2016 Fearless Gold Sector Forecast : Stay The Hell Away

Build Your Gold Watch List – but keep your portfolio in other sectors :

This past year was one of the worst ever for large mining companies, which suffered because of falling commodity prices and high leverage. They needed cash badly, and the streaming companies were more than happy to provide it. Mining giants such as Barrick Gold Corp., Glencore Plc, Teck Resources Ltd. and Vale SA all sold streams in 2015.

For junior or producing gold companies and their investors, the range of forecasts and continued volatility suggest it’s wiser to ignore the crystal balls for now and instead focus on what companies can control, like ensuring a sound business plan, keeping their balance sheets strong, monitoring costs, and building value for their shareholders.

Trends are against gold:

1) no inflation can be detected

2) rising interest rates offer a money making alternative while we watch and wait

3) global unrest in the middle East, Africa and Ukraine continue unabated but don’t move the panic button to ” buy”

4) Peter Schiff continues to see gold at $5,000  ( our best contrarian indicator )

This is the time of year when analysts roll out their economic forecasts for the New Year. For those who keep a close eye on gold prices, this can be a painful process.

It’s been another tough 12 months for the yellow metal, with prices falling for the third consecutive year — down about 10 per cent in 2015 alone. Prices touched a high in the neighbourhood of $1,300 and, as the year drew to close, they neared six-year lows around $1050.

That’s a big dive from the heady days of 2011, when gold hit over $1,900 an ounce.

What made things even more difficult for the sector in 2015 was the price volatility. Just when it appeared prices might be on a firm trajectory upward, they would then fall, creating more uncertainty among everyone from investors to gold companies.

That volatility is making it harder for prognosticators to estimate 2016 prices with any certainty. It’s the proverbial attempt to nail Jell-O to a wall.

That doesn’t prevent them from trying. But the resounding lack of consensus suggests it is a fraught exercise. Some are breathlessly proclaiming we’re on the brink of a new gold bull market. On the flip side, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan predict it will fall to the psychologically important $1,000 US-per-ounce level — or lower — in 2016. Bank of America Merrill Lynch believes it will average $950 an ounce in early 2016 before recovering. Slightly more optimistic forecasters, like HSBC, predict gold will average $1,205 next year.

Gold is different from other metals in that its prices are not driven largely by typical supply and demand. While the prices of other metals, like copper or silver, tend to rise and fall as economies grow and shrink, a lot of different forces affect gold’s price. It’s used as a store of wealth, unlike most other metals (you don’t store copper to get rich), and it’s considered a “safe haven” — used as a hedge against political and economic uncertainty.

Inflation and the U.S. dollar are two major forces behind gold’s prices. In 2015, they didn’t work in gold’s favour. The collapse of the price of oil has kept inflation in check, which is bad for gold because of its role as a hedge against rising prices. The U.S. dollar has been strong — another blow for gold, which performs contrary to the greenback. Some say one of the reasons for the strong dollar was ongoing speculation that the U.S. Federal Reserve would raise rates for the first time in almost a decade. The Fed did that on Dec. 16, but there was minimal impact on gold due to the central bank’s dovish approach of a gradual tightening of future rates.

 

The dark side of metal streaming deals: Strapped mining companies trade future value for cash ( Financial Post )

 

In September, Robert Quartermain did something highly unusual for a mining executive — he signed a streaming deal with an early exit strategy.

Precious metal streaming companies looking to team up to tackle bigger deals

Valerian Mazataud/Bloomberg

Overwhelmed by the sheer volume of opportunities available in volatile commodity markets, precious-metal “streaming” companies are looking to team up to take on large acquisitions that they might not be able to readily afford on their own.

Continue reading.
Quartermain, the CEO of Vancouver-based Pretium Resources Inc., was alarmed at how much value miners are giving away in gold and silver stream sales, in which future output is sold at below-market prices in exchange for an instant cash infusion.

