Numismatic News & Precious Metals Market Commentary
Gold Rises For 4th Straight Week Leading Silver and Platinum Higher
Gold rose $10 last week, for the fourth straight week. This time, silver and platinum followed gold’s lead, unlike in previous weeks. Last week, silver had the greatest percentage increase of all the metals. Gold is flat today (Monday), but as we near the end of August, gold is up over 6% and silver over 8% (in August), while the stock market is down over 3% for the month. The year-to-date gap is now almost 20% between gold (+14%) and the widely-watched S&P 500 (-4.5%).
Gold reached its latest all-time high on June 28, at $1261. Now, we know why: soaring investment demand. Last Wednesday, the World Gold Council announced that world gold demand reached 1,050.3 metric tons in the second quarter, 36% higher than the same quarter a year earlier. Supply rose, too, but not as fast as demand: While demand rose 36%, supply rose 18% to 1,131 metric tons. The WGC said that soaring investment demand was the biggest component of demand, saying that uncertainties around the world are expected to provide continued strong demand for gold. Demand for gold-backed exchange-traded funds (ETFs) rose 414% vs. the second quarter of 2009, while retail investment demand rose 29%.
Jason Toussaint, managing director for the World Gold Council, said that investors appear to be making the switch from buying gold only in times of crisis to having gold as part of a more diversified portfolio. Specifically, Toussaint said “Gold is the ultimate diversifier.” The World Gold Council further said that India and China are expected to continue to provide the “main thrust” of gold demand, but European retail investors “appear to be making an increasingly important contribution to investment demand.”
September is the Month for Gold, Not Stocks
In a study of the monthly performance of the Dow over 60 years, September was the worst month by far. Interestingly, in a 40 year study of gold, September is the best for gold. While history doesn’t always repeat itself, or rhyme as Mark Twain suggested, decades of history seem to scream sell some stocks and diversify with gold in August and September.
Business Week Bashes Gold, but Kaplan Defends the Metal
The current (August 30 to September 6) edition of Bloomberg’s Business Week printed a cover story on gold and a leading gold investor. The cover title said: “The Gold Digger: Thomas Kaplan and the mad search for the world’s most primitive source of wealth.” Their adjectives (“mad” search for “primitive” wealth) show their editorial bias. Instead of “primitive,” they could have used “original” or “proven” or “time-tested form of wealth,” but they selected a word (primitive) associated with out-dated or ignorant.
Mr. Kaplan turned that “primitive” term around, saying, “The conventional wisdom is that gold is for primitives. That derision shows me that, contrary to the notion that we’re in a bubble, we haven’t yet begun the real bull market.” The Business Week article then tended to criticize Kaplan’s mining efforts, even though he is far more conservation-oriented than most gold-mining executives. In fairness, the article gave him the final word, which is worth quoting in full: “People view gold as emotional, but when they demythologize it, when they look at it for what it is and the opportunity it represents, they’re going to say, ‘we really should own some of that.’ The question will then change to, ‘Where do we get gold?'”
Mike Fuljenz’ 2010 NLG award-winning book, Indian Gold Coins of the 20th Century, is beginning to stir up demand for better $2.50, $5 and $10 Indian Head gold coins. Meanwhile, premiums on slightly better Mint State 61-64 $20 Liberties are beginning to trend higher due to a sudden spike in demand.