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Updated: 7 hours 18 min ago

Market Report: Another miserable week for PMs

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 06:12
Gold and silver drifted lower over the course of the week, with a challenge to the $1200 level for gold becoming a distinct possibility. Silver is struggling to hold $18.50. Mainstream opinion has been negative for commodities generally, with a strong dollar undermining them. Brent crude, for example, is now well under $100.

It is important to understand the connectedness between different asset classes in today's markets. Hedge funds, and bank traders sell one asset and hedge it by taking a position in another. Furthermore, the majority of traders rely on technical analysis instead of rational value-based price assessments. Instead of markets correcting anomalies, this often leads to added momentum behind trends, ultimately increasing market instability. We can see this everywhere today, and precious metals are not immune to this problem.

That is the reality of markets, but as I've written before history shows us that the most successful investors are value investors, and those experienced in precious metal markets are currently happy to buy the dips. Meanwhile, with the majority of momentum traders being short of physical gold and silver, it is hardly surprising they talk these metals down.

The long-term chart below of total OTC forwards, swaps and Comex futures quantifies this effect. The OTC numbers are derived from the Bank for International Settlements statistics, and futures are from the Commitment of Traders Reports released by the CFTC. The total shown is half the gross to reflect the paper equivalent of physical demand, the other half being supply. It is in effect the sum total of derivatives on the LBMA and of US futures up to December 2013. Note that these figures do not include options.

The tonnage equivalent of outstanding derivatives has fallen dramatically over the last fifteen years. To some extent this was due to the rise in the gold price, but with an accelerated dip in 2008, the year Lehman went bust. But since the peak in the gold price three years ago, these outstanding positions have declined with the price.

At only 3,800 tonnes last December, total derivatives were the lowest they have been with the exception of the Lehman crisis panic. No wonder the average bullion bank is negative on gold: they reflect a decline in investor interest, consistent with an extended bear trend.
The point is these are the market conditions sought by value investors looking to buy into unloved markets.

The other big news this week was the Scottish referendum on independence, the result of which became clear a few hours ago: panic over.

Next week

Monday. Eurozone: Flash Consumer Sentiment. US: Existing Home Sales.

Tuesday. Eurozone: Flash Manufacturing PMI. UK: Mortgage Approvals, Public Sector Borrowing. US: Flash Manufacturing PMI

Wednesday. US: New Home Sales.

Thursday. UK: Nationwide House Prices. Eurozone: M3 Money Supply. US: Durable Goods Orders, Initial Claims. Japan: CPI (Core).

Friday. US: GDP (3rd est.), GDP Price Index (3rd est.), Personal Income, Personal Spending

The end of tapering and government funding

Fri, 09/19/2014 - 05:55
Last year markets behaved nervously on rumours that QE3 would be tapered; this year we have lived with the fact. It turned out that there has been little or no damage to markets, with bond yields at historic lows and equity markets hitting new highs.

This contrasts with the ending of QE1 and QE2, which were marked by falls in the S&P 500 Index of 9% and 11.6% respectively. Presumably the introduction of twist followed by QE3 was designed at least in part to return financial assets to a rising price trend, and tapering has been consistent with this strategy.

From a monetary point of view there is only a loose correlation between the growth of fiat money as measured by the Fiat Money Quantity, and monthly bond-buying by the Fed. FMQ is unique in that it specifically seeks to measure the quantity of fiat money created on the back of gold originally given to the commercial banks by our forebears in return for money substitutes and deposit guarantees. This gold, in the case of Americans' forebears, was then handed to the Fed by these commercial banks after the Federal Reserve System was created. Subsequently gold has always been acquired by the Fed in return for fiat dollars. FMQ is therefore the sum of cash plus instant access bank accounts and commercial bank assets held at the Fed.

The chart below shows monthly increases in the Fed's asset purchases and of changes in FMQ.

The reason I take twice the monthly Fed purchases is that they are recorded twice in FMQ. The chart shows that the creation of fiat money continues without QE. That being the case, QE has less to do with stimulating the economy (which it has failed to do) and is more about funding government borrowing.

Thanks to the Fed's monetary policies, which have encouraged an increase in demand for US Treasuries, the Federal government no longer has a problem funding its deficit. QE is therefore redundant, and has been since tapering was first mooted. This does not mean that QE is going to be abandoned forever: its re-introduction will depend on the relationship between the government's borrowing needs and market demand for its debt.

This analysis is confirmed by Japan's current situation. There, QE coincides with an economy that is deteriorating by the day. One cannot argue that QE has been good for the Japanese economy. The reality behind "abenomics" is that Japan's government is funding a massive deficit at the same time as savers are drawing down capital to cover their day-to-day living requirements. In short, the funding gap is being covered by printing money. And now the collapsing yen, which is the inevitable consequence of monetary inflation, threatens to expose this folly.

On a final note, there appears to be complacency in capital markets about government deficits. A correction in bond markets will inevitably occur at some point and severely disrupt government fund-raising. If and when this occurs, and given that it is now obvious to everyone that QE does nothing for economic growth, it will be hard to re-introduce it as a disguised funding mechanism for governments without undermining market confidence.

Dealing Desk: Gold sell off continues but silver still attracts

Thu, 09/18/2014 - 06:28
This week saw a continuation of last week's sell-off in gold as prices fell to an eight month low. GoldMoney customers sold the yellow metal, but Kelly-Ann Kearsey, Dealing Manager at the online precious metals trader, said, 'We saw a continued interest in silver.

Our customers carried on where they left off last week and across the board we had more buyers than sellers with silver being the metal of choice.

'Gold was mostly sold out of the UK and Swiss vaults with Singapore benefitting from the purchasing. There was very little other activity for platinum and palladium, and it's a wait and see game to find out at what point the buyers return to gold as the price drop encourages bargain hunting.

'Overall, volumes are slightly lower, but with more buyers than sellers compared to last week. Tomorrow's quadruple options witching and next week's US durable goods orders, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures and Chinese Purchasing Manager Index (PMI), could provide further impetus to the market, although it might not be in gold's favour.

16:00 18/09/14: Week on week performance: Gold fell 1.11% to $1,225.79; Silver lost 0.48% to $18.55; Platinum also dropped 1.93% to $1,344.99 while Palladium slipped 1.64% to $825.72.

