Precious Metals

Precious metals keep falling. We pointed out in October that the outlook for the precious basket of metals was bearish and that palladium was the only one holding its value. Today, the picture looks even more bearish.

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Gold and silver are near their lowest levels, platinum recently made a 5-year low and palladium, the only metal that was showing some hope is now falling and marking a 1-year low.

Although last year we were bullish on Palladium, the picture is starting to look like a downward trend. The precious metal is now breaking a key support level after hitting deeper lows. This indicates that selling pressure is increasing as the metal declines, and its lower high points are a sign that there is diminishing buying pressure during those upward bounces.

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I would like to report the culprits in Indian gold’s biggest smuggling case were carried off the plane with a hernia after trying to get their carry-on bag into the overhead locker, or that the wheels dropped off the carry-on as they left the arrivals hall but the reality is the single biggest seizure of smuggled gold in India was a simple tip off.

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But what a tip off, according to the India Business Standard the Special Operation Group of the Ahmedabad City Police seized 60 kg of the yellow metal worth an estimated $2.35 million at the Sardar Patel International Airport. Six individuals were arrested including three who had flown in from Dubai on an Emirates Airlines flight and three that met them on arrival and helped load the heavy cases into a car.

The previous highest quantity of pure gold bars and coins seized was in Mumbai last year when about 16 kg of the metal was seized at the airport. The biggest seizure on the country’s border was in 2013 when about 35 kg of gold was seized at Indo-Nepal border in 2013.

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Gold closed last week at $1,280/oz. That’s a 4-month high.

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The yellow metal is bouncing off November’s lows and it’s doing so in good trading volume. Increasing trading volume indicates a stronger appetite for the metal, giving more credibility to the move.

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On Wednesday we broke down commodities in different sectors and saw how precious is within the weak sectors, falling over 8% in a year.

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As commodities keep falling and the US Dollar keeps rising, the recent lack of investor appetite for precious metals doesn’t come as a surprise. Here is a quick visual breakdown of the significant weakness happening in the precious metals group, starting with the weakest of them: Silver.

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Both gold and silver are staying in bearish territory and diving to their lowest levels in years due to the recent upturn of the US Dollar.

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Even before the dollar turned around, we already warned readers about silver and gold in April: “The direction that the US dollar takes through the rest of the year might determine where these two precious metals head in 2014. The dollar breaking down to lower levels will help gold and silver turn upward. However, we see the dollar more likely to go higher, having a depressing effect on gold and silver prices.”

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Coeur Mining is the largest US-based primary silver producer and a growing producer of gold, as well, with mines from Alaska to Bolivia. When it came time to replace the 100+year-old London silver fix over the last year, Coeur Mining was actively involved in the industry conversation. The London Bullion Market Association took the lead on the consultation process that would eventually replace the silver fix.

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“Since the LBMA mainly includes banks and some refiners, we felt strongly that we needed to be as vocal as possible, as a producer and miner, to make sure our needs were met,” said Courtney Lynn, treasurer of Coeur, who personally participated in the discussions that led the LBMA to pick the CME Group’s online trading platform and governance from Thomson-Reuters to make up the new LBMA Silver Price.

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We lost a friend here at MetalMiner recently. After making it to an amazing 117-years-old, the London silver fix spat out its last daily price yesterday. His last words were “USD 1,309.25, EUR 980.42 and GBP 780.71 per ounce.”

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He is mourned by his equally aged and not-long-for-this-world friends, the London gold fix and the platinum and palladium fixes.

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Gold and silver prices remain weak. Despite their modest surge at the start of the year, they are both now coasting more toward the downward side than the upward. We already pointed out in March that both metals would struggle to turn up this year and, at this point, our opinion remains intact.

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The picture for palladium is bullish. Meanwhile, platinum is lagging but finally showing some strength after recently hitting a 10-month high. The fundamental picture looks tight for both metals and platinum likely won’t be left behind if palladium continues its way up.

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Palladium hit a new high last week at $877 per ounce. Palladium buyers haven’t seen palladium this high since 2001. Palladium has risen 25% since February. Palladium needs to surge another 25% to reach an all-time high, which would be a great achievement considering the mediocre performance of commodities over the past three years.

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If history has taught us anything, it is that prices are never too high. We wouldn’t be surprised to see seeing palladium recording an all-time high.

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