"The history of Eureka lies in its future." - Lambert Molinelli, 1878

DISCLOSURE

The author/editor of the Eureka Miner owns common shares of local mining stocks, General Moly (GMO), McEwen Ming (MUX) and Newmont Mining (NEM); together with benchmark miner Freeport-McMoRan (FCX). Please do your own research, markets can turn on you faster than a feral cat.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Gold $1,334 on Dollar Weakness; Molybdenum Outlook


Waterfall, Lamoille Canyon, Ruby Mountains
Isabel Kitchen (1984)

Friday, January 19, 2018 AM

Morning Miners,

Gold behaved as a currency this week with low volatility - supported by a weakened U.S. dollar but challenged by rising interest rates. February Comex gold this morning is roughly where it closed last Friday trading at $1,333.9 per ounce. However, inflation expectations are up with rising commodity prices. How all these competing forces turn gold price is explored in my input to the Kitco Weekly Gold Survey below.

In the near term, I believe gold prices will find comfort above the $1,300-level but struggle to break last September's high of $1,366 per ounce (3/18 contract). Floundering crypto-currencies also continue to give gold a boost.

$1,350 per ounce gold is in the cards in the near term.

That ain't all bad, pardner.

The 10-year Treasury benchmark yield is now above 2.6%. The important link between the 10-year and gold and copper prices is explained in my latest Kitco column:




Scorecard 

Here's our scorecard on where we stood for the last-half of 2017:

Intraday highs on the Comex futures exchange: 

Gold $1,362.4 per ounce September 8, 2017 (December 2018 contract)
Gold $1,365.8 per ounce September 8, 2017 (February 2018 contract)
Silver $18.290 per ounce September 8, 2017 (December 2018 contract)
Silver $18.360 per ounce September 8, 2017 (March 2018 contract)
Copper $3.3220 per pound ($7,186 per tonne) December 28, 2017 (March 2018 contract)

Comex copper is presently trading at $3.1980 per pound, 3.7% below December's high. Improving global growth has kept the red metal above the key $3 per pound level with an added boost from passage of Tax Reform and expectations for U.S. infrastructure spending. China growth prospects appear to be firming up with a better-than-expected Q4 GDP of 6.8%. This results in a GDP 6.9% for 2017 compared to 6.7% for 2016. LME inventories are picking back up as we start a new year (note lower-end scale change from last week):


It is instructive to keep our eyes on the Comex inventories which still exceed the LME after moving higher in late-2017 (213,072 versus 204,675 tonnes)


Good news: Moly prices may be picking up soon (see below)!

My Input to Kitco News 

Here's how I saw the weekly price action as told to the Kitco News Weekly Gold Survey:

My vote is down. Target gold price $1,325 per ounce. Target Silver price $16.9 per ounce.

There are several gold price drivers this week; some developing and one transient. The 10-year U.S Treasury is now above 2.6%. As an interest rate benchmark it suggests a steady trajectory up for U.S. rates and a headwind for the yellow metal. However, continued U.S. dollar weakness has supported gold above the 1,330-level. Some of this weakness is caused by transient uncertainty of a government shutdown today.

I believe a late compromise will occur and the U.S. dollar will rebound some next week. This will likely bring gold back to $1,325 per ounce. Silver will follow the pullback to $16.9 per ounce. A longer term effect is a strengthening China as indicated by a better-than-expected fourth quarter GDP and yuan currency flexing to a 52-week low relative to the U.S. dollar (USD/CNY). This should support higher copper prices and compress the gold-to-copper ratio - bearish gold but consistent with rising interest rates.

The broader Bloomberg Commodity Index has been steadily trending up suggesting commodity inflation. This may ultimately be bullish gold as it eventually manifests in higher product prices. Greater inflation is further supported by a rising U.S. 10-year break-even rate. The dual between higher nominal rates and rising inflation will probably support gold price but keep it below September's high, $1,366 (Comex).

On a weekly basis, gold posted gains relative to copper and the broader Bloomberg Commodity Index (BCOM) and major currencies euro and Japanese yen. Gold is still slipping in value, albeit not dramatically, to surging equities. Relative to the S&P 500, gold retreated only 0.8%. [see Summary Chart & last graph below, Chart to Watch].

