term investor in gold since the early 1990’s, I have seen other investors trade in and out, losing money each time, instead of simply going with the long term bull trend.

Many analysts have expressed concern that investors might be panicked out of the GLD causing the price of gold to plunge.  This does not seem to be the case despite the large drop in gold prices this week.  As of Wednesday, the GLD gold holdings declined by only 39.67 tonnes.  In addition, when silver spiked in early May, trading volume in the SLV exploded by 750% above the daily average trading volume.  Despite the volatility in gold this week, trading volume in the GLD expanded by only 350% above average trading volumes.  This would seem to indicate that investment in the GLD is a core holding by long term gold investors who are not inclined to sell on normal price corrections.

The SPDR Gold Trust currently holds 39.6 million ounces of gold valued at $70.1 billion.  There has been much hype about the value of the GLD exceeding that of the SPDR S&P 500.  A more proper context for comparison is to compare the value of the GLD to the increase in sovereign debt and money printing.  Bernanke’s latest episode of QE2 money printing was 850% larger than the entire value of the GLD and you can count on additional Fed currency debasement in the future.

GLD and SLV Holdings (metric tonnes)

August 24-2011 Weekly Change YTD Change
GLD 1,232.31 -39.67 -48.41
SLV 9,836.18 +109.08 -1,085.39

The iShares Silver Trust holdings gained 109.08 tonnes for the week ending August 24, despite the slide in silver prices.  The SLV has been building a base in the $35 to $40 range since the May correction.   Many analysts proclaimed that the “bubble” in silver prices had burst after the sharp price correction in May.  From a long term perspective, the May correction did little to diminish either the bullish fundamentals or the long term upward trend in silver prices.

 

SLV - COURTESY YAHOO FINANCE

The SLV currently holds 316.2 million ounces of silver valued at $13.3 billion.

Gold ETF Holdings Hit All Time High As Silver ETF Holdings Decline

The SPDR Gold Shares Trust (GLD) added 10.22 tonnes of gold since last week as gold prices continue to surge higher.  The GLD now has a net gain in gold holdings of 15.80 tonnes since the first of the year.  The all time high holdings of the Gold Shares Trust was 1320.47 tonnes reached on June 29, 2010.

The value of the GLD during August has increased by 12.1% to $73.9 billion on high volume.  During July, the highest volume day for the GDL was on July 13th when 25.2 million shares traded.  On August 8th, 9th and 10th, volume on the GLD exceeded 40 million shares.  On previous occasions when trading volume in the GLD surged, gold prices either pulled back slightly or consolidated in sideways trading before continuing higher.

All of the fundamental factors that have been pushing gold prices higher for the past decade are now being amplified by a looming currency collapse and sovereign debt crises.  Adding to concerns is the apparent inability of central banks and governments to contain the rapidly expanding financial crisis.

As measured by the closing London PM Fix Price, gold started the year at $1388.50 and closed Wednesday in New York trading at $1796.50, up $51.30.  Gold has gained $407.90 or 29.4% since the first of the year.

Total holdings of all gold ETFs recently reached a record of 2,276 tonnes of gold, valued at $130 billion.  The GLD currently holds 41.7 million ounces of gold valued at $73.9 billion.

GLD - COURTESY YAHOO FINANCE

 

The GLD hit a new all time high in Wednesday trading, closing at $174.58, up $5.97.

GLD and SLV Holdings (metric tonnes)

August 10-2011 Weekly Change YTD Change
GLD 1,296.52 +10.22 +15.80
SLV 9,772.56 -86.36 -1,149.01

Holdings of the iShares Silver Trust (SLV) declined by 86.36 tonnes on the week but have gained 236.41 tonnes since July 1st when silver prices began rallying.

Silver prices have not kept pace with the increase in gold prices as investors worry about reduced industrial demand for silver in a severe economic downturn.  Silver closed Wednesday at $39.39, up $1.58.  Silver began the year at $30.67 and is now up by $8.72 on the year returning investors a gain of 28.4%.

The SLV peaked in late April at the $50 level before prices corrected to the low 30’s.  The SLV has had an average annualized total return of 25% over the past three years.

The iShares Silver Trust currently holds 314.2 million ounces of silver valued at $12 billion.

 

SLV - COURTESY YAHOO FINANCE

As the world economy marches off the edge of the cliff and many wonder why, we look back at some prophetic  thoughts from Bill Murphy, co-founder of the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (GATA) in an interview with The Motley Fool in June 2010.

“What’s important for your readership to understand is that the markets have been made dysfunctional by U.S. policy and what these bullion banks are doing. Even Alan Greenspan said recently that interest rates were left too low for too long. Had the gold price been allowed to trade freely, interest rates wouldn’t have been able to stay down as low as they were. It would have been a warning sign for people not to get involved in the behavior that they did … not to go with all of the risks that developed. And there’s a good likelihood that the disaster would have been nowhere near as bad as it was.