So when he sold a US$150-million stream on Pretium’s Brucejack project in British Columbia, he insisted that the deal include buyback options for Pretium in 2018 and 2019, and that it cap the number of gold and silver ounces that can be sold.

“When you start putting in higher levels of streaming, and the stream lasts forever, then the potential upside starts going to streaming holders and (away from) your existing shareholders,” Quartermain said in an interview.

This will go down as the biggest year ever for metal streaming deals, and it’s not even close. Miners have raised US$4.2 billion from 11 stream sales in 2015, according to Financial Post data. That is nearly double the US$2.2 billion raised in 2013, which is the second biggest year on record.

For the most part, mining analysts and investors have cheered these deals. But their sheer number has caused alarm for some observers, who worry that miners are giving away vast amounts of future upside once metal prices improve.

The metal streaming business was created back in 2004. In these transactions, a streaming company like Silver Wheaton Corp. gives a mining company an upfront cash payment. In return, it gets the right to buy a fixed amount of precious metals production from the miner at a fixed price that is far below the market price. The streamer can then sell the metal for a profit. The biggest players in this business are Silver Wheaton, Franco-Nevada Corp. and Royal Gold Inc.

This past year was one of the worst ever for large mining companies, which suffered because of falling commodity prices and high leverage. They needed cash badly, and the streaming companies were more than happy to provide it. Mining giants such as Barrick Gold Corp., Glencore Plc, Teck Resources Ltd. and Vale SA all sold streams in 2015.
On the surface, these deals made a lot of sense for mining companies. Their stock prices are so depressed that they do not want to even think about issuing equity. And the last thing this sector needs is to take on more debt. So they sold future metal production instead.

“When companies are between a rock and a hard place, they often sell what’s good because they can’t sell what’s bad,” said John Tumazos, an independent analyst.

The problem is that streams destroy much of the future “option value” for mining companies. Since the streaming metal is typically sold at fixed prices far below the market price, the streamers get all the benefit when market prices go up.

To take an extreme example, Silver Wheaton was buying silver from some mining companies at less than US$4 a pound in 2011, when silver prices rose to almost US$50. It was a massive transfer of wealth from mining companies to a streaming company.

Another concern is that streams can eliminate the exploration upside from a mine. If a miner has agreed to sell a fixed percentage of gold or silver production from a mine to a streamer, it will have to sell more metal if it makes a new discovery on the property and boosts production.

When companies are between a rock and a hard place, they often sell what’s good because they can’t sell what’s bad
John Ing, president and gold analyst at Maison Placements Canada, said streaming is reminiscent of hedging, in which metal is sold in fixed-price contracts. Hedging was all the rage in the gold industry in the 1990s, when prices were low. But it became a massive liability once prices rose far above the value in the contracts. Barrick had to spend more than $5 billion to unwind its hedge book in 2009.

Eventually, hedging became a toxic word in the industry. It is almost nonexistent today.

“It wasn’t until the price of gold went up that everybody realized what Barrick was leaving on the table,” Ing said.

“The same thing is going to happen (to streaming) when the price of gold goes up again. Not until then will people focus on the dark side of the streams.”

For investors that don’t like streaming, the good news is that miners are starting to preserve more upside for themselves in these transactions.

For example, Barrick struck a US$610-million stream sale with Royal Gold last August that guarantees higher sale prices down the road. For the first 550,000 gold ounces and 23.1 million silver ounces that Barrick delivers to Royal Gold, it receives 30 per cent of the prevailing spot prices. For every ounce after that, it receives 60 per cent of the spot prices. So if silver prices go up, Barrick stands to benefit.
Pretium Resources Inc.

Pretium’s Brucejack project in British Columbia.
Pretium went even further by negotiating optional buybacks of its stream and capping the total amount of gold and silver to be sold. If Pretium discovers more metal at the Brucejack project, it won’t go into the stream.

