first majestic silver

Gold SWOT: Iraq's Central Bank Has Been Steadily Buying Gold

CEO & Chief Investment Officer @ U.S. Global Investors
June 6, 2023

Strengths

  • The best-performing precious metal for the week was silver, up 1.48%. snapping a three-week losing streak. Despite the decline in gold prices due to mixed U.S. jobs data and expectations of further interest rate hikes by the Federal Reserve in recent weeks, gold is still on track for a slight weekly gain of just 0.10%. This is supported by the potential easing of inflationary pressures indicated by U.S. manufacturing figures, which could lead to a pause in the Fed's monetary tightening. Additionally, the resolution of the U.S. debt-ceiling deal reduces a major risk for financial markets and curbs demand for safe-haven assets like gold.

  • The strategic investment by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in Eldorado Gold Corporation not only provides financial support to Eldorado Gold but also serves as an endorsement of the Skouries project and the company's commitment to environmental and social standards. The investment strengthens Eldorado's balance sheet and provides additional funding for growth initiatives across its global portfolio, enhancing its financial flexibility.
  • Newmont plans to invest $540 million to extend the life of its Cerro Negro mine in Argentina. The investment is expected to boost production and provide a platform for further exploration and expansion. This demonstrates Newmont's commitment to expanding its mining operations in Argentina, contributing to the country's economy and showcasing the potential of its vast deposits. The investment strengthens Newmont's position as the world's largest gold producer and highlights its long-term growth strategy.

Weaknesses

  • The worst-performing precious metal for the week was platinum, down 2.12% on little specific news. European mining stocks, represented by the Stoxx 600 Basic Resources, have underperformed, signaling a global economic slowdown. The declining prices of metals, lower profitability and reduced earnings expectations for mining companies indicate a weakening demand environment and potential challenges for the mining sector.
  • The repeated attacks and ongoing security threats at Zijin Mining Group's Buritica gold mine in Colombia present a significant weakness to their investment. The recent incidents, including the shooting of a worker and the destruction of vehicles, highlight the urgent need for intervention by the Colombian government. The escalating aggression of illegal mining activities using explosives and weapons adds to the operational and security risks, potentially impacting production and increasing costs.
  • The pervasive issue of cable theft on South Africa's Container Corridor, a crucial freight-rail line, poses a significant investment weakness for the country. The theft of copper electricity cables has resulted in severe disruptions and operational inefficiencies, hindering the transportation of imports and exports. The frequent theft incidents and subsequent delays highlight the need for increased security measures, which could incur additional costs for potential investors in the rail and logistics sectors.

Opportunities

  • Aya Gold & Silver's Zgounder mine in Morocco reported more multi-kilo high-grade silver mineralization intercepts discovered through exploration drilling. The significant assay results indicate the potential for expanding the mineralized footprint of the deposit. This exploration success may enhance the company's resource base and future production prospects, making it an opportunity for investors interested in silver mining to consider.
  • Iraq's central bank has been steadily buying gold as part of its strategy to diversify its foreign assets but recently added 2% to its gold reserves in a single day. With geopolitical and economic risks escalating, central banks worldwide are expanding their gold holdings. Investors interested in gold may find this as an opportunity to consider the potential long-term value of gold and its role as a traditional haven during times of economic distress.
  • Bloomberg reported hedge funds have a record short bet on long-dated treasuries. The investment opportunity presented in this story is the potential rush to gold if hedge funds unwind their extreme short positions on long-dated Treasury futures. Bloomberg Intelligence Senior Macro Strategist Mike McGlone sees the possibility of gold shooting as high as $3,000 an ounce in anticipation of a more dovish Federal Reserve and declining Treasury yields. The historical correlation between bearish Treasury bets and the rally in gold prices in recent years suggests that a reversal of this positioning could present an opportunity for gold investors.

Threats

  • Pimco's Greg Sharenow believes that gold still appears too expensive, particularly compared to inflation-linked government bonds (TIPs). The struggle of central banks to cut rates due to sticky inflation could diminish the demand for non-interest-bearing gold. Investors should consider the short-term risks of potential price declines and evaluate the comparative value of alternative assets in multi-asset portfolios. However, Sharenow noted that gold has long-term appeal given the threats on the horizon.
  • The invasion of AngloGold Ashanti's Obuasi mine by over 300 illegal miners highlights the security challenges and potential disruptions faced by mining operations in Africa. Illegal mining activities deprive African nations of revenue, fuel conflicts, and finance criminal and terrorist networks. Additionally, the prevalence of bullion smuggling may raise concerns about the transparency and sustainability of gold supply chains.
  • Countries such as Brazil, China, India and Malaysia are seeking to bypass the dollar in their trade and investment transactions, while even traditional U.S. allies like France are completing transactions in other currencies like the yuan to avoid against the hegemony of the U.S. dollar. The perception is that the dollar is being weaponized by the U.S. to advance its foreign-policy priorities, which could lead to a decline in the dollar's preeminent position and undermine U.S. economic power. A stronger gold price could be a benefit from a weaker dollar.

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Frank Holmes is the CEO and Chief Investment Officer of U.S. Global Investors. Mr. Holmes purchased a controlling interest in U.S. Global Investors in 1989 and became the firm’s chief investment officer in 1999. Under his guidance, the company’s funds have received numerous awards and honors including more than two dozen Lipper Fund Awards and certificates. In 2006, Mr. Holmes was selected mining fund manager of the year by the Mining Journal. He is also the co-author of “The Goldwatcher: Demystifying Gold Investing.” Mr. Holmes is engaged in a number of international philanthropies. He is a member of the President’s Circle and on the investment committee of the International Crisis Group, which works to resolve conflict around the world. He is also an advisor to the William J. Clinton Foundation on sustainable development in countries with resource-based economies. Mr. Holmes is a native of Toronto and is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He is a former president and chairman of the Toronto Society of the Investment Dealers Association. Mr. Holmes is a much-sought-after keynote speaker at national and international investment conferences. He is also a regular commentator on the financial television networks CNBC, Bloomberg and Fox Business, and has been profiled by Fortune, Barron’s, The Financial Times and other publications.  Visit the U.S. Global Investors website at http://www.usfunds.com.  You can contact Frank at: [email protected].


The total world's holdings of gold could be transported by a single solitary oil tanker.
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