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Gold & Silver Report

Gold News – 31st October 2014

Positive US economic outlook rings bad news for gold – ASIA LATEST

The spot gold price continued to track losses after Wednesday’s FOMC statement and positive GDP data out of the US on Thursday. The recent more optimistic outlook for the US economy is driving dollar strength and putting pressure on the precious metals as investors put up better risk appetite and stay away from the traditional safe-haven commodity.

On Thursday, data showed US GDP grew at a 3.5-percent pace in the third quarter, beating the 3.1-percent forecast and in line with recent optimistic assessment of the US economy by the Federal Reserve.

On Wednesday, The Fed announced the end of its monthly bond buying program and said that if “incoming information indicates faster progress toward the Committee’s employment and inflation objectives than the Committee now expects, then increases in the target range for the federal funds rate are likely to occur sooner than currently anticipated”.

“Consequently, the acknowledgement by the FOMC that inflation is likely to remain low in the near term, paired with a stronger USD after the FOMC statement, pressured gold…While the backdrop appears negative for gold, a break below $1,200 per ounce would likely stimulate physical demand, most notably from the emerging markets, we believe. Modest physical buying was already evident during the recent slide,” said HSBC Securities analyst James Steel.

The gold price traded today below the key $1,200 psychological level at the current $1,198.4. It slid one percent on Thursday to end the day at $1,200. The current price is the lowest in a month where the metal last hit a low of $1,183.20 on October 6.

Silver joined in sliding wagon, free-falling to hit below $17 per ounce on Thursday. The metal slumped more than three percent to end Thursday at $16.51 while current trade see prices at $16.36 per ounce.

As with gold, the price slide had prompt attention from physical buyers who are taking to the industrial metal as a cheaper exposure to gold – GoldMoney’s Dealing Manager, Kelly-Ann Kearsey said the online bullion dealers’ customers were more upbeat about the industrial metal, “Whilst we’ve see net gold selling among our customers, we have concurrently seen net buying of silver. It’s not been everyone’s preference as on the main markets it’s lost fairly heavily, but it’s certainly caught the attention of some of our customers and kept silver’s trading with us in the positive.”

The PGMs have fallen in tandem with gold as well, with platinum dropping a percent on Thursday to end at $1,245 and current prices are now sitting at a price of $1,239 per ounce. Palladium is lower as well, last trading at $777, a drop of $8 from yesterday’s $785.

– See more at: http://www.bulliondesk.com/gold-news/bullion-latest-positive-us-economic-outlook-rings-bad-news-for-gold-84317/#sthash.BdDlT8Ao.dpuf

Silver News – 30 October 2014

FOCUS – GOFO-less market on the horizon, regulation pushing banks out

Regulation is increasingly forcing banks away from pricing benchmarks such as GOFO, which could collapse should it lose one more member.

With International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) regulation playing an increasing central role in the setting of benchmarks, those banks involved are becoming increasingly frustrated with the red tape that surrounds the process.

“Banks are wary of increased scrutiny and regulatory oversight of their management of various pricing benchmarks after the LIBOR rigging scandal and other price fixing findings,” Goldcore founder Mark O’Byrne said.

Following Société Générale’s exit from the GOFO rate-setting process last month, the membership now sits at its minimum possible level of six members, according to London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) rules. SocGen has declined to comment on its exit from GOFO.

“It is all part of a wider trend, with the bullion markets becoming increasingly opaque at various levels. Whether it is Indian gold smuggling data, [unreported] Chinese gold purchases… or even the lack of transparency over the fixing processes and the data itself,” Ross Norman of Sharps Pixley said. “GOFO is all part of the same story.”

“As the banks depart from commodities, the market is shifting into the realm of the non-banking sector, which is notorious for lack of exposure and clarity,” he added.

As well as SocGen, Deutsche Bank announced its departure from the rate-setting process in April this year – as well as from the gold and silver fixes.

“There is reluctance on the part of banks to take part in rate settings due to the regulatory risk and the risks of compliance,” a gold trader said. “The LBMA only recently added some GOFO compliance documents to its website so they are conscious of regulatory scrutiny.”

Should GOFO cease to exist, the market could wind the clock back 20 years to when brokers were able to manipulate the rate at which customers could borrow gold – the reason the benchmark was created in the first place.

“The loss of the longer-dated forward curve data is apparently a loss for the market but, if GOFO goes, how will lease rates be calculated? If another bank exits from GOFO contribution then they either have to change the six[-member] rule or change the process,” the trader added.

The six LBMA Forward Market Makers who now contribute to GOFO are the Bank of Nova Scotia-Scotia Mocatta, Barclays Bank, HSBC Bank, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase Bank and UBS AG. The GOFO rate represents the rate at which they are prepared to lend gold at on a swap against US dollars, ranging from a one-month rate to an annual rate.

The rates provide a benchmark dataset used as the basis for some finance and loan agreements as well as for the settlement of gold interest rate swaps.

“The irony to all this is that much of what is occurring compliance-wise was in the name of tighter regulation – and the result has been less transparency at various levels,” Norman added.

“It’s a case of be careful what you wish for – it was after all the shadow banking sector that was responsible for most of the instruments that caused today’s economic problems… but the conventional banking sector continues to pay the price,” he said.

With benchmarking regulation now being handled by IOSCO, there is increased pressure on the LBMA to ensure that the rate-setting process is transparently above board in light of the Libor scandal.

Several banks were fined heavily in 2012 for their role in rigging the Libor rate, the administration of which was stripped from the British Bankers’ Association and passed earlier this year to the Intercontinental Exchange – self-regulation was deemed a failure, leading to greater scrutiny of all pricing benchmarks.

Still, market participants have already been querying the significance of the rate in the modern market.

“Some say that GOFO rates were not realistic to begin with meaning either that they don’t reflect the market or that they are not really used,” the trader said.

It has value in its ability to highlight the extent of physical demand in the market and, ideally, should act as early warning of potential stresses in the physical market, Goldcore’s O’Byrne said.

“[But] it is of less importance to the market today than before and, with Deutsche Bank and SocGen having already left the market, it is becoming even less so,” he said. “This may be a sign of things to come and there is the possibility that GOFO is scrapped as it was with silver.”

The rate is essentially the equivalent of LIBOR for the gold market and is used as a benchmark for dealers, central banks and others to swap gold for US dollars with miners who may need gold to meet contracts or investors for short-selling and other purposes.

– Source: http://www.bulliondesk.com/gold-news/focus-gofo-less-market-horizon-regulation-pushing-banks-out-84232/#sthash.YJ3jO2OE.dpuf

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