"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, March 31, 2017

Gold Posts a Good First Quarter, What's Ahead for 2017?


Paleozoic Beach Front Property
Devil's Gate, Eureka

Weekly Summary updated for 3/31/17 AM (something new!)


(click on table for larger size)

My commentary in the just released Spring 2017 Mining Quarterly:


Online Edition (pages 44-46): Spring 2017 Mining Quarterly

There is also a terrific column by Adella Harding (pages 5-8) about the 20 year history of Mining Quarterly

McEwen Mining (MUX) $3.10 per share (AM)


General Moly (GMO) $0.5185 per share (AM); Moly oxide (LME) $6.92 per pound


Friday, March 31, 2017 AM 

Morning Miners!

Gold hangs tough near the key $1,250-level this week while markets are on track for a good first quarter. Comex gold year-to-date is up 8.3%. My input to the Weekly Kitco Gold Survey:

My vote is up. Target gold price $1,250 per ounce . Target Silver price $18.3 per ounce.

As the first quarter closes the S&P 500 is on track to have its highest quarterly gain since 2015. Global and domestic stock markets have reacted positively to an improving world economy and the promise of U.S. tax reform, deregulation and infrastructure spending. China manufacturing recorded its best manufacturing expansion in more than 5 years. All of this positive data has a supported a rebound in metal prices and the broader commodity indexes.

However, there is a darker side to 2017 that has supported gold price above the $1,200-level, depressed U.S. Treasury rates and stalled inflation expectations. This includes a perception of delays in executing U.S. economic reforms and fiscal stimulus which has dampened the "risk-off" attitude earlier in the year. In Europe, Brexit implementation and upcoming elections in France and Germany continue to cast a shadow on rosier economic expectations.

Comex gold is near flat for the week at $1,247.8 per ounce in early morning trading (June contract, gold intraday high for the week was Monday at $1,261). The yellow metal lost value compared to oil, copper and the Bloomberg Commodity Index. However, gold made gains in terms of euro and Japanese yen, bullishly staying above positive trend support for the quarter (see chart below). A surprise FN victory in France or miscalculation in dealing with hot spots such as North Korea could drive the yellow metal considerably higher in the coming months.

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. Aggressive liquidity tightening by the People's Bank of China (PBOC) has eased, stabilizing the yuan below 7 USD/CNY. However, defending their currency brought China foreign reserves to a 6-year low earlier this year. Premier Li Leqiang's lowering of the China GDP target to 6.5% and the Fed rate hike suggest a relaxation of this vigorous defense is ongoing. This morning, the yuan has strengthened slightly and volatility is still quite low trading at 6.8830 USD/CNY (1-month volatility* is 0.21%).

Have a great weekend!

* by comparison the euro & yen 1-month volatilites are roughly 0.9% & 1.4% respectively.

Alaskite columnar formations
Devil's Gate, Eureka

Gold Price Outlook 2017

Gold started the year nicely and should remain in my revised range of $1,180 to $1,320 per ounce*. Average gold price for 2017 is expected to print above $1,200 per ounce with an outside chance to see $1,400 given an adverse outcome for European elections, evolving U.S. trade policies or geo-political shock.

Gold has gained ground on the embattled euro and yen. Post-election, gold in euro and yen terms are up and safely above 2013 lows (chart below) and are both above pre-election levels. It was somewhat worrisome that gold in euro terms broke below uptrend support March 9, but it has since recovered.

An important gold ratio to watch is gold-to-S&P500 or AUSP (see "Chart to Watch" below).

Gold ratios relative to copper and oil are stabilizing near historically less extreme levels which is a healthy sign. Geo-political events and/or a bump in inflation expectations could restore glitter to gold in 2017.

Gold near my low-range of $1,180 per ounce-level is a tempting "buy."

(please do your own research, markets can turn on you faster than a feral cat!)

