LBMA Gold Price setting without Chinese banks a huge mistake?

Julian Phillips comments on the gold and silver markets on a day on which the new LBMA Gold Price benchmark came into play - first set at $1171.75 this morning in London

New York closed yesterday at $1,170.30 barely changed on yesterday’s close. Asia has held it there too before London opened. Today is an historic day again because it sees the start of the new Fixing process. It does not have the Chinese banks as participants, which could prove a mistake. But they may be added later. This morning the first ever “LBMA gold price” was set at $1,171.75.   Ahead of New York’s opening, gold was trading in London at $1,172.50 and in the euro at €1,094.57.

The silver price closed at $16.13 up 7 cents. Ahead of New York’s opening it was trading at $16.20.  Its trading range is narrowing pointing to another strong move shortly, either way.

There were no purchases or sales of gold into the SPDR gold ETF but there was a purchase of 0.69 of a tonnes of gold into the Gold Trust on Thursday. The holdings of the SPDR gold ETF are at 749.774 tonnes and at 164.71 tonnes in the Gold Trust.  After the retreat in the U.S. dollar index from over 100 to 98.81, the dollar index has begun to look toppy.

Most U.S. gold investors will continue to see U.S. economic and currency strength as moving in the opposite direction to the gold price, but the physical volumes of gold traded there do not warrant such unbalanced pricing power. It is only the structure of the gold market that has permitted this.

Today, the new “Gold Fix”, now the “LBMA gold price” comes into effect. As we said above, there are no Chinese bank participants but they may be added later. We believe that this is a mistake of huge proportions for the gold market. It brings to the stage the possibility of China competing for supplies against London. We will have to wait for a gold price that accurately reflects global demand and supply and not speculative interests. But today we see some underlying strength in the gold price.

Another significant change in the global financial scene is the number of supporters of the Asian equivalent of the World Bank/IMF. The leading European nations plus the U.K. and potentially Japan are keen to become supporters of this despite the opposition of the U.S.

As to Greece, the dominant Eurozone issue today, we have to say that a nation of 11 million people, with no significant industries barring tourism, cannot repay €250 billion no matter how you swing it and even if Greek tax evaders paid their taxes. One commentator said the only option is to have an orderly withdrawal of Greece from the E.U. The length of time this issue has occupied the E.U. tells us that plans are already formulated for this. Alternatively, Greece will leave suddenly and impose Exchange Controls. We watch as the political charade continues to grind on.

Julian D.W. Phillips for the Gold & Silver Forecasters - and