Gold News

Gold Bullion Dead-Flat as US Tensions Rise with China, Russia and China's Rise with Taiwan, India

GOLD BULLION held dead-flat for the week so far in London on Tuesday, moving in a $10 range around $1855 per ounce as global stock markets and bonds also held unchanged overall but commodities ticked higher as geopolitic tensions rose and the Covid Crisis deepened yet further.
 
Ahead of tomorrow's US Fed decision on monetary policy – its first since Joe Biden moved into the White House – the new administration hinted overnight it won't unwind any of Donald Trump's import tariffs against Chinese goods any time soon.
 
Now with former Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen confirmed as his Treasury Secretary, Biden is "committed to stopping China's economic abuses" said the White House.
 
The new President is also "very concerned" about last week's jailing of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, now spurring continued protests " threatening to escalate into a larger movement against [Russian President-for-life Vladimir Putin's] Kremlin" according to the Wall Street Journal.
 
"Clips calling for people to attend the protests and suggesting ways for them to deal with an arrest went viral on the TikTok video-sharing service," says the Kremlin-backed RT.com
 
The US-Russian New Start treaty signed when Biden was vice-president to Barack Obama in 2010 will expire next month, Biden also noted, meaning the 2 countries must "operate in mutual self-interest" over nuclear arms limitation even while discussing other sensitive issues, such as last year's massive hacking of US computer networks and claims that Moscow offered bounties to Taliban fighters for killing US soldiers in Afghanistan.
 
Gold mine output in Russia – the metal's No.3 producer – fell sharply in the back-half of 2020, new data said Tuesday, with the 3.3% growth shown for January-August turning into a 6.8% decline for Jan-to-November.
 
"Chinese gold imports in 2020 were significantly lower than the year before," says a note from the precious metals team at French bank and London bullion market maker BNP Paribas, reviewing the available data on bullion flows into the metal's No.1 mining and No.1 consumer country.
 
Chart of gold imports to China via Hong Kong (net) and globally (gross). Source: BNP Paribas
 
Gold bullion imports to China sank by 4/5ths last year on BNP's analysis, but "looking forward, there is a sense of optimism with regards to pent-up demand in 2021.
 
"This is already showing in the Shanghai gold price, which has returned to a small premium over the London gold price in recent weeks," offering a small incentive to new imports.
 
China's President Xi Jinping yesterday warned against "a new Cold War [that] will only push the world into division and even confrontation.
 
"We need to abandon ideological prejudice," said the Communist dictatorship's leader to the World Economic Forum of business leaders, lobbyists and economics ministers, "and jointly follow a path of peaceful coexistence, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation."
 
US ally Taiwan – claimed as a "province" by mainland China – ran airforce drills Tuesday while unmanned US and Chinese drones buzzed each other near the island nation following 2 days of incursions into its airspace by People's Liberation Army warplanes.
 
"We hope that, through dialogue, tensions could be dialled down" between China and India along their mutual border in the Himalayas said a spokesman for the UN Secretary-General yesterday after last week's "minor face-off" followed the summer's deadly hand-to-hand violence between their troops.
 
Gold's No.2 consumer nation, India today saw worsening violence between police and predominantly Sikh farmers protesting against new agricultural commodity laws, causing the government to ask internet providers to suspend their service around the historic and symbolic Red Fort in New Delhi to try disrupting the "tractor rally".
 
Accusations of "vaccine nationalism" meantime grew after the European Union said it may block exports of Covid inoculations made in the bloc if its own 27-member states don't first get the quantities ordered.
 
An article in Germany's Handelsblatt yesterday claimed the "Oxford" Astra-Zeneca jab developed and made in the UK has only "effectiveness of 8% among the over-65s" – a claim swiftly denied by the German Health Ministry, with that figure instead referring to the proportion of seniors in the drugs' trial participants.
 
"Recovery is a little bit delayed but should not be derailed," said European Central Bank chief Christine Lagarde Monday, also speaking to the "virtual" World Economic Forum, usually held in the Swiss ski resort of Davos.
 
Beyond that "bridge" she went on, "the second [post-Covid] phase is a new economy that we are talking about...Both on the fiscal and monetary policy front, authorities will have to stay the course and to continue  support...for a new economy where scarring will hopefully be avoided or reduced."
 
Euro gold bullion prices also stayed flat Tuesday, trading in London at €1524 while the UK gold price in Pounds per ounce slipped £5 to £1350.
 
"Will the UK really refuse trade deals over human rights?" asks the BBC, contrasting Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab's call for UK firms to prove there is no slave labor in their supply chain – directly naming China's internment and work-camps for minority Uighur Muslims – with the almost £80bn per year of trade done between Britain and the world's No.2 economy.
 
Officials at the UK's Department for International Trade are meantime reportedly advising businesses struggling to overcome the new "non-tariff barriers" to EU trade following Brexit on 31st December to register and operate a new company within the 27-nation bloc "as the only means to minimise the problems caused by the 'hard Brexit' deal" agreed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

 

Adrian Ash is director of research at BullionVault, the physical gold and silver market for private investors online. Formerly head of editorial at London's top publisher of private-investment advice, he was City correspondent for The Daily Reckoning from 2003 to 2008, and is now a regular contributor to many leading analysis sites including Forbes and a regular guest on BBC national and international radio and television news. Adrian's views on the gold market have been sought by the Financial Times and Economist magazine in London; CNBC, Bloomberg and TheStreet.com in New York; Germany's Der Stern; Italy's Il Sole 24 Ore, and many other respected finance publications.

See the full archive of Adrian Ash articles on GoldNews.

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