Traditional streaming companies like Silver Wheaton and Royal Gold are looking to buy streams that will last for decades, so Pretium’s deal is not for them. Instead, Pretium sold the stream to two private equity firms, Orion Resource Partners and Blackstone Group.

These companies are just looking for a good return and are not bothered by the idea of having their stream re-purchased in a few years. That is a relatively new concept in streaming, and it could be a game-changer if more private equity firms and other players decide to compete with traditional streamers.

Quartermain said his deal is proof that miners have alternatives to conventional streaming. He hopes other companies will follow Pretium’s lead and try to maintain some upside in these deals.

“We’ve shown you can, even in challenging markets, finance good projects and achieve that upside for shareholders,” he said.

 

 

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Silver Wheaton’s ‘train wreck : bought deal is getting snubbed

Silver Wheaton acquires silver and gold “streams” from mining companies to help them finance their projects. That has been a very active business during the mining downturn, and Silver Wheaton has kept bankers busy.

Nicky Loh/BloombergSilver Wheaton acquires silver and gold “streams” from mining companies to help them finance their projects. That has been a very active business during the mining downturn, and Silver Wheaton has kept bankers busy.

The stock traded below the offer price all day Tuesday, and sources said a very large portion remains unsold. One source described the entire deal as a “train wreck.”

The bought deal, which was announced Monday night, was priced at US$20.55 a share by lead underwriter Scotiabank. The pricing was very aggressive, as it represented a 3% discount to Silver Wheaton’s closing price that day. Typically, the discount on bought deals is larger, as a reflection of the risks taken on by the underwriters, one of which is that the stock price drops. On this deal, the underwriters are also charging agents’ fees of 3.75%. – or $0.77 a share.

Amid weaker precious metal prices Tuesday, Silver Wheaton shares did fall, by 5.5%, and closed at US$20.02. On heavy volume – trading in New York and Toronto at 11.4 million shares was about 1.5 times normal – the shares hit an intraday  low of US$19.83.

Silver Wheaton is a very liquid stock, so if investors want to build a large position, they can buy it on the open market and bypass the bought deal. Deal insiders are hopeful that metal prices will rise on Wednesday and they will be able to sell more of the offering.

Investment banks lined up to be part of this bought deal, because Vancouver-based Silver Wheaton has been one of their top mining clients in recent years. Indeed there are four lines of underwriters (all with varying degrees of liability), with BMO, CIBC and RBC on the second line, BofA Merrill Lynch and TD on the third line, and Scotiabank signed on for a 25% share.

Silver Wheaton acquires silver and gold “streams” from mining companies to help them finance their projects. That has been a very active business during the mining downturn, and Silver Wheaton has kept bankers busy.

A source said there has been no serious talk so far about trying to cut the price on the offering, or reduce the size. Scotiabank does not typically lead mining offerings this big.

This is the third time in recent months where banks had trouble selling a very large mining stock offering. It shows that investor appetite for these stocks is not endless amid rough market conditions.

In late 2013, Barrick Gold Corp. did a US$3 billion bought deal, which was priced at a 5.4% discount to the market price. And in the middle of last year, Franco-Nevada Corp.’s US$500 million share offering proved to be a tough sell.

The Franco-Nevada bought deal has similarities to the current Silver Wheaton deal. Both firms are in the mining-royalty business, and in both cases, the discount to the market price was very small. It was less than 2% in the Franco transaction.

Silver Wheaton plans to use cash from the bought deal to fund its acquisition of a gold stream from Vale SA’s Salobo mine in Brazil. It is the second gold stream that Silver Wheaton is buying from this mine.

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Get Out Of Gold Part 2

Cheap Oil Is Dragging Down the Price of Gold

Photographer: Carla Gottgens/Bloomberg

Bars of 10-ounce gold are arranged for a photograph

Gold, the ultimate inflation hedge, isn’t much use to investors these days.

