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Gold Price News: Gold Ticks Higher Ahead of US Inflation Figures

Gold Price News: Gold Ticks Higher Ahead of US Inflation Figures

Market Analysis

Gold prices edged higher on Tuesday, posting modest day-on-day gains, as the markets looked ahead to the release of macroeconomic data on Wednesday for renewed direction.

Prices rose as high as $2,320 an ounce on Tuesday, compared with around $2,310 an ounce in late trades on Monday.

KAU/USD 1-hourly Kinesis Exchange

The relative price stability this week followed a dramatic price drop from as high as $2,388 an ounce last Friday after news reports said China’s central bank had stopped buying gold in May, breaking an 18-month streak of monthly purchases.

The latest action leaves gold prices some way short of their all-time high of just over $2,450 an ounce seen on May 20.

The markets were left speculating over the PBoC’s next move and what price level would encourage a resumption of purchases for its official gold holdings, with some suggesting a drop to $2,200 an ounce could reignite regular buying.

Current heightened geopolitical tensions around the world have combined with political uncertainty due to upcoming elections in several countries, and these factors have contributed to gold’s strength along with central bank buying in recent months.

Looking ahead, the markets will be watching out for Wednesday’s US inflation figures for May, as well as an expected interest rate decision by the US Fed, which is widely expected to involve keeping the current rate of 5.5% on hold for the time being.

Then Thursday will see the release of US Producer Price Inflation numbers for a further update on price rises, as the markets try to gauge the timing of possible interest rate cuts by the US Fed in the autumn.

Frank Watson

Time to Buy Gold and Silver

Tim Moseley

People are coming to the view that rates are less likely to go down to their pre-pandemic levels’ Fed Chair Powell tells reporters

People are coming to the view that rates are less likely to go down to their pre-pandemic levels,’ Fed Chair Powell tells reporters

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell used his post-FOMC press conference to try to reassure markets that even though the central bank’s latest data showed inflation projections rising and the number of expected rate cuts falling, the committee’s policy bias was still tilted toward easing. However, he also suggested people were getting used to the idea that interest rates would not return to pre-pandemic levels, signaling that the Fed may be preparing markets for a higher neutral rate.

Powell was asked at the outset whether FOMC members expected no further progress on inflation this year, given that the new Core PCE forecast was 2.8% by the year-end, and it's already at 2.75%.

“What's going on there is that we had very low readings in the second half of last year, June through December really, and we're now lapping those,” he said. “As you go through the 12-month window, a very low reading drops out and the new reading gets added to the 12-month window.”

“It's just a slight element of conservativism, that we're assuming a certain level of incoming monthly PCE and core PCE numbers,” he continued. “We're assuming good but not great numbers, and if you put that on top of where we are now, you get a very slight increase in the 12-month reading.”

“Now, do we have high confidence that that's right? No,” Powell said. “It's just a conservative way for forecasting things. If we were to get more readings like today's reading, then of course that wouldn't be the case.”

The Fed Chair was also asked if two or three more inflation readings like the one markets saw this morning would make a September rate cut possible.

“I talk to all of the other participants on the FOMC every cycle, and we talk about their summary of economic projections [SEP], and their dot plot, and everything,” he said. “What I hear and see is that people are looking at a range of plausible outcomes, and in many cases, they're thinking ‘I can't really distinguish between two of these, they're so close, these are very close calls.’ But we ask them to write down the most likely one, so they do.”

“As you've said, 15 of the 19 are clustered around one or two [cuts],” Powell went on. “I look at all of them as plausible, so I think that does tell you what the committee thinks. But what everyone agrees on is it's going to be data-dependent. They're not trying to send a strong signal that this is what I think is the right thing. It's just what they think at a given point in time, subject to data.”

“In terms of future meetings, we don't make decisions about future meetings until we get there,” he added. “We want to gain further confidence. Certainly more good inflation readings will help with that.”

Powell was asked whether any FOMC members had changed their interest rate projections after the 8:30 am CPI release.

“When there's an important data print during the meeting, first day or second day, what we do is we make sure people remember that they have the ability to update, we tell them how to do that, and some people do, some people don't,” he said. “Most people don't, and I'm not going to get into the specifics. But you have the ability to do that, so that what's in the SEP actually does reflect the data that we got today, to the extent you can reflect it in one day.”

“I think we'll see PPI tomorrow, we'll know more about the PCE reading as the month goes on,” Powell added.

