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Mid-Day Gold & Silver Market Report – 1/4/2012

U.S., EU AGREE TO IRANIAN OIL BAN   

The Gold price is on the rise since this morning. The movement comes from a preliminary agreement between the United States and the European Union to ban Iranian oil imports. Iran reportedly exports 2.5 million barrels of oil per day, while holding more than 150 billion barrels in reserves. There are worries that Iran might try to close the Strait of Hormuz, a shipping lane that permits delivery of almost 17 million barrels of crude oil per day. HSBC analyst James Steel said, “With 40 percent of the world’s internationally traded oil moving through the Strait of Hormuz, even a low probability of the strait’s closure -- Iran threatened to do this last month if it were subject to further sanctions -- can have a material impact on oil, and hence on Gold prices.”

Germany sold 4.06 billion euros of government bonds today, with a higher demand than previously recorded in November. Peter Chatwell at Credit Agricole wasn’t particularly satisfied with the auction results, saying it was “much better than November’s auction, but not particularly great, either.” German and French governments were warned of possible bond rating downgrades in December by Standard & Poor’s. Some economists have said that France might be the first to lose its AAA credit rating, based on what credit rating agency Fitch has reported. Mark Wall at Deutsche Bank in London said, “There is a question about the balance of power if we see France downgraded first. If we move to a world in which France is not triple-A, will Germans see themselves as carrying the financial bags for the rest of Europe? There may be a political impact at the national level.

The U.S. housing market has been a concern since 2008. The Mortgage Bankers Association reported today that applications for U.S. home mortgages fell 4.1% in the last week of December, along with a 9.6% drop in purchase loan requests and 2.5% drop in refinancing requests. The housing market is an important facet of the U.S. economy and should reflect positive numbers to show a full economic recovery. Bob Moulton of Americana Mortgage Group said, “It's going to be another couple of years until these short sales and foreclosures are flushed out of the system, so you might see a little weakness in prices this year. We’re feeling a little better about 2012 than 2011, but you’re always waiting for the next shoe to drop.”

At noon (CST), the APMEX precious metals spot prices were:

  • Gold - $1,618.50 – Up $17.00.
  • Silver - $29.52 – Down $0.13.
  • Platinum - $1,429.70 – Down $0.80.
  • Palladium - $655.50 – Down $9.00.

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Disclaimer:
APMEX Market Reports provide our readers with a review of spot price activity and some of the factors that may be affecting the market for Precious Metals. While the information is obtained from sources we believe to be reliable, we do not guarantee its accuracy or its completeness and we encourage you to conduct your own investigation prior to making any decision based on the information. The Market Reports are not intended as a comprehensive discussion and there may be other factors affecting the financial marketplace. These Market Reports are provided for informational purposes only and do not constitute a recommendation by APMEX to hold, purchase or sell any Precious Metal product. All orders, purchases and sales, if any, are subject to the terms of the User Agreement and other applicable policies.

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