Additional Note:

The fate of the Chinese yuan remains a key tell for gold and copper - a material drop in valuation could boost gold and depress copper prices. The yuan stabilized below 7 USD/CNY for 2017 and has been steadily stronger in the new year. The yuan is stronger than last week at 6.3989 USD/CNY and plumbed a new low today (i.e. even stronger level) of 6.3875. A 1-month yuan volatility of 0.80% is in the ballpark of major currency levels - a healthy sign for the Chinese currency (1-month volatilities of euro, yen and gold*).

* the euro & yen 1-month volatilites are  1.18% & 0.92% respectively; Comex gold 1-month volatility is a slightly elevated 1.68%.

Molybdenum Outlook

General Moly (GMO) sees a brighter future for Molybdenum oxide prices. Here are their thoughts form a recent press release:

Molybdenum was one of the best performing metals in price appreciation in 2017, according to the CPM Group, a leading commodities research and consulting firm in New York. The molybdenum spot price strengthened during 2017, supported by increased specialty steel output, driven by the global recovery in oil and gas drilling. During 2017, molybdenum spot price climbed to the $8 - $9 per pound range during August through November, before hitting double digits early this year.

Molybdenum Demand Rising from Oil & Gas End Use

Commenting on the molybdenum outlook for 2018, General Moly Chief Executive Officer Bruce D. Hansen said, "We are excited by the robust performance in the molybdenum (moly) spot price in the new year. Moly is the premier alloy to toughen steel and make it corrosion resistant, which is critically important in all aspects of drilling, production, refining, storage and transportation in the oil and gas industry. However, moly prices remain volatile, and with the continued recovery of the petroleum industry, we anticipate the potential for generally higher prices going forward in 2018."

In December 2017, the Baker Hughes worldwide drill rig count increased 18% to 2,089 rigs from year ago levels and jumped 49% from the low point seen in mid-2016. The West Texas Intermediate oil price has risen 69% from $38.10 per barrel at year end 2016 to $64.30 on January 15, 2017, while the NYMEX natural gas price has risen 58% from $2.03 per MMBtu to $3.20 over the same period.

In addition, steel consumption especially for stainless and high strength steels is expected to be driven by global economic expansion. The World Bank projects global economic growth at a solid 3.1% for 2018 after a better than expected 2017 performance. China uses approximately a third of global molybdenum and produces more than one-third of global molybdenum supply. China's continued strong steel fabrication demand led to rising imports of molybdenum concentrate in late 2017, according to CPM.

Molybdenum Supply

CPM stated that nearly 63% of molybdenum supply is derived as a by-product mostly from copper miners while the remainder of molybdenum is sourced from primary producers, mostly in China. While total molybdenum mine supply (by-product and primary) increased to 561 million pounds in 2017 from 510 million pounds in 2016, according to CPM, molybdenum by-product production is expected to soften in 2018, notably from Chile.

Anticipating tightening supply of molybdenum in 2018, Catherine Virga, Director of the CPM Group, commented "We believe that the major copper producers are already maximizing their molybdenum by-product production and that increases in by-product molybdenum output in 2018 will be limited. Furthermore, strict environmental controls including inspections and production curtailments are expected to continue in China, hampering growth and putting upward pressure on production costs."

Weekly Summary  for January 19, 2018 AM 


(click on table for larger size)

Yearly Summary for 2017


(click on table for larger size)

Comex gold gained nearly 14% for the year but was outpaced by Comex copper that enjoyed a 32% uptick in price. Comex silver lagged both for a  respectable 7.2% gain. Overall, gold gained 12% on the broader Bloomberg Commodity Index (BCOMTR:IND) which includes everything from crude oil to things that oink. In terms of major currencies, gold in terms of yen advanced almost 10% but slipped 0.4% relative to the strengthening euro.

Although gold slipped 5% in value relative to the S&P 500 it was not a bad year at all for the yellow metal!



Gold Price Outlook for 2018:

My revised gold range for 2017 was $1,250 to $1,400. We closed 2017 comfortably above $1,300 at $1,309.3 (February contract).

