New gold rush

A woman selects necklaces at a gold shop in Chinatown yesterday. People flocked to buy gold after the price dropped to below Bt18,000 per baht weight (about 15 grams)

Savers nationwide are flocking to gold shops, enticed by the falling price of the precious metal, which yesterday tumbled to a 34-month low amid fears of an end to the US quantitative easing policy.

Gold bar fell below Bt18,000 per baht weight for the first time since April 2010.

Wisawa Wisawachaiwat, the owner of Jongluck Gold Shop in Phitsanulok, said the recent plunge had sparked new interest among small savers. “The prices have fallen to the lowest in years and they are expecting huge profits once the prices climb up again,” he said. Some clients took home gold bars worth 50-100 in baht weight.

The precious metal yesterday extended the decline to a 34-month low amid speculation that the US Federal Reserve will reduce stimulus with economic data beating estimates. Held as a safe bet against inflation, gold lost value as unprecedented money printing by central banks around the world failed to spur inflation.

A lack of accelerating inflation and concerns about the strength of the global economy is also hurting silver, platinum and palladium, which are used more in industry.

Bullion has slid 28 per cent this year, set for the biggest annual drop since 1981, after rallying for the past 12 years. About US$62.4 billion was wiped off the value of precious metals exchange-traded product holdings this year as some investors lost faith in them as a store of value.

While gold bullion slid to $1,180.50 an ounce early yesterday in Singapore, the lowest since August 2010, gold prices in Thailand followed the move. Local gold prices were adjusted 15 times yesterday in line with global volatility. At 5pm, gold bar was sold at Bt17,850 while ornaments were at Bt18,250 per baht weight.

Local gold price averaged Bt17,493.18 in April, 2010, when global prices averaged $1,145.72 per ounce and when the baht was at 32.29 to the US dollar.

Jitti Tangsitpakdi, president of Gold Traders’ Association of Thailand, believed that gold prices could decline further but would not fall below $1,100 per ounce. Cheap prices should spur new demand and the local prices could be cheaper if the baht does not weaken further against the US dollar.

Christin Tuxen, a senior analyst at Danske Bank in Copenhagen, who sees gold at $1,000 in three months, said: “The current environment is a fundamentally poisonous one for the yellow metal. Rising yields are upping the opportunity cost of holding gold, the initiation of a fundamental dollar up-trend weighs, inflation expectations are in decline as the commodities super-cycle wears off, and many tail risks have been sidelined.”

Investors sold 583.2 tonnes of gold this year.

“There’re still people who are interested in gold but because prices have fallen so much and so rapidly, they’ll wait for some stabilisation,” said Alexandra Knight, an economist at National Australia Bank. “There’s definitely been a loss of confidence in gold and that’s seen in the ETF liquidations.”

Source: http://www.nationmultimedia.com/business/New-gold-rush-30209352.html

Gold Demand Extraordinary In Vietnam – Paying $217 Premium Over Spot

Today’s AM fix was USD 1,386.00, EUR 1,038.59 and GBP 881.79 per ounce.
Friday’s AM fix was USD 1,379.75, EUR 1,035.54 and GBP 882.76 per ounce.

Gold climbed to $1391.50/oz on Friday, its first close above $1390/oz in four weeks and silver climbed 1.2 percent to $22.07 an ounce.

Gold is marginally lower today in most currencies after last week’s small gain which was positive from a technical perspective.

Geopolitical tensions in the Middle East looks set to again brandish gold‘s safe-haven appeal and will support prices. Gold is higher in yen today as the yen has fallen against all currencies.

Demand in India and across much of Asia has fallen from the record levels seen in April but remains robust nevertheless which will support prices. Extraordinary demand from India and China has received all the attention in recent weeks while equally extraordinary demand in other Asian countries, such as Vietnam, has been completely ignored.

The Vietnamese Central Bank sold another 25,700 taels (37.5 grams, 1.2 troy ounces) at a gold bar auction on Friday in order to try and satiate the massive public demand for gold in Vietnam.

The Central Bank hopes that the sale of gold into the market will reduce the very high premiums paid by gold buyers in Vietnam, the largest buyer of gold in Southeast Asia after Thailand and one of the largest physical buyers of gold per capita in the world.