Oil is in a bear-market freefall that began in June, spearheading the longest commodity slump in at least a generation. The collapse means that instead of the surge in consumer prices that gold buyers have been expecting for much of the past decade, the U.S. is “disinflating,” according to Bill Gross, who used to run the world’s biggest bond fund.

A gauge of inflation expectations that closely tracks gold is headed for the biggest annual drop since the recession in 2008. While bullion rebounded from a four-year low last month, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Societe Generale SA reiterated their bearish outlooks for prices. The metal’s appeal as an alternative asset is fading as the dollar and U.S. equities rally, and as the Federal Reserve moves closer to raising interest rates to keep the economy from overheating.

“Forget inflation — all of the talk now is about deflation,” Peter Jankovskis, who helps oversee $1.9 billion as co-chief investment officer of Lisle, Illinois-based OakBrook Investments LLC., said Dec. 16. “Obviously, oil prices dropping are adding to deflationary pressures. We may see a rate rise next year, and we could see gold come under pressure as the dollar continues to move higher.”

Even though there’s been little to no inflation over the past six years, investors have been expecting an acceleration after the Fed cut interest rates to zero percent in 2008 to revive growth. Those expectations, tracked by the five-year Treasury break-even rate, helped fuel gold demand and prices, which surged to a record $1,923.70 an ounce in 2011.

Eroding Appeal

Now, inflation prospects are crumbling, undermining a key reason for owning the precious metal.

Crude-oil futures in New York have tumbled 44 percent this year, dropping below $54 a barrel last week, as global output surged. The five-year break-even rate is down 33 percent this year, the most since 2008. In November, the cost of living fell 0.3 percent, the most since December 2008, government data show, and economists surveyed by Bloomberg predict the annual gain in consumer prices will slow in 2015 to 1.5 percent from an estimated 1.7 percent this year.

Cheaper energy means there are no signs that inflation is approaching the Fed’s 2 percent target, Gross, who used to run the world’s largest bond fund at Pacific Investment Management Co. before joining Janus Capital Group Inc. in September, said Dec. 12 in a Bloomberg Surveillance interview with Tom Keene.

Shunning Gold

Investor holdings in exchange-traded funds backed by gold last week were the lowest since 2009, and $7.68 billion has been wiped from the value of the funds in 2014, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Open interest in New York futures and options dropped 5.3 percent this year, set for a second annual loss and the longest slump since 2005, U.S. government data show.

After rebounding 4.4 percent from a four-year low in early November, prices will average $1,175 next quarter, below the Dec. 22 close of $1,179.80, according to the median of 31 analysts tracked by Bloomberg. Goldman forecasts a drop to $1,050 by next December, while SocGen expects $950 in 2015’s fourth quarter.

Since touching a six-week high on Dec. 9, futures fell 4.9 percent to $1,178.20 on the Comex in New York today, heading for a second straight annual decline, down 2 percent. The Bloomberg Commodity Index dropped 15 percent this year, while the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index climbed 11 percent. The Standard & Poor’s 500 equity index is up 12 percent, after touching a record high Dec. 5.

Rebound Bets

Speculators haven’t given up on gold. Money managers remain bullish, increasing their net-long position to 103,738 futures and option contracts as of Dec. 16, more than doubling bets since early November, according to U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data.

Signs that central banks in China, Europe and Japan will add to stimulus efforts have increased speculation that global inflation could rise, even as U.S. consumer costs stay stable. While dollar-denominated gold is down this year, bullion is up 12 percent priced in yen and 9.6 percent in euros.

“It’s confounding that inflation is not rampant on a worldwide basis, based on the amount of liquidity that has been pumped into the system,” Michael Mullaney, chief investment officer of Fiduciary Trust Co. in Boston, which oversees $11.5 billion, said Dec. 16. “We are not there yet, but once this starts to percolate, we will see headlines on inflationary pressures” that can support gold prices, he said.