Let's assume 2018, like 2017, is a mix of buoyant market expectations and rising rates with occasional geopolitical, political and economic shocks. Gold will feel the headwinds of the former and enjoy price spikes in times of market stress. I believe this will secure a price floor in the $1,200 to $1,250 range with highs challenging but not exceeding the September Comex high of $1,366 per ounce.

2018 will prove a less bullish period for gold than this year unless interest rates are contained near present levels and copper prices fall - a less likely scenario given U.S. growth and synchronous global growth expectations. Inflation will be another key factor to monitor, there are growing signs it is on the rise.

Here's a good beer bet for 2018: Gold will fall below $1,220 before rising above $1,380. We ended\ 2017 n the middle of that range with prices just above $1,300 - a fair starting point. 

Which side of this bet you take depends on whether you have a half-empty or half-full view on interest rate direction and economic prospects, both global and domestic.

Two important charts to watch remain the gold-to-S&P500 or AUSP (see "Chart to Watch" below) and gold in terms of major currencies euro and Japanese yen (directly below).

Click on the image for a larger size:


Gold in euro & yen terms with good margin above 2013 lows

Note for currency buffs: Value parity in the above chart occurs when the EUR/JPY cross rate is 139.24; something to watch for - presently 135.47 yen per euro, trending higher since late-October 2017. 

Chart to Watch

Here's a chart to watch for 2018. Click on the image for a larger size:


Gold-to-S&P 500 Ratio

An important gold ratio is gold-to-S&P500 or AUSP. The ratio bottomed in early-December of 2015 and reversed to a bullish trend, peaking February 11, 2016. It bottomed again December 20, 2016 (0.4973) trended higher but then bearishly bottomed again in July, 2017 and more recently December, 12, 2017 (0.4661). Currently this AM the AUSP is 0.4755 - still bearishly below the key 0.5-level but sustaining margin from the mid-December low.

Cheers,

Colonel Possum & Mariana

Photos by Mariana Titus if not otherwise noted.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Gold Touches $1,333 on Soaring Euro; A Beautiful Life Lost by Thomas Fire Mudslides


Josephine "Josie" Franceschini Gower (1948-2018)
Victim of Thomas Fire Mudslides

Friday, January 12, 2018 AM

Morning Miners,

It has been a sad week in Santa Barbara, California where Mariana and I have our second home. We received news yesterday that a good friend of ours had been tragically swept away by recent mudslides. This was the consequence of December's Thomas Fire and a powerful Pacific storm that unleashed horrific mud and debris on Montecito, California. The Thomas Fire is now counted as California's largest wildfire (282,000 acres).

Josephine "Josie" Franceschini Gower awoke very early Tuesday to a rumbling outside her two-story house. She went downstairs with a friend, opened the front door and vanished into a massive mud flow from San Ysidro Creek. Her friend was found alive outside pinned against a fence and a boulder. Her son, Hayden, relentlessly searched for his mother after the storm and her body was later recovered by search and rescue teams nearly a mile away.


Josie was the beloved niece of Fiorina Perocco. Mrs. Perocco lived to the age of 96 and passed in 2011, my neighbor of 30 years. Mariana and I first met Josie as she regularly visited  and affectionately cared for her aunt. I was the same age as Josie by a few months and Mariana and I looked forward to her visits. She was a very positive, humorous, carefree soul that loved riding her horse. She is survived by her two children, two grandchildren and a close knit community of Italian descendants in Santa Barbara.

Like the early pioneers of Eureka County, Fiorina Perocco's father Romano Minato first came to America to work in the mines. He came from the Alpine foothills of Fonte, Italy - a region common to some of Eureka's early Italian immigrants. Romano worked in a coal mine in Erath County, Texas in the early-twentieth century. Fiorina was born there, returned to Italy in 1921 with the family and then came to Santa Barbara after World War II. Her sister Mary Franceschini was Josie's mother.

She will be missed by all who knew her.

