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Dow Gold Ratio Sinks to 14-Year Low

Commodities / Gold & Silver Oct 16, 2008 - 08:18 AM GMT

By: Adrian_Ash

Commodities THE SPOT PRICE of GOLD BULLION twice bounced off $830 an ounce early Thursday – the floor set five times already this week – as world equity prices sank yet again.

Hurricane Omar strengthened to category 3 in the Caribbean, but the price of crude oil sank to a fresh 14-month low below $73 per barrel.


The US Dollar gave back half of Wednesday's sharp gains on the currency markets, while the RJ/CRB Reuters Commodities Index sank almost 5% as platinum plunged towards fresh three-year lows.

The Gold Price in Euros rallied from €614 per ounce. US Treasury bond yields rose.

"Gold's fared relatively better than other assets in the financial crisis," said Wallace Ng, head of metals for Fortis Bank in Asia, to Bloomberg today. "But with these price swings, some investors may prefer cash now."

Fast-becoming the very worst one-month slump in history – and taking the Dow/Gold Ratio down to just 10 for the first time since Jan. 1995 – the Greater Crash today knocked a further 11% off the Tokyo Nikkei after the S&P on Wall Street ended Wednesday over 9% down.

"The markets are selling off stocks because investors still think the steps by US authorities are not sufficient," claimed Japan's new prime minister, Taro Aso, to the Tokyo parliament this morning.

"We may need to increase domestic demand further due to the impact of various factors," said a leading Chinese official on Hong Kong TV late Wednesday.

"The main risk to China's banks is rapid slowdown in the economic growth and the crystallization of the latent credit risks," reckons Ryan Tsang, head of China's corporate ratings at Standard & Poor's.

"Depositors might move a significant portion of their deposits to state-owned commercial banks and other banks that they consider as safe," he adds.

"That would put other Chinese banks that are facing tight liquidity in an even more difficult position."

China's gold jewelry consumers accounted for 10% of physical world demand last year. Now the vice-mayor of Shanghai says growth in the city's industrial output slowed to 6% in Sept. after averaging 11.5% annualized during the first nine months of the year.

"In the past, we would expect to see Gold Bullion move up when stock markets tumbled," one Hong Kong dealer told Reuters.

"But this is not the case anymore. Some of the financial institutions have to liquidate their long positions to cover losses."

Hedge funds in particular – a major source of leveraged Gold Price between 2002 and 2007 – are being forced to quit their positions as clients pull out. ( Read about Gold: No Credit, No Leverage here... )

"Some of the [big investment] funds are not doing very well," the Hong Kong gold dealer went on.

"Technically, it's difficult to say where the market is heading but $850 and $860 are still good resistance levels."

Today in Brussels, political leaders from the European Union called for a new pan-global super regulator to oversee the world's 30 very largest financial institutions.

Gordon Brown, the discredited former UK chancellor and now prime minister, called it a "new Bretton Woods", referring to the post-WWII currency regime which collapsed thanks to excessive US credit and money creation two decades later.

Down to the right in Budapest, the Hungarian central bank secured a €5 billion loan from the European Central Bank (ECB) in Frankfurt after prime minister Ferenc Gyurcsany asked for emergency help.

Hungary's overseas debts – including both private and public borrowing – now stand above 93% of the country's annual economic output.

Shares in Swiss financial giant UBS meantime recovered from an early 10% plunge after the Bern government promised a CHF 6 billion injection ($5.3bn) in exchange for a 9.3% share of its stock.

The ailing bank also said it will dump $60 billion worth of toxic securities onto the Swiss National Bank. Its No.1 competitor, Credit Suisse, said it will raise CHF 10 billion ($8.8bn) from foreign investors including the petro-rich Qatari government.

In New York this morning, ex-investment bank Merrill Lynch – now a division of Bank of America – reported a third quarter loss of $5.1 billion.

Citigroup, the Western world's largest bank, announced a net loss of $2.8bn for its fourth quarterly loss on the run.

New data from TrimTabs Investment Research showed wealthy investors pulling more than $43 billion out of US hedge funds during Sept.

"Every commodity is falling. I think it's much better to keep more cash on hand. The market is so uncertain," said Ronald Leung, director of Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong, to Reuters earlier.

By Adrian Ash
BullionVault.com

Gold price chart, no delay | Free Report: 5 Myths of the Gold Market
City correspondent for The Daily Reckoning in London and a regular contributor to MoneyWeek magazine, Adrian Ash is the editor of Gold News and head of research at www.BullionVault.com , giving you direct access to investment gold, vaulted in Zurich , on $3 spreads and 0.8% dealing fees.

(c) BullionVault 2008

Please Note: This article is to inform your thinking, not lead it. Only you can decide the best place for your money, and any decision you make will put your money at risk. Information or data included here may have already been overtaken by events – and must be verified elsewhere – should you choose to act on it.

Adrian Ash Archive

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