Gold News

Supply Changes Coming to Gold?

Higher prices may be the only way to resolve mining costs and Chinese demand...
On The SUPPLY SIDE of the gold market, newly mined gold supply in 2013 was around 2,800 tonnes, writes Julian D.W.Phillips at the
Scrap gold was around 1,400 tonnes, before US investment sales of around 1,200 tonnes. That totaled 5,400 tonnes.
With prices now at $1200 there is little incentive for scrap sellers to sell for profit. So these supplies in 2014 are expected to drop substantially, until prices rise back to much higher levels.
To sustain supply levels of gold miners need to continuously explore and start up new ventures. From discovery to production takes in excess of 5 years. What is the condition of future supplies?
Gold discoveries have fallen off the cliff from 4,977 tonnes (160 million ounces) in 1995 to fewer than 155 tonnes (5 million ounces) in 2011.
We are hearing that so many Junior miners and ventures are failing and projects shelved. The costs are so close to income potential that they are losing their backer's support.
Now we hear from Harmony Gold mine in South Africa, which has implemented expenditure cuts on capital expenditure and exploration to a cost per ounce of $1150. As the head of Goldfields said last year gold mining below $1500 isn't viable.
Cutting costs this way is done primarily by moving production to higher grade ore and mothballing lower grade production. This shortens the life and production capacity of mines and, in turn, global production levels. After all, the same principle has to be applied throughout the gold mining world.
This limits future gold production levels significantly. Accurate figures for this are not available just rough estimates (10-50% over time?).
With so many new ventures in politically unstable countries or where huge infrastructure problems exist the risks for new ventures are so much higher than they were last century. So, in future years the number of new mines coming on stream has been savaged.
If the US investment community has nearly completed sales from gold ETFs then the market will lose that vital source of supply, trimming around 1,200 tonnes (including the sales of physical gold last year, April in particular) off supplies to London, center of the world market.
The 5,400 tonnes of supply will drop in 2014 and we estimate this fall could take London's supply down by 2,000 tonnes. Gold prices will have to reflect this.
With such a fall, where will China buy gold at current prices? It can't. It will have to decide to pay up to rising prices or exit the market.
We do not believe it will exit the market 'officially' (for the reasons given in the previous article). It will continue to access as much gold as it can.
The retail trade in China will lessen demand simply because the disposable income they have, while rising quickly, will achieve only the volume that money can buy. Perhaps the average middle class income will buy perhaps 25% less gold, if prices rise that much, but we believe the size of the middle class, in China, will rise by that much in 2014. So expect a similar level of Chinese retail demand in 2014 to the new record year of 2013.
But be clear on one fact, the Chinese and Indian markets want to feel the gold in their hands. Derivatives and gold share are no substitute there!
China cannot hold prices down. It can only buy what it can by 'buying the dips' and sourcing gold outside of the London market. It will continue to do that. But with the supply/demand picture changing so much in 2014 and beyond, they will accept rising prices. We believe they have been buying knowing that would happen in the future.
They are fully aware that paper currencies will cheapen in the future, as confidence in them falls, until gold is used, once more, to price currencies.

JULIAN PHILLIPS – one half of the highly respected team at – began his career in the financial markets back in 1970, when he left the British Army after serving as an Officer in the Light Infantry in Malaya, Mauritius, and Belfast.

First he worked in Timber Management and then joined the London Stock Exchange, qualifying as a member and specializing from the beginning in currencies, gold and the "Dollar Premium". On moving to South Africa, Julian was appointed a macro-economist for the Electricity Supply Commission – guiding currency decisions on the multi-billion foreign Loan Portfolio – before joining Chase Manhattan and the UK Merchant Bank, Hill Samuel, in Johannesburg.

There he specialized in gold, before moving to Capetown, where he established the Fund Management department of the Board of Executors. Julian returned to the "Gold World" over two years ago, contributing his exceptional experience and insights to Global Watch: The Gold Forecaster.

Legal Notice/Disclaimer: This document is not and should not be construed as an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to purchase or subscribe for any investment. Gold Forecaster/Julian D.W. Phillips have based this document on information obtained from sources they believe to be reliable but which it has not independently verified; they make no guarantee, representation or warranty and accepts no responsibility or liability as to its accuracy or completeness. Expressions of opinion are those of Gold Forecaster/Julian D.W. Phillips only and are subject to change without notice. They assume no warranty, liability or guarantee for the current relevance, correctness or completeness of any information provided within this report and will not be held liable for the consequence of reliance upon any opinion or statement contained herein or any omission. Furthermore, they assume no liability for any direct or indirect loss or damage or, in particular, for lost profit, which you may incur as a result of the use and existence of the information, provided within this report.

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