Josie's house on East Valley Road
Montecito, California

Gold Touches $1,333 on Soaring Euro

Currencies and interest rates are driving gold price and in a good way - Comex gold made a 4-month high earlier today touching $1,333.8 per ounce. On some positive news coming from Germany, the euro hit a 4-year high putting more pressure on the embattled U.S. dollar which descended to a 3.5-month low.  It is, however, a complex interplay between interest rates and weak dollar as I explain below in my input to the Kitco Weekly Gold Survey below.

Falling crypto-currencies also gave the yellow metal a boost - $1,350 per ounce gold may be in the cards in the next several weeks.

The 10-year Treasury benchmark yield popped up to 2.57% this morning as the 2-year tops 2% . The important link between the 10-year and gold and copper prices is explained in my latest Kitco column:


Scorecard 

Here's our scorecard on where we stood for the last-half of 2017:

Intraday highs on the Comex futures exchange: 

Gold $1,362.4 per ounce September 8, 2017 (December 2018 contract)
Silver $18.290 per ounce September 8, 2017 (December 2018 contract)
Copper $3.3220 per pound ($7,186 per tonne) December 28, 2017 (March 2018 contract)

Comex copper is presently trading at $3.2345 per pound, only 2.6% below December's new high. Improving global growth has kept the red metal above the key $3 per pound level with an added boost from passage of Tax Reform and expectations for U.S. infrastructure spending. All eyes remain on China to see how growth prospects shape up. LME inventories are picking back up as we start a new year:


It is instructive to keep our eyes on the Comex inventories which now exceed the LME after moving higher in late-2017 (212,281 versus 203,750 tonnes)


And, again the chorus of our very tiresome molybdenum song,  "LME Moly Oxide remains on snooze alarm at $7.26 per pound. This is disappointingly short of $8 after climbing to $7.94 in May, 2107." 

My Input to Kitco News 

Here's how I saw the weekly price action as told to the Kitco News Weekly Gold Survey:

My vote is up. Target gold price $1,335 per ounce. Target Silver price $17.2 per ounce.

There are many cross-currents in the price moves of gold this week, the primary drivers are U.S interest rates and dollar weakness. 

Earlier this week it was rumored that China would slowdown or stop buying U.S. Treasurys. This caused jitters in the bond market giving gold a nice lift on a weakening the U.S. dollar and 10-year Treasury yield that bumped above 2.5% . Although China later claimed the story was "fake news," residual uncertainty maintained gold's gains.

This morning, positive news on Angela Merkel's new government drove the euro to a 4-year high. This put more pressure on the U.S. dollar to gold's advantage; Comex gold touched $1,333.8 per ounce. Finally, a hotter-than-expected core inflation number pushed the U.S. 2-year Treasury above 2% - the first time since the Financial Crisis. This move increased to 83% the probability the U.S. Federal Reserve would raise interest rates in March. A hawkish Fed and higher rates is a headwind for gold even though accelerating inflation could eventually become a tailwind. The net effect Friday, was a slight retreat below the $1,330-level.

I believe there is momentum now behind the 4-week uptrend with a good chance that the yellow metal will reach the $1,335-level next week or higher. Silver should follow gold to at least $17.2 per ounce.

On a weekly basis, gold posted a small gain relative to copper but lost ground to the broader Bloomberg Commodity Index (BCOM) and major currencies euro and Japanese yen [see table below for full summary]. Gold is still slipping in value, albeit not dramatically, to surging equities. Relative to the S&P 500, gold retreated only 0.8% [see last graph below, Chart to Watch].

Additional Note:

The fate of the Chinese yuan remains a key tell for gold and copper - a material drop in valuation could boost gold and depress copper prices. The yuan stabilized below 7 USD/CNY for 2017 and has been generally growing stronger. The yuan is stronger than last week at 6.4624 USD/CNY and is now only 0.4% above its 2017 low (i.e. its strongest level) of 6.4345. A 1-month yuan volatility of 0.74% is in the ballpark of major currency levels - a healthy sign for the Chinese currency (1-month volatilities of euro, yen and gold*).

* the euro & yen 1-month volatilites are  0.90% & 0.53% respectively; Comex gold 1-month volatility is a slightly elevated 1.98%.

