Week in Review with Jerry Robinson

By Jerry Robinson | FTMDaily.com

What a dismal week for economic and geopolitical news!

GEOPOLITICAL TENSIONS

Of course, the big news last week came out of the Middle East. The U.S. announced new peace talks set to take place next month between Israel and the Palestinians. And after years of delays, Iran finally began loading tons of uranium fuel into their first nuclear reactor (Russian-built) on Saturday. Iran claims that they have a right to produce nuclear energy, and in an unusual gesture offered to allow oversight of their nuclear activities. Iran maintains that its intentions are peaceful.  Israel immediately denounced Iran’s new nuclear power plant calling it ‘totally unacceptable.’ In response to the news of an atomic Iran, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levy said:

“It is totally unacceptable that a country that so blatantly violates resolutions of the (United Nations) Security Council, decisions of the International Atomic Energy Agency and its commitments under the NPT (non-proliferation treaty) should enjoy the fruits of using nuclear energy.”

The U.S. appeared to disregard the political urgency of the news. Darby Holladay of the U.S. State Department told news agencies:

“We recognize that the Bushehr reactor is designed to provide civilian nuclear power and do not view it as a proliferation risk.”

However, the U.S. did admit that while Iran posed no immediate threat, they could potentially have a bomb through the conversion of fuel into weapons-grade uranium within 12 months. According to sources within Washington, U.S. and Israeli intelligence would detect such conversion “within weeks” and would have ample time to engage Iran in military strikes.

In classic form, Iran’s leader warned that an attack on the reactor would be met with a global and “painful” response.

I would expect that we will witness rising tensions followed by a full-scale war between the West and Iran within the next 18-36 months.

ECONOMIC MALAISE

On the economic front, the weekly jobless claims reached 500,000, a 9 month high. Consumer bankruptcies hit a 5 year high this week.

And it appears that the U.S. government’s “chicken in every pot” policy regarding home ownership may be coming to an end as Washington attempts to “untangle the wires” of America’s housing and mortgage crisis.

Besides, “renting” instead of “owning” is fast becoming a new normal in today’s tumultuous economy. At least so says Fortune magazine in it’s new article entitled: Five ‘new normals’ that really will stick

Flight to Safety

Flight to Safety… In other news, small investors appear to be losing their appetite for risk by fleeing the stock market for the perceived “safety” of the bond market. According to the Investment Company Institute, small investors withdrew a staggering $33.12 billion from domestic stock market mutual funds in the first seven months of this year. Click the chart to the right for more.

No Liquidity… And in a sign that American’s lack liquidity, Fidelity Investments reported this week that hardship withdrawals from 401(k) retirement saving plans rose to the highest level in 10 years during the second quarter.

When this news is coupled with the fact that most working Americans have very little liquid savings, it offers further proof that the Mutual Fund industry has successfully trained the American public to max out their 401(k) before building adequate liquid savings reserves.

The Mutual Fund industry sponsors many popular financial commentators today who fervently preach the “max out your 401(k)” gospel. Suze Orman and Dave Ramsey are just two examples of the droves of financial personalities who have been paid handsomely to pay little attention to the importance of adequate and diversified liquidity prior to “maxing out a 401(k).”

However, as of late, “abundant liquidity” has become a hallmark of many financial gurus like Orman and Ramsey. Unfortunately, this sudden emphasis upon liquidity comes late for the millions of Americans facing foreclosures and bankruptcies.

Consider for a moment that most people’s two largest assets are their primary residences and their 401(k)’s. Both of these assets are explicitly government-controlled. Diversification is the only weapon against a cash-strapped government hungry for revenue. When the government comes looking for cash where do you think it is going to look? With nearly $20 trillion in personal retirement assets, why not slap a higher distribution tax on your 401(k) and traditional IRA? Could they? Of course. What could you do about it? Nothing. Except maybe curse the Suze Ormans and Dave Ramseys of the world who told you to stuff money into a 100% government-controlled asset. Why not just put your money into a box and hand the government the key and ask them to give it back to you at retirement? That, by the way, is the definition of a 401(k)… minus Mutual Fund fees.

