Autumn Rally for Gold Begins Early

Increased uncertainty about the economic recovery pushed gold prices closer to record highs recently. At the end of August, Comex gold for September delivery closed at $1,248.30/oz. That was the highest recent price since June 28, when it reached $1,261/oz. According to the E&MJ Price Index, gold prices rose 6.7% during August. Since May, the average monthly price has hovered around the $1,200/oz level. So far, the cumulative average price for 2010 is $1,166.07/oz. Gold prices averaged $972.35/oz in 2009.

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Base Metals: Is the Bad News Behind us Yet?

Two key concerns have been dominating the base metals market: the escalating sovereign debt crisis in Europe and uncertainty regarding the impact of the measures by Chinese authorities to curb excessive credit creation, which put substantial downward pressure on base metal prices during the second quarter. However, much of the bad news seems now to have been priced into the market, with prices trending higher in July from the depressed levels of early June.

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Iron Ore Prices Fall Amid World Economic Worries

Spot prices for seaborne iron ore imported into China have fallen by more than 20% in a month, from a peak of $186 per metric ton (mt) on April 20, 2010, to $147.5/mt on May 24, 2010, according to Platts data. Platts provides daily price assessments for iron ore reflective of the transactable value in the spot open market. The drop in value mirrors similar declines for basic raw material commodities around the globe. China imports more than 60% of the world’s seaborne iron ore supplies.

“Concerns over sovereign debt in the Eurozone seem to be hitting all key commodities globally,” said Jorge Montepeque, director of market reporting, Platts. “These primary industrial inputs are being affected by the recent market bearishness over concerns of possible economic contraction and thus, resource need reductions, resulting from the broader sovereign debt.”

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Gold Pushes Higher as Base Metals Retreat

During the last month precious metal prices remained the same or moved higher as non-ferrous base metal prices decreased across the board. The dollar also improved against all other currencies, which was based more on problems in the Euro Zone than an improving American economy. Accelerated electronic trading sent the Dow Jones Industrial average into a 1,000-point freefall over the course of five minutes on May 6 before the exchange halted trades. The market righted itself and regained some losses.

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