The Fed Chair was also asked whether the labor market is more vulnerable to higher rates now that many of the post-pandemic imbalances have eased.

“By so many measures, the labor market was overheated two years ago, and we've seen it gradually move back into much better balance between supply and demand,” Powell replied. “So what have we seen? We've seen labor force supply come up quite a bit through immigration and through recovering participation. On the demand side, we've seen quits moving down, we've seen job openings moving down, we've seen wage increases moving from very, very high levels a couple of years ago back down to more sustainable levels.”

Powell acknowledged that unemployment has risen by about 0.6% in a little over a year, but he characterized that as “very, very gradual,” and said 4% unemployment remains historically low. “We watch […] the labor market very carefully, and that's what we see,” he said. “We see gradual cooling, gradual moving toward better balance. We're monitoring it carefully for signs of something more than that, but we really don't see that.”

Chair Powell was then asked about the significant shift in the SEP since the March meeting, with the latest version showing a much shallower path of rate cuts this year.

“The big thing that changed was the inflation forecast moved up several tenths before the end of the year,” he said. “We had really good inflation data in the second half of last year, then a pause in progress in the first quarter. And what we took away from that was that it's probably going to take longer to get the confidence we need to begin to loosen policy.”

“The sense of that is that rate cuts that might have taken place this year, take place next year,” he continued. “There are fewer rate cuts in the median this year but there's one more next year. So really, if you look at year-end 2025 and '26, you're almost exactly where you would have been, just it's moved later because of that progress.”

The Chair was then asked about the SEP’s long run interest rate forecast, which also moved higher, and whether this indicated that rates may not be restrictive enough.

“You're right, it did move up,” he replied. “I just think people are coming to the view that rates are less likely to go down to their pre-pandemic levels, which were very low by recent history measures. Now, we can't really know that. Ultimately, we think that things like the neutral rate are driven by longer run, slow moving forces.”

The Fed Chair added that as time has gone on, everyone is wondering just how restrictive the policy has become. “My answer has been that policy is restrictive,” he said. “The question of whether it's sufficiently restrictive is going to be one we know over time. I think the evidence is pretty clear that policy is restrictive and is having the effects that we would hope for.”

Powell was then asked to explain why the central bank would cut at all this year when the growth forecast doesn't predict any slowdown in 2024, the unemployment forecast doesn’t show significant weakening of the labor market, and the latest inflation forecasts average out to no change.

“We think policy is restrictive and we think ultimately that if you just set policy at a restrictive level, eventually you'll see real weakening in the economy,” Powell replied. “That's always been the thought, that since we raised rates this far, we've always been pointing to cuts at a certain point. Not to eliminate the possibility of hikes, but no one has that as their base case, no one on the committee does.”

Powell then addressed signs that consumer-level inflation pressures were easing, saying that there were still problematic areas.

“It's true that inflationary pressures have come down, but we're still getting high inflation readings,” he said. “In some parts of non-housing services you see elevated inflation still, and it could be to do with wages.”

Powell added that goods prices have fluctuated. “There's been a surprising increase in import prices on goods which is kind of hard to understand, and we've taken some signal from that,” he said. “Wages are still running, I would say, above a sustainable path, which would be that of trend inflation and trend productivity. We haven't thought of wages as being the principal cause of inflation, but at the same time, getting back to 2% inflation is likely to require a return to a more sustainable level, which is somewhat below the current level of increases.”

Gold prices trended lower throughout Powell’s press conference, with spot gold sliding from $2,332.34 when he began speaking to $2,317.29 by the time he finished taking questions.

Kitco Media

Ernest Hoffman

Time to Buy Gold and Silver

Tim Moseley

Great reset financial world war coming: This is global elite’s plan to come out on top Carol Roth

Great reset & financial world war coming: This is global elite's plan to come out on top – Carol Roth

The world is on the brink of a financial reset, with the global elite planning to come out on top, according to Carol Roth, New York Times bestselling author of 'You Will Own Nothing,' who says this threatens to leave the average person losing private property rights, other liberties and being subject to centralized control and draconian oversight.

"There is this change coming," Roth told Michelle Makori, Lead Anchor and Editor-in-Chief at Kitco News. "In many ways, it's not so much that [the elite] intentionally try to keep you down. They are trying to preserve their power and their wealth. And if yours has to go away for that to happen, then that's just okay by them."

Roth warns that a financial world war or major shift in the financial order is coming and adds that it is not as conspiratorial as it sounds.

