Posts Tagged: ‘gold’

India About to Announce New Gold-Import Restrictions

November 23, 2014 Posted by admin

NEW DELHI—India’s government is about to announce new measures to slow the import of gold, hoping to help shrink the country’s chronic current-account deficit, a finance ministry official said Tuesday.

India has become the world’s largest consumer of gold again in recent months as the price of the precious metal has fallen just as India entered the annual festival season when Indian consumers think it is auspicious to buy the…

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GLD Selling Only A Minor Factor In Gold’s Selloff, A Bullish Omen

November 22, 2014 Posted by admin

Gold has suffered a rough couple of months, getting pounded below major support. One driver was stock-market capital flowing out of gold again, as evidenced by renewed differential selling pressure seen in gold-ETF shares. But this was minor compared to last year’s, despite extreme bearish sentiment plaguing gold. Gold-ETF selling exhaustion has effectively been hit, paving the way for big rebound buying.

The dominant gold ETF remains the SPDR Gold Trust ETF (NYSEARCA:GLD). This vehicle revolutionized gold trading for stock investors, creating a quick and efficient conduit for the vast pools of stock capital to migrate into and out of gold. And since GLD just celebrated its 10th birthday this week, it’s a great time to take another look at it. Starting from humble beginnings, GLD has matured into a gold juggernaut.

If you weren’t following the precious-metals realm back in the early 2000s, it’s hard to even imagine how different the pre-gold-ETF era was. Before GLD’s introduction in mid-November 2004 kicked it off, stock traders had no easy way to prudently diversify part of their portfolios into gold. Their only options were selling stocks to buy physical gold coins, trading gold futures, or buying gold-miner stocks as a gold proxy.

But for pure stock traders, all these posed real problems. While physical gold is awesome, buying coins is an inefficient and expensive process riddled with high premiums. Gold futures are a highly-leveraged and exceptionally-dangerous game most stock traders avoid like the Black Death. Though gold stocks can be wildly profitable, they are far riskier than gold itself due to an array of serious operational risks.

The gold ETFs led by GLD gave stock traders a cheap and easy way to bypass all these alternatives to gain direct gold-price exposure. GLD held physical gold bullion in trust for its shareholders. And all it took to buy GLD shares was a mouse click and trivial trading commissions. And even with GLD’s 0.4% annual management fee, it is still far cheaper than gold coins given the high premiums they command.

GLD was created specifically for American stock investors by the World Gold Council, the industry group funded by the world’s biggest and best gold miners. It was never intended to replace physical gold for investors, but to open up gold investing to stock traders who would never or could never (due to legal restrictions like in mutual funds) buy gold coins. Despite the silly conspiracy theories, GLD has been a great success.

And its resulting big footprint has forever altered the gold landscape. GLD is a tracking ETF, designed to mirror the gold price. But GLD’s shares trade independently of gold, leading to constant supply-and-demand mismatches. If they aren’t immediately addressed, GLD shares will decouple from gold and this ETF will fail its tracking mission. Literally the only way to maintain tracking is for GLD to act as a capital conduit.

Excess supply and demand of GLD shares from stock traders has to be quickly equalized into physical gold bullion. The mechanics of this are simple. When demand for GLD shares exceeds gold’s own, GLD will be bid up faster than gold and decouple to the upside. GLD’s custodians must step in to supply this excess share demand. They do this by issuing new GLD shares and immediately selling them.

The proceeds from expanding GLD’s share base are then plowed directly into physical gold bullion in a matter of hours. So excess GLD-share demand by stock traders effectively shunts their capital directly into gold itself, bidding it up faster and keeping GLD tracking it. Whenever GLD’s gold-bullion holdings are rising, it always means that GLD-share demand from stock traders exceeds the demand for gold itself.

But conduit ETFs are a double-edged sword. Sometimes stock traders want out of gold, and sell GLD shares at a faster rate than gold is being sold. This excess GLD-share supply will hammer GLD’s price below gold’s and cause it to decouple to the downside. That excess supply has to be quickly absorbed or GLD will fail. So its custodians immediately start buying back GLD shares to sop up the surplus offered.

They raise the capital to do this by selling some of this ETF’s underlying physical gold bullion. And that effectively pulls stock-market capital back out of gold, weighing on its price. Stated another way, excess GLD-share selling pressure is also shunted directly into gold itself. GLD opened up a major highway for stock-market capital to quickly flow into and out of gold, depending on the prevailing whims of stock traders.

When the gold miners launched GLD via their World Gold Council, they sought to address withering criticism from hardcore physical-gold-or-die conspiracy theorists by being hyper-transparent. Thus every single trading day, GLD publishes an exhaustive inventory of every single gold bar it holds in trust for its shareholders. This data includes serial numbers, refiners, weights, and purities. This week it was 863 pages long!

