World Gold Council
Equity futures stormed out of the gate on initial relief that a Syria attack may be avoided, which sent oil and the PM complex flash crashing lower. However, overnight, sentiment shifted that the Syrian escalation is at best delayed and as a result Brent regained all losses, with the precious metals also largely unchanged from Friday's close. Futures on the other hand, were perfectly happy to rise on the transitory Syrian risk moderation reduction, and then continue rising when Syria returned to the forefront, this time prodded higher by PMI exuberance out of China and Europe. How credible such manufacturing data remains to be seen. A surging USDJPY was also rather helpful, with the pair breaching 99.00 stops to the upside shortly after the European PMI data printed. And with the cash US market closed, and electronic equity trade halted at 10:30 Central, it is unlikely that concerns about all those "other" things that will define September, will seep in and it is likely the HFTs will push equities to session highs before reopening for the Tuesday trading.
“Indians want to maintain a store of value, so they go to gold.”
‘Gold is the last man standing as rupee fuels inflation’ was not published on Bloomberg.com but the story was published on Live Mint.
What is happening in India is a prelude to what will be seen in other economies in the coming years as currencies depreciate.
One of the most published academics on gold in the world is Dr Brian Lucey of Trinity College Dublin (TCD) and he and another academic who has frequently covered the gold market, Dr Constantin Gurdgiev have just this week had an excellent research paper on gold published.
They have researched the gold market, along with Dr Cetin Ciner of the University of North Carolina and their paper, ‘Hedges and safe havens: An examination of stocks, bonds, gold, oil and exchange rates’ finds that gold is a hedge against US dollar and British pound risk due to “its monetary asset role.”
Premiums on the Shanghai Gold Exchange rose from $21 yesterday to $22.40 (0800 GMT) over London spot showing robust physical demand in China. Demand from the over 2 billion people, rich and poor, in China and India alone this year alone is set to be 1,000 metric tonnes which is worth over $87 billion or roughly what the Federal Reserve is printing every single month.
Following the market's shocking realization that the taper is coming prompting a kneejerk to the kneejerk reaction after the FOMC minutes, and yet another painful session in Asia, stocks were desperate for some good news from somewhere, which they got thanks to a Goldilocks PMI from China printing by the smallest possible expansionary quantum, or 50.1, and well above expectations, as well as a continuation of better than expected European PMI data with the August composite rising from 50.5 to 51.7 vs. Exp. 50.9, based pm a Services PMI rising into expansion to 51.0 from 49.8, (Exp. 50.2), and Manufacturing at 51.3 vs. Exp. 50.8 up from 50.3, the highest since June 2011. It is perhaps stunning just how conflicting this "improving" data is with private sector industrial and manufacturing company metrics, but with the credit creation situation in Europe (read: all that matters) at record lows, and with banks retrenching and needing to delever by trillions, it is only a matter of time before this latest propaganda wave is exposed for what it is. The net effect of the overnight data is to push the USDJPY to nearly 99.00 which thanks to the ubiquitous correlation algos has dragged US equity futures higher, if only briefly (the 10 Year is at 2.91% - under 10bps from redline territory), while slamming the offsetting EURUSD despite the "better" than expected European data.
Gold analysts are the most bullish in five months according to Bloomberg. Thirteen analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expect prices to rise next week, four were bearish and five neutral, the highest proportion of bulls since March 8.
With the ongoing musical chairs at the COMEX (focused on JPMorgan's volatile holdings), the bank's precious metals team now sees a number of reasons to be long gold. Noting the market's shrugging off of Paulson's unwind ("delivering an exclamation mark to define the end of the fall in gold stocks"), JPMorgan (ironically) suggests the questionable price action in the paper markets in light of unprecedented physical demand combined with the seasonal positives (and physical supply restrictions) all points to "getting long the gold space," with gold and silver miners offering value. The question remains, given that none of these are 'new' facts, why the change of heart now (especially as JPM is also buying)?
The latest World Gold Council Gold Demand Trends report, which covers the period April-June 2013, confirms again how recent falls in the gold price were due to speculators selling paper gold rather than a decline in actual demand for physical gold.
It highlights, once again, that the price falls have generated significant increases in demand, most notably from store of wealth, jewelry, bullion coin and bar buyers in Turkey, Dubai and the Middle East, Vietnam, India, China and the rest of Asia.
Meanwhile speculators, primarily banks and hedge funds, exited their positions in the gold ETFs and futures markets. This led to liquidations of just 402 tonnes of ETF gold worth only $18.3 billion.