Ends

NOTES TO EDITOR

For more information, and to arrange interviews, please call Gwyn Garfield-Bennett on 01534 715411, or email gwyn@directinput.je

GoldMoney is one of the world's leading providers of physical gold, silver, platinum and palladium for retail and corporate customers. Customers can trade and store precious metal online easily and securely, 24 hours a day.
GoldMoney currently has over 22,000 customers worldwide and holds $1.4billion of precious metals in its partner vaults.

GoldMoney has offices in Jersey and Hong Kong. It offers its customers storage facilities in Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland and the UK provided by the leading non-bank vault operators Brink's, Via Mat, Malca-Amit, G4S and Rhenus Logistics.

GoldMoney is regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission and complies with Jersey's anti-money laundering laws and regulations. GoldMoney has established industry-leading governance policies and procedures to protect customers' assets with independent audit reporting every 3 months by two leading audit firms.

Visit www.goldmoney.com.

Follow the GoldMoney Dealing desk team on Twitter: @goldmoneyupdate

Currency turbulence

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 06:46
You'd think that the US dollar has suddenly become strong, and the chart below of the other three major currencies confirms it.

The US dollar is the risk-free currency for international accounting, because it is the currency on which all the others are based. And it is clear that three months ago dollar exchange rates against the three currencies shown began to strengthen notably.

However, each of the currencies in the chart has its own specific problems driving it weaker. The yen is the embodiment of financial kamikaze, with the Abe government destroying it through debasement as a cover-up for a budget deficit that is beyond its control. The pound is being poleaxed by a campaign to keep Scotland in the union which has backfired, plus a deferral of interest rate expectations.
And the euro sports negative deposit rates in the belief they will cure the Eurozone's gathering slump, which if it develops unchecked will threaten the stability of Europe's banks.

So far this has been mainly a race to the bottom, with the dollar on the side-lines. The US economy, which is officially due to recover (as it has been expected to every year from 2008) looks like it's still going nowhere. Indeed, if you apply a more realistic deflator than the one that is officially calculated, there is a strong argument that the US has never recovered since the Lehman crisis.

This is the context in which we must judge what currencies are doing. And there is an interpretation which is very worrying: we may be seeing the beginnings of a major flight out of other currencies into the dollar. This is a risk because the global currency complex is based on a floating dollar standard and has been since President Nixon ended the Bretton Woods agreement in 1971. It has led to a growing accumulation of currency and credit everywhere that ultimately could become unstable. The relationship between the dollar and other currencies is captured vividly in the illustration below.


The gearing of total world money and credit on today's monetary base is forty times, but this is after a rapid expansion of the Fed's balance sheet in recent years. Compared with the Fed's monetary base before the Lehman crisis, world money is now nearly 180 times geared, which leaves very little room for continuing stability.

It may be too early to say this inverse pyramid is toppling over, because it is not yet fully confirmed by money flows between bond markets. However in the last few days Eurozone government bond yields have started rising. So far it can be argued that they have been over-valued and a correction is overdue. But if this new trend is fuelled by international banks liquidating non-US bond positions we will certainly have a problem.

We can be sure that central bankers are following the situation closely. Nearly all economic and monetary theorists since the 1930s have been preoccupied with preventing self-feeding monetary contractions, which in current times will be signalled by a flight into the dollar. The cure when this happens is obvious to them: just issue more dollars. This can be easily done by extending currency swaps between central banks and by coordinating currency intervention, rather than new rounds of plain old QE.

So far market traders appear to have been assuming the dollar is strong for less defined reasons, marking down key commodities and gold as a result. However, the relationship between the dollar, currencies and bond yields needs watching as they may be beginning to signal something more serious is afoot.

Market Report: Strong dollar undermines precious metals

Fri, 09/12/2014 - 06:20
Precious metals have had to endure a week of gathering dollar strength, which is at least partly the result of problems specific to the euro, yen and sterling. The result is gold has fallen a further $30 over the week, and silver by about $0.70c. The first chart is of gold and open interest on Comex.

Over the last two weeks the gold price has been falling while open interest has been rising: in other words paper gold has been flooding the market. This is illustrated in the second chart, of Managed Money short positions.


Last Tuesday's position (not yet in this chart) will be released after-hours tonight, and I expect these shorts to rise to about 70,000 contracts. Given the action of the last few days I would expect this short interest to currently be at a new record. For the third time in a year, hedge funds and other fund managers are betting the ranch on a falling gold price.

Usually, it is sensible to buy into a heavily oversold market, and that is just what the bullion banks are doing, which is reflected by a fall in the net swap short position in the third chart.



Again, this will be updated tonight, when I expect to see net shorts decline below 50,000 contracts, and today it is probably less than 30,000 contracts.

The relationship between speculation by money managers and bullion banks is clear. The bullion banks are the professionals and they are buying. The money managers are increasingly late sellers, after prices have declined. The signal that bullion banks are closing their shorts is probably a more important predictor of future prices than blindly following money managers.

That having been said, the current strength in the dollar has brought a new dose of uncertainty to precious metal prices. For the moment, it has been more a case of weakness in major currencies, particularly the euro yen and pound, rather than dollar strength. If signs develop of bigger shifts in favour of the dollar, markets could be signalling a greater degree of currency instability, leading the Fed to contemplate how to counteract the deflationary effect on domestic US prices. This should generally be positive for gold after the current period of uncertainty.

Silver's open interest is growing strongly as the bears increase their shorts. The preliminary figures for yesterday take open interest to a new record level.



And here the shorts are well on their way to taking silver into record oversold territory, which is almost certainly the case given the explosion in open interest in the last few days.

To summarise: while currency instability has introduced short-term uncertainty over the price outlook for gold and silver, buyers looking to close profitable bear positions outweigh sellers by far.
Dramatically oversold futures markets are likely to lead to an unexpected technical rally rather than significant further downside, given that bearish activity appears to be concentrated in the paper markets while physical demand continues unabated.

Next week

Monday.

Eurozone: Trade Balance.
US: Empire State Survey, Capacity Utilisation, Industrial Production.

Tuesday.

UK: CPI, Input Prices, Output Prices, ONS House Prices, Output prices (Core).
Eurozone: Labour Cost Index, ZEW Economic Sentiment.
US: PPI, Net Long-term TICS Flows.

Wednesday.