Across the Pond… Since making the news a couple of months ago, the country of Greece has imposed strict austerity measures. The result? Greece is in the grip of a depression. Purchasing power is dropping, consumption is taking a nosedive and the number of bankruptcies are on the rise. In addition, stores are closing, tax revenues are falling and unemployment has hit an unbelievable 70 percent in some places. Has Greece entered the death spiral? You can read more here.

Big Brother Alert… There’s more troubling news on the growing threat of government intrusion.

Biometrics R&D firm Global Rainmakers Inc. (GRI) announced today that it is rolling out its iris scanning technology to create what it calls “the most secure city in the world.” In a partnership with Leon — one of the largest cities in Mexico, with a population of more than a million — GRI will fill the city with eye-scanners. That will help law enforcement revolutionize the way we live — not to mention marketers.

The intrusion of constant government monitoring is slowly becoming a reality. We are already tracked like animals. But they won’t stop until they have total and complete control.

Is the real price of gold over $2,000 right now? My weekend radio interview with GATA Chairman, Bill Murphy, offered some unusual information. According to Murphy, the artificial suppression of the price of gold has caused the precious metal to be severely undervalued. Murphy states in the interview that if the price manipulation were to end, gold would be trading at around $2300/oz! If you are interested in the precious metals sector, do yourself a favor and take time to listen to this weekend’s radio program. You can listen to the entire show here. Or, if you prefer to listen to the show on iTunes, click here.

That’s all for this update. Look for a few blog updates this week and an excellent radio program next weekend. My guest will be geopolitical and economic analyst, Puru Saxena. Mr. Saxena will be joining me from Hong Kong.

Have a prosperous week!

About Jerry Robinson

Jerry Robinson is an economist, published author, columnist, international conference speaker, and the editor of the financial website, FTMDaily.com. In addition, Robinson hosts a weekly radio program entitled Follow the Money Weekly, an hour long radio show dedicated to deciphering the week’s economic news.

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Obama’s debt commission warns of fiscal ‘cancer’

By Dan Balz
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, July 12, 2010; A02

BOSTON — The co-chairmen of President Obama‘s debt and deficit commission offered an ominous assessment of the nation’s fiscal future here Sunday, calling current budgetary trends a cancer “that will destroy the country from within” unless checked by tough action in Washington.

The two leaders — former Republican senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming and Erskine Bowles, White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton — sought to build support for the work of the commission, whose recommendations due later this year are likely to spark a fierce debate in Congress.

“There are many who hope we fail,” Simpson said at the closing session of the National Governors Association annual meeting. He called the 18-member commission “good people with deep, deep differences” who know the odds of success “are rather harrowing.”

(Graphic: President Obama’s proposed 2011budget explained)

Bowles said that unlike the current economic crisis, which was largely unforeseen before it hit in fall 2008, the coming fiscal calamity is staring the country in the face. “This one is as clear as a bell,” he said. “This debt is like a cancer.”

The commission leaders said that, at present, federal revenue is fully consumed by three programs: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. “The rest of the federal government, including fighting two wars, homeland security, education, art, culture, you name it, veterans — the whole rest of the discretionary budget is being financed by China and other countries,” Simpson said.

“We can’t grow our way out of this,” Bowles said. “We could have decades of double-digit growth and not grow our way out of this enormous debt problem. We can’t tax our way out. . . . The reality is we’ve got to do exactly what you all do every day as governors. We’ve got to cut spending or increase revenues or do some combination of that.

Bowles pointed to steps taken recently by the new coalition government in Britain, which also faces an acute budgetary problem, as a guide to what the commission might use in its recommendations. That would mean about three-quarters of the deficit reduction would be accomplished through spending cuts, and the remainder with additional revenue.

Most Republicans in Congress are opposed to any tax increases, which has made the work of the commission far more difficult. Bowles and Simpson appealed for support to the governors, who have been forced by their states’ constitutions to balance their budgets with deep spending cuts and, in many cases, tax increases.

Bowles and Simpson said the commission would have had a stronger hand politically had it been created by Congress, rather than through an executive order. Simpson was pointed in his criticism of seven Republicans who once co-sponsored such a measure but who helped block it in the Senate.

“As far as I can discern, it was to stick it to the president,” Simpson said. “That’s where we are in Washington.” He later added that all seven “have now come to us to say, ‘We’re ready to help.’ ”

The presentation by Simpson and Bowles, which included repeated statements of determination to produce a bipartisan set of recommendations, drew praise from the governors.