Having GLD’s holdings available daily is a fantastically-useful dataset, because it effectively shows whether stock-market capital is flowing into or out of gold. When GLD’s physical-gold-bullion holdings are rising, stock traders are buying gold on balance. And when GLD’s holdings are falling, stock traders as an aggregate are selling gold. Stock-market capital flows via GLD can greatly affect gold’s prevailing prices.

Differential GLD-share selling by stock traders indeed helped drive gold’s recent sharp selloff and major support breakdown over the past couple months. They dumped GLD shares faster than gold was being sold, forcing this world-leading gold ETF’s custodians to sell gold bullion to buy back the excess share supply offered. But provocatively, excess GLD-share supply was merely a minor factor in gold’s latest selloff.

Before we dig into that, strategic context is essential. Back in September 2012, gold was trading around $1750. That’s when the Federal Reserve launched its wildly-unprecedented third quantitative-easing campaign. QE3 involved the Fed conjuring paper money out of thin air and using it to buy up bonds, monetizing them. Naturally this was highly inflationary, and should have been great for gold like QE1 and QE2 were.

But curiously, QE3′s open-ended nature along with Fed jawboning about backstopping stock markets instead fomented a monster general-stock levitation. Stock traders believed the Fed would step up its money printing to arrest any significant stock-market selloff. And with this effective Fed Put, they aggressively and euphorically bought stocks while ignoring large and mounting fundamental, technical, and sentimental risks.

As the stock markets melted up last year thanks to the Fed, demand for alternative investments led by gold evaporated. Alternatives only shine brightly when conventional markets are struggling. This vexing dynamic led to a massive 22.8% gold plunge in 2013′s second quarter. This happened to be the worst quarter for gold in an astounding 93 years, an extreme once-in-a-century anomaly of epic gold selling!

This unprecedented gold mass exodus primarily came from two fronts. First was extreme futures selling by American speculators, which I’ve written a lot about. Second was extreme selling in GLD shares. Stock traders fled GLD at crazy rates, forcing it to vomit vast torrents of gold supply into the global market. And naturally heavy selling spawns a vicious circle, where lower prices drive more selling forcing prices even lower.

As the Fed-levitated stock markets melted up, GLD’s selling would increase as the desire for alternative investments and prudent portfolio diversification waned. Then when they pulled back periodically, the differential selling pressure in GLD would slow dramatically. The inverse relationship between the benchmark stock-market levels and GLD’s holdings is striking. And so was GLD’s impact on gold prices.

My chart today looks at the last couple years of GLD’s holdings with the gold price superimposed on top. Since GLD’s all-time-record holdings high in December 2012, all monthly draws and builds in GLD’s holdings are noted. And though GLD contributed greatly to gold’s once-in-a-century selling anomaly in 2013, in recent months its impact has been modest. This is actually a very bullish omen for gold going forward!

Not surprisingly, GLD’s holdings have a strong correlation with gold. When stock-market capital flows into physical gold bullion via this conduit, GLD’s holdings rise and that buying pushes gold higher. But when stock traders exit gold, their selling flowing through GLD forces this metal lower. And that’s the whole story of 2013. Extreme GLD-share differential selling spawned by the Fed’s stock-market levitation crushed gold.

The World Gold Council does the best research into global gold supply and demand. According to its latest numbers, gold demand dropped 11.1% in 2013 to 4081 metric tons. That was 509t less than 2012′s. But the largest gold-demand categories of jewelry and physical bars and coins actually grew dramatically last year, up 18.0% and 32.0% respectively. Only one category shrunk, and that was gold ETFs.

Gold demand through ETFs swung from 279t in 2012 to an astounding and probably never-repeatable negative 880t! Differential gold-ETF-share selling in 2013 added 880 tonnes of gold supply to the world markets, far more than that 509t total drop in global demand! So truly without the mass exodus of stock traders from gold ETFs, gold’s price would have actually risen last year instead of plunging by 27.9%!

And of that epic global gold-ETF selling, America’s GLD alone accounted for 553t or 5/8ths of the total. GLD is the dominant gold ETF by far, and can really impact the gold price when there are heavy supply-and-demand mismatches with its shares necessitating gold-bullion buying and selling. GLD’s holdings liquidation alone in 2013 exceeded the total drop in world gold demand, so it’s effectively solely responsible!

That epic outlying record draw was radically unprecedented. Remember that gold ETFs were only first introduced in late 2004, and GLD’s periodic draws before 2013′s extreme anomaly were vastly smaller. So the gold world had never before witnessed American stock traders pulling capital out of this precious metal en masse. Such an event was never even possible before in history before gold ETFs arrived.