"If you go to the White House's website and look at remarks that President Biden gave to the business roundtable back in 2021, he talks on a regular basis about things changing in the financial order and says there is going to be a new world order out there," Roth noted

The U.S. is about 80 years into the cycle of being at the center of the global financial system, with the U.S. dollar being the world's reserve currency.

Roth highlights how every “empire” in history has collapsed, losing its financial supremacy, from the Romans to the Portuguese to the British.

"Before us, it was the British; before the British, it was the Dutch. And so I would imagine when you're in that position, you feel very invincible about it," Roth pointed out. "But if we look at the reality of debt loads in the United States and the debt service and all of the printing that's gone around the world, and the fact that the Fed has not done a good job of holding the reserve currency stable, you're seeing some of these shifts happen."

Roth points out that the BRICS Plus countries are actively de-dollarizing and trading in their own currencies, while central banks are selling off U.S. Treasuries and stocking up on gold.

For Roth's take on the decline of the U.S. as a global superpower and the kind of shift that's coming, watch the video above.

"Over the last decade, the amount of U.S. government debt has more than doubled from $16 trillion to over $35 trillion," Roth said. "At the same time, central banks worldwide were net sellers of Treasuries. And the interesting dynamic is that they're not going into another currency per se, but they're going into gold."

World Economic Forum's 2030 agenda

Roth also pointed out that as we see the bifurcation of the global monetary system and the U.S. hegemony wane, there are non-governmental players pushing an agenda that leads to less economic and individual freedoms.

Roth explains why private property ownership is integral to all other rights and how the push to diminish individual ownership is being led by the World Economic Forum (WEF), big technology companies and the United Nations.

“Private property is the guardian of every other right. Property rights are fundamental to wealth creation. Studying wealth creation at the individual level, you can see that the way that individuals create wealth is through ownership,” Roth wrote in ‘You Will Own Nothing.’ “Once you as an individual own nothing, it is easy for the government or similar center of power to gain figurative ownership and control over you. I will say this many times to hit at home, if you own nothing, they own you.”

She highlighted the World Economic Forum's (WEF) 2030 agenda, which lists eight predictions, the top being, 'You will own nothing and be happy.' The post was originally published in 2018 on WEF's Twitter account, now X.

Roth explains that the WEF has made a concerted effort to influence leaders in the public and private sectors to promote its agenda and ideals.

"I encourage everybody to look up the video with Klaus Schwab at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government when he talks about the Young Global Leaders program. And you have people like Canada's Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland, who have been part of these programs, and he cites them — 'I look around, and I know all these people, and they've been part of the WEF's Young Global Leader program.' And so when somebody like Klaus Schwab says, 'We penetrate the cabinets,' I'm not sure what else that might mean other than 'We penetrate the cabinets,'" Roth explained. "So, while this is supposed to be a non-governmental organization, it seems like they're very entrenched in government."

For more background on the WEF and the role Klaus Schwab, the 86-year-old founder of the World Economic Forum, played during the decades he was at the helm, watch the video above.

Since recording this video, the WEF has announced that Schwab will step down as executive chairman and transition to a non-executive role by January 2025.

Central bank digital currencies (CBDCs)

Central bank digital currencies, or CBDCs, are the primary tool in implementing various agendas that threaten freedom, according to Roth.

Roth raises the alarm over the recent progress made around Central Bank Digital Currencies or CBDCs. "A [CBDC] is the number one concern. If you want to do something that's just going to completely destroy the foundation of the United States of America, you bring in a central bank digital currency, and it's just completely over," Roth cautioned. "It is just the absolute most frightening thing for freedom and wealth creation."

What are CBDCs?

Central bank digital currencies are programmable, digital currencies that operate as fiat currency. They are controlled and issued by central banks.

Proponents claim CBDCs can prevent money laundering, deter criminal activities, improve the speed and security of transactions, help fine-tune monetary policy, and allow for financial inclusion.

Critics claim CBDCs are the ultimate tool of control, censorship, and surveillance that can be used to monitor every single payment made and received, obliterating financial privacy and anonymity.

CBDCs continue to see accelerated adoption this year, with 134 countries exploring these options. According to the Atlantic Council, this represents 98% of global GDP.

One of the latest significant developments has been SWIFT – the global bank messaging network – planning a new platform to connect all the CBDCs in development to the existing financial system. The platform is said to launch within the next two years.

Crypto vs. CBDCs

Roth warned that some within the government are manipulating interest in digital currencies and digital assets to mainstream CBDCs and intentionally trying to conflate CBDCs with cryptocurrencies. For more information, watch the video above.

