The Italian Job – Precious Metals Supply and Demand

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by Pater Tenebrarum, Acting Man:

Lira Comeback?

The price of gold jumped 35 bucks last week, and that of silver 48 cents. The dollar is now down to 23 milligrams of gold.

Keith is on the road this week, so we will just comment on one thing. If Italy is serious about moving back to the lira, that will make the euro less sound (to say nothing of the lira). That will drive people mostly to the dollar, but also to gold.

Italian deputy prime minister Matteo Salvini (as the leader of the Lega party he is actually the most powerful politician in Italy, despite not being prime minister). In the course of an escalating dispute with the European Commission over the country’s budget deficit and debt, he threatened that Italy would consider introducing a parallel currency in the form of so-called “mini-BOTs” – non-interest bearing Italian treasury notes which the Italian state would print and accept in payment. Not quite a return to the lira yet, as mini-BOTs would actually be denominated in euro, but they would certainly represent a lira-in-waiting. The people who have come up with the idea apparently believe that such a scheme would be in compliance with EU/ euro zone regulations. We are not so sure about that, but ultimately Brussels would not really be able to do much about it. No-one seems to be taking the threat seriously at the moment, but if the Italian government were to go through with it, it would undoubtedly undermine the euro. [PT]

Fundamental Developments

Let’s go straight to the supply and demand picture of gold. But, first, here is the chart of the prices of gold and silver.

 

Gold and silver priced in USD

Next, this is a graph of the gold price measured in silver, otherwise known as the gold to silver ratio (see here for an explanation of bid and offer prices for the ratio). The ratio dropped slightly.

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