While GLD’s epic draws last year were spread across every month of 2013, the second quarter was the epicenter. That quarter alone GLD’s holdings plummeted by 252t, or over 45% of 2013′s total. April 2013 alone, that month gold suffered a panic-like plunge when major support failed, saw a crazy 142.7t draw! That represented over a quarter of last year’s total GLD liquidations, the pinnacle of popular fear.

The inevitable selling exhaustion was finally hit in January 2014, following a mind-boggling 41.7% draw in GLD’s holdings of 564t over 13.2 months. Selling is always finite, there are only so many stock traders who own GLD and are susceptible to being scared into selling low. Thus GLD’s holdings stabilized this year, despite the Fed’s vexing ongoing stock-market levitation. They started grinding sideways.

Until the last couple of months that is. After seeing modest GLD holdings’ builds in February, March, June, and July, differential selling pressure resumed in September and October. The remaining stock traders owning GLD, the strong hands that weathered 2013′s extreme anomaly, were getting scared by gold’s steep selloff. This metal slumped to support in September, and then broke that key support last month.

While it’s never wise to sell into extreme lows, we can’t blame the stock traders for capitulating on gold given the extreme bearishness in recent months. As a full-time speculator, investor, researcher, and newsletter writer, I’m as deeply immersed in the precious-metals realm as anyone. And to me it sure felt like the recent gold bearishness even exceeded that of the spring of 2013 and the end of last year.

In fact fear had grown so crazy-high that gold stocks were recently pummeled to apocalyptic levels. The leading gold-stock index, the HUI, just fell to fundamentally-absurd 11.3-year lows! The last time gold stocks had traded so low, gold was merely $350. But earlier this month it was around $1150, or 3.3x higher. Gold-stock levels are a reflection of gold sentiment, and hadn’t been worse for over a decade.

So the universal fear infecting gold in the last couple months was the most extreme seen at least since its secular bull was born in April 2001. If there was ever an event to drive everyone wavering out of GLD shares, gold’s recent $1190 support break was it. Yet despite this the differential selling pressure on GLD shares remained modest. September and October only saw relatively-minor GLD draws of 25.1t and 28.7t.

For comparison, in 2013 GLD’s monthly draws averaged 46.0t! So the recent GLD-share selling was almost trivial relative to that epic extreme. Between mid-July and early November, gold’s price dropped 14.7% over 3.9 months. In that entire span, GLD’s holdings merely fell by 67.2t. There were multiple single months in 2013 that saw comparable or larger draws. GLD hasn’t been a major factor in gold’s recent selloff!

So why was gold so weak then if American stock traders weren’t to blame? Extreme selling by American futures speculators. Every week, their total gold-futures positions are revealed in the Commitments of Traders reports from the CFTC. And in the CoT-week span that most closely matches that recent gold drop, these guys dumped 36.6k long-side contracts while adding a breathtaking 74.1k short-side ones!

Some perspective is essential on these extreme numbers. Specs slashed their gold-futures longs by 14.8% in that short span, while ramping their shorts by 90.6%. Both moves resulted in heavy gold selling, at a total of 110.7k gold-futures contracts. This is the equivalent of a jaw-dropping 344.3 metric tons of gold supply unleased by American futures speculators alone! Obviously that dwarfs the 67.2t contributed by GLD.

Extreme futures shorting is the best kind of selling, as every single one of those contracts will soon have to be unwound. Speculators effectively borrow gold to sell it short in dangerous highly-leveraged bets, and they legally have to rebuy that gold soon to pay it back. So the near-record gold-futures shorting is super-bullish for gold and portends an imminent sharp short-covering rally. But back to our GLD focus here.

While American stock traders did capitulate as gold swooned to and through $1190 support, they only contributed less than 1/6th of the identifiable American gold selling. And that was in the most extreme fear-laden and hyper-bearish gold environment seen in over a decade! The modest differential selling pressure on GLD shares in light of this reinforces that selling exhaustion has effectively been reached.

Selling low is dumb, there’s no polite way to sugarcoat it. Smart investors and speculators buy low and sell high, and refuse to succumb to popular fear to do the opposite. GLD’s remaining shareholders are far stronger and smarter than the crop that abandoned gold last year. Their holdings are far more sticky, more likely to be permanent portfolio diversification rather than hot money spookable into fleeing on a whim.

Last week GLD’s holdings slumped to 720.6 tonnes, a 6.1-year low! The last time they were down here was September 2008, heading into that once-in-a-century stock panic. And gold was trading around $900. So theoretically ignoring churn, the remaining GLD shareholders are likely still sitting on nice gains in gold. Since they’ve held on this long, they are highly unlikely to join today’s irrational fear-blinded selling.