*My pre-election October range for gold price was $1,240 to $1,320 per ounce, Winter 2016 Edition of the Mining Quarterly:

 Storms Never Last: Positive News for Gold, Oil & Copper

My commentary in the just released Spring 2017 Mining Quarterly reaffirms an average price above $1,200 per ounce with a potential run at $1,400:


Click on the image for a larger size:


Gold in euro & yen terms trending higher

Chart to Watch

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


Gold-to-S&P 500 Ratio

An important gold ratio to watch 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 March 15, 2017. We must stay above the December bottom (0.4973)! A second uptrend is in place, currently this AM the AUSP is 0.5279.

Cheers,

Colonel Possum & Mariana

Photos by Mariana Titus if not otherwise noted

Friday, March 24, 2017

Gold Resilient in Hesitant Markets; Eureka Miner Makes Top 60


The Eureka Miner's Market Report  was inducted into the Top 60 Mining Websites & Blogs For Mining Professionals March 22, 2017

Weekly Summary updated for 3/24/17 AM (something new!)


(click on table for larger size)

My commentary in the just released Spring 2017 Mining Quarterly:


Online Edition (pages 44-46): Spring 2017 Mining Quarterly

There is also a terrific column by Adella Harding (pages 5-8) about the 20 year history of Mining Quarterly

McEwen Mining (MUX) $3.11 per share (AM)


General Moly (GMO) $0.5190 per share (AM); Moly oxide (LME) $6.92 per pound


Friday, March 24, 2017 AM 

Morning Miners!

Gold moved above the key $1,250-level this week demonstrating resilience in hesitant markets. My input to the Weekly Kitco Gold Survey:

My vote is up. Target gold price $1,250 per ounce . Target Silver price $17.7 per ounce.

With all the market volatility caused by House Intelligence hearings and pending health care vote, the TIPs [Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities] auction yesterday provided a more steady and valuable clue on inflation expectations.

In a rising interest rate environment, lowered inflation expectations are bearish for gold price. The TIPS breakeven rate*, seen by market participants to be a gauge of these expectations, fell to a 2-month low after the auction. This rate had risen with S&P 500 after the U.S. election - both have stalled on concerns about the efficacy of  the new administration policies and plans.


TIPs Breakeven Rate Stalls (click on image forlarger size)

Regardless the outcome of today's health care vote, it is likely market attention will soon redirect to the Holy Trinity of new policies: tax reform, de-regulation and infrastructure spending. Progress on these should be bullish stocks but may revive expectations of higher inflation. A perception that delays on any or all three should provide a solid floor for gold above $1,200 per ounce.

In terms of fear factors, the French elections still cast a shadow on markets. Also, there remain concerns abroad about U.S. trade protectionism, possible currency manipulation charges and the fragility of multi-lateral trade agreements. A surprise FN victory in France or miscalculation in dealing with hot spots such as North Korea could drive the yellow metal considerably higher in the coming months. 

Gold is up 1.2% for the week at $1,244.6 per ounce in early morning trading. The yellow metal gained value compared to oil, copper and the Bloomberg Commodity Index. Gold in euros was up with a small loss in terms of Japanese yen.

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. Aggressive liquidity tightening by the People's Bank of China (PBOC) has eased, stabilizing the yuan below 7 USD/CNY. However, defending their currency brought China foreign reserves to a 6-year low earlier this year. Premier Li Leqiang's lowering of the China GDP target to 6.5% and the Fed rate hike suggest a relaxation of this vigorous defense is ongoing. This morning, the yuan has weakned slightly but volatility is still low (1-month volatility** is 0.24%) trading at 6.9899 USD/CNY.

Have a great weekend!

*The breakeven rate is the difference in yield between inflation-protected and nominal debt of the same maturity (in this case 10-year securities). If the breakeven rate is positive it suggests traders are betting the economy may face inflation in the near future. The inflation-adjusted or real yield is also an important factor. The real yield for a 10-year TIPS at auction close was 0.466%; the breakeven rate was 1.95%. Although down for 2017, inflation expectations are viewed as stable.

