Gold:Silver Ratio Moving In Silver’s Favor

My latest article on Seeking Alpha

Summary

When the gold price advances, silver tends to do even better in percentage terms.

The Gold:Silver Ratio (GSR) is a great indicator of silver price trends and in recent days it has fallen below 70 and is testing 69.

Hecla Mining remains our precious metals stock pick for the year. It is already up over 14% year to date and we are only one month in!

To read full article click on: http://seekingalpha.com/article/4040993-gold-silver-ratio-moving-silvers-favor

GLD and the GSR guides to gold and silver price direction?

Where will the gold price be heading once the U.S. institutions and traders get back from their summer breaks in the Hamptons, the Caribbean and elsewhere and the market gets fully back on track after a relatively thin trading market over the peak of the northern summer?  That is the question which many precious metals investors will be asking themselves as the end of the holiday season approaches with memories of 2011 in mind, when gold soared over the summer, reaching new highs and with the expectation that prices would continue onwards and upwards.  This was just not to be as the gold price then stuttered and started turning downwards heralding the start of a four and a half year bear market in precious metals.

I commented on this in a little more detail in an article on sharpspixley.com and an edited verison of this article, with some additional comment, is included below:

This year the gold price has been rising ever since the beginning of January, accompanied by a big rise in the holdings in gold ETFs.  This has been notably so in the biggest of them all, SPDR Gold Shares (GLD), which had added a massive 340 tonnes of gold peaking at around the July 4th Independence Day holiday in the USA at a total of 982.7 tonnes, the highest level since June 2013 – then a time when holdings were falling quite sharply.  But since July 6th this year, atlthough the holdings have fluctuated up and down, the predominant movement has been downwards and has seen sales out of the biggest ETF of 24.3 tonnes.  (It did add 2.38 tonnes yesterday so the movement has not only been downwards, but that has been the general trend.)

The overall fall in GLD has also coincided with a sharp fall in retail purchases of gold coins and bars in the U.S. in particular and the worry for the gold investor is whether this has been due to weaker seasonal demand because of the northern hemisphere summer holiday season, or whether it represents a change in overall sentiment from being gold positive to gold negative or gold indifferent!.

Recently, gold researcher Koos Jansen writing on www.bullionstar.com looked at the statistical relationship between the gold price and gold demand in the West and in Asia.  He concluded that when Asian gold demand has been strong and Western demand weak, the gold price has fallen and conversely when Western demand has been strong and Asian demand weak the gold price has risen.  We think this may be something of a misinterpretation in our being uncertain how relevant Asian demand has been at all in this respect.  Whereas strong Asian demand may well have meant that the gold price did not fall as far as it might have done without it, we would suggest that up until now it has very much been Western demand which has been influencing the gold price most strongly and the sharp fall-off in Asian demand we have seen this year has been largely irrelevant, given that it still seems to be the Western gold futures markets – notably COMEX – which have been the prime gold price drivers.

While this may be the case up until now, it seems to be becoming increasingly apparent that the GLD holdings are in a current downwards trend, although whether this is due to the northern summer holiday season when many of the big fund and institutional managers are away and markets are consequently a little thinner, remains a possibility.  We will have to wait until after Labor Day on September 5th – which is seen as the end of the holiday season in the USA – to see whether this is the case.  But while many see the return of the markets to full swing as being potentially a positive for gold, one only needs a short memory span of 5 years to recall that it was effectively Labor Day in 2011 that saw the true beginning of the recent bear market in gold after an abnormally strong summer for the yellow metal.  Could this happen again?

Unlike 2011 though, this year the gold price has also taken something of a summer holiday.  After the post Brexit surge it has actually remained in a fairly tight trading range which some see as price consolidation.  But again we will have to wait for the market to become fully functional again before we  can see a new trend developing.

With markets jittery again over the possibility of a Fed rate rise in September – perhaps still unlikely with December, if then, perhaps a more possible timing – we could well see continuing gold price uncertainty until after the September FOMC meeting which takes place September 20-21 and a volatile market for the yellow metal continuing in the meantime.  If the recent moves in price are indeed consolidation then general prospects for the precious metals could be seen as positive given that the really big drivers of unprecedented global debt and the seemingly increasing imposition of negative interest rates around the globe are well set.