Rally Ends

Gold climbed 70 percent from December 2008 to June 2011 as the U.S. central bank bought debt and held borrowing costs at a record low. Prices slumped 28 percent last year, the most in three decades, after some investors lost faith in the metal as a store of value.

The Fed’s benchmark interest rate will be 1.125 percent at the end of next year, quarterly estimates from U.S. central bankers showed Dec. 17. Chair Janet Yellen said in a press conference that day that inflation will eventually reach the Fed’s target, allowing the central bank to raise borrowing costs.

Bullion’s link with inflation dates back more than 2,000 years, with the first use of coin currency in 550 B.C., according to the World Gold Council. While countries from the U.S. to the U.K. adopted a gold standard by the 19th century to limit inflation, no nation links currencies to the metal anymore. The Fed cut the dollar’s ties to gold four decades ago.

“Gold as an inflation hedge is unnecessary,” Atul Lele, who helps oversee $5.1 billion as the chief investment officer at Bahamas-based Deltec International Group, said Dec. 16. “ We think inflation in the U.S. could rise, but nothing that should be a cause of worry.”

 You Have Options:

What To Do ?

Here is our recent letter:

Managed Accounts Year End Review and Forecast

November 2014 – 40 % cash position
Gold and Precious MetalsThe largest gains for our clients came from the exit from the gold producers at $18oo an ounce and continuing until we hold no gold and no gold miners . This from the author of The Gold Investors Handbook.2015 – We continue to be on the sidelines for this sector – regardless of the gnomes of Switzerland . As a safe haven gold simply wasnot there for investors despite turmoil in the Middle East, Africa and Ukraine.How much more frightening can the prospect for peace be than to have wars in multiple locations? Secondly the spectre of inflation – on which I have given numerous talks – simply failed to materialize. In fact economists and portfolio managers such as myself are now more concerned about deflation – and the spectre is a Japanese style decades long slide in the world economy.
Shipping Sector / Bulk ShippersYou can review our stock market letter athttp://www.amp2012.com to follow our profits in the shipping sector before our retreat as overcapacity has yet to effect continued overbuiding. In 2008-9 rates-  illustrated by the Baltic Dry Index – were at their peak. The BDI hit over 10,000. Today it is roughly 10 % of that benchmark and the sector slide continues. We have an impressive watchlist of former ” darlings” – but we are content to watch and wait.
Oil/ EnergyI am very happy for the call in natural gas prices – out at $12 and into oil. When oil was above $100 we lessened positions and that is our saving grace in the past two weeks. We are not bottom feeders and will wait for a turn in the market before reentering drillers or producers.On Friday November 27th, crude oil prices dropped to below $72 and the slide has continued into the weekend, with Brent crude oil at $70.15 as I write this post. Shares of major oil companies traded down on Friday. Our former energy sector holdings are down another between 4% and 11%, including SDRL, which dropped another 8% following Wednesday’s 23% plunge…

Have you avoided these sectors – you would have been better off to follow our advice in 2014 and now you have to decide for 2015.
No one – and I am not being humble here – can project the future with great accuracy but our clients continue to do very well and we offer that experience to you.

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Similar to wise buying decisions, exiting certain underperformers at the right time helps maximize portfolio returns. Selling off losers can be difficult, but if both the share price and estimates are falling, it could be time to get rid of the security before more losses hit your portfolio.

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Silver Wheaton Corporation BUY Target Price $29

Metals and Mining — Precious Metals and Minerals
SLW : TSX : C$21.51
SLW : NYSE
BUY 
Target: C$29.00

COMPANY DESCRIPTION:
Silver Wheaton is uniquely positioned as the purest silver
producer. The company’s asset base consists of silver purchase
agreements with the San Dimas and Penasquito mines in Mexico,
Pascua-Lama project in Chile/Argentina, Zinkgruvan mine in
Sweden, Yauliyacu mine in Peru, Stratoni mine in Greece. Most
recent streaming deals with Hudbay minerals (silver and gold
streams at 777 and Constancia) and Vale (gold streams at
Salobo and Sudbury mines).
All amounts in C$ unless otherwise noted.