In a session that has been painfully boring so far (yet which should pick up with CPI, jobless claims, industrial production and the NY Empire Fed on deck, as well as Wal-Mart earnings which will no doubt reflect the continuing disappointing retail plight) perhaps the only notable news was that Japan - the nation that brought you "Fukushima is contained" - was caught in yet another lie. Recall that the upside catalyst (and source of Yen weakness) two days ago was what we classified then as "paradoxical news" that Japan would cut corporate taxes in a move that somehow would offset the upcoming consumption tax hike. Turns out that, as our gut sense indicated, this was merely yet another BS trial balloon out of Japan, which admitted overnight that the entire report was a lie.
The Chinese demand for gold essentially comes from three segments: (1) the People’s Bank of China; (2); the banking sector; and (3) Chinese citizens. We can count on the Chinese central bank to pursue the same steady course they have been pursuing for a while: buying additional gunpowder by increasing their gold reserves. More importantly, it is very likely that the current forced deleveraging will be accompanied by, for instance, a significant cut in interest rates or a lowering of the reserve requirements to offer the banking sector a helping hand (as the PBOC appears to be folding a little on its hard stance). This could have a major impact on gold. We’ll see why by observing that the bulk of Chinese gold demand comes from its third source: Chinese citizens. China has one of the world's highest saving rates, and the public faces few investment options. With negative real interest rates, in case the PBoC does lower rates to support the banking system, gold seems to be an opportune alternative.
The summer doldrums continue. Overnight news included an expected 25 bps rate cut in Australia to a new record low of 2.50%, although the statement surprised by not retaining its expected dovish outlook. Perhaps this is due to the PBOC finally folding and despite raging for weeks that it was dead serious about its tightening experiment, injected another CNY12 billion in its banks via 7-day reverse repos at 4.0% compared to the previous, July 30 CNY14 billion 7 day injection at 4.40%. The Chinese central bank came, saw, and didn't like what it found in the Chinese interbank liquidity situation. Whether and how this will change the Politburo's reform agenda, and whether the provided liquidity will do much if anything, remains to be seen. Elsewhere, in Europe, German factory orders soared 3.8% on expectations of +1.0%, however all driven by Paris airshow orders which boosted bulk orders, and without which orders would have fallen -0.7%. The UK upward momentum continues with Industrial Production's turn now to soar to the highest since January 2011, while Italian GDP declined less than expected, dropping -0.2%, on expectations of a -0.4% slide. In other words Europe continues to rep and warrant that it does not need any assistance from the ECB despite a complete lock up in private lending and credit creation. Good luck with all that.
The LBMA clearing statistics therefore essentially represent huge daily trading through unallocated accounts, most of which is classified as spot delivery, but which is backed by very small physical metal foundations. The clearing statistics while interesting, need to be made more transparent and granular beyond the headline data. Otherwise they tend to obscure rather than illuminate.
Silver, like gold, is largely subject to the same underlying supply/demand dynamics (whether legal or not) where on the margin it trades merely as a precious metal, and those misguided pundits out there who claim that the drop in gold Comex holdings is purely a function of ETF reallocation, are surprisingly mum when it comes to explaining Comex silver which has not followed the move of gold in physical holdings and is in fact near all time holding highs despite an even more aggressive plunge in its price. Alternatively if indeed gold's inventory plunge was driven by the permissive nature of Singapore vaults as willing recipients for all the gold that has departed the assorted Comex system vaults, and thus are merely a physical receptacle to absorb the pent up Chinese "golden" demand, it would explain why this has not happened to silver. At least not yet. That may change very soon because as Bloomberg reports, silver is the new gold when it comes to vaulting in Singapore, and thus China's precious metal warehousing ambitions.
Plunging Chinese manufacturing and an 11 month low PMI got you down? Don't worry: there's a Europe for that, which overnight reported that manufacturing and service PMI in Germany and, don't laugh, France soared far above expectations (German Mfg and Services PMIs of 50.3 and 52.5, up from 48.6 and 50.4, and above expectations of 49.2 and 50.8; French Mfg and Services PMIs of 48.3 and 49.8, up from 47.2 and 48.4 and an 11 and 17 month high, respectively, blowing away expectations of 47.6 and 48.8). The result was a composite Eurozone Manufacturing PMI of 50.1, above 50 for the first time since February of 2012, up from 48.8 and at a 24 month high - reporting the largest monthly increase in output sunce June 2011, as well as a composite Services PMI of 49.6, up from 48.3, and an 18 month high. In other words, European Composite PMI is expanding (above 50) for the first time since January 2012.
In testimony yesterday on Capitol Hill before the Senate Banking Committee, Federal Reserve Chairman Bernanke remarked:
“Gold is an unusual asset. It's an asset that people hold as disaster insurance. A lot of people hold gold as an inflation hedge. But movements of gold prices don't predict inflation very well, actually. But anyway, the perception is that by holding gold you have a hard asset that will protect you in case of some kind of major problem.