Vietnamese people hold gold as a store of wealth for protection against war, inflation and currency depreciation. In recent months, the bursting of bubbles in the stock market (see chart) and property market and the continuing devaluation of the dong has led to record demand in Vietnam and a surging premium over the spot price of gold.

Today, the premium was close to 5.5 million dong which is the equivalent of a very high premium of $217 per ounce over spot.

The premium reached an all-time high of more than $210 per ounce or 6 million dong in April, when gold prices were hammered by what appeared to be manipulative selling on the COMEX futures market.

The Vietnamese Central Bank has held sales since the end of March to help banks return deposits by June 30. So far 709,800 taels, or about 27 tons, have been sold in 28 auctions through June 7, according to the bank.

It is hoped that the gap between domestic and global prices for immediate delivery will probably drop to 4 million dong a tael ($158 an ounce) by the end of July, according to Nguyen Thanh Truc, vice chairman of the Vietnam Gold Traders Association.

Vietnam’s central bank has, like the Reserve Bank of India, tightened rules on gold trading. These include making itself the sole importer. This is an attempt to limit gold demand, the impact of gold prices on the exchange rate and in a misguided attempt to prevent a further devaluation of the dong.

As part of the drive, banks must return all gold deposits to investors by June 30, while the State Bank of Vietnam is selling gold to lenders and trading companies to boost domestic supplies.

Vietnam consumed 77 metric tons of gold last year. This compares favourably with massive gold buyers in India and China – 864.2 tons in India, 776.1 tons in China, where the populations are over 1 billion. Vietnam has a population of just 87 million and thus is one of the highest buyers of physical gold per capita in the world.

Purchases of physical gold between 2011-2012 accounted for over 3% of GDP.

Interestingly, property prices are often quoted in taels of gold rather than the local currency due to the Vietnamese experience of monetary inflation and currency debasement.

“The stricter regulatory measures implemented by the State Bank of Vietnam and the fear of a steep decline in gold’s price may affect gold demand temporarily,” Albert Cheng, Far East managing director at the council, said in an e-mail.

“In the long run, for the majority of Vietnamese, particularly those who have lived through the war years and the ensuing economic regression, gold is still considered as the favorite tool for saving and investment.”

Source: http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2013-06-17/gold-demand-extraordinary-vietnam-%E2%80%93-paying-217-premium-over-spot

Gold Premiums in Vietnam Hit $217 Over Spot In Heavy Demand

I think you have had to experience a collapsing currency first hand in order to truly appreciate the fundamentals of monetary value, and how these things can take on what seems like a force of nature.

I was doing business in Moscow during the 1990′s, and saw the slow motion collapse of the rouble. Or at least it seemed like a slow motion collapse at first, until it gained quite a bit of momentum despite the measures the State took to maintain their ‘official rates.’

Russia had a sovereign currency, right?  And so does Vietnam, and many of the other countries that experienced extraordinary currency depreciation, otherwise known as monetary inflation, since WW II.  Perhaps they just needed some better monetary theorists, or official enforcers with hairier knuckles. Their financial elite seems to have had plenty of false bravado.

But then again, they were not us. We are different. We are unique. We are the masters of all that we survey and purvey, the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals.  London and New York are where the elite meet to eat.

Here is what is happening with gold prices in southeast Asia now.  Ding dong.

This from Goldcore:

The Vietnamese Central Bank sold another 25,700 taels (1 tael = 37.5 grams or 1.2 troy ounces) at a gold bar auction on Friday in order to try and satiate the massive public demand for gold in Vietnam.

The Central Bank hopes that the sale of gold into the market will reduce the very high premiums paid by gold buyers in Vietnam, the largest buyer of gold in Southeast Asia after Thailand and one of the largest physical buyers of gold per capita in the world.

Vietnamese people hold gold as a store of wealth for protection against war, inflation and currency depreciation. In recent months, the bursting of bubbles in the stock market (see chart) and property market and the continuing devaluation of the dong has led to record demand in Vietnam and a surging premium over the spot price of gold.

Today, the premium was close to 5.5 million dong which is the equivalent of a very high premium of $217 per ounce over spot.

Source: http://jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.in/2013/06/gold-premiums-in-vietnam-hit-217-over.html