Roth stresses that truly decentralized digital currencies like Bitcoin are the antithesis of CBDCs. "A central bank currency is the exact opposite in terms of purpose and focus and what it stands for than a cryptocurrency where you have something like Bitcoin, which is entirely decentralized," she said.

Roth added that one of the drivers behind the surge in cryptocurrencies, especially Bitcoin, is the growing interest in the decentralized nature of these types of digital currencies.

"That's really what that's about. It's about preserving wealth. It's about having control and freedom," she said. "Every government is exploring a CBDC in some way. [Even] the Fed is running pilot programs and doing research," she noted.

Roth points to gold, silver, Bitcoin, and any other physical metals as hedges against the risks posed by a potential CBDC.

For Roth's take on how to protect your wealth and freedom amid this coming financial shift, watch the video above.

"The idea of ownership has to be viewed through an important lens. If you want to create wealth and have personal sovereignty and freedom, that comes to you through owning things. Through that ownership, assets can retain their value and increase in value. They may want you to own nothing, but I want you to own as much as possible," Roth said.

Kitco Media

Michelle Makori

Time to Buy Gold and Silver

Tim Moseley

Fed in focus: Asset prices on hold as investors await rate decision and inflation data

Fed in focus: Asset prices on hold as investors await rate decision and inflation data

Cryptocurrency prices trended lower to start the week as investor attention is focused on the Federal Reserve and its upcoming decision on interest rates and May's Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation reading, both of which are due on Wednesday.

Stocks fell under pressure in early trading but managed to climb back into the green in the afternoon despite rising expectations that the Fed will keep interest rates at a two-decade high for longer. The CME FedWatch tool now shows that anticipation for a September rate cut has fallen to 49%, down from 60% a week ago.

Geopolitical developments in Europe also have investors on edge after France's President Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz suffered lopsided losses to far-right parties in European elections on Sunday. The euro fell to its lowest level in a month after the results were released, while the Paris stock index sank around 2% in the wake of Macron announcing snap elections.

At the market close on Monday, the S&P, Dow, and Nasdaq were all in the green, up 0.26%, 0.18%, and 0.35%, respectively.

Data provided by TradingView shows that Bitcoin (BTC) briefly spiked back above $70,000 in early trading to hit a high of $70,195, but gave back the gains in the afternoon and returned to support near $69,600.

BTC/USD Chart by TradingView

At the time of writing, Bitcoin trades at $69,640, an increase of 0.05% on the 24-hour chart.

Short-term leverage flush

“Highly positive ETF flows for the last 20 trading days have helped to offset pressure on BTC, however, the fact that this was unable to move the price further, and push BTC above its range high is a negative in the short-term,” said analysts at Bitfinex. “The counter-argument is that traders are executing a basis arbitrage trade, where they have long spot exposure and short perpetual futures to collect funding payments.”

“However, it is important to note that this is highly speculative,” they added. “As per the chart below, there has been high open interest (OI) on BTC, as well as on altcoins.”

“Coinglass data shows that BTC OI across major exchanges reached an all-time high of $36.8 billion on June 6th,” they said. “And despite [Friday’s] correction in price, OI is currently sustained above $36 billion levels.”

“We believe the drop on Friday was more of a ‘leverage flush’ where an extreme amount of leveraged longs on altcoins (as well as majors to some extent) is wiped out and funding rates neutralised,” the analysts suggested. “However, we do not expect a major decline to follow immediately, even though the leverage wipeout/liquidations were quite significant on altcoins.”

“This is mainly because the amount of BTC liquidations was relatively small,” they said. “While we had more than $360 million in long liquidations and over $410 million total liquidations on June 7th – the highest since April 14th and more than when BTC went sub $57,000 – this time around only $50 million of the long liquidations came from BTC.”

“Most were on altcoins, which explains the severity of the decline in altcoins last week relative to majors,” the analysts said. “Such liquidation events are usually not followed by further severe drops and hence the next week will be pivotal, given the forthcoming Consumer Price Index inflation report on June 12th is expected to be a major market catalyst, with the price expected to continue to range in a tight environment as derivatives positions get built up again.”

“In the current environment, holding the local lows around $68,000-$68,500 would be pivotal for bulls, whereas failure to move past range highs remains a cause for concern,” the analysts said.

Addressing the tough situation the Fed finds itself in regarding interest rates, Bitfinex analysts said keeping rates higher for longer is a double-edged sword that will need to be navigated with deftness.
 