UK: Average Earnings, Claimant Count, ILO Unemployment Rate.
Eurozone: HICP.
US: CPI, Current Account, NAHB Builders Survey, Fed Funds Rate.
Japan: Customs Cleared Trade.

Thursday.

UK: Retail Sales.
US: Building Permits, Housing Starts, Initial Claims. Scotland votes on Independence.

Friday.

Japan: All Industry Activity Index, leading Indicator (Final).
Eurozone: Current Account.
US: Leading Indicator.

Dealing Desk: Precious metals sell-off across the board

Thu, 09/11/2014 - 12:28
With gold at a seven-month low the precious metals market saw selling across the board this week. Kelly-Ann Kearsey, Dealing Manager at the online precious metals trader, said, 'Our customers were profit taking this week with the buyer/seller ratio showing a slight favour towards the sellers.

'There was a continuation in the West to East movement of bullion, with most of the sell-off from the UK and Swiss vaults and almost all the purchases going into the Singapore vault.

'Palladium prices fell the most, however some of our customers have seen this as a buying opportunity with the worst of the profit taking in gold and silver. The strengthening of the dollar, potential interest rate hike with the Federal Open Market Committee meeting next Tuesday, and a strengthening faith in the US economy are having an impact. Meanwhile, the easing of geopolitical factors has also reduced the safe haven status of gold.

'We expect the next week to continue to be volatile with the expiration of various options next Friday. Plus, apart from the FOMC, the US Retail Sales and Consumer price index figures could also give further direction to the market and place more pressure on metals prices.'

16:00 11/09/14: Week on week performance: Gold fell 2.3% to $1,239.55; Silver lost 2.8% to $18.64; Platinum also dropped 2.7% to $1,371.50 while Palladium slipped 4.9%

NOTES TO EDITOR

For more information, and to arrange interviews, please call Gwyn Garfield-Bennett on 01534 715411, or email gwyn@directinput.je

GoldMoney is one of the world's leading providers of physical gold, silver, platinum and palladium for retail and corporate customers. Customers can trade and store precious metal online easily and securely, 24 hours a day.

GoldMoney currently has over 22,000 customers worldwide and holds $1.4billion of precious metals in its partner vaults.

GoldMoney has offices in Jersey and Hong Kong. It offers its customers storage facilities in Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland and the UK provided by the leading non-bank vault operators Brink's, Via Mat, Malca-Amit, G4S and Rhenus Logistics.

GoldMoney is regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission and complies with Jersey's anti-money laundering laws and regulations. GoldMoney has established industry-leading governance policies and procedures to protect customers' assets with independent audit reporting every 3 months by two leading audit firms.

Visit www.goldmoney.com.

Follow the GoldMoney Dealing desk team on Twitter: @goldmoneyupdate

A jumping success for charity

Wed, 09/10/2014 - 10:09
Kathrin Hasenkampf has left two charities jumping for joy after she jumped out of a plane in aid of the Jersey Cancer Trust and Cancer Research UK. Kathrin, a bookkeeper at GoldMoney, decided to take the plunge after being inspired by her work mate's strength in dealing with a cancer diagnosis.

She had perfect weather conditions for the tandem skydive, 'It was an absolutely amazing experience. The best part was when I left the plane and went into the free fall, it only lasts around thirty seconds but was incredible. Then when I arrived at the Gunsite area my friends and colleagues were waiting for me and cheered as I landed.'

Kathrin has raised £677.45 for Cancer Research UK and £600 for Jersey Cancer Trust. She paid for the jump herself as she wanted all the donations to go straight to the charities.

GoldMoney staff not only supported Kathrin for the actual jump, but she raised further funds with cake sales at the offices. CEO, Geoff Turk, also made sure the company donated, 'This was a great show of team support, the fact that Kathrin was inspired by one of her colleagues and then had many others turning out to cheer her on, goes to show how both as an individual and as a team we can make a difference for a very worthwhile cause.'


Kathrin's JustGiving page: https://www.justgiving.com/Kathrinandcaro

NOTES TO EDITOR

For more information, and to arrange interviews, please call Gwyn Garfield-Bennett on 01534 715411, or email gwyn@directinput.je

GoldMoney is one of the world's leading providers of physical gold, silver, platinum and palladium for retail and corporate customers. Customers can trade and store precious metal online easily and securely, 24 hours a day.

GoldMoney stores around $1.4billion of precious metals worldwide for over 22,000 customers.

GoldMoney has offices in Jersey and Hong Kong. It offers its customers storage facilities in Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland and the UK provided by the leading non-bank vault operators Brink's, Via Mat, Malca-Amit, G4S and Rhenus Logistics.

Historically gold has been an excellent way to preserve purchasing power over long periods of time. For example, today it takes almost the same amount of gold to buy a barrel of crude oil as it did 60 years ago which is in stark contrast to the price of oil in terms of national currencies such as the US dollar.

GoldMoney is regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission and complies with Jersey's anti-money laundering laws and regulations. GoldMoney has established industry-leading governance policies and procedures to protect customers' assets with independent audit reporting every 3 months by two leading audit firms.

Visit www.goldmoney.com.

Follow the GoldMoney Dealing desk team on Twitter: @goldmoneyupdate

Market Report: Short-sellers driving prices

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 05:53
Gold and silver had a bad week, with gold falling $25 to a low of $1262 by the Comex close yesterday, and silver by $0.50. This morning UK-time prices opened a little better on overnight physical demand, no doubt stimulated by those lower prices. The background to this poor performance was dollar strength relative to weak currencies, with the yen, euro and pound all declining sharply.

It feels like the market is drained of all positive sentiment, which is reflected in the very low level of open interest in the futures market. These conditions are more consistent with a market that is bottoming out than one that is about to fall sharply. Meanwhile retail demand seems to be stabilising, with growing interest for coins in the west, and weekly physical deliveries in Shanghai have quietly doubled over the last two months. Demand for physical gold has the stealthy effect of increasing the gearing of the shorts in the paper markets.

However, it looks like the short sellers have returned in some force, with good Comex volume last Tuesday and healthy turnover again yesterday (Thursday). Open interest in gold rose, which with a falling price confirms futures are being driven by an increase in short positions, most probably in the managed money category. This is shown in the chart below, and is particularly noticeable since 27th August, the start of the current decline.