At the moment gold seems to have been pressuring downside resistance at around $1,330, but riding this particular storm fairly well.  For silver it is also notable that the Gold:Silver ratio (GSR) has risen back to over 70 after falling to below 65 but some see this too as an indicator of where the gold price is headed.  We could well be in for a very uncertain month ahead for precious metals. But keep an eye on GLD movements and the GSR.  They could both be giving us a guide as to whether the medium term outlook is positive or negative.

Asia Pushing Gold Higher and Silver’s on a Roll

Trading overnight on the Shanghai Gold Exchange (SGE) served to give the gold price a boost overnight last night.  The SGE’s am benchmark fix came in at the equivalent of US$1329.05 an ounce, around $10 higher than it had been trading on Western markets the previous day, and the pm SGE benchmark price came in higher at $1.335.27 on http://www.kitco.com’s calculations – the site has a nice interactive tabulation of the SGE benchmark prices in various combinations of yuan, U.S. dollars, ounces and grams.

Whether the SGE uptick will start to show up in terms of a pick-up in Asian demand – notably in China where it appears to have been lacklustre so far this year – remains to be seen. But this could already be happening given net imports of gold into mainland China from Hong Kong (which currently accounts for around 40-50% of such imports), rose sharply in May to the highest level in five months at 115 tonnes.  If Asian demand does pick up – we will be watching mainland China gold import levels with perhaps added interest in the months ahead to see if there is a continuing improvement – and if gold ETF inflows continue at recent levels, there could well be even more of a squeeze in physical gold availability given inventories of available. non-attributable, metal in London and New York appear to be getting particularly tight.

The real precious metals beneficiary of yesterday’s gold move – indeed of gold’s overall performance over the past few weeks – has been silver, which for the first time since September 2014 has breached the $19 an ounce level.  Indeed its rise of around 6% over the past 10 days has been pretty spectacular.  This is also showing up strongly in the Gold:Silver Ratio (GSR) – effectively calculating the amount of silver it would take to ‘buy a similar weight in gold – which has come down to below 70 from a high of over 83 only around three short months ago.  silver had seemed to be relatively slow to move, but now it appears to have some momentum behind it.

As a result of silver’s increase, silver stocks – even before the latest big surge in price – had been probably the best performing stock market subsector year to date – See: Silver Stocks Best Investment YTD. Can They Continue to perform?.  But since I wrote that article only a few days ago they have, not surprisingly, continued to move sharply upwards alongside the boost in the silver price.  From the UK investor’s point of view, most of these major silver stocks are quoted in Toronto (TSX) and the USA (NYSE or NASDAQ) – the only major primary silver producers with UK quotes are Fresnillo (FRES) and Hochschild (HOC).  FRES is up 142% year to date and HOC 178%.  Another more diversified approach would be the Way Charteris Gold and Precious Metals Fund where silver stocks comprise a large part of its major investments.  After a pretty torrid performance over the past few years, this year to date it is up around 154% from the beginning of January.  These are impressive performances, but as usual with silver, while the upside potential is really positive, the downside risks are similarly large.  Silver tends to outperform gold when the latter is rising, but can substantially underperform on the downside.

Silver too, as a very small market sector in monetary investment terms, is also seen as being particularly prone to potential manipulation on the futures markets by a number of silver analysts and by virtually the whole community of out and out silver bulls.  They will point to a number of occasions, and particularly April 2011, when silver was on a roll and reached just short of $50 an ounce, where huge seemingly anomalous sales on the futures markets saw it crash – even when gold at the time was  to continue on an upwards path for another 4 months.

Both silver and gold have benefited quite strongly from the shock UK Brexit referendum outcome which has had some strange effects on markets in general.  Gold, and silver, have benefited, while the pound sterling has plunged, but the UK’s well-followed FTSE 100 Index, after a  stutter, recovered all its lost ground, and more.  It is currently up 5% on the past month at a new high for the year to date.  Few would have predicted that kind of outcome from a vote for the UK to leave the safety net of the EU.

