London Gold Market Report
FOMC “Influencing Gold More Than Eurozone”, Extending Operation Twist “May Not Be Sufficient”, Spanish Borrowing Costs Soar
The silver price traded in a tight range just below $29 an ounce – 1.7% up on Monday’s low.
Over in India, traditionally the world’s biggest gold buying nation, local press report that the Rupee gold price set a fresh record in Delhi Tuesday, as the Rupee fell against the Dollar on international currency markets.
“There has been very light buying from India, but it’s really quiet there,” says one Singapore-based dealer, adding that there has been a pickup in scrap gold bullion sales from Thailand.
“I guess there’s a kind of wait-and-see attitude because there’s a lot of uncertainty in the market.”
“For the moment,” adds Lynette Tan, investment analyst at Phillip Futures in Singapore, “we expect policy decisions from the Fed to influence the gold price more than risk appetite linked to the Euro crisis.”
The Federal Open Market Committee meets today and tomorrow to decide any changes to US monetary policy.
“We would be quite surprised if we saw no [Fed policy] easing this week,” says a note from Jan Hatzius, chief US economist at Goldman Sachs.
“We believe that an extension of Operation Twist could well be insufficient on its own and could thus be followed by additional easing action before long,” added Hatzius, suggesting the Fed could consider a “sufficiently large program” of mortgage-backed securities purchases.
However, “the agency MBS market might have more trouble accommodating the Federal Reserve this time” says a note from Barclays. The Barclays economists point out that the Fed will be keen to avoid its actions creating “dislocations” in markets, meaning it could include more US Treasury bond buying in any new round of quantitative easing.
Here in Europe, Spain saw its borrowing costs rise to over 5% for one year – up from 1.985% last month – when it auctioned €2.4 billion of 12-Month bills on Tuesday. A further €639 million of 18-Month bills were sold at an average yield of 5.1%, up from 3.3% at the last similar auction.
Benchmark Spanish 10-year yields eased slightly following the auction, but remained above 7% by Tuesday lunchtime in London.
European leaders announced last week that Spain plans to borrow up to €100 billion from Eurozone rescue funds to finance the restructuring of its banking sector, with stress test results due to be published later this week.
“It is not at all clear whether Spain’s rescue package will help bring about the definitive clean-up of its banking sector,” says Nicholas Spiro, managing director of consultancy Spiro Sovereign Strategy, which specializes in sovereign credit risk.
“Spaniards, like the markets, fear the €100 billion credit line is the prelude to a full bailout accompanied by much stronger conditionality.”
Elsewhere in Europe, investor sentiment in Germany has turned decidedly bearish in recent weeks, according to the widely-followed ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment. The indicator has fallen by 27.7 points – the biggest fall since 1998 – from 10.8 last month to -16.9.
The International Monetary Fund announced Monday that the amount of additional funding pledged by governments has risen from $430 billion to $456 billion.
The additional funds “Will be drawn only if they are needed as a second line of defense”, IMF managing director Christine Lagarde said.
Eurozone governments “will take all necessary policy measures to safeguard the integrity and stability of the Euro area, including the functioning of financial markets and breaking the feedback loop between sovereigns and banks”, according to a leaked draft of the communique from the G20 meeting in Mexico, which continued Tuesday.
“Trader concerns are being confounded by the apparent idleness at the G20,” says one trader quoted by the Wall Street Journal.
“What was hoped would be a definitive meeting of the world’s most powerful economies devising a solution to the slowing global growth story, unfortunately looks to be plagued with the same sort of inertia that led Eurozone policy makers to stand by as the crisis mushroomed.”
Here in the UK meantime, consumer price inflation eased to 2.8% last month – down from 3.0% in April – according to consumer price index data published Tuesday. This is the first time CPI inflation has fallen below the Bank of England’s upper tolerance of 3% since 2009.
Across the Atlantic, CME Group, which operates New York’s Comex exchange, has announced plans to allow holders of short-dated gold options to exercise into gold futures positions at expiry, with effect from the start of next month – though CME tells Reuters it has no plans to extend this to longer-dated instruments. Currently, all gold options holders are only able to settle for cash.