And if this proves true, GLD’s holdings have finally decisively bottomed and can only go higher. That will necessitate new stock-market capital inflows into gold via GLD. And the catalyst for stock traders returning to alternative investments led by gold will be these vexing Fed-levitated stock markets finally decisively rolling over very soon here. With gold so incredibly loathed, there is vast room for GLD buying.

As of its recent holdings low, GLD was worth about $27b. That same day, the total market capitalization of the elite SP 500 stocks was $19,030b. If only 1% of that stock-market capital would diversify into gold, GLD’s holdings would soar by 7.1x! That equates to enough stock capital flowing into GLD to force its custodians to buy about 4400t of gold at today’s cheap prices. And 1% is really conservative in the grand scheme.

For decades if not centuries, the most prudent portfolio-construction wisdom advocated all investors holding 5% to 10% of their investable capital in gold for diversification and insurance. So seeing an overall 1% US allocation to gold as the stock markets roll over into what’s almost certain to be a new cyclical bear is a conservative projection. Alternative investments shine the brightest when conventional ones are weak.

The bottom line is the recent gold selloff was not primarily driven by American stock traders dumping their GLD shares. Though they did capitulate a bit, the great majority of the selling came from American futures speculators making leveraged downside bets on gold. The fact that stock traders largely held strong in the most bearish gold environment in at least a decade is a very bullish portent for gold prices.

With GLD’s holdings so incredibly low, there’s vast room for major stock-trader buying as gold inevitably recovers. As the Fed-manipulated stock-market melt-up starts cracking soon, investment demand for gold among American investors and speculators is going to soar. And the torrents of capital that will flow back into GLD shares will be shunted directly into underlying physical bullion, catapulting gold higher.

Disclosure: The author has no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. The author wrote this article themselves, and it expresses their own opinions. The author is not receiving compensation for it. The author has no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article. (More…)

Additional disclosure: I own extensive gold-stock positions, which have been recommended to our newsletter subscribers.

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How to Know the Gold You Buy in India Is Real

November 21, 2014 Posted by admin

An Indian shopper tried on gold jewelry during the Hindu festival of Diwali in Amritsar on Oct. 21.
Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

Shalini Goel, a housewife, rushed to sell her old jewelry and small pieces of yellow metal in Delhi’s jewelry market as prices for gold soared last year, confident of getting a decent price.

But the jeweler offered less than what she had paid for them. The reason? The jewelry  she bought was “not all gold, it lacked in purity,” the dealer said.

The adulteration of gold isn’t new in India but a recent statement by India’s leading precious metals refiner that most of the scrap gold it receives does not meet the necessary levels of purity has prompted fresh warnings to consumers.

“The average gold content present in scrap gold that we receive for refining has varied from 80% to 85%,” Rajesh Khosla, managing director of MMTC-PAMP, the country’s only accredited gold and silver refinery, told The Wall Street Journal in an interview Monday.

India is the world’s largest consumer of gold, the metal is a common gift during festivals, religious events and weddings. But purchasing jewelry for special occasions and keeping it as a safe investment option could be useless, if it lacks purity.

Gold purity is measured in carats or K with 24K being the purest. But gold in its purest form is rarely used to make jewelry especially intricate designs because of its softness and needs to be mixed with other metals like silver, copper or zinc. To ensure that mixing of metals in gold is done within set limits, it has to undergo the purity test at hallmarking centers operated by the Bureau of Indian Standards the accredited government agency that provides hallmarking.

Jewelers are supposed to get the gold they want to sell tested through these BIS laboratories to obtain a certification of purity or fineness in gold articles and a hallmark stamp in accordance with certain international specifications.

They must send the standards agency samples of the gold. BIS inspectors then visit the retailer and, if the assessment is satisfactory, grant the jeweler a license verifying the purity of the articles.

There are currently more than 300 BIS-authorized hallmarking centers and 13,000 licensed jewelers across India, dealing in gold jewelry, according to BIS.

Under current BIS rules, if sellers misuse the permit they could lose their jeweler’s license, face a fine or both.

The problem is, hallmarking is not mandatory in India, which results in a large number of jewelers selling gold that is not certified.

“There have been instances of even top jewelers selling gold that is not really pure to avoid tax and make a quick buck,” BIS spokeswoman Renuka Salwan told The Wall Street Journal.

Besides, some sellers even mislead customers by saying that hallmarking involves huge costs. “In reality, obtaining the certification may mean you pay a little extra, but it’s worth the cost since it ensures purity,” Ms. Salwan said.

To get a piece of gold hallmarked costs 25 rupees (40 cents) per article.

She said people are becoming increasingly aware of the impurity and malpractices in the unorganized industry and shifting to organized players “to get better quality and newer designs.”