“I don’t know that I’ve every heard a gloomier picture painted that created more hope for me,” said Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe (D).

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) said that many governors fear that the commission’s recommendations will result in more demands on the states.

Bowles, who noted that the 1997 balanced-budget agreement between the Clinton White House and the Republican-controlled Congress included many provisions that put more burdens on the states, said that wasn’t likely.

“I don’t think you’re going to see a lot of devolution coming from us because the states are all broke,” he said.

Simpson also warned that the November elections could add another wild card to the work of the commission. “I have no idea what’s going to happen on Election Day but it’s going to be disruptive . . .,” he said. “It’s going to be a big wake-up call around the whole United States. I have no idea where it’s going, but thank heaven we have a month then to work through the wreckage.”

Consumer Confidence Index plummets to 52.9 in June; Lowest numbers since March

U.S. consumer confidence plummets on job worries

By Ruth Mantell, MarketWatch

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) — U.S. consumers are increasingly worried about jobs and the economy, the Conference Board said Tuesday, as it reported that its consumer confidence index plummeted to 52.9 in June — the lowest level since March — from a downwardly revised 62.7 in May.

“Increasing uncertainty and apprehension about the future state of the economy and labor market, no doubt a result of the recent slowdown in job growth, are the primary reasons for the sharp reversal in confidence,” said Lynn Franco, director of Conference Board’s consumer research center. “Until the pace of job growth picks up, consumer confidence is not likely to pick up.”

Earlier this month the government reported that nonfarm payrolls grew by a seasonally adjusted 431,000 in May, but most of the new jobs were temporary jobs at the U.S. Census, with very weak private-sector hiring. The government’s next payrolls report is due out Friday, with economists polled by MarketWatch looking for a June contraction of 130,000.

Economists had expected a June reading for consumer confidence of 62.8. The Conference Board’s prior reading for May was 63.3.

Consumers’ view on the present situation and their expectations deteriorated in June, with both reaching the lowest levels since March, according to the Conference Board. Their view on the present situation fell to 25.5 in June from 29.8 in May, while the expectations barometer declined to 71.2 from 84.6.

Respondents saying current business conditions are “good” fell to 8% in June from 9.7% in May, while those saying jobs are “hard to get” rose to 44.8% from 43.9%.

Respondents saying they expect business conditions to be worse in six months rose to 14.9% in June from 11.9% in May, while the percentage of those expecting better business conditions fell to 17.2% from 22.8%. Those expecting fewer jobs rose to 20.8% from 17.8%, while those expecting more jobs fell to 16% from 20.2%.
Double dip?

While the confidence report could fuel fears of a “double-dip” recession undercutting U.S. gross domestic product, analysts at RDQ Economics said such worries may be misplaced.

“Confidence has double-dipped in the last two recoveries (in early 1992 and early 2003) without the economy falling back into recession and the June pullback in confidence is far less severe than either of those two episodes,” according to an RDQ research note. “Furthermore, we think that the response to the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico is depressing confidence.”

Meanwhile, analysts at Barclays Capital Research said the confidence report contains volatility, and they expect a positive overall trend in confidence as the job market expands in the new few months.

“Despite the drop in today’s report, the headline confidence index remains substantially higher than its recent trough,” according to a Barclays research note. “Furthermore, this survey is usually conducted near the time of the release of the payroll report and places more emphasis on household reaction to labor market conditions, which may explain some of the pessimism in June since the May rise in private payrolls disappointed expectations.”
Buying plans impacted

Consumers with plans to buy a home within six months fell to 1.9% in June – the lowest level since 1982 other than 1.7% in December, according to the Conference Board. In May 2.1% had plans to buy a home.

Those with plans to buy an automobile fell to a record low of 3.7% in June from 6% in May. The data go back to 1967.

Those with plans to buy major appliances fell to 22.9% in June from 26% in May.

“While the recession may have technically ended last summer, consumers remain skittish about job and income prospects and are refraining from consuming in a sufficient enough manner as to create substantial growth in GDP,” wrote Dan Greenhaus, chief economic strategist with Miller Tabak, in a research note.