STRONG MOMENTUM INTO Q4
Investment recommendation
Silver Wheaton remains the preferred vehicle for exposure to silver
given the strong growth profile, margins, liquidity and diversification.
Further accretive streaming transactions are possible over the next 12
months, although new equity should be expected for larger transactions.
SLW is currently trading at 1.20x its forward-curve-derived NAV,
modestly above the silver producer group, but below SLW’s royalty
peers. Our NAV continues to assume a 25% permitting/development risk
discount for Pascua and Rosemont. We maintain our BUY rating.
Investment highlights
 SLW reported Q3/14 adjusted EPS of $0.20, in line with our
estimate and consensus. While attributable AgEq production was
below expectations (8.4 vs. 9.2Moz), a 1.3Moz inventory drawdown
resulted in sales beating our estimate (8.7 vs. 8.4Mozs).
 SLW wrote-down Mineral Park $37.1m following Mercator Minerals
Chapter 11 filing, and Campo Morado $31.1m given questionable
viability of the satellite resource base (metallurgy and low prices).
We have removed Mineral Park from our valuation and reduced our
Campo Morado’s valuation by 70%. Overall, these two small streams
are non-core and have limited impact on SLW’s overall profile.
SLW’s key streams remain well insulated to lower prices.
 SLW made a final $135m payment to Hudbay Minerals (HBM-T,
BUY, covered by Gary Lampard) relating to the Constancia gold
stream. While the payment was expected, SLW paid through the
issuance of 6.1m shares (dilution of 1.9%) rather than cash. The
preference for equity is understandable with the net debt to EBITDA
at 1.66x, which may not be high relative to SLW’s producing peers,
and is easily manageable, but remains high for a royalty company.
Both Franco-Nevada and Royal Gold have net cash positions.
Valuation
We have revised our target price to $29.00 from $30.00. Our target
remains predicated on a 1.55x multiple to our fwd. curve derived
5%/operating NAVPS estimate of C$20.02 (previously C$20.76) less net
debt and other corporate adjustments.

Gold Tumbles With Silver to Lowest Since 2010 – $1,000 Gold ?

Gold and silver slumped to the lowest level since 2010 as the dollar strengthened after the Bank of Japan unexpectedly boosted unprecedented stimulus and the Federal Reserve ended asset purchases.

Bullion for immediate delivery lost as much as 2.6 percent to $1,167.49 an ounce, the lowest since July 2010, and traded at $1,177.26 at 4:13 p.m. in Singapore, Bloomberg generic pricing shows. Silver slid as much as 3 percent to $16.0009 an ounce, the lowest since February 2010. They fell as the dollar rose to the highest in more than six years against the yen.

The Fed is weighing the timing of interest-rate increases as other central banks add to stimulus to boost their economies. The Bank of Japan said it’s targeting an 80 trillion yen ($726 billion) expansion in the monetary base, up from 60 to 70 trillion yen before. Gold yesterday erased the year’s advance after U.S. gross domestic product beat estimates and China probed a surge in precious-metals exports.

“People are generally looking at the direction of the dollar, which moved higher against the yen after the BOJ announcement, although the news itself is neutral for gold,” said Wallace Ng, a Shanghai-based trader at Gemsha Metals Co. “A higher dollar depresses prices and sentiment in the gold market was already weak because of the Fed.”

Bullion is heading for a decline of 4.4 percent this week, the most since September 2013. The metal is also set for the first consecutive monthly loss in 2014. Holdings in the SPDR Gold Trust shrank for a third day to 741.2 metric tons yesterday, the least since Oct. 2008.

Double-Whammy

Gold rose 70 percent from December 2008 to June 2011 as the Fed bought debt and held borrowing costs near zero percent. Prices slumped 28 percent last year, the most in three decades, on expectation that the central bank will scale back its bond-buying program that was put in place to fuel growth while failing to stoke inflation.