In order to curb the menace of impure gold, BIS is currently working to issue a unique identification number for each hallmarked piece of jewelry so that consumers can trace details of the item in case they are unsure of its quality, BIS director-general D.K. Nayyar said.

“This will stop hallmarking of substandard jewelry,” he said.

Here’s a ready reckoner for buying gold:

-         BIS Standard Mark: A triangular stamp of the Bureau of Indian Standards

-         Purity Grade: The number shows how pure the gold is. This ranges from 8 carat denoted by 333 to 24 carat (pure gold) denoted by 999.

-         Hallmarking Center Logo: This is used to check where the jewelry has been evaluated and hallmarked. A list of the centers and logos can be checked here.

-         Year of Marking: This is denoted by a code alphabet decided by BIS. [letter 'A' denotes year 2000,'B' for 2001]

-         Jeweler Identification Mark: Most jewelers have their own identification mark of BIS certification.

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Group Cautions Against Impure Gold in Indian Jewelry

November 20, 2014 Posted by admin

Posted: Tuesday, November 18, 2014 4:00 pm

Group Cautions Against Impure Gold in Indian Jewelry

News Dispatches

India West


India’s leading precious metals refiner, MMTC-PAMP, has stated that not all gold jewelry sold in India is as pure as the sellers promise it to be.

Alleging that the scrap gold that comes for refining has 15 percent to 20 percent less gold content than the set purity standards, the refiner urged gold buyers in the country to remain cautious while purchasing the yellow metal.

According to the refiner, average gold content in scrap gold has varied from 80 percent to 85 percent. Meantime, the Bureau of Indian Standards, the agency that provides hallmarking on jewelry as proof of purity, also admitted that there have been incidents where gold retailers who claim to have hallmark certification sell products with lesser gold content.

According to, BIS director general Sunil Soni announced that the agency plans to assign unique IDs to each hallmarked item, in order to ensure that all gold jewelry sold in the country conforms to purity standards.

In an attempt to crackdown on sale of impure gold jewelry, BIS has proposed imposition of heavy penalties. The customer could claim three times the difference amount from the jeweler if the jewelry sold by the retailer is found to contain less gold content. 

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014 4:00 pm.

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India About to Announce New Gold-Import Restrictions

November 19, 2014 Posted by admin

By Prasanta Sahu And Vibhuti Agarwal

NEW DELHI–India’s government is about to announce new measures to slow the import of gold, hoping to help shrink
the country’s chronic current-account deficit, a finance ministry official said Tuesday.

India has become the world’s largest consumer of gold again in recent months as the price of the precious metal has
fallen just as India entered the annual festival season when Indian consumers think it is auspicious to buy the
commodity and the government eased some earlier restrictions on gold trading.

Indian trade data released Monday showed that gold imports almost quadrupled to $4.18 billion in October from $1.10
billion in the same month last year. Total imports rose 3.62% to $39.45 billion, widening the trade deficit to $13.35
billion, from last October’s $10.59 billion.

The measures could be announced as early as Tuesday evening said the official, who didn’t wish to be identified.

India ratcheted up the taxes and restrictions on gold imports last year after the country’s trade imbalance made
its currency–the rupee–a target of a sell off. Gold imports fell sharply on the restrictions but gold smuggling

Confident that the rupee was in a better place, India’s central bank in May relaxed rules to allow more importation
of gold. It also eased financing rules for jewelers. Gold imports have shot up again since then, sparking concern that
the country’s growing trade imbalance could again lead to a run on the rupee.

India’s jewelry companies, who are also among India’s biggest exporters, said they need relief from the
restrictions not more of them.

“The government is no doubt concerned about the impact on the current-account deficit and wants to control it
urgently, but an additional restriction on gold imports will have an adverse impact,” said Pankaj Parekh, vice chairman
of the Gems and Jewelry Export Promotion Council, a lobby group that represents more than 3,000 exporters. “It will jack
up domestic prices and hurt consumer demand.”

Jewelry companies are trying to do their part by trying to reduce the amount of gold coins and bars that are sold,
he said.

Jewelers suffered last year as the import restrictions and taxes led to a 40% decline in sales during the Diwali
holiday season.

The curbs did however help India to bring down its current-account deficit to 1.7% of gross domestic product in the
fiscal year ended March from a record 4.8% in the previous year.

  (END) Dow Jones Newswires
  Copyright (c) 2014 Dow Jones  Company, Inc.

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Top Five Reasons to Invest in Gold and Silver

November 18, 2014 Posted by admin

The U.S. dollar is strong, helping drive down gold and silver prices. From high demand in Asia to the Federal Reserve raising interest rates, here are the top five reasons why now is the perfect time to invest in gold and silver.

