Morning Gold & Silver Market Report – 2/21/2012
PESSIMISM SURROUNDS GREEK BAILOUT; MORE THREATS FROM IRAN
European stocks were trading flat this morning, and U.S. stock futures are pointing to a higher opening for Wall Street. Eurozone finance ministers finally approved a second bailout package for Greece late Monday, but pessimism still surrounds the announcement. This was perhaps best explained by Fawad Razaqzada of GFT in London, who said, “There is a general feeling of relief that eurozone finance ministers finally sealed the deal with Greece, but concerns still linger.” Private bondholders of Greek debt have agreed to a 53 percent haircut, which is even higher than the originally agreed-upon 50 percent.
Razaqzada also said that investors will be keeping watch on oil after Iran blocked exports to Britain and France. He said, “The action pointed to rising tensions between the West and Iran.” Mohammad Hejazi, the deputy head of Iran’s armed forces, said, “Our strategy now is that if we feel our enemies want to endanger Iran’s national interests, and want to decide to do that, we will act without waiting for their actions.” This comes shortly after Israeli officials said they were still considering an attack on Iran’s nuclear sites. Iran also continues threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz. Geopolitical tensions have historically been a key driver of precious metals prices.
Precious metals are trading higher, though they had retreated from overnight highs. With the currencies market being the main driver for precious metals prices lately, Citigroup analyst David Wilson said that “Gold is trading more like the other metals, as a risk asset rather than a risk hedge. You’d have thought that all the macro issues would be supportive for Gold when looking at U.S. and European debt and a slowing China, but it seems to be largely driven by the dollar/euro.” Citigroup said it sees Gold moving closer to $1,800 this year. Silver currently is tracking Gold after reports that China imported less Silver in January than in the past three years. However, imports by India have increased.
At 8 a.m. (CST), the APMEX precious metals spot prices were:
- Gold - $1,746.40 – Up $21.50.
- Silver - $33.93 – Up $0.64.
- Platinum - $1,678.50 – Up $43.60.
- Palladium - $708.50 – Up $19.40.