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The Colonel's latest Mining Quarterly Column:
"Major Henry G. Catlin and the Eureka-Croesus Revival" Online edition pages 60 to 74.
And latest Kitco News Commentary: As Copper Goes, So Goes Gold (03/16/2015)
*** Local Mining News ***
MIDWAY RAMPS UP GOLD PRODUCTION AT PAN MINE AND PROVIDES OPERATIONS UPDATE (Press release, 04/02/2015)
MIDWAY POURS FIRST GOLD AT PAN MINE (Press release, 03/27/2015)
*** Closing Prices (04/02/2015) ***
Yesterday's closing prices (Markets closed for Good Friday):
Goldman Sachs Commodity Index
S&P GSCI 401.00 (383.75 low on 03/18/2015) 4/15 contract
Nymex oil (WTI) $49.14 per barrel
Brent crude $54.95 per barrel
Comex copper $2.7340 per pound
Comex gold $1,200.9 per ounce
Comex silver $16.701 per ounce
Latest Nevada gasoline prices
A disappointing monthly jobs report arrived this morning with major markets closed for Good Friday. Economist expectations exceeded 240,000 jobs added for March; the Labor Department reports only 126,000 with the unemployment rate unchanged at 5.5%. To put this in perspective, the employment growth has averaged 269,000 new jobs per month - today's data is a surprising decline indeed with downward revisions for the two previous months. Nuts!
Employment continued to trend up in professional and business services, health care and retail trade. Unsurprisingly, employment in mining declined. From the horse's mouth:
"Employment in mining declined by 11,000 in March. The industry has lost 30,000 jobs thus far in 2015, after adding 41,000 jobs in 2014. The employment declines in the first quarter of 2015, as well as the gains in 2014, were concentrated in support activities for mining, which includes support for oil and gas extraction." (Bureau of Labor Statistics)
How does this affect gold price forecasts? We have to wait for market's to reopen but a popular line of thinking goes like this: an unexpected decline in jobs suggests a slowing economy and the Federal Reserve may wait to rise interest rates. The window for a Fed rate rise is June or September or none at all until 2016. A pause in tightening is typically viewed as bullish for gold so next week could bring a welcome bump up form yesterday's Comex close at $1,200.9 per ounce.
This report observes resilience of gold price around the $1,200-level with volatility expected in the near term given inputs such as today's labor report. My recent Kitco column, As Copper Goes, So Goes Gold, explains why the price of the yellow metal may be expected to follow the red metal without too much change in either - boring price stability is more likely than roaring rallies or calamitous crashes, so goes 2015.
Last week marked the Eureka Miner's birthday as it enters its seventh year. It is fun to compare today's jobs report with a December 4, 2009 report that addressed the employment picture in darker days:
A Positive Surprise for Jobs, Gold Stumbles
In retrospect, a reported loss of 11,000 jobs for November 2009 was viewed as positive news compared to an expected loss of 125,000. At that time Comex gold price was $1,194 - only a few dollars from recent prices. Unemployment was a dismal 10%. We've come a long way, pardner...but not much in terms of U.S. dollar gold price.
By contrast, The Eureka Miner's Gold Value Index (GVI), which measures gold value against oil, copper and silver independent of currency, continues to bullishly trend higher (dashed orange line, click for larger view):
The January 28, 2015 GVI (point C) is at high levels not seen since the dark days of early-2009 (point A). Reassuringly gold has been trending higher relative to these key commodities (i.e. real stuff, not paper money) since mid-2006.
The Spring 2015 Edition of the Mining Quarterly is now accessible online. Marianne Kobak McKown has done another outstanding job of compiling Nevada's premier mining publication! It has engaging articles on Barrick Goldstrike's new way to process ore and updates on Bald Mountain, progress at Newmont's Long canyon and a terrific conversation with Dana Bennett, our new President of the Nevada Mining Association.
This issue also features a column I wrote about Major Henry G. Catlin - a mover n' a shaker in the early mining days of Eureka, Nevada. A bold futuristic mining plan, deathbed pack and surprising twist of fate combine to remind us not much has changed in the luck of miners and the importance foreign markets. The Nevada Mining Press declared in 1919, "There is no more interesting character living among old school mining engineers than Major Henry G. Catlin." Have a good read!
"Major Henry G. Catlin and the Eureka-Croesus Revival" Online edition pages 60 to 74. (scroll bar at bottom of page allows you to easily access pages)
Cheers - Colonel
Photos by Mariana Titus