 1.     China and India are buying

According to The Wall Street Journal, in 2013, demand for gold jewelry, coins, and bullion increased by 32% in China. This year is no different. In fact, China’s demand just surpassed India’s, whose gold consumption went up by 13% last year. Paul Horsnell, head of commodities research at Standard Chartered in London, gave his opinion on gold demand in China and India. “There is a floor around $1,100 set by Chinese retail demand,” Horsnell said. “Physical demand indicators out of China and India are firming.” Look to these massive markets to continue fueling demand for gold.

 2.     U.S. coin collectors are buying

Bullion coins are hot. The U.S. Mint temporarily sold out of Silver Eagles in October after a record-breaking sales month with 4.14 million coins sold. In the same month last year, sales were only 3.01 million. Gold Eagle sales were also high, with a total of 121,500 sold in October, compared to last year’s October sales of only 89,000.  Strong demand usually drives higher prices.  

 3.     Investors and hedge fund managers have already sold a lot of gold

Beginning last year, hedge fund managers and investors began unloading the precious metals in their portfolios. The selling continues to a lesser extent, but with the big boys finished selling, there should be less pressure on the price of gold.  

 4.     Mines are closing or plan to close

The low price of gold is forcing mines all over the world to close, because they can’t make enough money to operate. Several Australian mines were closed, or scheduled for closure this year. Right here in Washington State, the Buckhorn gold mine in Ferry County is scheduled for closure in 2015. The longer gold remains lower than $1,200 an ounce, the more mines will close. This reduces the amount of gold available on the market and subsequently could make gold more valuable.

 5.     The Federal Reserve has signaled that it will begin raising interest rates next year 

By all accounts, the Federal Reserve is right on track to begin raising interest rates sometime in 2015. So what does this mean for gold? Well, higher interest rates typically impact the value of the dollar. When the dollar goes down, gold prices usually go up.  

 If you invest in gold and silver when prices are low — and sell when they’re high — you’re going to make money. Period. With both precious metals at attractive prices, now might be the perfect time to invest.

 Bellevue Rare Coins specializes in gold buying and dealing in rare coins. We are a family-owned business located in Bellevue and Lynnwood. We also buy and sell silver, diamonds, currency and jewelry. Visit us for a free evaluation.

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Domain name mogul Mike Mann will sell you — for $2 million

November 17, 2014 Posted by admin

The light bulb went on in 1998.

That’s when entrepreneur Mike Mann sold the domain name for $25,000.

He had paid $70 for it.

“I could not imagine anything having a higher profit margin than that,” Mann recalls.

District native Mann, 47, has been in the domain-name resale business ever since, making millions.

People call him the Mann. The Domain King. The Human Robot. Others call him the Used Car Salesman of the Internet. Speculator.

“I am a speculator,” he admits.

Like a high-end scalper who buys and sells sports tickets on the secondary market, Mann buys and sells domain names on what he calls “the premium market.”

“I changed this from a behind-the-scenes industry to a legitimate one,” he said.

He is founder of, which owns 350,000 domain names. For $2 million, you can buy Same for or runs $1.5 million. is $1 million., $1.3 million. He bought for $11 million and resold it for $13 million in November 2010, making the Guinness Book of World Records for most ever paid for a domain name at the time.

He is a born self-promoter.

“My nature is to hustle and survive,” said Mann. “I can absorb an enormous amount of information and am capable of going without sleep for days at a time.”

His background includes — in no particular order — building, running and managing messenger companies, importing trinkets from Guatemala, running away from home, funding charities, managing a D.C. pretzel (yes, pretzel) start-up, getting married twice, getting divorced twice, owning one of the most prestigious addresses in Potomac, making millions, owning real estate, losing millions.

He claims he is cash-poor, but he splits his time between an $8 million oceanfront home in Delaware (it’s in a trust for his daughter) and a luxury rental on Florida’s Gold Coast. He said he is a capitalist who wants to make money so he can fund charities through, one of his many endeavors.

When he called me out of the blue, asking me to write about him, I asked why.

“I have a bit of an ego, so I don’t mind the attention,” said Mann, who gets lots of Internet-industry press. “And it helps my businesses and charities.”

He owns several businesses.

The biggest is probably The business grosses around $4 million a year in domain name sales, but it spends $3 million alone in buying new names. After legal fees, payroll, network expenses, technology upkeep and purchases, Mann gets a $5,000-a-month draw, which he pretty much lives on.

He owns a company in Salt Lake City called that helps get corporate Web sites to the top of Google search lists. He owns, which sells Internet phone service, toll-free numbers, various applications and even vanity phone numbers. Its investors include New Jersey’s state economic development office. He also owns, which helps clients build an online presence.

