Central banks are institutions that manage a nation’s currency, money supply, and interest rates. Central banks also oversee a nation’s banking system and are the lenders of last resort in a time of crisis. Central banks are normally a separate body from the political establishment. The goal of central banks is to create stability and low inflation in the system.
India, the biggest consumer of gold bullion, is witnessing over-the-top demand—to the point where the government is trying to curb demand.
The Finance Minister of India said last week, “Banks have a role to play in dampening the enthusiasm for gold. I think the RBI [Reserve Bank of India] has advised banks that they should not sell gold coins.” He added, “I would urge all banks to please advise their branches that they should not encourage their customers to invest in or buy gold.” (Source: “P. Chidambaram hints banks likely to stop gold coin sales to curb demand,” The Indian Express, June 7, 2013.)
The appetite for gold bullion by Indian consumers has forced its government to increase the import tax on the yellow metal to eight percent—it has increased this tax rate twice in the past six months!
But the Indian economy isn’t the only one experiencing a surge in gold demand.
The acting director of the U.S. Mint, Richard Peterson, was quoted last week saying, “Demand [for gold bullion] right now is unprecedented…” (Source: “US bullion coin demand still at unprecedented levels-US Mint Chief,” Reuters, June 5, 2013.)
Looking at the sales of gold bullion coins from the U.S. Mint, demand has more than doubled. In the first five months of this year ending in May, the U.S. Mint sold 572,000 ounces of gold bullion in coins. In the same period a year ago, the Mint sold only 283,500 ounces of gold bullion. (Source: The United States Mint web site, last accessed June 7, 2013.)
Dear reader, the numbers are speaking louder than the words. Even … Read More
Economic conditions in the global economy are taking a quick turn in the wrong way!
Consider the Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) of the U.S. economy tracked by the Institute of Supply Management. Last month it contracted for the first time since November of 2012 and only the second time since July of 2009!
The PMI registered 49.0 in May, compared to 50.7 in April. (Source: Institute of Supply Management, June 3, 2013.) Any reading below 50 suggests the manufacturing sector is experiencing a contraction.
But it’s not just the U.S. economy that’s experiencing a contraction in manufacturing (and affirming the possibility of an economic slowdown). China, the second-biggest hub in the global economy, is seeing the same. In May, the Chinese PMI also showed contraction. The HSBC China Manufacturing PMI registered at 49.2 in May, compared to 50.4 in April. (Source: Markit, June 3, 2013.) Again, any reading below 50 suggests a contraction in the manufacturing sector—which happens to be China’s biggest industry.
Germany, the fourth-biggest producer in the global economy, has been seeing its manufacturing sector contract for some time now. The German PMI registered below 50 in May, the same month the International Monetary Fund slashed the country’s growth outlook in half! The German economy is expected to grow by only 0.3% this year, compared to 0.6% in its previous forecast. (Source: Wall Street Journal, June 3, 2013.)
All of this shouldn’t come as a surprise to Profit Confidential readers. I have been harping on about this issue in these pages for some time now: the global economy is on the brink of an economic slowdown.
Warning: … Read More
As economic conditions in the U.S. and the global economy deteriorate, and as central banks around the world print more money in their misguided attempts to spur growth, more and more analysts are saying that gold bullion’s best days are behind it. Their reasoning: the economy is improving, the Fed will cut back on its monetary stimulus, the worst is behind us, and there’s no more crisis, so there’s no more reason for gold to rise—this is the exact opposite of what I’m saying!
The gold bears fail to realize there are fundamental forces at play behind the gold bullion bull market.
Central banks around the world are looking at gold bullion as an alternative to the currencies they hold in their reserves. It is well documented in these pages how major central banks like the ones from Russia and Turkey continue to buy gold bullion.
Then there is the central bank of China. Its official reserve reached a value of $3.44 trillion in the first quarter of 2013—similar to the size of Germany’s economy. China increased its reserve by $128 billion in the first quarter, making it the biggest increase in reserve since the second quarter of 2011. (Source: Financial Times, April 11, 2013.) My bet is that most of that reserve is in U.S. dollars, which China would desperately like to get rid of.
With that said, China doesn’t have as much gold bullion to back its reserves as countries like the U.S., Germany, and France have. As a matter of fact, the Chinese central bank only holds 1.6% of its reserves in gold … Read More
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