The silver chart shows the same symptoms of short-selling, after a heavy fall in open interest on 25-27 August, and a sharp jump yesterday of about 3,700 contracts. In silver's case there appears to be bedrock support at the $19 level.

 

It is not sufficient to say that a strong dollar will automatically lead to a lasting fall in the gold price. The dollar's strength over the last few weeks has been mostly a reflection of weakness of other major currencies: the yen took an overdue tumble given Japan's deteriorating financial condition, the ECB cut interest rates from next-to-nothing to almost nothing, and sterling has been spooked by growing support for Scottish independence. None of this reflects a stagnant US economy, and there has been no change in the outlook for US interest rates to bolster the dollar.

A more valid driver of the gold price is changing perceptions of financial and systemic risk. It is clear from current equity and bond markets, which are rising on diminishing volatility, that they are now regarded to be low-risk markets. This situation can persist for a while, as anyone who has sold into a bubble too early will confirm; but the surer way to lose money on anything other than the short-term is by investing in over-priced bonds and equities instead of oversold gold, on the basis that perceptions of risk will normalise.

Next week

Monday.

Eurozone: Sentix Indicator.
Japan: M2 Money Supply, Economy Watchers Survey.
US: Consumer Credit.

Tuesday.

Japan: Consumer Confidence, Key Machinery orders, CPI, BoJ Minutes.
UK: Industrial Production, Trade Balance.

Wednesday.

US: Wholesale Inventories.

Thursday.

US: Initial Claims, Budget Deficit.

Friday.

Japan: Capacity Utilisation, Industrial Production (final).
UK: Construction Output. Eurozone: Employment, Industrial Production.
US: Import Price Index, Retail Sales, Business Inventories.

A difficult question

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 04:54
In a radio interview recently* I was asked a question to which I could not easily give a satisfactory reply: if the gold market is rigged, why does it matter?

I have no problem delivering a comprehensive answer based on a sound aprioristic analysis of how rigging markets distorts the basis of economic calculation and why a properly functioning gold market is central to all other financial prices. The difficulty is in answering the question in terms the listeners understand, bearing in mind I was told to assume they have very little comprehension of finance or economics.

I did not as they say, want to go there. But it behoves those of us who argue the economics of sound money to try to make the answer as intelligible as possible without sounding like a committed capitalist and a conspiracy theorist to boot, so here goes.

Manipulating the price of gold ultimately destabilises the financial system because it is the highest form of money. This is why nearly all central banks retain a holding. The fact we don't use it as money in our daily business does not invalidate its status. Rather, gold is subject to Gresham's Law, which famously states bad money drives out the good. We would rather pay for things in government-issue paper currency and hang on to gold for a rainy day.

As money, it is on the other side of all asset prices. In other words stocks, bonds and property prices can be expected to rise measured in gold when the gold price falls and vice-versa. This relationship is often muddled by other factors, the most obvious one being changing levels of confidence in paper currencies against which gold is normally priced. However, with bond yields today at record lows and equities at record highs this relationship is apparent today.

Another way to describe this relationship is in terms of risk. Banks which dominate asset markets become complacent about risk because they are greedy for profit. This leads to banks competing with one another until they end up ignoring risk entirely. It happened very obviously with the American banking crisis six years ago until house prices suddenly collapsed, threatening to take the whole financial system down. In common with all financial bubbles everyone ignored risk. History provides many other examples.

Therefore, gold is unlike other assets because a rising gold price reflects an increasing perception of general financial risk, ensuring downward pressure on other financial asset prices. So while the big banks are making easy money ignoring risks in equity and bond markets, they will not want their party spoiled by warning signs from a rising gold price.

This is a long way from proof that the gold market is manipulated. But the big banks, and we must include central banks which are obviously keen to maintain financial confidence, have the motive and the means. And if they have these they can be expected to take the opportunity.

So why does it matter if the gold price is rigged? A freely-determined gold price is central to ensuring that reality and not financial bubbles guides us in our financial and economic activities. Suppressing the gold price is rather like turning off a fire alarm because you can't stand the noise.

*File on 4: BBC Radio4 due to be broadcast on 23 September at 8.00pm UK-time and repeated on 28 September at 5.00pm.

Market Report: Short-sellers driving prices

Fri, 09/05/2014 - 04:41
Gold and silver had a bad week, with gold falling $25 to a low of $1262 by the Comex close yesterday, and silver by $0.50. This morning UK-time prices opened a little better on overnight physical demand, no doubt stimulated by those lower prices. The background to this poor performance was dollar strength relative to weak currencies, with the yen, euro and pound all declining sharply.

It feels like the market is drained of all positive sentiment, which is reflected in the very low level of open interest in the futures market. These conditions are more consistent with a market that is bottoming out than one that is about to fall sharply. Meanwhile retail demand seems to be stabilising, with growing interest for coins in the west, and weekly physical deliveries in Shanghai have quietly doubled over the last two months. Demand for physical gold has the stealthy effect of increasing the gearing of the shorts in the paper markets.

However, it looks like the short sellers have returned in some force, with good Comex volume last Tuesday and healthy turnover again yesterday (Thursday). Open interest in gold rose, which with a falling price confirms futures are being driven by an increase in short positions, most probably in the managed money category. This is shown in the chart below, and is particularly noticeable since 27th August, the start of the current decline.

The silver chart shows the same symptoms of short-selling, after a heavy fall in open interest on 25-27 August, and a sharp jump yesterday of about 3,700 contracts. In silver's case there appears to be bedrock support at the $19 level.

 

It is not sufficient to say that a strong dollar will automatically lead to a lasting fall in the gold price. The dollar's strength over the last few weeks has been mostly a reflection of weakness of other major currencies: the yen took an overdue tumble given Japan's deteriorating financial condition, the ECB cut interest rates from next-to-nothing to almost nothing, and sterling has been spooked by growing support for Scottish independence. None of this reflects a stagnant US economy, and there has been no change in the outlook for US interest rates to bolster the dollar.

A more valid driver of the gold price is changing perceptions of financial and systemic risk. It is clear from current equity and bond markets, which are rising on diminishing volatility, that they are now regarded to be low-risk markets. This situation can persist for a while, as anyone who has sold into a bubble too early will confirm; but the surer way to lose money on anything other than the short-term is by investing in over-priced bonds and equities instead of oversold gold, on the basis that perceptions of risk will normalise.

