Articles in Category: Precious Metals

China story steel production

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Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and the metals storylines here on MetalMiner:

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Week in Review, April 5-9 (steel capacity utilization, European steel’s challenges and more)

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The Global Precious Monthly Metals Index (MMI) rose by 3.7%, as the gold price trended sideways in March.

April 2021 Global Precious MMI chart

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Gold flat in March, picks up in April

gold price

Olivier Le Moal/Adobe Stock

Late last year, MetalMiner’s Stuart Burns touched on the gold price’s prospects in 2021.

Gold surged above $2,030 per ounce last August amid ongoing economic uncertainty and well before the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.

Since then, however, the gold price has cooled significantly. From the aforementioned peak, gold has dipped approximately 15%.

The gold price trended sideways throughout March, settling in around $1,730 per ounce. Despite a dip in treasury yields — which gold typically moves inversely to — the price largely held in place, as the US dollar strengthened.

The US dollar index rose to 93.30 in late March before retreating in the first week of April (coinciding with a modest bounceback for gold and silver).

So far this month, however, gold has shown some upward momentum. The gold price picked up Thursday, approaching the $1,760 per ounce mark.

Like gold price, silver price bounces back in April

Meanwhile, the silver price narrative followed a similar theme to that of the gold price.

After reaching $28.10 per ounce in February, the silver spot price fell to just below $25.00 per ounce to start April. Over the last week, silver has clawed back some gains, reaching around $25.50 per ounce Thursday.

While silver is often most thought of for its use in jewelry and kitchen utensils, the precious metal does have high-tech industrial applications.

As MetalMiner’s Stuart Burns noted earlier this week, nations around the world will need to secure their supply chains for the next industrial revolution, whether it’s the broader push toward renewable energy or the automotive sector’s transition toward electrification.

Among other uses, silver is used in semiconductors. As we’ve discussed at great length in recent months, the semiconductor shortage continues to weigh on automotive manufacturers.

30-year treasury yield declines

Meanwhile, the 30-year treasury yield has slipped over the last few weeks. Generally, higher yields serve as an indicator of economic confidence (as opposed to the gold price).

The 30-year yield reached a high of 2.45% on March 19.

This week, the yield fell to 2.32% on Thursday, down from 2.35% the previous day.

The 10-year yield fell to 2.22% on Thursday, down from a March peak of 2.36%.

The minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee’s meeting in March make reference to the March rise in yields.

“In the United States, the trend toward higher longer-term yields observed in recent months accelerated over the intermeeting period, and far-forward real rates based on Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) rose considerably,” the minutes indicated. “Market participants highlighted an improving economic outlook, bolstered by passage of the American Rescue Plan (ARP) and progress on vaccinations, as underlying the increase in yields.”

Sibanye-Stillwater announces strategic partnership with Johnson Matthey

Sibanye-Stillwater recently announced a strategic partnership with British sustainable technology company Johnson Matthey.

Through the partnership, the South African mining giant said it aims to “develop solutions to drive decarbonization.”

Furthermore, the parties will explore more efficient use of PGMs and other metals in battery technology.

“Johnson Matthey and Sibanye-Stillwater will collaborate on the sourcing and application of PGMs and metals used in battery technology to enable the development and commercialisation of low carbon technologies, with a focus on circularity and sustainability,” Sibanye-Stillwater said in its release. “In addition, the companies will examine potential opportunities to apply their collective experience to support the development of more sustainable supply chains for battery materials.”

Actual metals prices and trends

The US silver price dipped by 8.6% month over month to $24.41 per ounce as of April 1.

The US platinum bars price held flat, closing the month at $1,180 per ounce. Meanwhile, US palladium bars rose by 14.0% to $2,540 per ounce.

The Chinese gold price fell by 1.8% to $55.41 per gram. The US gold price fell by 1.6% to $1,709 per ounce.

The MetalMiner Best Practice Library offers a wealth of knowledge and tips to help buyers stay on top of metals markets and buying strategies.

ArcelorMittal sign in Ontario

JHVEPhoto/Adobe Stock

Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and some of the metals coverage here on MetalMiner, including coverage of ArcelorMittal, copper prices, China’s latest five-year plan and much more:

Week of March 8-12 (ArcelorMittal, China’s Five-Year Plan and more)

gold price

Olivier Le Moal/Adobe Stock

The Global Precious Monthly Metals Index (MMI) dipped 0.7% for this month’s index value, as gold prices have continued to slide.

March 2021 Global Precious MMI chart

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Gold price dips below $1,700/oz

Amid economic uncertainty and turbulence, many turn to traditional safe-haven assets like gold.

However, the gold price has been on the decline since August.

The gold price reached an August peak of $2,035 per ounce. The price fell below $1,800 around Thanksgiving before recovering to around $1,950 at the start of the year.

Since then, gold has come back down, falling to $1,698 per ounce on Monday.

