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LAWRIE WILLIAMS: Tubthumping gold

Those of us who remember 1990s pop music may well recall the Brit anarchic band Chumbawumba whose one major hit was called Tubthumping.  Its refrain, which actually comprised most of the song was the repeated over and over – ‘I get knocked down but I get up again.  You are never going to keep me down.’ which could well be the anthem for the gold price in recent months.  A gold ‘knockdown’ happened again yesterday when gold appeared to be in freefall once more just after the New York market opened, but the extremely sharp drop, which took it down over $10, in a matter of minutes, managed to reverse itself yet again and the yellow metal managed to end the day just about where it had started – at a little over $1,260 and so far today has moved upwards further – to close to $1,270 at the time of writing, although some of this overnight increase will have been due to increased geopolitical tensions involving North Korea.

If these ‘knockdowns’ had happened just the once one could put that down to normal trading with data driven gold being spooked by occasional bouts of adverse news. But this keeps on occurring.  The drops and flash crashes have nearly all been very steep indeed, which does suggest some kind of external influence putting big paper transactions into play. But each time gold has made a recovery mostly back to prior levels, although the overall effect may well have been to control the price at, or around, current levels. 

The strange recent big sales out of America’s GLD, the world’s largest gold ETF, when no similar sales seem to have been made out of IAU – America’s second largest gold ETF – also look as though they may have been designed to keep the gold price under control.  The fact that these appear to have had little impact in actually depressing gold prices, but may have well helped prevent price rises in the light of continuing strong Asian demand for physical gold, could well suggest that gold is building up strength for an upwards breakout.  The anticipated fall-off in Indian demand after the pre-GST restocking is reportedly not taking place – at least not to the extent analysts had expected – and Chinese demand appears to be holding up to, or slightly bettering, last year’s levels.  These facts, coupled with a small decrease in new mined supply, suggest the portents gold has the potential to again threaten the $1,300 level through the rest of what is normally a weak northern summer.  The American Labor Day holiday (Sept 4th this year), which is traditionally the end of the North American summer holiday period, often seems to be a game-changing date for the gold price.  It will be interesting to see what is in store for us in this respect this year.

09 Aug 2017

About the author

Lawrence Williams

Lawrence (Lawrie) Williams is a well known London-based writer and commentator on financial and political subjects, but specialising in precious metals news and commentary. He is a qualified and experienced mining engineer having graduated in mining engineering from The Royal School of Mines, a constituent college of Imperial College, London – recently described as the World’s No. 2 University (after MIT).

e: lawrie.williams@sharpspixley.com

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