Next week

Monday.

Eurozone: Sentix Indicator.
Japan: M2 Money Supply, Economy Watchers Survey.
US: Consumer Credit.

Tuesday.

Japan: Consumer Confidence, Key Machinery orders, CPI, BoJ Minutes.
UK: Industrial Production, Trade Balance.

Wednesday.

US: Wholesale Inventories.

Thursday.

US: Initial Claims, Budget Deficit.

Friday.

Japan: Capacity Utilisation, Industrial Production (final).
UK: Construction Output. Eurozone: Employment, Industrial Production.
US: Import Price Index, Retail Sales, Business Inventories.

Dealing Desk: As silver prices fall GoldMoney customers buy

Thu, 09/04/2014 - 13:12
Whilst the overall market has been focusing on Palladium amid geopolitical tension, for a second week in a row customers at GoldMoney have been taking advantage of the falling silver price.

Dealing Manager at the online precious metals trader, Kelly-Ann Kearsey, said, 'Rising geopolitical concerns around the Ukrainian and Russian situation continued to give palladium the focus, but with attention elsewhere a falling silver price has given our customers the opportunity to buy.

'Gold has seen some profit taking as volume returns to more normal levels following the end of the summer holiday season and further strengthening of the US Dollar has weakened the yellow metal's appeal.
'Today's news of a ceasefire in the Ukraine and the European Central Bank's rate cut to a record low has also dampened gold's safe haven appeal against the dollar.

'Overall there were still more buyers than sellers among GoldMoney's customers, with a marked sell-off from the Via Matt UK vault and buying going into Hong Kong in a continuation of the west to east flow.
'Next week the Chinese Producer Price Index and Consumer Price Index figures will be released along with US retail sales and these may well give further impetus to a strengthening dollar.'

16:00 04/09/14: Week on week performance: Gold fell 1.6% to $1,268.66; Silver lost 1.8% to $19.18; Platinum also dropped 0.9% to $1,409.25 while Palladium slipped 1.3% to $882.47.

NOTES TO EDITOR

For more information, and to arrange interviews, please call Gwyn Garfield-Bennett on 01534 715411, or email gwyn@directinput.je

GoldMoney is one of the world's leading providers of physical gold, silver, platinum and palladium for retail and corporate customers. Customers can trade and store precious metal online easily and securely, 24 hours a day.

GoldMoney currently has over 22,000 customers worldwide and holds $1.4billion of precious metals in its partner vaults.

GoldMoney has offices in Jersey and Hong Kong. It offers its customers storage facilities in Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland and the UK provided by the leading non-bank vault operators Brink's, Via Mat, Malca-Amit, G4S and Rhenus Logistics.

GoldMoney is regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission and complies with Jersey's anti-money laundering laws and regulations. GoldMoney has established industry-leading governance policies and procedures to protect customers' assets with independent audit reporting every 3 months by two leading audit firms.

Visit www.goldmoney.com.

Follow the GoldMoney Dealing desk team on Twitter: @goldmoneyupdate

 

Announcement to customers

Wed, 09/03/2014 - 09:26

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act ("FATCA") is a federal United States tax law. The purpose of FATCA is to provide the US tax authority, the IRS, with information about US persons who own financial assets outside the US.

Jersey has entered into a Model 1 intergovernmental agreement with the US, which imposes certain obligations on the Jersey tax authority. The full and final scope of those local obligations has not yet been published. The Jersey tax authority will require financial companies operating in Jersey to report to it information on US persons.

In order to prepare for this new reporting obligation, GoldMoney will contact all customers in the coming months to ask whether they are a US person. Please be assured that this query will be made before any information is reported to the Jersey tax authority.

GoldMoney cannot provide investment, financial, tax, legal, or other advice, so if customers are uncertain about the application of FATCA to their personal circumstances, we recommend that they seek independent advice from a qualified professional.

Click here to read more information on FATCA

 

Announcement to customers

Wed, 09/03/2014 - 09:26

The Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act ("FATCA") is a federal United States tax law. The purpose of FATCA is to provide the US tax authority, the IRS, with information about US persons who own financial assets outside the US.

Jersey has entered into a Model 1 intergovernmental agreement with the US, which imposes certain obligations on the Jersey tax authority. The full and final scope of those local obligations has not yet been published. The Jersey tax authority will require financial companies operating in Jersey to report to it information on US persons.

In order to prepare for this new reporting obligation, GoldMoney will contact all customers in the coming months to ask whether they are a US person. Please be assured that this query will be made before any information is reported to the Jersey tax authority.

GoldMoney cannot provide investment, financial, tax, legal, or other advice, so if customers are uncertain about the application of FATCA to their personal circumstances, we recommend that they seek independent advice from a qualified professional.

Click here to read more information on FATCA

 

Market Report: Summer doldrums coming to an end

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 06:42
The pattern of trading in precious metals changed for the better this week. After London's bank holiday on Monday, for the first time in a long time the market opened in London's pre-market with higher prices. This indicated Asian or Middle-Eastern physical demand was returning to the market. Predictably, prices drifted lower during London hours as paper trading took over, and all the gains were more or less lost by close of play on Comex in New York.

It was a similar story on Wednesday. Yesterday, (Thursday) started the same way, but this time the move gained more traction; but volumes remain pitifully low, in common with open interest. Today this pattern was not repeated with gold kicking off unchanged on overnight levels. However, gold is up $15 on the week and feels more firmly based.

Measured by deliveries on the Shanghai Gold Exchange, Chinese demand is increasing, with last week's figure rising to 46 tonnes, having increased every week in August. So far this year over 1,200 tonnes have been delivered, and the extension of trading and therefore potential demand into the Free Trade Zone is due to kick off in September.

The chart of the gold price and open interest on Comex is shown below.

August is a notoriously poor trading month, with traders in the northern hemisphere on holiday, or at least not thinking about markets. September is wake-up time, and statistically the best month for gold. Will this be the pattern this year?

Trading in silver continues to be healthier, even if the price performance has been disappointing, with the gold/silver ratio rising to 66 from 63 earlier in the month. Open interest had its first significant fall on Wednesday, when the price rose marginally. This suggests that on balance there is some bear closing in futures. The action is shown in our next chart.