Weekly Summary  for January 12, 2018 AM 


(click on table for larger size)

Yearly Summary for 2017


(click on table for larger size)

Comex gold gained nearly 14% for the year but was outpaced by Comex copper that enjoyed a 32% uptick in price. Comex silver lagged both for a  respectable 7.2% gain. Overall, gold gained 12% on the broader Bloomberg Commodity Index (BCOMTR:IND) which includes everything from crude oil to things that oink. In terms of major currencies, gold in terms of yen advanced almost 10% but slipped 0.4% relative to the strengthening euro.

Although gold slipped 5% in value relative to the S&P 500 it was not a bad year at all for the yellow metal!



Gold Price Outlook for 2018:

My revised gold range for 2017 was $1,250 to $1,400. We closed 2017 comfortably above $1,300 at $1,309.3 (February contract).

Let's assume 2018, like 2017, is a mix of buoyant market expectations and rising rates with occasional geopolitical, political and economic shocks. Gold will feel the headwinds of the former and enjoy price spikes in times of market stress. I believe this will secure a price floor in the $1,200 to $1,250 range with highs challenging but not exceeding the September Comex high of $1,366 per ounce.

2018 will prove a less bullish period for gold than this year unless interest rates are contained near present levels and copper prices fall - a less likely scenario given U.S. growth and synchronous global growth expectations. Inflation will be another key factor to monitor.

Here's a good beer bet for 2018: Gold will fall below $1,220 before rising above $1,380. We ended\ 2017 n the middle of that range with prices just above $1,300 - a fair starting point. 

Which side of this bet you take depends on whether you have a half-empty or half-full view on interest rate direction and economic prospects, both global and domestic.

Two important charts to watch remain the gold-to-S&P500 or AUSP (see "Chart to Watch" below) and gold in terms of major currencies euro and Japanese yen (directly below).

Click on the image for a larger size:


Gold in euro & yen terms with good margin above 2013 lows

Note for currency buffs: Value parity in the above chart occurs when the EUR/JPY cross rate is 139.24; something to watch for - presently 135.33 yen per euro, trending higher since late-October 2017. 

Chart to Watch

Here's a chart to watch for 2018. Click on the image for a larger size:


Gold-to-S&P 500 Ratio

An important gold ratio is gold-to-S&P500 or AUSP. The ratio bottomed in early-December of 2015 and reversed to a bullish trend, peaking February 11, 2016. It bottomed again December 20, 2016 trended higher but then bearishly bottomed again July 7, 2017 (0.4989) and more recently December, 12, 2017 (0.4661). Currently this AM the AUSP is 0.4783 - still bearishly below the key 0.5-level but sustaining margin from the mid-December low.

Cheers,

Colonel Possum & Mariana

Photos by Mariana Titus if not otherwise noted.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Gold $1,325, Jobs Report "Not Good, Not Bad"


Roberts Mountain
Eureka, Nevada

Please read the latest Mining Quarterly!


Friday, January 05, 2018 AM

Morning Miners,

This morning's jobs report for December was weaker-than-expected with 148,000 jobs added compared to an expectation of 180,000. Headline unemployment remained unchanged at 4.1%, a 17-year low. CNBC Business News commentator Rick Santelli called the report, "Not good, not bad."

Revisions to previous months were mixed with 252,000 jobs added in  November from an earlier report of 228,000. October's number dropped to 221,000 from an earlier 244,000.

In terms of gold, the report reduced anxiety about a hawkish Federal Reserve that may be more aggressive in raising rates to tame an overheated economy in 2018. Theses numbers won't "spook the Fed" intoned another commentator. So far, the pot is steaming but not boiling over. Higher interest rates in a low inflation environment are a serious headwind for gold price (for more on this please see today's input to Kitco News below).

