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My latest Kitco News commentary:
Is Gold Still on a Slippery Slope? (Nov. 24, 2014)
*** Local Mining News ***
Timberline Resources Commences Drilling at Eureka (Press release, 12/17/2014)
MIDWAY RECEIVES FIRST BANK FUNDS FOR PAN GOLD PROJECT (Press release, 12/1/2014)
*** AM Prices ***
The early morning prices used for today's analysis:
Goldman Sachs Commodity index (Enhanced)
S&PGSCIES 250.01 (246.84 52-wk low)
Nymex oil (WTI) $55.89 per barrel
Comex copper $2.8765 per pound
Comex gold $1,197.5 per ounce
Comex silver $15.930 per ounce
Latest Nevada gasoline prices
The online edition of the Winter 2014 Mining Quarterly is up and ready to rock n' roll. Elko Daily Free Press Editor Marianne Kobak McKown and her team have done an outstanding job on this publication. There are feature articles on Cortez Hills, Barrick's Turquoise Ridge and Newmont's Twin Creeks together with updates on Comstock, Pershing Gold, Veris Gold and Western Lithium. It's a dandy!
The ole Colonel wrote a gold price outlook for 2015, Gold at the Crossroads, which you can find on pages 72-77 of the online edition and 75-79 of the printed version. My input to the Kitco Gold Survey today (see below) updates the charts and numbers provided in this column - the underlying assumptions for 2015 remain unchanged.
Two big drivers of gold price this week were the collapse of the Russian ruble and the latest output of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC). The ruble has been under tremendous pressure this year; first with sanctions imposed during the Ukraine crisis and more recently with the dramatic decline of oil price. Oil sage T. Bonne Pickens joked a few days ago that all Russia exports is oil and vodka and they drink most of the latter. Presumably, a lot more potato liquor was consumed after the ruble touched 68.025 (USD/RUB) Wednesday following the Tuesday Nymex oil dip to $53.94/bbl (Western Texas Intermediate crude).
To give this some perspective, the ruble started the year at a healthy 32.5 before misadventures in the Ukraine caught the world's attention. Drastic action by Russia's central bank has since stabilized the ailing currency around 60 rubles per U.S. dollar. The ruble trades at 59.28 this morning as Nymex oil prices rebound to $55.89/bbl.
Russia has several options beyond raising interest rates to prop up the ruble - selling foreign currency reserves, selling some of their massive 1,100 metric ton gold reserve, or a combination of both. Putting a large amount of gold on the world market would have a very negative impact on gold price. Something to watch, pardner.
On the positive side, the FOMC reaffirmed that patience is a virtue and will be slow to raise interest rates anytime soon. A dovish FOMC posture is supportive of gold prices. All in all, Comex gold is down about $25 from last Friday's close, trading at $1,197.5 per ounce.
Predictably, mining stocks are still in the doldrums although mostly recovering from the lows of the week. Big gold miners Newmont (NEM) and Barrick Gold (ABX) are trading at $19.69 and $10.98 (chart below, click for larger view) . Midway (MDW) is $0.6761 down 0.57% in morning trade. Benchmark Moly Miner Thompson Creek (TC) is up 4.14% at $1.76 recovering from a long fall down the shaft earlier this week. GMO is now below 30 cents per share at $0.2876. Timberline Resources (TLR) is down 3.45% at $0.6295 per share. Checkout the press release on TLR at the top of this post, they have Eureka in their sites (again).
Finally, benchmark miner and copper giant Freeport-McMoRan (FCX)is up 1.17% at $22.708. Freeport has recently taken on oil interests to diversify so feels double-pain when red metal and oil prices are down. Comex copper is trading presently at $2.8765 per pound.
1. Could [economist] Nouriel Roubini’s call for $1,000 gold in 2015 be right? Yes.
I recently wrote a column for the Mining Quarterly (Winter 2014 Edition) that gave an outlook for gold price next year. Some of the highlights updated through this morning's trading:
- Year-to-date gold has fared far better in 2014 when compared to other key commodities; one ounce still buys more ounces of silver, pounds of copper and barrels of oil than it did in late-December. Outpacing a 0.4% loss in U.S. dollar price, glitter is up 21% over the white metal, 17% over the red and 75% over oil (chart #1, below).
- Gold's relation to commodities works like the force of gravity. Without the propulsion of safe haven or monetary hedge, the yellow metal falls back in line with commodity prices and historical norms.
- This relation has formed a declining value wedge since 2011 (chart #2, dashed red lines) which has proved quite accurate in predicting future price ranges. Extending the dashed lines suggests a commodity value range of $850 to $1,170 per ounce for next year’s first quarter (1Q2015).
- Gold presently carries a premium to the aggregate of key commodities in chart #2; this has been mostly true since August 2011. Using the gravity analogy, gold needs to achieve escape velocity from the value wedge by increasing premium even more. If that premium disappears gold will follow commodities lower early next year.
The Roubini $1,000 per ounce forecast is roughly near the midpoint of the above 1Q2015 forecast.
Cheers - Colonel
Headline photo by Mariana Titus