Could this be a harbinger of better times? Quite likely: being mostly an industrial metal, there is some evidence that commercial users are locking in low prices by holding futures positions. Bear in mind that two years ago, users probably estimated silver prices at $35+ in their business plans, so current prices for them are too good to miss.

Quick side-note: palladium continues to power ahead, having made all-time highs consistently in recent months to challenge $900 this week.

PMs and the economic outlook

When it comes to the broader picture, the one chart that says it all is that of the US 10-year Treasury bond.

This is the year when the US economy was supposed to recover: not according to government bond yields. US 10-year Treasury yields slipped this week to 2.33%, and 30-year to 3.08%. The same story is evident elsewhere, notably in the Eurozone and there is only one likely explanation: the advanced economies are on the verge of an economic slump.

This matters for gold and therefore silver, because in such an event opinions are divided over the outcome for prices. Banks, which are after all children of paper currencies and credit, naturally think of government bonds as the safest of safe havens. However, in the event of a global slump, we can expect central banks to expand money supply as much as may be required to stop asset prices falling. This transfers systemic risk from the banking system into currencies, leaving gold and silver as the safest of safe havens.

Next week

Monday.

Japan: Vehicle Sales.
Eurozone: manufacturing PMI.
UK: BoE Mortgage Approvals, Consumer Credit, M4 Money Supply.

Tuesday.

Eurozone: PPI.
US: manufacturing PMI, Construction Spending, ISM Manufacturing.

Wednesday.

Eurozone: Composite PMI, Services PMI, GDP (2nd est.), Retail Trade.
US: Factory Orders, Vehicle Sales.

Thursday.

UK: BoE Base Rate.
Eurozone: ECB Deposit Rate.
US: ADP Employment Survey, Initial Claims, Non-Farm Productivity, Trade balance, Unit Labour Costs, ISM Non-Manufacturing.

Friday.

Japan: Leading Indicator.
US: Non-Farm Payrolls, Private Payrolls, Unemployment.

The wages-fuel-demand fallacy

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 05:53
In recent months talking heads, disappointed with the lack of economic recovery, have turned their attention to wages. If only wages could grow, they say, there would be more demand for goods and services: without wage growth, economies will continue to stagnate.

It amounts to a non-specific call to stimulate aggregate demand by continuing with or even accelerating the expansion of money supply. The thinking is the same as that behind Bernanke's monetary distribution by helicopter. Unfortunately for these wishful-thinkers the disciplines of the markets cannot be bypassed. If you give everyone more money without a balancing increase in the supply of goods, there is no surer way of stimulating price inflation, collapsing a currency's purchasing power and losing all control of interest rates.

The underlying error is to fail to understand that economising individuals make things in order to be able to buy things. That is the order of events, earn it first and spend it second. No amount of monetary shenanigans can change this basic fact. Instead, expanding the quantity of money will always end up devaluing the wealth and earning-power of ordinary people, the same people that are being encouraged to spend, and destroying genuine economic activity in the process.

This is the reason monetary stimulation never works, except for a short period if and when the public are fooled by the process. Businesses – owned and managed by ordinary people - are not fooled by it any more: they are buying in their equity instead of investing in new production because they know that investing in production doesn't earn a return. This is the logical response by businesses to the destruction of their customers' wealth through currency debasement.

Let me sum up currency debasement with an aphorism:

"You print some money to rob the wealth of ordinary people
to give to the banksto lend to business
to make their products
for customers to buy with money devalued by printing."

It is as ridiculous a circular proposition as perpetual motion, yet central banks never seem to question it. Monetary stimulus fails with every credit cycle when the destruction of wealth is exposed by rising prices. But in this credit cycle the deception was so obvious to the general public that it failed from the outset.

The last five years have seen all beliefs in the manageability of aggregate demand comprehensively demolished by experience. The unfortunate result of this failure is that central bankers now see no alternative to maintaining things as they are, because the financial system has become horribly over-geared and probably wouldn't survive the rise in interest rates a genuine economic recovery entails anyway. Price inflation would almost certainly rise well above the 2% target forcing central banks to raise interest rates, throwing bonds and stocks into a severe bear market, and imperilling government finances. The financial system is simply too highly geared to survive a credit-driven recovery.

Japan, which has accelerated monetary debasement of the yen at an unprecedented rate, finds itself in this trap. If anything, the pace of its economic deterioration is increasing. The explanation is simple and confirms the obvious: monetary debasement impoverishes ordinary people. Far from boosting the economy it is rapidly driving us into a global slump.

The solution is not higher wages.

The wages-fuel-demand fallacy

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 05:47
In recent months talking heads, disappointed with the lack of economic recovery, have turned their attention to wages. If only wages could grow, they say, there would be more demand for goods and services: without wage growth, economies will continue to stagnate.

It amounts to a non-specific call to stimulate aggregate demand by continuing with or even accelerating the expansion of money supply. The thinking is the same as that behind Bernanke's monetary distribution by helicopter. Unfortunately for these wishful-thinkers the disciplines of the markets cannot be bypassed. If you give everyone more money without a balancing increase in the supply of goods, there is no surer way of stimulating price inflation, collapsing a currency's purchasing power and losing all control of interest rates.

The underlying error is to fail to understand that economising individuals make things in order to be able to buy things. That is the order of events, earn it first and spend it second. No amount of monetary shenanigans can change this basic fact. Instead, expanding the quantity of money will always end up devaluing the wealth and earning-power of ordinary people, the same people that are being encouraged to spend, and destroying genuine economic activity in the process.

This is the reason monetary stimulation never works, except for a short period if and when the public are fooled by the process. Businesses – owned and managed by ordinary people - are not fooled by it any more: they are buying in their equity instead of investing in new production because they know that investing in production doesn't earn a return. This is the logical response by businesses to the destruction of their customers' wealth through currency debasement.

Let me sum up currency debasement with an aphorism:

"You print some money to rob the wealth of ordinary people
to give to the banksto lend to business
to make their products
for customers to buy with money devalued by printing."

It is as ridiculous a circular proposition as perpetual motion, yet central banks never seem to question it. Monetary stimulus fails with every credit cycle when the destruction of wealth is exposed by rising prices. But in this credit cycle the deception was so obvious to the general public that it failed from the outset.