Expectations for the 12-month inflation rate fell to 5.2% in June from 5.3% in May.

Secretive and Powerful BIS Annual Report Released

The very fabric and the seams of the financial system are coming apart. Who knows what the timetable is for the implosion of the current monetary system? We are witnessing the greatest wealth transfer in history, and the horrors of the aftermath of this tragedy will not be forgotten for decades. Keep in mind that the stark warnings from today’s annual BIS (Bank for International Settlements) report are the very reason why it is so important for all readers globally to protect themselves and their families by owning gold.

This was from the annual report released today by the very secretive and extremely powerful BIS: “Three years after the onset of the crisis, expectations for recovery and reform are high but patience is wearing thin. Policymakers face a daunting legacy: the side effects of the ongoing financial and macroeconomic support measures, combined with the unresolved vulnerabilities of the financial sector, threaten to short-circuit the recovery; and the full suite of reforms necessary to improve the resilience of the financial system has yet to be completed.”

The BIS release continues: “When the transatlantic financial crisis began nearly three years ago, policymakers responded with emergency room treatment and strong medicine: large doses of direct support to the financial system, low interest rates, vastly expanded central bank balance sheets and massive fiscal stimulus. But such powerful measures have strong side effects, and their dangers are beginning to become apparent.”

“Here are the worst problems arising now from the continued use of the extraordinary programmes: Direct support is delaying vital post-crisis adjustment and runs the risk of creating zombie financial and non-financial firms. Low interest rates at the centre of the global economy are discouraging needed reductions in leverage, thereby adding to the distortions in the financial system and creating problems elsewhere.”

“The sustained bloat in their balance sheets means that central banks still dominate some segments of financial markets, thereby distorting the pricing of some important bonds and loans, discouraging necessary market-making by private individuals and institutions, and increasing moral hazard by making it clear that there is a buyer of last resort for some instruments. And the fiscal stimulus is spawning high and growing government debt that, in a number of countries, is now clearly on an unsustainable path.”

The first section of the BIS report concludes: “The financial disruptions in the first half of 2010 have brought the fragility of the industrial world’s financial system into stark relief: a shock of virtually any size risks a replay of the events we saw in late 2008 and early 2009. The sovereign debt crisis in Greece is clearly jeopardising Europe’s nascent recovery from the deep recession brought on by the earlier crisis.”

“Unlike then, however, we have hardly any room for manoeuvre. Policy rates are already at zero and central bank balance sheets are bloated. Although private sector debt has started to decline, public debt has taken its place, with sovereign fiscal positions already on an unsustainable path in a number of countries. In short, macro-economic policy is in a vastly worse position than it was three years ago, with little capacity to combat a new crisis – it will be difficult to find a source of further treatment should another emergency arise. Regaining the ability to react to economic and financial crises, by putting policies onto sustainable paths, is therefore a priority for macroeconomic policy.”

Notice the BIS report describes zombie banks and even zombie non-financial firms. They also describe the “high and growing government debt” as clearly unsustainable. They then go on to note the fragility of the financial system and the fact that another shock would be extraordinarily dangerous to the system because central banks are losing the ability to maneuver as interest rates are low and “central banks balance sheets are bloated.”

Gold is often referred to as an insurance policy, and it is one insurance policy you cannot be without when the financial system ultimately implodes. You must own gold to be on the right side of the greatest wealth transfer in history.

Eric King
KingWorldNews.com

Consumer spending, incomes edged up in May

(Jerry’s Comments: It’s still scary out there for consumers as the global economy continues to teeter on the edge. The U.S. economic “recovery”, which has been weak at best, has been exposed for what it is: a feeble attempt by the Federal government to stir confidence among consumers that the realities are not as bad as they seem. Consumers aren’t “buying” it. Watch for the jobs report this Friday. We expect another round of bad news.)

Christopher S. Rugaber, AP Economics Writer, On Monday June 28, 2010, 9:29 am

WASHINGTON (AP) — Americans spent a little more in May but not enough to speed along the economic recovery.

Consumer spending rose 0.2 percent last month after no change in April, the Commerce Department said Monday.

Incomes rose for the sixth time in seven months, boosting household finances and potentially providing fuel for greater future spending.

But money spent on goods declined. The increase came from spending on services — much of that likely the result of Americans using more electricity as the weather warmed up.