The 10-year Treasury benchmark yield popped up to 2.48% after the report. The important link between the 10-year and gold and copper prices is explained in my latest Kitco column:


Scorecard 

Here's our scorecard on where we stood for the last-half of 2017:

Intraday highs on the Comex futures exchange: 

Gold $1,362.4 per ounce September 8, 2017 (December 2018 contract)
Silver $18.290 per ounce September 8, 2017 (December 2018 contract)
Copper $3.3220 per pound ($7,186 per tonne) December 28, 2017 (March 2018 contract)

Comex copper is presently trading at $3.2315 per pound, only 2.7% below December's new high. Improving global growth has kept the red metal above the key $3 per pound level with an added boost from passage of Tax Reform and expectations for U.S. infrastructure spending. All eyes remain on China to see how growth prospects shape up. LME inventories are leveling off as we start a new year:


It is instructive to keep our eyes on the Comex inventories which now exceed the LME after moving higher in late-2017 (211,237 versus 200,225 tonnes)


And, again the chorus of our very tiresome molybdenum song,  "LME Moly Oxide remains on snooze alarm at $7.26 per pound. This is disappointingly short of $8 after climbing to $7.94 in May, 2107." 

My Input to Kitco News 

Here's how I saw the weekly price action as told to the Kitco News Weekly Gold Survey:

My vote is up. Target gold price $1,310 per ounce. Target Silver price $17.1 per ounce.

The recent concern that an overheated economy may result in more aggressive rate hikes for 2018 seems to have abated this morning with a weaker-than-expected U.S. jobs report - the Federal Reserve has a little more time to breath. This is supportive of gold price.

However, the weaker U.S. dollar that helped propel the yellow metal above the $1,300-level may be nearing a bottom. Although average hourly wage growth bumped a respectable 0.3%, the year-over-year number of 2.5% demonstrates a non-accelerating wage growth. This suggests inflation is still in check. Going forward, a strengthening U.S. dollar in a low inflation environment is a headwind for higher gold prices.

Taken all together, I believe the strong gold rally that began mid-December is running out of steam. It is likely prices will retreat some next week; my target is $1,310 per ounce and silver at $17.1 per ounce.

On a weekly basis, gold posted solid gains relative to copper, the broader Bloomberg Commodity Index (BCOM) and major currencies euro and Japanese yen. Gold is slipping in value, albeit not dramatically, to surging global equities. Relative to the record-breaking S&P 500, gold retreated only 1.5% [see last graph below, Chart to Watch].

Additional Note:

The fate of the Chinese yuan remains a key tell for gold and copper - a material drop in valuation could boost gold and depress copper prices. The yuan stabilized below 7 USD/CNY for 2017 and has been generally growing stronger. The yuan is stronger than last week at 6.4867 USD/CNY and is now only 0.8% above its 2017 low (i.e. its strongest level) of 6.4345. A 1-month yuan volatility of 0.78% is in the ballpark of major currency levels - a healthy sign for the Chinese currency (1-month volatilities of euro, yen and gold*).

* the euro & yen 1-month volatilites are  0.92% & 0.35% respectively; Comex gold 1-month volatility is a slightly elevated 2.11%.

Weekly Summary  for January 05, 2017 AM 


(click on table for larger size)

Yearly Summary for 2017


(click on table for larger size)

Comex gold gained nearly 14% for the year but was outpaced by Comex copper that enjoyed a 32% uptick in price. Comex silver lagged both for a  respectable 7.2% gain. Overall, gold gained 12% on the broader Bloomberg Commodity Index (BCOMTR:IND) which includes everything from crude oil to things that oink. In terms of major currencies, gold in terms of yen advanced almost 10% but slipped 0.4% relative to the strengthening euro.

Although gold slipped 5% in value relative to the S&P 500 it was not a bad year at all for the yellow metal!



Gold Price Outlook for 2018:

My revised gold range for 2017 was $1,250 to $1,400. We closed 2017 comfortably above $1,300 at $1,309.3 (February contract).

Let's assume 2018, like 2017, is a mix of buoyant market expectations and rising rates with occasional geopolitical, political and economic shocks. Gold will feel the headwinds of the former and enjoy price spikes in times of market stress. I believe this will secure a price floor in the $1,200 to $1,250 range with highs challenging but not exceeding the September Comex high of $1,366 per ounce.

2018 will prove a less bullish period for gold than this year unless interest rates are contained near present levels and copper prices fall - a less likely scenario given U.S. growth and synchronous global growth expectations. Inflation will be another key factor to monitor.

Here's a good beer bet for 2018: Gold will fall below $1,220 before rising above $1,380. We ended\ 2017 n the middle of that range with prices just above $1,300 - a fair starting point. 

