Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Since 2001 The Price of Gold Is Up 600% linked To Central Bank Purchases & Investment Related Demand, overall Net Hedging by Mining Companies Up Only Twice in Last Five Years (quarterly)

   Since April 10, 2001 when the price of gold hit a low of about $256/oz it has been steadily increasing on the back of higher investment related demand (represented 37% of total demand in 2010 up from just 4% in 2000), higher overall demand (3,812.2 tonnes 9% higher than 2009), and greater interest shown in the yellow metal by Asia (China's demand for bars and coins accounted for 13.5% of all gold demand by value, that's up 70% in just one year). (World Gold Council) Jewelry accounts for roughly 50% of gold demand down from 85% in 2000 but up from 43% in 2009. In the first quarter of 2011 Chinese demand for gold (25% of all gold demand) exceeded demand from Indians (23% of global gold demand) who were previous to that the largest consumers of gold (90.9 metric tons compared to India's 85.6 metric tons, China's represented a doubling over the previous year) (China Is Now Top Gold Bug); In 2010 consumer demand in India led all countries, it accounted for 25% (963.1 tonnes) of all global demand for gold, that's up from 16.6% the year before. In other countries like Greece, economic turmoil is causing demand for bullion to spike. (Financial Times: Greek savers rush for gold)

China: If, as many suggest, the People's Republic of China lets the RMB increase in value relative to the USD, that will weaken demand for gold in the short term as investors see the new exchange rate as a sign of economic stability but in the long run, the stronger RMB will increase Chinese demand for Gold due to its greater purchasing power. Also, a stronger RMB will raise Chinese import demand, indirectly propping up gold demand abroad too.

Because of weakened global reserve currencies (euro/usd) and a low portion of portfolios (1% but begining to show growth) and central bank reserves in gold (central banks sold much of their holdings in the early 2000's/since 2009 they have become net buyers) gold prices are in the midst of a long term upward trend. (Pierre Lassonde, Franco-Nevada) In 2009 central banks held 17.5% of all gold estimated to exist above ground (940M out of 5.5B ounces). As recently as 2005 central banks gold selling contributed as much as 14% of the gold supply. (Seeking Alpha: Gold Soars on Falling Supply and Rising Demand) In early to mid 2011, the central banks of Mexico (99.1 tonnes), Russia (41.8 tonnes), South Korea (25 tonnes) and Thailand (just over 9 tonnes) were among the largest buyers of physical gold. As of 2011 the world's largest exchange traded fund, SPDR Gold Shares ranks 6th among all entities in terms of its gold reserves, it owns 1213.9M tonnes of gold which is 4.5% more than China (1161.6M), 30.96% more than Russia (926.9M) and 97.5% more than India (614.6M). SPDR has just over half of all the gold held by gold etf's. (cnbc: The World's Biggest Gold Reserves)

While gold demand is rising from all areas (consumer, jewelry, central banks, industry: total up 9%) total supply is not (up only 2% in 2010) and that's putting even more pressure on the price. (http://www.gold.org/download/pub_archive/pdf/GDT_Q4_2010.pdf) Output from gold mining makes up about 60% of the supply (gold output from mining declined in the seven years leading up to 2008). Another reason to expect higher prices; Companies are closing their hedge books (Barrick Gold led the charge in 2009 it cost them $5.6B, AngloGold Ashanti in October 2010 after it raised $1.58B to close it, Kinross Gold removed 90,000 ounces hedged in the first quarter of 2011 however it was the only major company to do that in 2011). Total gold hedged by miners amounts to 4.88 million ounces (1Q 2011); The first quarter of 2011 was just the second of 21 quarters since 2006 to show any increase in net hedging. (Gold miners hedge in Q1, big sales unlikely: report) Also to consider, the ceo's of Newmont Mining and AngloGold Ashanti the second and third biggest gold producing companies, predict that gold will exceed $2,200 an ounce by 2012. (reuters: Mining CEOs expect gold prices to keep rising)

If, as Franco-Nevada suggests, Asian central banks increase their minimum weighting in gold to 15% another 17,000 tonnes would be added to demand over the next few years. Gold ETF's could hoard more gold too with interest in physical gold higher than at any point in their history (in the USA they only date back to November 18, 2004, StreetTracks Gold Trust exchange-traded fund but since then they accounted for 2,300 tonnes of net demand). Gold companies for the most part have wide profit margins making them popular among both institutional investors and others.

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