Consumers “are still not setting this economic recovery alight, but nor are they rolling over in the face of … high unemployment and lower (stock) prices,” Paul Dales, an economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a note to clients.

Incomes rose 0.4 percent. The savings rate, or the percentage of income that wasn’t spent, bumped up to 4 percent.

Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of economic activity.

The economy has grown for three straight quarters. Still, consumers are cautious, facing high unemployment, tight credit and a slumping housing market. If consumption remains sluggish, the economy may not grow fast enough to generate jobs and quickly bring down the 9.7 percent unemployment rate.

Wages and salaries rose 0.5 percent last month, the department said. Paychecks gained from recent increases in the average work week, as well as temporary census hiring.

Employers added 431,000 jobs in May, but the vast majority were temporary census positions. Private employers added only 41,000 jobs. About 250,000 of census jobs are expected to end this month.

Consumers haven’t been driving the current recovery. Instead, it has depended more on business spending and exports. In the four quarters following the steep 1981-82 downturn, consumer spending rose by an average of 6.5 percent per quarter. By contrast, even as the economy has grown for the past three quarters, consumer spending rose an average of only 2.5 percent per quarter.

The government said earlier this month that retail sales fell sharply in May, a sign consumers were cutting back.

Department store J.C. Penney Co. and many teen merchants including Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and American Eagle Outfitters Inc. reported declines in revenue at stores open at least a year.

On Friday, the government said the economy grew at a 2.7 percent annual rate in the January-to-March quarter, lower than previously estimated. Consumer spending increased 3 percent, a decent pace, but below an earlier estimate of 3.5 percent.

Many analysts expect the economy will grow at about 3 percent in the current quarter. Still, some worry growth may slow in the second half of the year as the impact of government stimulus efforts fades.

New home sales plunge to lowest level on record

Jerry’s Comments: The housing market continues to go down due to a wide variety of factors. As we have predicted, the housing picture will not improve markedly until after 2012. This is due to the new waves of foreclosures and defaults thanks to the many Option Arm and Alt-A loans that were issued over the last several years. Get ready for the Sub-prime crisis, Part 2.

From Bloomberg

Purchases of new homes in the U.S. fell in May to a record low as a tax credit expired, showing the market remains dependent on government support.

Sales collapsed a record 33 percent to an annual pace of 300,000 last month from April, less than the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and the fewest in data going back to 1963, figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. Demand in prior months was revised down.

Stocks dropped and Treasuries rose as the report added to signs of weakness in the economy after a decline in retail sales and a slowdown in private job growth. A lack of inflation and concern over jobs and housing are among reasons Federal Reserve policy makers today are likely to renew a pledge to keep interest rates near zero for an “extended period.”

“May was a bad month for the economy,” J. Alfred Broaddus, former Richmond Fed president, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “In Business With Margaret Brennan.” When the Fed releases its policy statement today, its language on the economy will be “markedly more pessimistic,” he said.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index fell 0.6 percent to 1,089.27 at 10:39 a.m. in New York. The S&P Supercomposite Homebuilder Index decreased 0.4 percent. The yield on the 10- year Treasury note fell to 3.11 percent from 3.17 percent late yesterday.

Exceeds Drop Projected

Sales were projected to drop 19 percent to a 410,000 annual pace, according to median estimate of 76 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. Forecasts ranged from 300,000 to 530,000. The government revised April’s purchase rate down to 446,000 from a previously reported 504,000.

The median sales price decreased 9.6 percent from the same month last year, to $200,900, today’s report showed.

Purchases dropped in all four U.S. regions last month, led by a record 53 percent drop in the West.

The supply of homes at the current sales rate jumped to 8.5 month’s worth, from 5.8 months in April. There were 213,000 new houses on the market at the end of May, the fewest since 1970.

A report yesterday showed sales of previously owned homes unexpectedly fell in May, adding to concern the retrenchment following the end of the tax incentive will be deeper than anticipated. Existing house purchases, calculated when a contract closes, dropped to a 5.66 million annual rate, the National Association of Realtors said.

New-home sales are considered a more timely barometer of the market than purchases of previously owned homes, which account for about 90 percent of the housing market.