Which side of this bet you take depends on whether you have a half-empty or half-full view on interest rate direction and economic prospects, both global and domestic.

Two important charts to watch remain the gold-to-S&P500 or AUSP (see "Chart to Watch" below) and gold in terms of major currencies euro and Japanese yen (directly below).

Click on the image for a larger size:


Gold in euro & yen terms with good margin above 2013 lows

Note for currency buffs: Value parity in the above chart occurs when the EUR/JPY cross rate is 139.24; something to watch for - presently 136.26 yen per euro, trending higher since late-October 2017. 

Chart to Watch

Here's a chart to watch for 2018. Click on the image for a larger size:


Gold-to-S&P 500 Ratio

An important gold ratio is gold-to-S&P500 or AUSP. The ratio bottomed in early-December of 2015 and reversed to a bullish trend, peaking February 11, 2016. It bottomed again December 20, 2016 trended higher but then bearishly bottomed again July 7, 2017 (0.4989) and more recently December, 12, 2017 (0.4661). Currently this AM the AUSP is 0.4824 - still bearishly below the key 0.5-level but with good margin from the mid-December low.

Cheers,

Colonel Possum & Mariana

Photos by Mariana Titus if not otherwise noted.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Gold breaks $1,300, McEwen Mining (MUX) Pops to $2.32; Happy New Year!


Early Windfall Mine
Many treasures like this at the Eureka Sentinel Museum!
Eureka, Nevada

Please read the latest Mining Quarterly!





Friday, December 29, 2017 AM

Morning Miners,

As the market year comes to a close, gold and copper are on a tear - miners too!

Comex gold touched $1,307 per ounce in morning trading and Comex copper scored a new high at $3.322 per pound yesterday. The red metal has been marching higher since early-December falling back only slightly today to $3.289. Some of the rally is U.S. dollar weakness as the euro crests 1.20 and Nymex oil sticks its head above $60 per barrel. The greater driver for the red metal are expectations for a pickup in U.S. growth in 2018 bolstered by a robust global economy and the possibility of increased domestic infrastructure spending. The same forces that propel copper up may push gold down if rising interest rates outpace inflation. 

For my current thoughts on gold please read my input to the Kitco News Weekly Gold Survey (below) and latest column:


A very strong run into the finish for miners (daily high in parentheses):

McEwen Mining (MUX) $2.295 ($2.320)
Barrick Gold (ABX) $14.54 ($14.56)
Newmont Minining (NEM) $37.62 ($37.76)
Freeport McMoRan (FCX) $19.075 ($19.446)

Happy New Year!

Scorecard for the last-half of 2017

Here's our scorecard on where we stand for the last-half of the year:

Intraday highs on the Comex futures exchange: 

Gold $1,362.4 per ounce September 8, 2017 (December 2018 contract)
Silver $18.290 per ounce September 8, 2017 (December 2018 contract)
Copper $3.3220 per pound ($7,186 per tonne) October 16, 2017 (March 2018 contract)

Comex copper is presently trading at a $3.2890 per pound, just below yesterday's new high. Improving global growth has kept the red metal above the key $3 per pound level with an added boost from passage of Tax Reform and expectations for U.S. infrastructure spending. All eyes remain on China to see how growth prospects shape up. LME inventories have seen an uptick and are now leveling off as the year comes to a close:


It is instructive to keep our eyes on the Comex inventories which now exceed the LME after a healthy bounce (211,372 versus 202,100 tonnes)


And, again the chorus of our very tiresome molybdenum song,  "LME Moly Oxide remains on snooze alarm at $7.26 per pound. This is disappointingly short of $8 after climbing to $7.94 for much of May." 

My Input to Kitco News 

Here's how I saw the weekly price action as told to the Kitco News Weekly Gold Survey:

My vote is up. Target gold price $1,290 per ounce. Target Silver price $16.8 per ounce.

On a thinly traded week, gold is closing the year in a strong position currently above $1,300 per ounce. This scores a respectable 15% gain for the year*. In terms of weekly gains, the yellow metal is finishing ahead of the Japanese yen and euro and industrial metal copper. This is even more impressive considering that the euro and red metal have been in a strong rally mode against a falling U.S. dollar.