“On one hand, the strength and adaptability of the US economy could enable it to thrive even in a high-interest-rate environment driven by robust labour demand and rising wages,” they said. “This scenario would support continued economic growth, solid consumer spending, and overall economic resilience.”
 

“However, there is also a significant risk that maintaining elevated interest rates for too long could stifle economic activity, leading to reduced investment, slower job creation, and a potential downturn,” they warned. “The Fed faces the delicate task of balancing these opposing outcomes.”

They also suggested that the recent rate cuts by the European Central Bank and the Bank of Canada, done to “shift towards more accommodative monetary policies to boost economic growth, suggest that the Fed may need to re-evaluate its own monetary policy.”

“With the Fed adopting a cautious approach, the actions of its global counterparts may influence its decisions in the coming months, particularly if inflation trends and economic conditions warrant a shift,” they said.

Kitco Media

Jordan Finneseth

Time to Buy Gold and Silver

Tim Moseley

Gold Price News: Gold Climbs to Two-Week High Above 2370 An Ounce

Gold Price News: Gold Climbs to Two-Week High Above $2,370 An Ounce

Gold prices rose for a second day on Thursday to reach their highest since May 23, taking support from data showing a higher-than-expected rise in US jobless figures.

Gold climbed as high as $2,378 an ounce on Thursday, and prices were quoted at around $2,370 to $2,375 an ounce by late afternoon. That compared with around $2,355 an ounce in late deals on Wednesday.

KAU/USD 1-hourly Kinesis Exchange

Thursday’s move represented a second straight day of gains for the yellow metal, after a lacklustre first half of the week, taking prices to a two-week high.

S initial jobless claims figures released Thursday showed a larger-than-expected increase in the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits, coming in at 229,000 in the week to June 1, compared with market expectations of 220,000. Any signs of a weaker economy suggest increased pressure on the US Fed to cut interest rates – a bullish factor for non-yielding gold.

US 10-year treasury bond yields were broadly steady on Thursday, hovering at a two-month low, and this downward move has provided an additional supportive element for gold prices.

Elsewhere, the European Central Bank cut interest rates by 25 basis points to 4.25% as expected on Thursday, after nine months of steady rates. While the move is less significant for gold than a US Fed rate cut, it nevertheless highlights that recent expectations over the start of an interest rate-cutting cycle have started to materialise among major central banks.

Looking ahead, all eyes will be on the monthly US non-farm payrolls figures for May on Friday as well as the US unemployment rate for May, for further signals on possible interest rate changes in the coming months. ECB President Christine Lagarde is also set to give a speech on Friday afternoon, following Thursday’s decision to cut interest rates to 4.25%.

Kitco Media

Frank Watson

Time to Buy Gold and Silver

Tim Moseley

Gold prices will set new record highs in the second half of 2024 – Metals Focus

Gold prices will set new record highs in the second half of 2024 – Metals Focus

Gold prices will set new record highs in the second half of 2024 – Metals Focus teaser image

Gold prices are once again flirting with resistance near $2,400 an ounce, and one research firm expects that it's only a matter of time before the precious metal sets fresh all-time highs.

In their weekly note published Thursday, analysts at Metals Focus said that the eventual monetary policy easing from the Federal Reserve will drive gold prices higher in the second half of the year.

“Later this year, we expect prices will rise again, with a new all-time high likely,” said Neil Meader, Director of Gold and Silver at Metals Focus. “After all, the recent $2,450 peak is lower, in real terms, than the 1980 one, which would have been around $3,000 in today’s prices.”

With a new record peak in sight, Metals Focus expects gold prices to average around $2,250 an ounce for the year, a 16% increase from last year’s record average price.

The comments come as disappointing economic data and growing slack in the U.S. labor market have raised market expectations for the U.S. central bank to start the new easing cycle in September.

Even if the Federal Reserve maintains its aggressive monetary policy stance, Metals Focus does not see much downside for gold through the rest of the year.

The analysts at the UK-based precious metals research firm noted several factors supporting gold’s breakout rally this year, even as the Federal Reserve has hesitated to lower interest rates.

Insatiable appetite from global central banks, a dire global fiscal outlook, geopolitical uncertainty, and China’s weakening economy have all boosted gold prices, helping them to weather headwinds generated by persistent strength in the U.S. dollar and higher bond yields.