TIPs Real Yield

** by comparison the euro & yen 1-month volatilites are roughly 0.9% & 1.2% respectively.

Red Metal Stalls

Comex copper lost 2.2% on the week to trade at $2.6335 pounds per ounce this morning. It fell behind gold price by 3.4%. Some of the recent supply disruption concerns eased this week but demand outlook is less clear. Managing Director Janet Mirasola of Sucden Futures Inc. NY  had this to say this morning in her market pre-brief:

The Red One so far has had muted reaction to the ending of a strike at the world's largest Copper mine, Escondida in Chile leading many to believe that the settlement may already have been priced in. Bear in mind however that those grabbing disruptive headlines will not longer give a base of support for the algos and short term traders looking for direction.

The high for Comex copper was Monday (3/20) at $2.7100; the low was Wednesday (3/22) at $2.585. The red metal at $5,800 per tonne ($2.63) remains a key level to watch.



The Spirit of Eureka, Nevada

Gold Price Outlook 2017

Gold started the year nicely and should remain in my newly revised range of $1,180 to $1,320 per ounce*. Average gold price for 2017 is expected to print above $1,200 per ounce.

An important gold ratio to watch is gold-to-S&P500 or AUSP (see Chart to Watch below).

Gold has gained ground on the embattled euro and yen. Post-election, gold in euro and yen terms are up and safely above 2013 lows (chart below) and are both above pre-election levels. It is somewhat worrisome that gold in euro terms broke below uptrend support March 9, but it has since recovered

Gold ratios relative to copper and oil are stabilizing near historically less extreme levels which is a healthy sign. Geo-political events and/or a bump in inflation expectations could restore glitter to gold in 2017.

Gold near my low-range of $1,180 per ounce-level is a tempting "buy."

(please do your own research, markets can turn on you faster than a feral cat!)

*My pre-election October range for gold price was $1,240 to $1,320 per ounce, Winter 2016 Edition of the Mining Quarterly Storms Never Last: Positive News for Gold, Oil & Copper

Click on the image for a larger size:


Gold in euro & yen terms regaining value post-election

Chart to Watch

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


Gold-to-S&P 500 Ratio

An important gold ratio to watch 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 has now bearishly bottomed again March 15, 2017. We must stay above the December bottom (0.4973)! Some progress upwards was made this week, currently this AM at 0.5293.

Cheers,

Colonel Possum & Mariana

Photos by Mariana Titus if not otherwise noted

Friday, March 17, 2017

Gold Gets Its Mojo Back; Red Metal Rises on Supply Disruptions


Spring 2017 Mining Quarterly

The Eureka Miner's Market Report is one of the Top 60 Mining Websites & Blogs For Mining Professionals

Weekly Summary updated for 3/17/17 AM (something new!)


(click on table for larger size)

My commentary in the just released Spring 2017 Mining Quarterly:


Online Edition (pages 44-46): Spring 2017 Mining Quarterly

There is also a terrific column by Adella Harding (pages 5-8) about the 20 year history of Mining Quarterly

McEwen Mining (MUX) $3.19 per share (AM)


General Moly (GMO) $0.5000 per share (AM); Moly oxide (LME) $6.92 per pound


Friday, March 17, 2017 AM 


Top O' the Morning Miners!

Gold got its mojo back this week. My input to the Weekly Kitco Gold Survey:

My vote is up. Target gold price $1,240 per ounce . Target Silver price $17.5 per ounce.

A sharp reversal in the U.S. dollar Wednesday following remarks by the Federal Reserve boosted gold and commodities*. A sense that the Fed will not accelerate tightening for the time being suggests the the high in early-January may indeed remain the "Trump dollar top."***

In terms of fear factors, a positive outcome in Dutch elections took some momentum from the nationalist movement in Europe but the French elections in France still loom large. There is also a witches' brew bubbling around U.S. policy ahead of this weekend's G20 meeting of finance ministers and central bankers in Baden-Baden, Germany. There are concerns about U.S. trade protectionism, possible currency manipulation charges and the fragility of multi-lateral trade agreements. Taken together, an indeterminant outcome for the meeting likely supports higher gold prices next week. 