The U.S. central bank, which has held its key rate at zero to 0.25 percent since 2008, this week cited an improving job market in deciding to end bond buying, while maintaining a commitment to keep rates low for a considerable time. It also said inflation is running below its 2 percent target.

“Precious metals cratered, hit by a double-whammy of the rather hawkish Fed policy statement, coupled with a stronger-than-expected U.S. GDP report,” Edward Meir, an analyst at INTL FCStone Inc., wrote in a note. “Gold is again confronting the specter of a stronger dollar, rising equity prices and tame inflation, a trifecta that does not bode well for price prospects going into 2015.”

Futures for December delivery fell as much as 2.7 percent to $1,166.20 an ounce on the Comex inNew York, the lowest level since July 2010, before trading at $1,175.80.

$1,000 Gold

The collapse of oil prices into a bear market amid rising global supplies has also cut inflation concerns. The chances of bullion dropping to $1,000 are increasing as cheaper energy “means lower inflation and adds to the bearish gold story,” said Michael Haigh, head of commodities research at Societe Generale SA, who correctly forecast the metal’s 2013 rout.

The bank isn’t alone in predicting more losses for gold, which is Morgan Stanley’s least preferred metal. Jeffrey Currie, Goldman Sachs Group Inc.’s head of commodities research who also correctly forecast 2013’s slump, said last month that the worst isn’t over yet for gold. He expects prices to drop to $1,050 by the end of year.

Concern that demand may falter in the world’s largest users also hurt prices. China sent investigators to probe a seven-fold surge in September’s precious-metals exports. In India, the biggest consumer after China, imports are set to drop in October after a more than four-fold jump last month.

Gold of 99.99 percent purity on the Shanghai Gold Exchange, the benchmark, sank as much as 3.1 percent to 230.05 yuan per gram ($1,172.35 an ounce), the lowest level this year. Volumes tumbled to a one-month low today.

Silver for immediate delivery slid 2.4 percent to $16.1078 an ounce, set for a fourth monthly decline that’s the worst run since June 2013. An ounce of gold bought as much as 73.3154 ounces of silver today, the most since April 2009.

Spot platinum decreased as much as 1.8 percent to $1,223.05 an ounce, the lowest since Oct. 6. It’s heading for a fourth month of losses that’s the longest stretch since June 2013. Palladium slipped 0.1 percent to $779.67 an ounce.

Pan American Silver Corp.

 

PAA : TSX : C$15.75
PAAS : NASDAQ
HOLD 
Target: C$18.75


COMPANY DESCRIPTION:
Pan American Silver’s key operating mines include
Huaron, Morococha and Quiruvilca in Peru, Dolores, La
Colorada and Alamo Dorado in Mexico and Manantial
Espejo in Argentina. The company maintains ownership
of the Navidad Project located in Chubut Province,
Argentina, to which we ascribe no value.
All amounts in C$ unless otherwise noted.

Metals and Mining — Precious Metals and Minerals
PEA HIGHLIGHTS STRONG
ECONOMICS FOR DOLORES
EXPANSION
Investment recommendation
We reiterate our HOLD rating on shares of Pan American Silver
following results for Dolores’ PEA contemplating the addition of a
milling and pulp agglomeration circuit to the process flow sheets and the
development of an underground mine. While the company reports a
strong IRR for the project, a construction decision has been deferred for
9-12 months to proceed with additional studies and continue the
delineation of underground mineralization.
Investment highlights
 Robust economics, with initial capex estimate of $105 million,
returning an IRR of 33% at $1,300/oz gold and $22/oz silver. We
estimate the development of this project to begin mid-2015, with the
pulp agglomeration plant operational mid-17 and the underground
mine at full operation (1,500 tpd) in H1/18E. We estimate that the
development of the pulp agglomeration circuit and underground
mine is approximately 5% accretive to our company NAV.
 Annual silver production is expected to increase by 38% in the first
10 years, due largely to a 21% increase in throughput and better
recoveries (~7% for both gold and silver). While an underground
resource has not been provided, we estimate 5.25 Mtonnes (based
on 1,500 tpd for 9.5 years of operations) containing approximately
11 Moz silver and 0.3 Moz gold.
Valuation
We have revised our target to C$18.75 from C$17.75 based on 1.05x our
5%/operational NAVPS estimate of C$13.85 (previously C$13.09) plus
net debt and other corporate adjustments. Our 2014 EPS estimate has
been revised to $0.28 from $0.15 following the incorporation of Q1/14
results and revised 2014 cash cost estimates.

