247Bull.com Editor: If the US Congress agrees meaningful spending cuts next month as part of the debt ceiling resolution then US economic growth is certain to slow and unemployment rise. As a result the Fed will come under pressure to ramp up its stimulus efforts. Therefore the near-term outlook for gold is somewhat negative, however the longer-term outlook could hardly be better.
The spot gold price hovered above $1660 per ounce Wednesday morning in London, slightly up on the week so far, before dropping through that level ahead of US trading.
“[Gold] continues to consolidate last week’s down move from $1694 to $1627,” says the latest technical analysis from bullion bank Scotiabank.
“Our bias remains lower with $1627 our next line in the sand.”
Gold buying in India meantime slowed Wednesday, dealers report.
“The market has slowed as everyone is waiting for [a price] correction,” says Ketan Shroff, director at wholesaler Penta Gold in Mumbai.
A day earlier, premiums on gold imported by India hit a two-month high Tuesday, with bullion importing-dealers citing strong demand ahead of a possible import duty hike as well as supply constraints caused by reduced refining capacity over Christmas.
Societe Generale meantime became the latest bank to lower its 2013 average gold price forecast Tuesday. SocGen analysts now say they expect gold to average $1700 an ounce this year, down from the previous forecast of $1800.
Silver is forecast to average $31 an ounce, compared to the previous forecast of $34 an ounce.
“The very poor price action of gold recently and lack of bullish triggers leads us to moderate our expectations for gold and silver prices,” says a note from SocGen.
“We remain moderately bullish, and are looking for a similar trajectory to our gold and silver forecasts, albeit at lower levels.”
“Monetary policy accommodation continues to paint a supportive backdrop for higher gold prices up ahead,” adds a note from UBS.
“We do not think that there has been any material change in the macro environment to warrant a change in the underlying bullish gold view… the reality is that the Fed’s balance sheet is still expected to continue expanding for some time.”
Stock markets opened higher this morning before easing back, while US Treasuries ended this morning flat on the day, with most commodities were also little changed.
Silver meantime failed to hold above $30.50 an ounce, despite news of strong coin sales and exchange traded funds demand.
So far this month, the US Mint has sold nearly 4.3 million ounces of silver bullion American Eagle coins, which it produces specifically for investment purposes and sells to primary dealers. This compares to 6.1 million ounces sold in the whole of January 2012.
The world’s largest silver ETF meantime, the iShares Silver Trust (SLV), saw its holdings rise to 10,112 tonnes this week, their highest level since 23 May 2011.
“The low silver prices are clearly being seen as an attractive opportunity to buy,” says this morning’s commodities note from Commerzbank, adding that overall silver ETF holdings hit a record 18,990 tonnes yesterday.
The United States will import less oil next year than at any time since 1987, thanks to adomestic supply boost from hydraulic fracturing as well as slower demand growth, according to projections from the US Energy Information Administration published Tuesday.
Elsewhere in the US, economists are debating whether the government should consider minting a $1 trillion platinum coin as a way of continuing to borrow should Congress refuse to raise the $16.4 trillion federal debt ceiling.
“By minting a $1 trillion coin, then depositing it at the Fed, the Treasury could acquire enough cash to sidestep the debt ceiling — while doing no economic harm at all,” wrote Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman in his New York Times column this week.
“So why not?”
“Wasn’t that the plot of a Simpsons episode?” asked Michael Steel, spokesman for Republican speaker of the House of Representatives John Boehner, when asked about the proposal last week.
“There’s no magic coin to duck the tough choices our nation faces,” Steel added, “and the only way to stop spending money we don’t have is to stop spending money we don’t have.”
The US Treasury said last month the government on December 31, and has introduced extraordinary measures designed to keep debt below the threshold until February.
Over in Europe, the Eurozone remained in recession for the final three months of 2012, according to GDP data published this morning.
Ben Traynor | BullionVault