Increasing inflationary pressures in the U.S. and abroad, a surprise FN victory in France or miscalculation in dealing with hot spots such as North Korea could drive the yellow metal considerably higher in the coming months.

Gold is up 2.4% for the week at $1,229.9 per ounce in early morning trading. The yellow metal gained value compared to oil but lost some ground to copper on supply disruption worries for the latter. Gold in euros was very strong with a small loss in terms of Japanese yen [see discussion & charts below].

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. Aggressive liquidity tightening by the People's Bank of China (PBOC) has eased, stabilizing the yuan below 7 USD/CNY. However, defending their currency has brought China foreign reserves to a 6-year low. Premier Li Leqiang's lowering of the China GDP target to 6.5% and the Fed rate hike suggest a relaxation of this vigorous defense is likely. This morning, the yuan has weakned a bit but volatility is still low (1-month volatility** is 0.26%) trading at 6.9899 USD/CNY.

Have a Happy St. Paddy's

*one-month correlation of gold with oil & copper is high; +0.79 & +0.72 respectively.

** by comparison the euro & yen 1-month volatilites are roughly 0.6% & 0.8% respectively.

***Interesting column Sunday night in Bloomberg News:

Yellen Surprises Hedge Funds Who Cut Gold Bets Before Rally



Red Metal Rises

Comex copper gained 3.6% on the week to trade at $2.6885 this morning surpassing gains in gold price. Besides a weakening U.S. dollar, copper prices have been boosted by global supply disruptions. Managing Director Janet Mirasola of Sucden Futures Inc. NY  had this to say yesterday morning in her market pre-brief following the FOMC meeting:

Euro bourses and base commodities are following the overnight trend higher off the early opening with the Black, Red and Shiny Ones [oil, copper & gold] all gaining strength from the currency factor while the Red One continues to feed on supply disruptions in Chile and Peru with continued reduced production in Indonesia affecting three of the world's biggest mines.

Comex copper scored an intraday high of $2.6975 per pound yesterday.


Stormy Weather
Eureka, Nevada (2010)

Gold Price Outlook 2017

Gold started the year nicely and should remain in my newly revised range of $1,180 to $1,320 per ounce*. Average gold price for 2017 should print above $1,200 per ounce.

An important gold ratio to watch 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 has now bearishly reversed. Confirming a double-bottom in the coming months would be a significant positive for the lustrous metal; latest developments are less positive - we must stay above the December bottom! (see chart below).

Gold has gained ground on the embattled euro and yen. Post-election, gold in euro and yen terms are up and safely above 2013 lows (chart below) and are both above pre-election levels. It is somewhat worrisome that gold in euro terms broke below uptrend support March 9 - something to monitor carefully, although much of this loss has recovered this week.

Gold ratios relative to copper and oil are stabilizing near historically less extreme levels which is a healthy sign. Geo-political events and/or a bump in inflation expectations could restore glitter to gold in 2017.

Gold near my low-range of $1,180 per ounce-level is a tempting "buy."

(please do your own research, markets can turn on you faster than a feral cat!)

*My pre-election October range for gold price was $1,240 to $1,320 per ounce, Winter 2016 Edition of the Mining Quarterly Storms Never Last: Positive News for Gold, Oil & Copper

Click on the image for a larger size:


Gold in euro & yen terms regaining value post-election

Chart to Watch

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


Gold-to-S&P 500 Ratio (updated 3/17/2017) 

An important gold ratio to watch 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 has now bearishly reversed. Confirming a double-bottom in the coming months would be a significant positive for the lustrous metal; latest developments are less positive - we must stay above the December bottom (0.4973)! Low for the week was 0.5052 on Wednesday.

Cheers,

Colonel Possum & Mariana

Photos by Mariana Titus if not otherwise noted

Friday, March 10, 2017

Mining Employment Up! Triple Whammy for Gold, Holds Near $1,200


Battered but not beaten
Eureka, Nevada (June 2010)

Weekly Summary updated for 3/10/17 AM (something new!)