“Whether they start this year or next, US rate cuts are coming,” Meader said. “It’s also hard to see the Middle East and Ukraine conflicts being resolved any time soon, and US/China tensions remain high. Lastly, as physical markets become more accustomed to higher prices, gold’s fundamentals should improve.”

Kitco Media

Neils Christensen

Time to Buy Gold and Silver

Tim Moseley

Gold Price News: Gold Falls Back Below 2330 An Ounce

Gold Price News: Gold Falls Back Below $2,330 An Ounce

Gold News

Market Analysis

Gold prices fell back on Tuesday, giving up Monday’s gains, as the US dollar rebounded from a two-month low seen the previous day.

Gold prices fell as low as $2,317 an ounce on Tuesday, before edging back up to $2,325 an ounce later in the session. That was down sharply compared with around $2,351 in late deals on Monday.

KAU/USD 1-hourly Kinesis Exchange

The sharp downward reversal came as the US dollar rebounded against other major currencies on Tuesday, making gold more expensive for buyers in other currencies, and weighing on demand. The US dollar had hit more than a two-month low against the euro on Monday, but found a firmer footing on Tuesday.

 

In addition, US factory orders figures for April came in on Tuesday showing a 0.7% increase compared with March, and slightly above market expectations of a 0.6% gain. Any signs of a stronge-than-expected economy suggest the need for central banks to maintain higher interest rates, which tends to be bearish for non-yield-bearing assets like precious metals.

On the geopolitical front, the US expects that Israel will accept a ceasefire deal with Palestinian militant group Hamas if it too approves the agreement, a White House official was quoted as saying this week. The deal, which would start with a six-week halt to hostilities, would help pave the way for a permanent end to the conflict, which has injected a risk premium into precious metals markets.

Looking ahead, the markets will be watching out for Wednesday’s US ISM Services PMI figures for May, for the latest reading on the state of the economy. Also of interest will be the European Central Bank’s expected interest rate decision on Thursday, which is widely expected to be a 25-basis point cut to 4.25%. The ECB in April maintained interest rates at record-high levels of 4.5% for a fifth consecutive time.

Frank Watson

Time to Buy Gold and Silver

Tim Moseley

Gold’s attractiveness to criminals forces market participants to shoulder the AML-KYC burden

Gold’s attractiveness to criminals forces market participants to shoulder the AML-KYC burden

Gold's attractiveness to criminals forces market participants to shoulder the AML-KYC burden teaser image

The biggest gold-smuggling bust in Hong Kong’s history has brought the challenges of detecting illegal movements and transactions of precious metals into sharp relief, according to a June 2 report from consulting firm Alvarez and Marshall.

“On 27 March 2024, the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department made its largest ever gold-smuggling bust — approximately 146kg, with an estimated market value of HKD 84 million — at the Hong Kong International Airport,” the report stated. “The gold was not smuggled as ingots or jewelry with serial numbers as one might expect, but was disguised as parts for air compressors.”

Authors Henry Chambers and Benjamin Teo wrote in ‘Following the Midas Trail – Laundering Money Through Gold and Precious Metals’ that cases such as this one raise an important question: “Can forensic practitioners trace the movement of luxury items, such as physical gold, and how are these valuable items controlled?”

“Money laundering is the process of making illegally obtained gains appear “clean,” and typically follows a three-stage process — placement, layering, and integration,” they said. “Because of the scrutiny given to bank transactions, criminals may turn to gold or other precious metals when they need to launder money.”

Chambers and Teo argue that precious metals are attractive assets for criminals who wish to conceal the origins of any illegally obtained money, using the process outlined in the following diagram:

The authors ask whether it is possible for forensic investigators such as themselves to trace the movement of illicit funds through the movement of gold.

“The international Financial Action Task Force (FATF) designates dealers in precious metals and precious stones, amongst others, as Designated Non-Financial Business Professionals (DNFBPs) and recommends implementing a risk-based anti-money laundering (AML) approach in these industries,” they wrote. “In this light, since 1 April 2023, the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department has commenced a registration regime for dealers in precious metals and stones.”

The regime applies to businesses involved in “trading […] exporting or importing precious metals, precious stones or precious products; Manufacturing, refining or carrying out any value-adding work on precious metals, precious stones or precious products; Issuing, redeeming or trading in precious-asset-backed-instruments; or Acting as an intermediary in any of the above.”

The first step in the use of gold for money laundering is placement, they said.