But as cautioned, silver is a volatile metal to trade, and silver stocks perhaps even more so.  If gold continues to show some strength, there’s a good chance silver’s momentum could carry it yet higher still with the GSR continuing to come down.  If gold were to reach $1,400 or higher by the year end – as many analysts are now suggesting – silver and silver stocks could well be somewhere to put perhaps a limited section of your investment portfolio, but only a true gambler would risk all!

 

Gold Pricing Battle Playing Out. Silver Benefiting

My latest article on sharpspixley.com opens as below.  It looks at what is happening in the gold bull vs gold bear battle and the recent downturn in the gold:silver ratio which is beginning to see silver playing catch-up after a disappointing (relative to gold) performance to date.

The recent pattern in the gold price is making the yellow metals’ short term future somewhat unpredictable.  Was it ever thus?  There is perhaps, though, more of an equal battle between those pushing gold prices higher, and those looking to take it down, than there has been since the heady first three quarters of 2011 when the gold bulls were very much in the ascendancy, and the subsequent four years with the bears dominant.

This year has seen a significant change in sentiment towards gold, with the price up around 17% year to date.  Silver is up around 14% as well, but has only recently started to express its upwards volatility vis-a-vis gold and is still having to play catch-up, with the Gold:Silver ratio at last beginning to come down from its highest level in nearly eight years when it last settled above 80 at the heart of the 2008 financial crisis….

To read full article click here

Note:  The gold price and silver prices were driven down overnight last night after something of a surge put down to the Brussels bombings.  Whether this is indicative of a significant correction in precious metals prices, which many analysts think likely, or the big gold and silver short position holders manipulating the futures markets to protect themselves against what could be very large losses should the precious metals continue to surge, is as yet uncertain.

My recent articles published on other sites – on palladium and the Gold:Silver ratio

As readers of lawrieongold.com will already know, I also write for other websites and usually the terms of so doing are that I can’t publish those full articles here as well – but I can publish synopses and links so you can read the full articles on the other sites.

So here are a couple of articles I’ve published over the past couple of days on Sharpspixley.com

The first is an article on palladium the metal virtually all the mainstream analysts reckoned would be the best performing precious metal last year – but it turned out to be the worst performer in the precious metals complex – so don’t believe what the mainstream analysts tell you.  They are wrong probably as often as they are right!

Excerpt:

In its latest weekly newsletter to clients, London’s Metals Focus consultancy looks at palladium’s almost horrendous fall from grace pricewise and asks the question : Palladium’s dismal performance: buying opportunity or trend?  

Indeed palladium is a terrific example of markets trumping analysts and that in these days of High Frequency Trading and enormous speculation on the futures markets, it is other factors than fundamentals that really move the prices in a relatively small market like that for palladium.  Last year virtually every precious metals analyst out there was predicting that palladium would be by far the strongest performing precious metal as its fundamentals looked so positive.  In the event it was about the worst performer of all.  You can’t rely on the analysts to make you money in these hugely manipulated markets where futures, coupled with high frequency trading, and a major degree of investor sentiment, really call the tune…..

To read the full article on Sharpspixley.com click here

The second looks at the Gold:Silver ratio and the silver price, and how it is very much tied to gold’s performance, but with more volatility.

Excerpt:

The gold:silver ratio (GSR), much followed mainly by silver investors convinced that one day it will come down to its reputed historical level of 16:1, remains languishing in the high 70s.  Personally I doubt whether we will ever see the 16:1 level again – certainly not in my lifetime (but I am getting old!)  Apart from the very brief silver price spike when the Hunt Brothers tried to corner the silver market (and almost succeeded before being brought down and bankrupted) the GSR has moved since then in the range of 31.5 (a very shortlived spike downwards coinciding with the brief silver price peak in April 2011) and close to 100.  As I write it is standing at 77.6.

Silver, sometimes known in the trade as ‘the devil’s metal’ is renowned for its price volatility. The fact is, that in most views, it can no longer be really considered a monetary metal per se.  There is, though, still a substantial trade in officially issued silver coins which does, I suppose, give it some kind of monetary credibility although the sale value thereof tends to be substantially higher than any face value that may be put on them.  They are minted very much for the investment market.  But overall principal global demand for silver is industrial so the price movement relationship with gold is not necessarily a logical one – but it is ongoing nonetheless….

To read the full article click here