(click on table for larger size)

My commentary in the just released Spring 2017 Mining Quarterly:


McEwen Mining (MUX) $2.9350 per share (AM)


General Moly (GMO) $0.5000 per share (AM); Moly oxide (LME) $6.92 per pound


Friday, March 10, 2017 AM 

Morning Miners!

Gold got a triple whammy this week but is showing resilience around $1,200 per ounce.

My input to the Weekly Kitco Gold Survey:

My vote is up. Target gold price $1,205 per ounce . Target Silver price $17.0 per ounce.

A triple whammy for gold this week pressured by falling commodities, less-dovish comments by ECB Mario Draghi and the almost certainty of a Fed rate hike next week following today's strong employment report. Comex gold is presently trading at $1,201.7 per ounce. Dipping to a 5-week overnight low [$1,194.5], the yellow metal is showing good resilience by holding its head above the key $1,200-level after suffering a 2% loss for the week.

Comments by China's Premier Li Leqiang at Monday suggesting a lower GDP target and less restrictive control of their currency kicked off a commodity retreat led by oil which fell below $50 per barrel. Copper, already in a downtrend, fell to new lows by Thursday. Gold, now positively correlated with both*, felt the gravity of declining commodities.

Mario Draghi's confidence in the European economy and expressing, "no anxiety of the euro breaking up" relieved worry about upcoming European elections favoring far-right candidates. This in turn bearishly dropped gold in euros to below trend support Thursday [see graph below]

The better-than-expected U.S. employment report boosted Treasury yields and stocks this morning causing additional pressure on gold. The yellow metal has now lost all gains relative to the S&P 500 for 2017 [see Chart to Watch below].

However, with all these bearish influences, gold has not declined as much as its commodity cousins and is buoyed some by by increasing inflationary pressures in the U.S. and abroad. Most importantly, there is still concern about a surprise outcome in France elections or miscalculation in dealing with hot spots such as North Korea. Gold is likely to regain ground above the $1,200 level.

Additional things to watch:

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. Aggressive liquidity tightening by the People's Bank of China (PBOC) has eased, stabilizing the yuan below 7 USD/CNY. However, defending their currency has brought China foreign reserves to a 6-year low. Premier Li Leqiang's lowering of the China GDP target to 6.5% and an upcoming Fed rate hike suggest a relaxation of this vigorous defense is likely. This morning, the yuan has strengthened a bit but volatility is higher (1-month volatility** is still a low 0.23%) trading at 6.9083 USD/CNY.

Have a good weekend!

*one-month correlation of gold with oil & copper is +0.73 & +0.48 respectively.

** by comparison the euro & yen 1-month volatilites are roughly 0.4% & 0.8% respectively.

Mining Employment Up!

The Labor Department's monthly jobs report was better-than-expected adding 235,000 jobs versus an expectation in the range of 200,000-220,000. Headline unemployment was little changed at 4.7% but there was breadth across sectors except retail.

Here's some great news, "Employment in mining increased by 8,000 in February, with most of the gain occurring in support activities for mining (+6,000). Mining employment has risen by 20,000 since reaching a recent low in October 2016."

Although this includes all the folks that extract wealth from the earth, including oil & gas, it is a welcome relief to see the mining employment bottom in the rear view mirror!


Window View
Eureka, Nevada (2010)

Gold Price Outlook 2017

Gold started the year nicely and should remain in my newly revised range of $1,180 to $1,320 per ounce*. Average gold price for 2017 should print above $1,200 per ounce. This morning gold fell to $1,194.5 but has since recovered around the key $1,200-level.

An important gold ratio to watch 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 has now bearishly reversed. Confirming a double-bottom in the coming months would be a significant positive for the lustrous metal; latest developments are less positive - we must stay above the December bottom! (see chart below).

Gold has gained ground on the embattled euro and yen. Post-election, gold in euro and yen terms are up and safely above 2013 lows (chart below) and are both above pre-election levels. It is somewhat worrisome that gold in euro terms broke below uptrend support Thursday (circle on chart) - something to monitor carefully.

