Physical Gold and Paper Gold Battling for Supremacy

The Gold Report: In your latest newsletter, you advocate that gold investors pay close attention to the Federal Reserve meeting taking place on June 18. What are you looking for out of that meeting?

Brien Lundin: The main driver for gold right now is quantitative easing (QE). An investor trying to figure out where the gold market is heading in the near to intermediate term needs to focus on QE. Investors should look for clues to the future prospects of the Fed's QE programthat's what's going to drive gold in the short and intermediate term. The question really is: To QE or not to QE? The next Fed meeting will be a prime indicator of that, and the one after that and the one after that.

My general view is that the reports of a resurgent U.S. economy are way ahead of themselves and some data points are indicating that the recovery is not that robust and may even be in danger. The jobs numbers will shed some light on this. If such a scenario develops, then the snap back for gold would be pretty dramatic. A weakening U.S. economy would be bullish for gold because it's bullish for continued QE, and that's the real factor for gold going forward.

TGR: Besides the jobs numbers and the Fed meeting minutes, what indicators are you watching to get some insight into whether the economy really is improving? Continue reading "Physical Gold and Paper Gold Battling for Supremacy"

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Physical Gold vs. Paper Gold: The Ultimate Disconnect

By Bud Conrad, Chief Economist

How can we explain gold dropping into the $1,300 level in less than a week?

Here are some of the factors:

  • George Soros cut his fund holdings in the biggest gold ETF by 55% in the fourth quarter of 2012.
  • He was not alone: the gold holdings of GLD have contracted all year, down about 12.2% at present.
  • On April 9, the FOMC minutes were leaked a day early and revealed that some members were discussing slowing the Fed $85 billion per month buying of Treasuries and MBS. If the money stimulus might not last as long as thought before, the "printing" may not cause as much dollar debasement.
  • On April 10, Goldman Sachs warned that gold could go lower and lowered its target price. It even recommended getting out of gold.
  • COT Reports showed a decrease in the bullishness of large speculators this year (much more on this technical point below).
  • The lackluster price movement since September 2011 fatigued some speculators and trend followers.
  • Cyprus was rumored to need to sell some 400 million euros' worth of its gold to cover its bank bailouts. While small at only about 350,000 ounces, there was a fear that other weak European countries with too much debt and sizable gold holdings could be forced into the same action. Cyprus officials have denied the sale, so the question is still in debate, even though the market has already moved. Doug Casey believes that if weak European countries were forced to sell, the gold would mostly be absorbed by China and other sovereign Asian buyers, rather than flood the physical markets.

My opinion, looking at the list of items above, is that they are not big enough by themselves to have created such a large disruption in the gold market. Continue reading "Physical Gold vs. Paper Gold: The Ultimate Disconnect"