He said any net worth he has is tied up in his companies. Right now, “I am $2 million in debt, which is ridiculous for somebody who has earned as much as me. I have a lot of small failures.”

Some big successes, too.

He sold his first domain company, called, in 2005 to a venture-capital firm for $80 million, pocketing around $25 million as his share. He was in his mid-30s and rich. He gave away $6 million to charities, invested in real estate and businesses and lost a bunch in divorce settlements.

“I screwed up,” he said.

Mann was born in Washington and grew up mostly in Bethesda, where he lived near Winston Churchill High School.

He wasn’t a good student. “I was a juvenile delinquent.”

He ran away from home and made his way to California, trolling the streets, living among the underclass and earning extra money gathering trinkets, jewelry and stones on trips to Arkansas and Guatemala. He resold them to stores in California and in the Washington area that catered to the hippie culture.

With his earnings and with help from his family, he attended Santa Barbara City College, which has a reputation for placing its graduates into the labor market. Mann earned an A in business management, for the first time showing an interest in academics, he said.

He also developed a passion for charities while he was a runaway, enhanced by an older sister who had died from a chronic lung disease.

“I am predisposed to charity,” he said.

His first start in a Washington business came when he was 19. Mann and a friend in Washington launched Marathon Delivery Service, a 15-employee messenger company that ran around the streets of the District, delivering packages by bicycle, motorcycle and car. They sold Marathon after three years, and Mann eventually ended up with Quick Messenger.

Even then, he showed assertiveness, negotiating a deal based on how many customers he could bring in. He became a star salesman, earning more than $100,000 a year while still in his early 20s. After he left, the company continued to pay him commissions for three years, which Mann used as a sabbatical to figure out his next move.

“I spent a huge amount of hours at the library, reading business magazines and books . . . studying, studying, studying. I was studying which businesses to go into.”

His heart was set on launching a chain of vegetarian restaurants, but his research told him it was too risky.

Instead, he went with technology. That eventually led to Internet Interstate, an Internet service provider that morphed into a maker of Web pages. After selling the company in 1998, he had a couple of million dollars and a bunch of domain names —,, — as part of the Web-building business.

“I didn’t know how valuable they were,” he said.

Then a guy called up and offered him $25,000 for


Mann hired a technologist and told him to create a software tool that made it easy to find highly recognizable domain names. They called the software tool NameFind, and it works like this:

People type keywords into NameFind, which “spins” the keyword, suggesting similar domain names. For example, type in “Tom” and NameFind may throw out,,,, and so on.

NameFind with tell the user whether the name is available for registration or whether someone already owns it and how to buy it.

Mann incorporated NameFind into a company he called, which he sold in 2005 for $80 million to some venture capital firms.

He made several investments and wrote “Make Millions and Make Change,” a book that contains his business and philanthropic philosophies. He also started a bunch of businesses, some of which have worked and some of which failed.

I asked him if he had any advice for other entrepreneurs.

“Don’t sleep,” he said. “Follow your passion. You can sleep when you are dead.”

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"Cartier" at the Denver Art Museum, a shiny show with shrewd branding

November 16, 2014 Posted by admin

The Denver Art Museum offered a preview of its newest exhibition quot;Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Centuryquot; on Thursday, Nov. 13, 2014. It features

The Denver Art Museum’s “Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century” is a boon for local museum goers who are getting a rare chance to see a sparkling array of jewelry, unsurpassed in craftsmanship and historical significance, and undoubtedly worth tens of millions of dollars.

But, make no mistake, there’s a bonus in it for Cartier, too, which stars in the kind of commercial money can’t buy. The exhibit focuses on Cartier’s success in years past, but the company is still very much in business and happy to sell today’s wealthy clients the same sort of shimmering necklaces, rings and watches lit to perfection in DAM’s glass boxes.

This Cartier necklace was worn by the Duchess of Windsor and is part of the Denver Art Museums newest exhibition quot;Brilliant: Cartier in the

In case anyone forgets the fact, a giant billboard hovers just a few blocks south of the museum on Lincoln Street, reminding all that Cartier’s wares are available at Hyde Park Jewelers in nearby Cherry Creek.

“I am confident that the people of Denver will enjoy “Brilliant” and that it will reveal to them the diversity, but also the permanence, of the Cartier style,” says Pierre Rainero, who oversees the company’s 1,500-piece heritage collection in Paris, where the bulk of DAM’s objects come from.

His coy tone, touting the enduring place of the maison in history as well as the marketplace, underscores the delicate dance museums do with large corporations as they increasingly stage exhibits devoted to the work of single commercial entities. DAM did a similar show in 2012 featuring fashions from Yves Saint Laurent, but it’s very much part of a wave, from New York to Beijing, that’s showcased everything from Armani suits to Fabergé eggs.