Gold ratios relative to copper and oil are stabilizing near historically less extreme levels which is a healthy sign. Geo-political events and/or a bump in inflation expectations could restore glitter to gold in 2017.

Gold near my low-range of $1,180 per ounce-level is a tempting "buy."

(please do your own research, markets can turn on you faster than a feral cat!)

*My pre-election October range for gold price was $1,240 to $1,320 per ounce, Winter 2016 Edition of the Mining Quarterly Storms Never Last: Positive News for Gold, Oil & Copper

Click on the image for a larger size:


Gold in euro & yen terms regaining value post-election

Chart to Watch

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


Gold-to-Silver Ratio (updated 3/03/2017) 

An important gold ratio to watch 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 has now bearishly reversed. Confirming a double-bottom in the coming months would be a significant positive for the lustrous metal; latest developments are less positive - we must stay above the December bottom! Currently, gold has lost all its 2017 gains relative to the S&P 500 (AUSP on Dec. 30, 2016 was 0.5144 compared to today's 0.5060).

Cheers,

Colonel Possum & Mariana

Photos by Mariana Titus if not otherwise noted

Friday, March 3, 2017

Gold Bar Project on Track, McEwen Rocks; Gold Bounce Next Week?


Gold Bar Mine
Eureka, Nevada (McEwen Mining photo, April 2011)

Weekly Summary updated for 3/03/17 AM (something new!)


(click on table for larger size)

McEwen Mining (MUX) $3.29 per share (Friday close)


General Moly (GMO) $0.536 per share (Friday close); Moly oxide (LME) $6.92 per pound


Friday, March 3, 2017 AM 

Morning Miners!

Gold got clobbered this week but don't despair...

My input to the Weekly Kitco Gold Survey:

My vote is up. Target gold price $1,240 per ounce . Target Silver price $18.0 per ounce.

A horrible week's end for gold with a 2.5% drop in price from last Friday and a loss of value across a broad set of assets and currencies. A bullish Monday intraday high of $1,264.9 per ounce has fallen to today's $1,225.7 low. Gold is presently trading at $1,228.0.

Bearish factors include the return of a "risk-on" attitude after the President Trump speech to Congress evidenced by new stock market highs, the U.S. dollar scoring a 6-week peak and market positioning for an expected rate hike announcement by the Federal Reserve next week.

However, all the negativity surrounding the yellow metal is reminiscent of the early stages of the presidential transition period. I will take a contrarian view that today's softness in the U.S. dollar and pause in domestic stocks presages another turn of fortune for gold. I wager the Fed will not raise rates because the details and timing of the new administration infrastructure plan remain unclear, and the drumbeat of upcoming elections in Europe is growing louder; fears of a French FN victory and the potential impact to European stability provide a solid floor for gold price above $1,200.

My vote is therefore up with a target price of $1,240 per ounce.

Gold did regain some ground relative to silver this week after the gold-to-silver ratio broke a trend line of higher lows stretching back to April 2011 [see Chart to Watch below]. It is likely that the yellow metal will also regain this week's losses to copper, oil and the broader commodity index as well as currencies euro and yen. To the later, I offer this poem:

The shadow cast by Marine Le Pen 
Will bring shine to gold in euro, yen

Additional things to watch:

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. Aggressive liquidity tightening by the People's Bank of China (PBOC) has eased, stabilizing the yuan below 7 USD/CNY. However, defending their currency has brought China foreign reserves to a 6-year low. Now that the Lunar New Year holiday is over, we'll see if this vigorous defense is sustainable. This morning, the yuan is steady (1-month volatility* is a low paint-drying 0.15%) at 6.8953 USD/CNY. With some better-than-expected economic data coming from the dragon, so far so good.

Have a good weekend!