What Just Happened to Gold and Precious Metals?

Mr. Market rediscovered gold and other precious metals on Thursday, resulting in the metal’s biggest one-day rise in more than half a year. It was the 14th biggest single-day move in the price of the most popular gold ETF and a day that one trader termed ”frantic” for repositioning and short covering.

Okay, then. Why? Strategists are pointing to the Federal Reserve and its decision this week to stand pat on monetary policy. Not convinced? Neither are these strategists very convinced — except when a few of them are declaring that the market is growing increasingly skeptical of the Fed. If skepticism’s the driver, then the turn toward anti-Fed assets like gold would make more sense.

Commerzbank’s commodity strategists track the buying activity to the futures market, which is where a number of aggressive fund managers make their moves:

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Golden

The price rally was evidently triggered by Wednesday evening’s meeting of the US Federal Reserve, despite it yielding no surprises: as anticipated, the Fed scaled back its monthly bond purchasing programme (QE) by a further $10 billion and adjusted its projections only marginally. Fed Chair Janet Yellen merely reiterated that interest rates will remain low for a considerable period even after QE has come to an end. However, market participants apparently saw this as good reason to buy gold as well as silver on a grand scale. These were not purchases of physical gold, however, but predominantly transactions on the futures market. At over 245,000 and a good 117,000 contracts respectively, gold and silver contracts were traded at well above the average rate yesterday.

The Lindsey Group’s Peter Boockvar writes this morning that he’s watching gold and TIPS as a baromoter of the market’s view of the Fed’s credibility — and he reads the Thursday trading as a note of doubt:

Because of my amazement and surprise that the Fed didn’t alter one bit its comments on inflation in their official statement, barely changed its PCE forecasts and Janet Yellen referred to the recent higher inflation data as ‘noise’, I felt it important to mention yesterday morning that watching gold and inflation break evens were the two key indicators to watch as I believe going forward they will be a valid vote in giving their opinion on the Fed’s credibility with their policy relative to the reality of the data (in addition to the recent consumer price data, the CRB index is a ½ pt from the highest since September ’12) . While it was just one day, gold certainly spoke loud and clear on its thought of the new Fed forecasts with its biggest one day percentage rally since September and inflation break evens went up for a 3rd straight day with the 5 yr implied inflation rate at the highest level since May 2013. Based on this market response from both asset classes, I’m declaring Janet Yellen’s honeymoon as Federal Reserve Chair as officially over. This is not because I expect an imminent revolt in inflation sensitive markets to her inflation forecasts as this is always a process but because yesterday was the 1st time in her tenure that the market came out and blatantly disagreed with her and the committee as I believe they correctly should have. I expect this divergence to continue.

The market is a bit quieter in early Friday trading. SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) and Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX) are down 0.7% and 1.3%, respectively, ahead of the regular session.

Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bear 3X Shares (DUST) and Direxion Daily Gold Miners Bull 3X Shares (NUGT), the three-times leveraged traders’ ETFs which moved more than 16% apiece on Thursday, are moving in the range of 3% to 4%.

iShares Silver Trust (SLV), which jumped 4.6% on Thursday, is off by 0.4%.