“Essentially, in Hong Kong the use of cash to purchase gold valued above HKD 120,000 in a single transaction or several seemingly linked transactions triggers customer due diligence requirements,”the authors said. “The dealer is then obliged to obtain and verify information such as the beneficial owner’s identity. Based on the assessed risk, the dealer may also need to understand the customer’s source of wealth/funds or other additional information.”

“On gold bars, generally, details of its owner can be verified through engravings that detail its weight, purity and manufacturer, along with an accompanying certificate of authenticity,” Chambers and Teo note. “If the gold bar is sold by an intermediate dealer and not the manufacturer, the intermediate dealer will be subject to local AML requirements and will likely have records of its customers.”

Gold bars can also be “embossed with kinegrams or security holograms” similar to those found on modern banknotes. “These security devices provide an additional layer of comfort with regard to the authenticity of a gold bar’s declared weight, purity and serial number,” they said. “This, in turn, provides comfort as to the true identity of the buyer.”

The next step in the laundering process is layering, where the gold is moved through multiple transactions and jurisdictions to cover up the trail.

“If gold is purchased or sold from or to a non-reputable dealer, or over-the-counter from or to another individual, its subsequent movement may be difficult to track, especially if its serial number, security features and certificate of authenticity have been tampered with,” the authors wrote. “Tracking can be further complicated as large amounts of gold and other precious metals can easily travel between jurisdictions undetected in suitcases or pockets or openly in the form of jewelry.”

Once the gold has been moved through these steps and locations, the criminals will attempt different ways of fulfilling the final stage of the money-laundering process, integration, where the value is merged with other legitimate assets or funds.   from location to location,

“[C]riminals may try to liquidate the gold at other dealerships,” Chambers and Teo said. “Reputable dealers will care about the authenticity of the gold, and criminals may find liquidizing gold bars with no serial numbers to be relatively difficult. However, less scrupulous dealers in other countries may take the opportunity to undercut the seller, allowing the criminals to cash out their criminal proceeds as clean money.”

They said that these jurisdictions “may not have effective AML regulations, and less scrupulous dealers will not keep records of their buyers and sellers,” which makes tracking the flow of assets far more difficult.

“Alternatively, as in the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department’s case, gold can also be easily melted by money launderers and remolded into other items or jewelry to sell,” the authors wrote. “This process necessarily removes the serial numbers, hence hiding the gold’s origins, and may allow for easier integration due to the lower absolute value of each item. This jewelry can subsequently be sold to customers directly or to other intermediaries.”

Chambers and Teo note that a large part of the AML-KYC burden in the present-day precious metals market system falls to the DNFBPs.

“As mentioned above, the FATF and the Hong Kong Customs and Excise Department issue guidelines on how gold dealers, manufacturers and intermediaries should adopt a risk-based approach and implement customer due diligence, ongoing monitoring, screening and staff training processes, as well as file suspicious transaction reports when necessary,” they said. “This is not unlike measures that the Hong Kong Monetary Authority requires financial institutions to carry out when dealing with customers. Therefore, as in banking, this puts the emphasis of maintaining a clean industry on its gatekeepers.”

“The attractiveness of gold as both an asset and as a vessel for money laundering not only requires its gatekeepers to remain vigilant, but also protect the market’s reputation by understanding its patterns and trends,” they concluded. “It is in these stakeholders’ interests to engage with the regulators and enforce relevant requirements, to avoid prosecution and pecuniary penalties, to maintain their status as a reputable business, and to prevent criminals from laundering gold.”

 Ernest Hoffman

Time to Buy Gold and Silver

Tim Moseley

Gold Futures Regain Momentum as Economic Concerns Intensify

Gold Futures Regain Momentum as Economic Concerns Intensify

Gold futures found renewed strength on Monday, closing back above the crucial 50-day moving average, as economic data fueled expectations of potential interest rate cuts by the Federal Reserve later this year.

Friday’s close took gold futures to its lowest price point since hitting the record high of $2477.10, and a record close of $2461.40 on Monday, May 20. What followed was a dramatic and strong three-day price decline reaching a low of $2351 on Thursday, May 23. Between Wednesday, May 22, and Thursday the 23rd, gold declined just over $88 per troy ounce and consolidated trading sideways until gold traded to its low last Friday.

This recovery was driven by a weaker U.S. dollar, which declined 0.53% to 104.09, its lowest level since April 9.

The first signs of a potential resurgence in gold prices was largely attributed to mounting concerns over the state of the U.S. economy. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reported that U.S. manufacturing activity slowed for the second consecutive month in May, with new goods orders dropping at the fastest pace in nearly two years.

