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Published on Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee (http://www.gata.org)

Central banks pounce on falling gold, buying it through BIS

By cpowell
Created 2012-03-17 15:17

By Jack Farchy
Financial Times, London
Friday, March 16, 2012

http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/4f9a6076-6f92-11e1-b3f9-00144feab49a.html [1]

A sharp fall in gold prices has triggered large purchases of bullion by central banks in recent weeks, according to several traders with knowledge of the transactions.

The buying activity highlights the trend among central banks in emerging economies to buy gold, even as some Western investors are losing patience with the metal. Gold prices have dropped 13.8 per cent from a nominal record high of $1,920 a troy ounce reached in September, and on Friday were trading at $1,655.60.

The Bank for International Settlements, which acts on behalf of central banks, has been buying significant quantities of gold on the international market amid falling prices, traders said.

According to several estimates, the BIS bought 4 to 6 tonnes of gold, worth roughly $250 million to $300 million at current prices, in the over-the-counter physical market last week, with purchases particularly strong at the end of the week. The total purchases over the past three or four weeks was likely to be as much as double that, the traders added.

... Dispatch continues below ...


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Sona Discovers Potential High-Grade Gold Mineralization
at Blackdome in British Columbia -- 13.6g over 1.5 Meters

From a Company Press Release
November 22, 2011

VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- With its latest surface diamond drilling program at its 100-percent-owned, formerly producing Blackdome gold mine in southern British Columbia, Sona Resources Corp. has discovered a potentially high-grade gold-mineralized area, with one hole intersecting 13.6 grams of gold in 1.5 meters of core drilling.

"We intersected a promising new mineralized zone, and we feel optimistic about the assay results," says Sona's president and CEO, John P. Thompson. "We have undertaken an aggressive exploration program that has tested a number of target zones. Our discovery of this new gold-bearing structure is significant, and it represents a positive development for the company."

Sona aims to bring its permitted Blackdome mill back into production over the next year and a half, at a rate of 200 tonnes per day, with feed from the formerly producing Blackdome mine and the nearby Elizabeth gold deposit property. A positive preliminary economic assessment by Micon International Ltd., based on a gold price of $950 per ounce over eight years, has estimated a cash cost of $208 per tonne milled, or $686 per gold ounce recovered.

For the company's complete press release, please visit:

http://www.sonaresources.com/_resources/news/SONA_NR18_2011-opt.pdf [2]



In a note to clients this week, Credit Suisse referred to "aggressive central bank buying seen last Friday."

The BIS declined to comment.

Central banks are one of the most important drivers of the gold market, holding one-sixth of all the gold ever mined in their reserves, but they disclose few details about their activities.

As a group, they made their largest purchases of gold in more than four decades last year, led by emerging economies such as Mexico, Russia, and South Korea intent on diversifying their dollar-heavy foreign exchange reserves. The World Gold Council has also pointed to the possibility of significant unreported purchases by China at the end of last year.

At the same time, European central banks have all but halted a run of large sales.

"Central banks have definitely been looking at gold as an asset class much more closely ever since European central banks stopped selling," a senior gold banker said. "There has been a huge interest."

While some countries, such as Russia, China, or the Philippines, have traditionally accumulated gold produced by their domestic mining industry, others use the BIS as an agent to carry out purchases and sales on their behalf, preserving anonymity.

The central bank buying comes as gold prices have slid in the past three weeks as strong economic data from the US has lowered investors' expectations of quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve and made other investments, such as equities, appear more attractive.

Gold prices this week fell to their lowest since mid-January after the Fed struck an optimistic tone on the US economic recovery. "It's clear that the market trend right now is an unwinding of safe-haven exposures, like gold, and a preference for growth assets," said Edel Tully, precious metals strategist at UBS.

Buying from large physical consumers of gold such as China and India remains sparse, despite the fall in prices. India on Friday announced it would double import tariffs for gold, a move analysts said could damp demand.

"Asian physical demand remains lacklustre," Credit Suisse said, arguing that gold prices could fall below $1,600. "Gold has now slipped back toward the middle of its long-term trend and has room to drop further."

* * *

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Prophecy Platinum (TSXV: NKL) and Ursa Major Minerals
Sign Combination Agreement

Company Press Release
Friday, March 2, 2012

VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Canada -- Prophecy Platinum Corp. (TSX-V: NKL, OTC-QX: PNIKF, Frankfurt: P94P) and Ursa Major Minerals Inc. have signed a binding letter of agreement for a business combination through a proposed all-share transaction. In doing so Prophecy and Ursa have acted at arm's length and the transaction has been negotiated at arm's length.

Prophecy will issue one common share in exchange for every 25 outstanding common shares of Ursa. Ursa options and warrants will be exchanged for options and warrants of Prophecy on an agreed schedule.

Prophecy's offer represents a value of about $0.15 per each common share of Ursa based on Prophecy's share price of $3.70 as at March 1, representing a premium of 130 percent to Ursa's March 1 closing price of $0.065.

Prophecy is to subscribe for $1 million common shares of Ursa by way of private placement financing at $0.06 per share, subject to regulatory approval. Upon placement completion, John Lee and Greg Hall, current Prophecy directors, will be appointed to Ursa's board.

Prophecy thus will become a mid-tier resource company with a robust and
diversified pipeline of platinum nickel projects, including:

-- The fully permitted open-pit Shakespeare PGM-Ni-Cu mine close to Sudbury, Ontario, infrastructure with near-term production capabilities.

-- The flagship Wellgreen (Yukon) PGM-Ni-Cu project with more than 10 million ounces of Pt-Pd-Au inferred resource. Drilling is under way and a preliminary economic assessment study is pending.

-- Manitoba's Lynn Lake Ni-Cu project with more than 262 million pounds Ni and 138 million pounds Cu measured and indicated.

For the complete announcement, please visit Prophecy Platinum's Internet site here:

http://www.prophecyplat.com/news_2012_mar02_prophecy_platinum_ursa_major... [8]