US dollar regains some strength; treasury yields gain

The US dollar and the gold price are generally inversely correlated.

As such, the US dollar has shown some strength of late.

The dollar index reached 92.30 on Monday and is up 2.64% in the year to date.

In other indicators of strength, the 30-year treasury yield reached 2.31% on Monday, up from 1.66% to start the year. Meanwhile, the 10-year yield reached 1.59% on Monday, up from 0.93% to start the year.

Meanwhile, as we’ve noted previously, other factors potentially weighing on gold include adoption of cryptocurrency by some investors. While Bitcoin’s volatility is significant, the price has surged this year. Bitcoin reached $53,806 to start the week, down from the all-time peak of $57,489 reached late last month. However, Bitcoin is still up 83% on the year.

Automotive precious metals continue to surge

Prices for precious metals used in automotive applications continue to rise — to the chagrin of automotive manufacturers.

Rhodium, for example, used in catalysts that deal with emissions, continues to surge. After reaching $16,000 per ounce in late January, the price reached $25,800 per ounce Monday, or up approximately 61%.

Meanwhile, palladium’s gains have not been as significant, but the price remains elevated. At $2,234 per ounce on Monday, the palladium price is up 47% since its 2020 trough in late March 2020.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Nissan Chief Operating Officer Ashwani Gupta cited the challenge of rising raw material prices, particularly precious metals.

Sibanye-Stillwater reports six-month results

South African miner Sibanye-Stillwater last month reported its results for the six-month period ending Dec. 31, 2020.

The firm’s profit jumped to $1.78 billion, up from $5 million during the same period in 2019.

In its 4E PGM category in South Africa — rhodium, platinum, palladium and gold — production reached 918,679 ounces, down from 980,343 ounces the previous year.

Meanwhile, 2E PGM output in the US — that is, platinum and palladium — totaled 305,327 ounces, down from 309,202 ounces.

“2020 was a defining year for the Group, marking the end of the deleveraging phase that has prevailed over the past three years,” Sibanye-Stillwater CEO Neal Froneman said. “Despite the significant challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the Group delivered a record financial performance and made notable progress towards delivery on many strategic targets.”

Newmont reports production results

In other production news, top gold miner Newmont Corporation reported fiscal year 2020 net income of $2.14 billion, up from $970 million the previous year.

Furthermore, Newmont’s attributable gold production fell to 5.91 million ounces, down from 6.29 million ounces the previous fiscal year.

Gold production fell due to “Yanacocha and Cerro Negro being placed into care and maintenance in response to the Covid pandemic, lower ore grade mined at Ahafo and the sale of Red Lake and Kalgoorlie, partially offset by a full year of operations from assets acquired in April 2019,” the miner said.

Actual metals prices and trends

The US silver price dipped 1.0% month over month to $26.70 per ounce as of March 1.

The US platinum bar price rose to 10.8% to $1,181 per ounce. Meanwhile, the US palladium bar price rose 3.2% to $2,229 per ounce.

The Chinese gold bullion price fell 6.4% to $56.45 per gram. The US gold bullion price fell 6.1% to $1,736 per ounce.

The MetalMiner Best Practice Library offers a wealth of knowledge and tips to help buyers stay on top of metals markets and buying strategies.

aluminum ingot stacked for export

Olegs/Adobe Stock

Before we head into the weekend, let’s take a look back at the week that was and some of the metals storylines here on MetalMiner, including the aluminum industry and its efforts to curb emissions, China’s latest foray in the global rare earths chess game and much more:

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Week of Feb. 15-19 (aluminum industry, rare earths and more)

The MetalMiner Best Practice Library offers a wealth of knowledge and tips to help buyers stay on top of metals markets and buying strategies.

gold price

Olivier Le Moal/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news: the gold price continues to slide; the Federal Reserve released its latest Monetary Policy Report; and the record freeze in Texas is disrupting natural gas production.

Gold price weakens

After surging to around $2,035 per ounce in August, the gold price for the most part trended in a band between $1,850-$1,950 through the balance of 2020.

Of late, however, the gold price has retraced, even falling below the $1,800 threshold.

Gold closed Thursday at $1,775 per ounce.

The gold price has fallen, even as the US dollar has also continued to lag. The US dollar index reached 90.23 today, compared with just over 99 a year ago.

One thing worth monitoring is growing interest in cryptocurrencies, particularly Bitcoin. The cryptocurrency has surged above the $53,000 mark and jumped by approximately 80% this year.

Amid a run of loose monetary policy from central banks around the world, some investors will look to other assets. That could mean they’ll even look to assets other than time-tested safe havens, like gold.

It’s unlikely that the US dollar will lose its status as the global reserve currency anytime soon. However, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin could potentially weigh on gold, leading some investors to rethink traditional safe-haven asset strategy.

A lot can change in a year. In February 2020, Bitcoin hovered around just under $10,000.