I think it likely there will be some consolidation around the $1,290-level next week with silver following gold lower to $16.8 per ounce. Let's assume 2018, like 2017, is a mix of buoyant market expectations and rising rates with occasional geopolitical, political and economic shocks. Gold will feel the headwinds of the former and enjoy price spikes in times of market stress. I believe this will secure a price floor in the $1,200 to $1,250 range with highs challenging but not exceeding the September Comex high of $1,366 per ounce.

2018 will prove a less bullish period for gold than this year unless interest rates are contained near present levels and copper prices fall - a less likely scenario given U.S. growth and synchronous global recovery expectations.

Additional Note:

The fate of the Chinese yuan remains a key tell for gold and copper - a material drop in valuation could boost gold and depress copper prices. The yuan has stabilized below 7 USD/CNY for 2017 and generally grown stronger. The yuan is stronger than last week at 6.5025 USD/CNY and now only 1.0% above its low (i.e. its strongest level) for the year of 6.4345. A 1-month yuan volatility of 0.55% is in the ballpark of major currency levels - a healthy sign for the Chinese currency (1-month volatilities of euro, yen and gold*).

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

* the euro & yen 1-month volatilites are  0.57% & 0.37% respectively; Comex gold 1-month volatility is 1.40%.

Weekly Summary  for December 29, 2017 AM 


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Yearly Summary for 2017


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Comex gold gained nearly 14% for the year but was outpaced by Comex copper that enjoyed a 32% uptick in price. Comex silver lagged both for a  respectable 7.2%. Overall, gold gained 12% on the broader Bloomberg Commodity Index (BCOMTR:IND) which includes everything from crude oil to things that oink. In terms of major currencies, gold in terms of yen advanced almost 10% but slipped 0.4% relative to the strengthening euro.

Although gold slipped 5% in value relative to the S&P 500 it was not a bad year at all for the yellow metal!




Gold Price Outlook for 2018:

My revised gold range for 2017 was $1,250 to $1,400. It looks like we'll close the year today comfortably above $1,300.

Let's assume 2018, like 2017, is a mix of buoyant market expectations and rising rates with occasional geopolitical, political and economic shocks. Gold will feel the headwinds of the former and enjoy price spikes in times of market stress. I believe this will secure a price floor in the $1,200 to $1,250 range with highs challenging but not exceeding the September Comex high of $1,366 per ounce.

2018 will prove a less bullish period for gold than this year unless interest rates are contained near present levels and copper prices fall - a less likely scenario given U.S. growth and synchronous global recovery expectations. Inflation will be another key factor to monitor.

Here's a good beer bet for 2018: Gold will fall below $1,220 before rising above $1,380. We're right in the middle of that range with this morning's rally above $1,300 - a fair starting point 

[Update: Comex gold closed at $1,309.3; intraday high $1,309.8, February contract]

Which side of this bet you take depends on whether you have a half-full or half-empty view on interest rate direction and economic prospects, both global and domestic.

Two important charts to watch remain the gold-to-S&P500 or AUSP (see "Chart to Watch" below) and gold in terms of major currencies euro and Japanese yen (directly below).

Click on the image for a larger size:


Gold in euro & yen terms with good margin above 2013 lows

Note for currency buffs: Value parity in the above chart occurs when the EUR/JPY cross rate is 139.24; something to watch for - presently 134.92 yen per euro. 

Chart to Watch

Here's a chart to watch for 2017. Click on the image for a larger size:


Gold-to-S&P 500 Ratio

An important gold ratio is gold-to-S&P500 or AUSP. The ratio bottomed in early-December of 2015 and reversed to a bullish trend, peaking February 11, 2016. It bottomed again December 20, 2016 trended higher but then bearishly bottomed again July 7, 2017 (0.4989) and more recently December, 12, 2017 (0.4661). Currently this AM the AUSP is 0.4864 - still bearishly below the key 0.5-level but rebounding nicely from the mid-December low.

Cheers,

Colonel Possum & Mariana

Photos by Mariana Titus if not otherwise noted.