The last five years have seen all beliefs in the manageability of aggregate demand comprehensively demolished by experience. The unfortunate result of this failure is that central bankers now see no alternative to maintaining things as they are, because the financial system has become horribly over-geared and probably wouldn't survive the rise in interest rates a genuine economic recovery entails anyway. Price inflation would almost certainly rise well above the 2% target forcing central banks to raise interest rates, throwing bonds and stocks into a severe bear market, and imperilling government finances. The financial system is simply too highly geared to survive a credit-driven recovery.

Japan, which has accelerated monetary debasement of the yen at an unprecedented rate, finds itself in this trap. If anything, the pace of its economic deterioration is increasing. The explanation is simple and confirms the obvious: monetary debasement impoverishes ordinary people. Far from boosting the economy it is rapidly driving us into a global slump.

The solution is not higher wages.

Market Report: Summer doldrums coming to an end

Fri, 08/29/2014 - 05:28
The pattern of trading in precious metals changed for the better this week. After London's bank holiday on Monday, for the first time in a long time the market opened in London's pre-market with higher prices. This indicated Asian or Middle-Eastern physical demand was returning to the market. Predictably, prices drifted lower during London hours as paper trading took over, and all the gains were more or less lost by close of play on Comex in New York.

It was a similar story on Wednesday. Yesterday, (Thursday) started the same way, but this time the move gained more traction; but volumes remain pitifully low, in common with open interest. Today this pattern was not repeated with gold kicking off unchanged on overnight levels. However, gold is up $15 on the week and feels more firmly based.

Measured by deliveries on the Shanghai Gold Exchange, Chinese demand is increasing, with last week's figure rising to 46 tonnes, having increased every week in August. So far this year over 1,200 tonnes have been delivered, and the extension of trading and therefore potential demand into the Free Trade Zone is due to kick off in September.

The chart of the gold price and open interest on Comex is shown below.

August is a notoriously poor trading month, with traders in the northern hemisphere on holiday, or at least not thinking about markets. September is wake-up time, and statistically the best month for gold. Will this be the pattern this year?

Trading in silver continues to be healthier, even if the price performance has been disappointing, with the gold/silver ratio rising to 66 from 63 earlier in the month. Open interest had its first significant fall on Wednesday, when the price rose marginally. This suggests that on balance there is some bear closing in futures. The action is shown in our next chart.

Could this be a harbinger of better times? Quite likely: being mostly an industrial metal, there is some evidence that commercial users are locking in low prices by holding futures positions. Bear in mind that two years ago, users probably estimated silver prices at $35+ in their business plans, so current prices for them are too good to miss.

Quick side-note: palladium continues to power ahead, having made all-time highs consistently in recent months to challenge $900 this week.

PMs and the economic outlook

When it comes to the broader picture, the one chart that says it all is that of the US 10-year Treasury bond.

This is the year when the US economy was supposed to recover: not according to government bond yields. US 10-year Treasury yields slipped this week to 2.33%, and 30-year to 3.08%. The same story is evident elsewhere, notably in the Eurozone and there is only one likely explanation: the advanced economies are on the verge of an economic slump.

This matters for gold and therefore silver, because in such an event opinions are divided over the outcome for prices. Banks, which are after all children of paper currencies and credit, naturally think of government bonds as the safest of safe havens. However, in the event of a global slump, we can expect central banks to expand money supply as much as may be required to stop asset prices falling. This transfers systemic risk from the banking system into currencies, leaving gold and silver as the safest of safe havens.

Next week

Monday.

Japan: Vehicle Sales.
Eurozone: manufacturing PMI.
UK: BoE Mortgage Approvals, Consumer Credit, M4 Money Supply.

Tuesday.

Eurozone: PPI.
US: manufacturing PMI, Construction Spending, ISM Manufacturing.

Wednesday.

Eurozone: Composite PMI, Services PMI, GDP (2nd est.), Retail Trade.
US: Factory Orders, Vehicle Sales.

Thursday.

UK: BoE Base Rate.
Eurozone: ECB Deposit Rate.
US: ADP Employment Survey, Initial Claims, Non-Farm Productivity, Trade balance, Unit Labour Costs, ISM Non-Manufacturing.

Friday.

Japan: Leading Indicator.
US: Non-Farm Payrolls, Private Payrolls, Unemployment.

Dealing Desk: Palladium prices rise, but silver shines for GoldMoney customers

Thu, 08/28/2014 - 12:46
Overall it has been palladium's week with prices rising to their highest level since February 2001. However for customers of GoldMoney, the online precious metals trader, it was silver that shone.

GoldMoney Dealing Manager, Kelly-Ann Kearsey, said: 'Whilst our trading volumes have been slightly lower than last week, we've seen some large high net worth client purchases and their preference has been for silver and storage in Switzerland. For the rest of our customers Singapore stayed the most popular vault and there was an increase in interest for platinum and palladium.

'For most of this week gold has risen slightly against a softening dollar, although today's Gross Domestic Product figures showed the US economy had rebounded more strongly than thought in the second quarter which knocked the yellow metal back and strengthened the dollar. With expectations of an imminent rate hike in the US, gold could struggle to perform against the greenback without any other directional impetus.

'Geo-political tensions have reduced their effect on the gold price in the last few weeks, but the increased tension between the Ukraine and Russia may still provide a possible stirring point. The tension and its resulting political and trade fall-out is likely to have already been the impetus on the palladium prices, combined with more potential industrial unrest in South Africa, as these are the two key producers.

'For the most part GoldMoney customers took place in some modest profit-taking on gold this week, whilst individual preference, possibly hedging a future price hike, saw silver in their baskets.'

16:00 28/08/14: Week on week performance: Gold rose 0.8% to $1,288.80; Silver added 0.6% to $19.54; Platinum also gained 0.6% to $1,421.99 while Palladium jumped 2.5% to $894.47.

NOTES TO EDITOR

For more information, and to arrange interviews, please call Gwyn Garfield-Bennett on 01534 715411, or email gwyn@directinput.je

GoldMoney is one of the world's leading providers of physical gold, silver, platinum and palladium for retail and corporate customers. Customers can trade and store precious metal online easily and securely, 24 hours a day.

GoldMoney currently has over 22,000 customers worldwide and holds $1.4billion of precious metals in its partner vaults.

