Gold Market Reels From Huge Price Hit In Second Quarter Spurring Mixed Activity In Market And Pricing

on July 09 2013 11:16 AM
Gold Bars
Twenty-four-karat gold bars are seen at the United States West Point Mint facility in West Point, N.Y., Friday. Shannon Stapleton

The gold market took such a huge hit in June that various players in the industry are just beginning to feel the real repercussions, and some analysts are forecasting more of the same, especially for gold miners.

The investments in gold and gold miners by hedge fund manager John Paulson have suffered double-digit losses for three consecutive months. The billionaire's gold portfolio declined dramatically after June's tumble, a drop that followed the Federal Reserve's announcement that it would curb its economic stimulus program, perhaps beginning this year. And while gold dropped by only 12 percent in June, Paulson & Co's gold portfolio fell by 23 percent, contributing to a total of 65 percent in losses from January through June of this year.

The Fed's news has also caused holdings in gold-backed exchange-traded products to fall below 2,000 metric tons for the first time since May 2010, activity that sell-side analysts can't ignore.

Citigroup Inc (NYSE:C) has warned that none of its gold companies will generate free cash flow at current gold prices, because three crucial factors have resulted in fast margin contraction -- rising unit costs (15 percent year over year), sustained high capital budgets plus the falling gold price.

However, HSBC Holdings PLC (ADR) (NYSE:HBC) says that any increase in emerging market demand could give a slight lift to gold prices. The bank's analysts say gold recovered some value after the U.S. dollar's recent rally slowed and as investors did some "bargain hunting" in the wake of June's price drop.

As wage negotiations approach, work stoppages in South Africa's mines could lead to higher gold prices. Observers say, although gold short positions broke the record all-time high for a third week, gold net long speculative positions run the risk of turning negative.

Then there is evidence of mixed activity among platinum group metals, according to data from the government's Commitments of Traders report. The group's figures show that silver prices increased yet platinum and palladium decreased.

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