Compiled 01/23/12 6:00 AM (CT) Statistics: London Gold Fix $1,675.00 +$29.00 LME Copper Stocks 345,775 tons -2,975 tons Shanghai copper stocks +11,193 tonnes GOLD MARKET FUNDAMENTALS: (6:00 AM CST) Equity markets are somewhat mixed to start the new trading week, but currency market action seems to be poised to start out supportive for gold prices. While most of Asia was closed for holiday, the markets might have been cheered by news that Chinese steel production in 2011 reached a new record for the most recently completed year, as that news could leave the impact from China, supportive for many physical commodity markets despite an extended holiday period in China directly ahead. However, gold might be somewhat held back by news of no deal yet with Greek creditors on restructuring debt obligations, but for some reason the Euro has generally remained in favor. One might have expected gold to be held back this morning by suggestions from the Bundesbank, that growth might have stalled slightly in the 4th quarter of 2011, but apparently that even news was largely discounted in the face of a fresh upside breakout on the gold charts overnight. It is possible that the EU embargo of Iran and ultimate confidence of some type of Greek debt solution is driving gold prices this morning. Comex Gold Stocks were 11.492 million ounces down 493 ounces. Gold stocks have declined 13 of the last 20 days. The Commitments of Traders Futures and Options report as of January 17th for Gold showed Non-Commercial traders were net long 146,008 contracts, an increase of 6,573 contracts. The Commercial traders were net short 183,935 contracts, an increase of 9,527 contracts. The Non-reportable traders were net long 37,927 contracts, an increase of 2,955 contracts. Non-Commercial and Non-reportable combined traders held a net long position of 183,935 contracts. This represents an increase of 9,528 contracts in the net long position held by these traders. OUTSIDE MARKET DEVELOPMENTS: (6:00 AM CST) Australian equity markets were generally weaker overnight, but many Asian markets were closed due to holiday. Apparently Australian and other equity markets were somewhat undermined as a result of a lack of an agreement from Greek creditor negotiations over the weekend. While the EU announced an Embargo on Iranian oil exports starting on July 1st, the trade didn't seem to garner too much direction from that development, but it should be noted that crude oil prices seemed to regain some footing in the wake of that news. The markets did see minimally positive Spanish growth readings for all of 2011 and a prediction of a 1.5% 2012 growth rate from the Spanish central bank this morning. The US Dollar has started out weaker against the euro and it was also down against most of the actively traded currencies. In looking ahead, there will be a US State of the Union address and an FOMC meeting later this week, with US economic data reports not really an impact until durable goods are released later in the week.