GoldMoney has offices in Jersey and Hong Kong. It offers its customers storage facilities in Canada, Hong Kong, Singapore, Switzerland and the UK provided by the leading non-bank vault operators Brink's, Via Mat, Malca-Amit, G4S and Rhenus Logistics.

GoldMoney is regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission and complies with Jersey's anti-money laundering laws and regulations. GoldMoney has established industry-leading governance policies and procedures to protect customers' assets with independent audit reporting every 3 months by two leading audit firms.

Visit www.goldmoney.com.

Follow the GoldMoney Dealing desk team on Twitter: @goldmoneyupdate

SCO and Mackinder’s prophecy

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 05:24
There will be a defining geopolitical event next month when India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia become full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). This will increase the population of SCO members to an estimated 3.05 billion. We should care about this because it is the intention of the SCO to do away with the US dollar for trade settlement.

The nations joining in September are currently designated as Observer States and the only one left will be Afghanistan, which will presumably join when it can untie itself from NATO. Dialog Partners, defined as states which share the goals and principals of the SCO and wish to develop mutually beneficial relations, include Belarus Sri Lanka and Turkey. Turkey is of special interest because it has been a long-standing NATO member. It had hoped to join the EU but it became clear that this was never going to happen. Instead under the leadership of Recep Erdoğan Turkey is moving towards the SCO.

Erdoğan was re-elected earlier this month by a comfortable majority and it will be interesting to see how quickly Turkey's new alignment evolves. Erdoğan must be aware that Asia is on the up while the EU declines, in which case Turkey as a front-line state is better off joining the SCO.

The SCO's influence extends beyond its boundaries, with China and India's diasporas populating much of the rest of south-east Asia. SCO members, particularly China and India, are also the largest consumers of Middle Eastern energy. And because they write the biggest cheques they have primacy over the west; so the swing away from the petro-dollar towards Asia is in the making. China also has sub-Saharan Africa sewn up, securing vital minerals such as copper from Zambia.

We must also consider why Russia is aggressively driving the pace of the SCO's development, and it's not just to escape the west's economic sanctions as many observers think. Fundamentally the SCO is about resources and the production of goods: Russia controls Asia's resources and China turns them into goods.

One of the first persons to identify the geopolitical importance of Russia's resources was Halford Mackinder in a paper for the Royal Geographical Society in 1904. He later developed it into his Heartland Theory. Mackinder argued that control of the Heartland, which stretched from the Volga to the Yangtze, would control the "World-Island", which was his term for Europe, Asia and Africa. Over a century later, Mackinder's theory resonates with the SCO.

The underlying point is that North and South America, Britain, Japan and Australasia in the final analysis are less important than Mackinder's World-Island. There was a time when British and then American primacy outweighed its importance, but this is no longer true. If Mackinder's theory is right about the overriding importance of undeveloped resources, Russia with the backing of the SCO's members is positioned to become the most powerful nation on earth.

The SCO is the greatest challenge yet mounted to American economic power, and Russia and China are clearly determined to ditch the dollar. We don't yet know what will replace it. However, the fact that the Central Bank of Russia and nearly all the other central banks and governments in the SCO have been increasing their gold reserves could be an important clue as to how the representatives of 3 billion Euro-Asians see the future of trans-Asian money.

Market Report: Summer drift continues

Fri, 08/22/2014 - 05:06
Gold drifted lower this week, with the price undermined by lack of interest on low volume and a slightly more hawkish tone in the FOMC minutes released on Wednesday. The chart below, of gold and open interest on Comex, shows how the price has declined while open interest has hardly budged from its historically low level.

The underlying factor has been dollar strength rather than gold's weakness. Since last Friday the dollar has risen nearly 1% against the euro and pound and 1½% against the yen; so a 2% fall for gold against the dollar is not a big deal. Furthermore oil prices have fallen this week with US crude down nearly 2%.

The dollar's strength was fuelled by the FOMC's minutes, which recognise that the improvement in the labour market has been somewhat better than expected. Even though the Committee downgraded its expectations for GDP growth slightly, analysts view the improvement in unemployment numbers as more important. Sterling had been benefiting recently from the same story until Mark Carney at the BoE seized upon the fall in average earnings cum-bonuses as an excuse to defuse expectations of an early rise in interest rates.

Whatever the hawks say, central bankers are unlikely to bring forward an increase in interest rates until price inflation rises towards mandated targets. At the moment it is trending the other way. Janet Yellen is due to speak at the Jackson Hole meeting later today, and it is thought likely that she will dampen down speculation on this topic. Both Carney and Yellen have a delicate problem: an improving economy will lead to higher interest rates and therefore losses in bonds with adverse consequences for those banks which are heavily invested; alternatively a declining economy will also hit the banks as bad debts rise. Therefore it is natural for them to keep rates as they are for as long as possible.

In other gold news, Russia's central bank announced the acquisition of a further 300,000 ounces of gold, taking their holding to over 1,100 tonnes. This is double the amount of previous purchases, and should raise the question as to why Russia has accelerated her purchases.

Silver is behaving somewhat differently. While gold was down over 1% yesterday, silver closed unchanged. This relative strength suggests there is an underlying shortage of physical, and a price premium of about 7% in Shanghai confirms it. Open interest on Comex is also rising on every price fall and it now stands at the highest level since February 2008, shown in the chart below.

A significant divergence between open interest and price usually signals a market turn. In this case it appears that users of the metal are taking the opportunity to lock in ultra-low prices. Speculators are likely to return as buyers at the first sign of dollar weakness/gold strength, so the silver price should then rally strongly.

This morning with the dollar slightly easier precious metals opened in Europe on a firmer note, awaiting Yellen's speech at Jackson Hole.

Next Week
Monday.

UK: Bank Holiday.
US: New Home Sales

Tuesday.

US: Durable Goods Orders, S&P Case-Shiller Home Price Index.

Wednesday.

No material announcements.

Thursday.

Eurozone: M3 Money Supply, Business Climate Index, Economic Sentiment, Industrial Sentiment.
UK: CBI Distributive Trades.
US: Core PCE Price Index, GDP (2nd est.), Initial Claims, Pending Home Sales.
Japan: CPI (core), Household Spending, Unemployment, Industrial Production, Retail Sales.

Friday.

Japan: Housing Starts, Construction Orders.
Eurozone: Flash HICP, Unemployment.
US: Core CPI , Person Income, Personal Spending.

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