This data point, coupled with a moderation in inflation as indicated by the Personal Consumption Expenditures (PCE) price index report released on Friday, has bolstered the notion that the Federal Reserve may implement one or two rate cuts this year to support the economy.

Historically, gold has been viewed as a safe-haven asset during periods of economic uncertainty and low interest rates, as it tends to perform well in such environments. The recent data releases have reignited optimism among investors that the Fed's aggressive rate hikes aimed at curbing inflation may have achieved their desired effect, paving the way for a potential shift in monetary policy later in the year.

According to Reuters, "U.S. manufacturing activity slowed for a second straight month in May as new goods orders dropped by the most in nearly two years, but a measure of input inflation fell back from the highest since mid-2022, a monthly survey showed on Monday."

The recent downturn in gold prices, which saw the precious metal dip below its 50-day moving average for the first time since late February, has been attributed to fluctuating expectations surrounding the Federal Reserve's rate decisions. However, the latest economic data has reignited bullish sentiment in the gold market, as investors anticipate a potential easing of monetary policy in the coming months.

As the Federal Reserve continues to navigate the delicate balance between supporting economic growth and managing inflationary pressures, the performance of gold will likely remain closely tied to the central bank's policy decisions and the broader economic landscape.

Kitco Media

Gary Wagner

Time to Buy Gold and Silver

Tim Moseley

100 oz of gold per Bitcoin? Peter Brandt says it’s inevitable

100 oz. of gold per Bitcoin? Peter Brandt says it’s inevitable

Financial news headlines saw an explosion of comparisons between Bitcoin (BTC) and gold following the launch of the first spot BTC exchange-traded funds (ETFs) in the U.S. and the parallel rallies of both assets to new all-time highs that followed.

But over the past couple of months, chatter about the topic has quieted down as Bitcoin entered consolidation while gold surged to another record high. According to Bloomberg Intelligence senior commodity strategist Mike McGlone, on a relative basis, the surge in BTC price didn’t exceed the peaks it reached versus gold and the S&P 500 in 2021.

“The January US #ETF launches set records for inflows, enhancing Bitcoin's status as a leading indicator, and the hangover may have implications for risk assets,” McGlone tweeted. “It was a near-perfect storm for the benchmark crypto to make new highs in 1Q, but #Bitcoin didn't exceed peaks vs. #gold and the S&P 500 from 2021.”

“Highly volatile and speculative, the 24/7-traded crypto was rising vs. gold the last time the S&P 500 e-mini future crossed above its 50-week moving average in November, but this time the Bitcoin/gold cross is falling,” he added.

Despite this, most analysts agree that the launch of the first spot BTC ETFs has been a monumental success, with all the ETFs combined surpassing $50 billion in assets under management in record time, taking just 57 days to do what it took gold ETFs 5 years to accomplish.

Looking at the ETFs individually, the performance of BlackRock’s iShares Bitcoin Trust (IBIT) stands out as it became the fastest ETF in history to reach $20 billion in assets under management.

After surpassing the Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) ETF in AUM earlier this week, IBIT is now targeting the iShares Gold ETF (IAU), which currently holds roughly $29 billion in AUM.

According to Nate Geraci, president of the ETF Store, IBIT could achieve that feat before the end of 2024.

While many analysts have argued that there is room in investor portfolios for both gold and Bitcoin as both offer protection against excessive money printing and currency debasement, data provided by Kaiko shows that the correlation between gold and BTC remains below the 2022 highs, suggesting investors still hold a differing view of the two assets, and Bitcoin may deliver more upside.

“Bitcoin’s 60-day correlation with safe-haven gold has been increasing in April, nearing a yearly high as of last week,” Kaiko said. “However, it remains significantly below its 2022 highs of nearly 50%.”

“Gold has rallied in recent months due to strong central bank demand, even as global gold ETFs have experienced outflows,” they added. “Gold ETF holdings dropped to 3,079 tons in April, the lowest level since February 2020.”

“In contrast, Bitcoin has been primarily driven by ETF demand,” Kaiko said. “Despite Bitcoin’s market cap of $1.3tn remaining low compared to gold’s $16tn, there is significant room for growth. This low correlation and potential for growth boost Bitcoin’s appeal as a portfolio diversifier.”
And according to legendary trader Peter Brandt, while it currently requires around 29 ounces of gold to purchase one Bitcoin, that number could increase to 100 over the next two years depending on how things develop in the markets.

By Jordan Finneseth

Time to Buy Gold and Silver

Tim Moseley