Housing Slump

Other data show the market is starting to stumble. Housing starts in May declined by the most since March 2009, and building permits, a sign of future construction, fell to a one- year low, data from the Commerce Department showed. The National Association of Home Builders/Wells Fargo confidence index for June fell by the most since November 2008.

The number of mortgage applications filed to purchase houses dropped this month to the lowest level since 1997, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

The Standard & Poor’s Supercomposite Homebuilder Index, which includes Toll Brothers Inc. and Lennar Corp., has dropped 28 percent since reaching a 19-month high on May 3. The broader S&P 500 Index is down 10 percent from April 23’s 19-month peak.

Builders are also concerned that the Gulf oil spill and European debt crisis are hurting buyer confidence. Toll, the largest U.S. luxury homebuilder, said deposits have been running 20 percent behind the year-earlier period the past three weeks.

Consumer Outlook

“Concerns about the financial crisis in Europe and escalating regional political tensions, coupled with worries about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and its effects on the economy and the environment have negatively impacted the outlook of American consumers,” Joel H. Rassman, chief financial officer at Horsham, Pennsylvania-based Toll, said in a June 16 statement.

Hovnanian Enterprises Inc., the largest homebuilder in New Jersey, said orders fell 17 percent in the quarter ended April 30 from a year earlier, and contract signings slowed in May, indicating the tax credit helped pull some sales forward.

To contact the reporters on this story: Shobhana Chandra in Washington at schandra1@bloomberg.net; Timothy R. Homan in Washington at thoman1@bloomberg.net.

Merrill Lynch: “Gold Will Hit $1,400/oz by 2012”

Jerry’s Comments: While the mainstream financial commentators continue to live in denial over the global economy’s state of affairs, governments and central banks are buying gold in droves. Always remember to ignore the hype and follow the money.

Mineweb.com
Author: Dorothy Kosich
Posted: Tuesday , 22 Jun 2010

RENO, NV – Merrill Lynch metals analysts maintain gold will hit a US$1,500 per ounce target by the end of next year as investor demand pushes gold prices higher.
In research published Monday, analysts Michael Widmer, Francisco Blanch, and Alex Tonks are predicting average gold price forecasts of US$1,200/oz this year, $1,350/oz in 2011, and $1,400/oz in 2012, up from $1110/oz, $1179/oz and $1109/oz. respectively.

“We also believe that silver has further upside and see prices averaging $18/oz, $20.25/oz and $21/oz in 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively,” they forecast.

“Our positive view on gold and silver prices is heavily influenced by the current macroeconomic environment and we believe that the following three developments will have a significant impact on these metals:

“Central banks have eased monetary policy reflected in sharp rises of money supply;
“Government debt has soared to make up for the private sector consumption short-fall;

“Potential GDP growth rates have come under pressure.”

In their latest analysis, Merrill Lynch noted, “ETFs have been a decent proxy for the strength of retail investor demand and these vehicles have seen substantial inflows during the past years.” Recent data has shown that investors have once again started to increase their ETF holdings.

“It is also worth noting that investment demand in emerging markets like China has remained at very high levels,” the analysts said. “This is partially influenced by growing real incomes, the launch of gold investment products and some apprehension over the value of other investment alternatives, such as equity and property.”
“The importance of investors for the gold market will not change significantly in the coming years, in our view. Hence, we believe that a substantial part of marginal gold demand will continue to emanate from these market participants.”
The analysts also suggested the economic environment is bullish for gold as loose monetary policy tends to attract investors into gold. They asserted that concerns over inflation “could bring new buyers into the gold market in the medium-term.”
Meanwhile, although deflation is not normally viewed as bullish for gold, “we believe that the metal could rise on the back of it in the coming quarters,” they advised.

“Keeping in mind that recent rises in gold prices were almost exclusively driven by concerns over sovereign debt in the Eurozone, we especially believe that challenges to reduce public liabilities should bring new buyers into the gold market in the coming quarters,” they added. “There is also a risk that government may ultimately try to inflate debt away, which should attract gold buyers, too.”

Merrill Lynch-Australia analysts Stephen Gorenstein and Anthony Kuo said Tuesday that they believe continued macro uncertainty will drive investor demand for gold.
“We believe central banks may be net buyers of gold given concerns over valuations of their securities in their portfolios,” they suggested.