“Alan Greenspan called gold a “thermometer.” So they diffused the thermometer by keeping the gold price managed. And what’s important for people to understand now is that the same thing is going on. If we’re correct, it’s going to lead to a bigger catastrophe, because no one has learned any lessons.”

 

 

SPDR Gold Trust Hits All Time High, Silver ETF Holdings Increase

Holdings of the iShares Silver Trust (SLV) gained 112.15 tonnes on the week after increasing by 169.76 tonnes in the previous week.  Although SLV holdings have declined by 1,005.71 tonnes since the beginning of the year, holdings of the silver trust have increased markedly in July as silver prices surged.

Since July 1st, holdings of the iShares Silver Trust have increased by 379.21 tonnes.  Holding of the SLV hit an all time high on April 25th when the Trust held 11,390.06 tonnes of silver.

As measured by the London PM Fix Price, silver has gained $6.96 since July 1st, rising from $33.85 to $40.81.  Silver is up 33.1% since the beginning of the year when it stood at $30.67.  The SLV, after correcting in early May, has broken out of its trading range in the mid 30’s and has been steadily advancing.

Investors looking to past history for clues on the future price move in silver are looking at two entirely different worlds.  The parabolic move and subsequent collapse of silver prices in the 1980’s was driven by specific events which quickly reversed.  After breaking out of a decades long base, silver will not be a replay of the 1980’s but instead is in a long term super cycle which will ultimately result in much higher prices (see For Silver, This Time Is Different).

 

SLV - COURTESY YAHOO FINANCE

The SLV currently holds 318.8 million ounces of silver valued at $13.0 billion.  Over the past year the SLV has increased by 86%.  Over the past three years the SLV has had an annual rate of return of 25.1%.

GLD and SLV Holdings (metric tonnes)

July 27-2011 Weekly Change YTD Change
GLD 1,244.80 -1.21 -35.91
SLV 9,915.86 +112.15 -1,005.71

Holdings of the SPDR Gold Shares Trust (GLD) dipped slightly on the week by 1.21 tonnes after increasing by 20.60 tonnes in the previous week.

Gold has been in a steady uptrend during July.  As measured by the closing London PM Fix Price, gold has gained 9.6% or $142 since July lst.  Gold started the year at $1388.50.

Since the beginning of the month, the GLD has gained 39.0 tonnes.  The GLD currently holds 1,244.80 tonnes of gold valued at $65.0 billion.

The GLD hit new all time highs this week as the advance in gold prices continued.

 

Gold and Silver ETF Holdings Increase As Precious Metals Rally

Holdings of the SPDR  Gold Shares Trust (GLD) gained 20.60 tonnes on the week after increasing by 19.60 tonnes in the previous week.

Gold has been in a steady uptrend during July as the debt crises in Europe and the United States continue to expand.  As measured by the London PM Fix Price, gold has gained $103 since July lst.  Gold has gained $197.50 per ounce since the first of the year when the price was $1,388.50.

Since July lst, total gold holdings of the GLD have increased by 40.21 tonnes and the value of the trust has increased by $6 billion to $63.5 billion.  At July 20, the Gold Trust held 40.1 million ounces of gold bullion, up from 38.8 million ounces on the lst of July.

Shares of the GLD hit an all time high this week along with the price of gold.

 

GLD - COURTESY YAHOO FINANCE

The iShares Silver Trust (SLV) increased its holdings by 169.76 on the week after a gain of 101.55 tonnes in the previous week.   Silver holdings of the trust since the beginning of the year have declined by 1,178.86 tonnes when the Trust held 10,921.57 tonnes.  The record holdings of the SLV occurred on April 25th when the Trust held 11,390.06 tonnes.

Silver has surged in price along with gold since the beginning of July.  Based on the closing London PM Fix Price, silver has increased from $33.85 on July 1st to $38.59 at the July 20th close, for a gain of $4.74 or 14.0%.

The SLV Trust currently holds 315.2 million ounces of silver valued at $12.2 billion.  As of July 20th, the net asset value of the Trust was $37.61 according to the Trust’s website.  The price of the SLV closed on July 20th at $39.12 or a 4% premium to the Trust’s net asset value.  The current premium of the SLV to the Trust’s net asset value is higher than usual, reflecting investor demand for the SLV.  The all time high premium on the SLV to the underlying net assets of the Trust occurred on April 27, 2011 at 6.3%.

iShares Premium/Discount - courtesy us.ishares.com

Precious metals have advanced strongly after suggestions by the Federal Reserve that it might initiate another round of quantitative easing if economic conditions continue to deteriorate.  Meanwhile, the debt crisis in Europe continues to expand with many believing that the only “solution” is to imitate the U.S. Central Bank and print money.