The MetalMiner Best Practice Library offers a wealth of knowledge and tips to help buyers stay on top of metals markets and buying strategies.

Fed releases Monetary Policy Report

Speaking of currency, the gold price and monetary policy, the Federal Reserve today released its latest Monetary Policy Report.

The report notes the labor market recovered as the year progressed. However, the pace of the recovery slowed down significantly late in 2020.

Read more

silver price

Olivier Le Moal/Adobe Stock

The Global Precious Monthly Metals Index (MMI) fell 2.1% for this month’s value, as global silver demand will likely see a surge this year.

February 2021 Global Precious MMI chart

Silver lining

Gold gets most of the shine in the precious metals sector, but silver is also worth monitoring.

Recently, retail traders, seemingly influenced by the Reddit-inspired run on GameStop, took an interest to silver to start February.

The spot silver price fell to around $22.60 per ounce just after Thanksgiving. Since then, the price rose to as high as $27.66 as of Tuesday, Feb. 9.

Trading volumes surged Feb. 1. According to CME Group data, futures volume for silver reached 202,463 on Jan. 29 and jumped to 372,751 on Feb. 1.

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Global silver demand to rise

Sticking with silver, the Silver Institute forecast global silver demand will rise by 11% in 2021.

“The outlook for silver demand is bright, with the global total forecast to achieve an eight-year high in 2021 of 1.025 billion ounces, thereby recovering all losses sustained in 2020,” the Institute said Wednesday. “This reflects expected gains in the critical segments of industrial demand, physical investment, jewelry, and silverware fabrication.”

The institute also forecast physical demand to rise to a six-year high in 2021, totaling 257 million ounces.

Furthermore, the Institute noted pandemic-related economic certainty helped drive investor interest in safe-haven metals, including silver. As a result, the average silver price surged from $16.19 in 2019 to $20.52 in 2020.

By industry, silver demand for jewelry is likely to rise as economic recoveries continue. Those recoveries, of course, are contingent on successful vaccine rollouts and prevention of the spread of newer virus variants.

Read more

January 2021 MMI trends chartBefore we head into the weekend, let’s take a quick look back at the week that was and the metals storylines here on MetalMiner, including the release of the January 2021 MMI, a look at what might happen to the iron ore price and much more.

Inauguration Day draws near for President-elect Joe Biden, leaving metals industry groups to wonder what happens next for President Donald Trump’s signature metals policy: Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. Whether Biden ultimately chooses to maintain those measures or do away with them remains to be seen, but metals watchers will be eyeing those developments closely.

As for metals prices, some price gains slowed down amid the festive season, but some have resumed their upward ascent in early 2021. Copper, for example, crossed the $8,100 per metric ton threshold earlier this month.

Read more

gold price

Olivier Le Moal/Adobe Stock

The Global Precious Monthly Metals Index (MMI) gained 5.3% for this month’s index value, as the gold price surged to start the year but couldn’t hold onto those gains.

January 2021 Global Precious MMI

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Gold price ups and downs

Amid ongoing economic uncertainty, a falling dollar and the coronavirus pandemic, many market watchers are keenly interested in the fortunes of gold.

While numerous analysts predicted gold could reach $2,500 per ounce last year, that didn’t happen.

The gold price did reach as high as $2,034 per ounce in early August, inspiring speculation with respect to how much further the price had to run.

Gold cooled off in the ensuing weeks before heating up again throughout December and early January. The gold price reached $1,957 per ounce during the first week of January before retracing, dropping to $1,828 per ounce as of Jan. 10.

Meanwhile, the U.S. dollar — which generally correlates inversely with the gold price — hit a two-year low back in August (when gold reached its 2020 peak). From the beginning of November to early January, the dollar lost approximately 5% of its value.

However, the dollar has staged a small rally over the last week. The U.S. dollar index fell to 89.44 as of Jan. 5 before bouncing back to 90.47 on Jan. 11.

So what could drive the price this year?

“Physical demand could pick up in 2021,” MetalMiner’s Stuart Burns wrote last month. “China is forecast for potentially double-digit growth in 2021 with a strong tailwind from this year’s stimulus measures and a robust recovery in consumption.

“India, the other major physical gold market, does not look as positive. The country will likely have a slow vaccine rollout and is facing severe banking risks. That could hamper the Indian economy’s recovery in 2021. In turn, a slower recovery could impact consumer appetite for spending, with unemployment up and some sectors still struggling.”

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metalworking

nordroden/Adobe Stock

Before we head into the penultimate weekend of 2020, let’s take a look back at the week that was and some of the metals storylines here on MetalMiner, including: research findings related to organic molecules’ impact on machinability; gold prices; and the arrival of an allocation market for steel-buying organizations, as explained by MetalMiner CEO Lisa Reisman:

Week of Dec. 14-18 (machinability, gold prices and steel allocation market)

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