2011-07-14

Gold price surged to a new all-time high

The gold price surged to a new all-time high Thursday morning, rising to $1,589 per ounce. The price of gold has risen 4.9% in July on the back of waning confidence in fiat currencies and renewed speculation that the Federal Reserve may consider a new round of quantitative easing. Silver, despite being well off its multi-decade high print of $49.79 posted earlier this year, has climbed 6.5% this month and is currently trading at $36.95 per ounce.

The latest Fed minutes – a recap of the June Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting – acknowledged the fact that the rate of U.S. economic growth slowed to a more moderate pace. As a result, the Fed lowered its GDP estimates for the balance of 2011 and into 2012. The GDP reduction “reflected the persistent weakness in the housing market, the ongoing efforts by some households to reduce debt burdens, the recent sluggish growth of income and consumption, the fiscal contraction at all levels of government, and the effects of uncertainty regarding the economic outlook and future tax and regulatory policies on the willingness of firms to hire and invest.”

The Fed also cautioned that several “downside risks” remain, including “the possibility of a more extended period of weak activity and declining prices in the housing sector, the chance of a larger-than-expected near-term fiscal tightening, and potential financial and economic spillovers if the situation in peripheral Europe were to deteriorate further.”

As for the likelihood of QE3, although the Fed minutes did not specifically refer to additional rounds of asset purchases, it did note that some FOMC members felt that “if economic growth remained too slow to make satisfactory progress toward reducing the unemployment rate and if inflation returned to relatively low levels after the effects of recent transitory shocks dissipated, it would be appropriate to provide additional monetary policy accommodation.”

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