GLD and SLV Holdings (metric tonnes)

July 20-2011 Weekly Change YTD Change
GLD 1,246.01 +20.60 -34.70
SLV 9,803.71 +169.76 -1,117.86

 

Gold and Silver ETF Holdings Increase As Precious Metals Explode Higher

The iShares Silver Trust (SLV) showed a gain in holdings of 101.55 tonnes on the week after declining by a modest 48.21 tonnes in the previous week.  A decline from record holdings of 11,390.06 tonnes on April 25th paralleled the sell off in the silver market that occurred in early May.  Since mid June, holding of the SLV have stabilized in the range of 9,500 to 9,600 tonnes.

Silver has surged in price since the lst of July when silver closed at $33.85.  Today’s closing New York price of $38.33 gives silver a gain of $4.48 or 13.2% through July 13th.  The price of silver surged today after Fed Chairman Bernanke, mere days after the end of QE2, announced that he was ready to “come to the rescue” of the American financial system again with another round of quantitative easing.   Bernanke’s continued policy of dollar debasement may not do much to revive the economy, but it is certain to send gold and silver prices to all time highs.

The SLV Trust now holds 309.7 million ounces of silver valued at $11.4 billion dollars.  The all time high in the value of silver holdings by the Trust occurred on April 28th at $17.3 billion.

After basing in the $35 range since early May, the SLV looks ready to begin challenging its all time high. The SLV closed today at $37.23 up $2.03.

 

SLV - COURTESY YAHOO FINANCE

GLD and SLV Holdings (metric tonnes)

July 13-2011 Weekly Change YTD Change
GLD 1,225.41 +19.60 -55.30
SLV 9,633.95 +101.55 -1,287.62

Holdings of the SPDR Gold Shares Trust (GLD) gained 19.60 tonnes last week after small drops in the previous two weeks.  The price of gold has retained virtually all of its price gains this year even as sell offs hit stocks, commodities and other precious metals.  Gold opened the year at $1,388.50 and has steady increased in value.

As it became clear that the deficit talks in Washington would resolve nothing and with easy Ben Bernanke ready to put the printing presses into overdrive, the price of gold soared to all time highs.  The continuing debt crisis in Europe will only get worse, eventually forcing the European Central Bank to engage in its own money printing operations on a massive scale.

As measured by the London PM Fix Price, gold opened the month at $1483.00 and closed in New York trading today at $1,583.60 for a gain of $100.60 or 6.8%.  In later trading in Asian markets, gold continued to soar, climbing another $6.10.  James Turk, a highly respected analyst with a superb track record is forecasting a gold price of between $5,000 and $8,000 before 2015.  Given the pace at which debt trapped countries are tipping over, I suspect that those price targets may be reached much sooner.

The GLD currently holds 39.4 million ounces of gold valued at $62.2 billion.

 

Gold - Courtesy stockcharts.com

 

 

 

Silver ETF Holdings Gain As Gold ETF Holdings Decline Slightly

Silver holdings of the iShares Silver Trust (SLV) gained by 21.23 tonnes on the week.  In the previous three weeks,  SLV silver holdings had declined by a total of 381.95 tons, bringing the net outflow for the year to 1,340.96 tonnes.

The all time high holdings of the SLV was 11,390.06 tonnes on April 25, 2011.   The decline in SLV holdings from the all time high totals 1,809.45 tonnes, a decline of 15.9%.  The yearly high for the price of silver of $48.70 on April 28th correlates closely to the date of record holdings of the SLV.

The iShares Silver Trust currently holds 308.0 million ounces of silver valued at $10.6 billion.  The total net assets of the SLV have plunged by $6.7 billion since reaching an all time high of $17.3 billion on April 28th.  The dramatic 39% decline in the total net asset value of the SLV reflects the combination of much lower silver prices and reduced silver holdings.   Silver, at today’s close, has declined by $14.31 per ounce (29.4%) from the high of $48.70 on April 28th.

 

SILVER - COURTESY STOCKCHARTS.COM

Silver, as measured by the closing London PM Fix Price, closed today at $34.39, up $0.43 per ounce.  In later hour New York trading, silver continued to move up and closed at $34.98.  Silver has been in a narrow trading range in the mid 30’s since its decline in early May.

GLD and SLV Holdings (metric tonnes)

June 29-2011 Weekly Change YTD Change
GLD 1,208.23 -0.91 -72.49
SLV 9,580.61 +21.23 -1,340.96

The holdings of the SPDR Gold Shares Trust (GLD) declined slightly on the week by 0.91 tonnes, bringing the decline for the year to 72.49 tonnes.  The GLD currently holds 38.85 million ounces of gold valued at $58.4 billion.

Gold closed in London at $1504.25 and continued to move up in late New York trading, closing at $1512.80, up $9.70.  Gold has remained in the $1,500 range even as oil, stocks, silver and a large number of other commodities have declined in price since early May.