* by comparison the euro & yen 1-month volatilites are roughly 0.8%

Gold Bar Project on Track, McEwen Rocks




McEwen Mining released their quarterly and year end report yesterday. The ole Colonel listened to the teleconference at 8:00 a.m. Eureka time:

McEwen Mining Reports 2016 Full Year and Q4 Results (Press Release, 03/02/2017)

McEwen had an excellent 2016 producing 145,539 gold equivalent ounces and closed the year with a solid debt-free balance sheet. As described in the press release by Chairman and Chief Owner Rob McEwen:

On many important fronts, 2016 was a good year for McEwen Mining. We generated significantly higher cash flow and earnings per share despite producing 6% fewer ounces. We grew our treasury by 84% without resorting to equity financing, or sale of metal streams, or royalties, or taking on debt. Looking forward into 2017, our next chapter of growth begins. Pending government approval we are ready to start construction in Nevada at our Gold Bar deposit late this year. In Mexico, we are reconfiguring our El Gallo Silver project to improve its economics. In addition, we are testing new exploration targets. In Argentina, our Los Azules project is getting more attention as a result of the improving copper price. Finally, when completed our proposed friendly acquisition of Lexam VG Gold will enhance our development and production pipeline with several high grade gold projects in Timmins, Canada, one of the world’s largest gold districts.

For Eureka folks, the re-opening of the Gold Bar Mine north of town promises to be an exciting event for later this year. Old timers remember the days when the mine was last operated by Atlas Mining in the late-1980s to early-1990s. According to McEwen, there is still a lot of gold in them thar hills with an expected 7-year mine life.

Here's the latest schedule:

  1. The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) will be published by BLM March 3, 2017* 
  2. A 45-day public comment period ends April 17, 2017
  3. The BLM & McEwen Mining will address public comments prior to the approval of the Final EIS and awarding of the Record of Decision (ROD)
  4. Assuming a favorable decision, initial stage mine construction will commence during the fourth quarter of this year
*Draft EIS (Mt.Lewis Field Office), also the Elko Daily Free Press column: BLM asks public to comment on proposed gold mine in Eureka County (EDFP, 3/6/2017)

McEwen has budgeted expenditures of $38.7 million for 2017 ($1.5 million for permitting and 37.2 million for construction).

Rob McEwen concluded the teleconference with an upbeat, "Gold is money. Gold is going higher and so is silver!"

Amen. The best of luck to the McEwen team.

Gold Bar Mine
Eureka, Nevada (McEwen Mining photo, April 2011)

Gold Price Outlook 2017

Gold started the year nicely and should remain in my newly revised range of $1,180 to $1,320 per ounce*. Average gold price for 2017 should print above $1,200 per ounce.

An important gold ratio to watch 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 but has been trending higher since. Confirming a double-bottom in the coming months would be a significant positive for the lustrous metal.

Gold has gained ground on the embattled euro and yen. Post-election, gold in euro and yen terms are converging and safely above 2013 lows [chart below] and are both above pre-election levels. Additionally, gold ratios relative to copper and oil are stabilizing near historically less extreme levels which is a healthy sign. Geo-political events and/or a bump in inflation expectations could restore glitter to gold in 2017.

Gold near my low-range of $1,180 per ounce-level is a tempting "buy."

(please do your own research, markets can turn on you faster than a feral cat!)

*My pre-election October range for gold price was $1,240 to $1,320 per ounce, Winter 2016 Edition of the Mining Quarterly Storms Never Last: Positive News for Gold, Oil & Copper

Click on the image for a larger size:


Gold in euro & yen terms regaining value post-election

Chart to Watch

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


Gold-to-Silver Ratio (updated 3/03/2017) 

March 1 the closely watched gold-to-silver ratio (GSR) broke a key higher-low trend line that stretches all the way back to April, 2011. The GSR fell below 68 (ounces of silver per ounce of gold) to 67.4 - a lower ratio favors silver. Although the GSR has inched back above 68 this morning, broken long term trend lines should not be ignored. If gold rallies in the coming weeks, silver could move much higher. The 3-month silver beta is 1.3 and bullishly rising (this implies a 1% change in gold price yields, on average, a 1.3% gain in silver). Restoring a more typical beta of 2.0 would be a very bullish indicator.

Cheers,

Colonel Possum & Mariana

Photos by Mariana Titus if not otherwise noted