Is the work museum quality? You could argue so. Do audiences love it? The shows, are by and large, blockbusters, bringing museums new faces and high revenues.

Still, they are suspect by their nature because they usually involve a high degree of cooperation between the corporation and the museum. In DAM’s case, Cartier is not a financial sponsor, but it has fully enabled the effort by collecting its own works, assisting with research and installation and making available for loan the pieces it wants the public to see.

“Nothing in the exhibit is for sale,” says DAM’s Executive Director Christoph Heinrich, who makes assurances that curators worked independently from salespeople, chose the specific objects themselves, and did the scholarly research that makes the exhibit resonate beyond its shimmering diamonds and rubies.

Pierre Rainero, the image, style, and heritage director for Cartier International, talked about the Denver Art Museums newest exhibition

He places the effort fairly within DAM’s mission of showing “how human creativity goes into other areas” beyond painting and sculpture. Indeed most of DAM’s art collections, from Oceanic to American Indian, include some form of jewelry. Cartier isn’t so out of place in the building.

At the same time, no one denies that museum exhibits are the ultimate in product branding. Every painter and sculptor craves a turn to show in the same, sacred rooms as Monet, Renoir, Rodin, Degas and van Gogh. They secure reputations and elevate the price of the goods for both the dead and the living.

Cartiers quot;Pendantquot; from 1913 features a 478-carat sapphire and is on view as part of the Denver Art Museums newest exhibition

A shimmering show

“Brilliant” is a good example of how museums work extra hard to infuse credibility into their flashier exhibits, offering a scholarly take on the jewelry and focusing on its social role in the recent past.

The story starts in the early 1900s when Cartier adorned the titled classes from across Europe, selling well-crafted wares made of diamonds and gold and based on neoclassic designs. Cases gleam with tiaras, chokers, brooches and baubles of every kind.

The exhibit moves forward through time, using its watches and pendants, to explain how Cartier’s style shifted with the rapidly changing tastes and habits of the century, taking influences from India, Africa and Asia. The exhibit, along with its exhaustive 270-page catalogue, offers a clear sense of the rise of the American industrial tycoons and the fall of Imperial Russia.

Times, and custom moved it forward into the Art Deco age where geometric patterns in sapphires, emeralds and coral brought Cartier into the modern era, as it continued to expand into accessories, like handbags, clocks and cases.

Cartier’s goods have been featured in museums across the globe, but DAM curator Margaret Young-Sánchez makes the show her own by including a section on pieces for men, everything from cuff links to whisky flasks, and by documenting the popular rise of smoking by importing cigarette holders and ashtrays. Many of these objects, in particular, Rainero said, have never been shown in public exhibitions.

The display, put together by Paris designer Nathalie Crinière and featuring the same dark rooms and brightly lit objects she created for the Saint Laurent show, is enhanced with film clips and work sketches and a deep take on process explaining how cutters, setters and polishers all do their part.

It wraps with a section called “Icons of Style,” with five glass cases featuring necklaces, rings and pins associated 20th century mainstays Princess Grace of Monaco, actress Elizabeth Taylor, the Duchess of Windsor, socialite Daisy Fellowes and Mexican movie star María Félix.

Credibility insurance

The icons, with their alluring photos, make it easy to see how Cartier reflected and influenced style, but they also serve, less tastefully, as unauthorized celebrity endorsements for the company. The show is big on context, but also glamour, as Rainero points out.

His official title — Image, Style and Heritage Director — reflects a similar mix of objectives and gets at the company’s careful way of blending marketing with a well-deserved respect for its place in history. Cartier began seriously collecting its own work 20 years ago, buying back pieces from estates and at auctions. It now has finely honed holdings of about 1,500 objects and keeps an archive of data on Cartier’s mentions in literature, public events and movies.

It doesn’t show the materials itself but makes them available to museums, such as DAM, who came calling four years ago, before its success with Yves Saint Laurent. Young-Sánchez spent countless hours researching trends and looking at collections. In the end, she borrowed 200 pieces from Cartier and widened the exhibit by adding 50 more objects borrowed mostly from private owners.

Expanding the exhibit beyond Cartier’s loans adds to DAM’s desire to show independence from the company and that is enhanced by Young-Sánchez’ own essays in the show’s catalogue. They are meticulous and real evidence that she had the qualifications to make the choices she did.

But showing such evidence is wholly necessary for museums, which push their own boundaries presenting work with strong commercial ties. Young-Sanchez is actually the museum’s curator of pre-Columbian art. She had some knowledge of gold used in antiquities but knew little of contemporary jewelry at the outset of her task.

Museums are also caught in the bind of needing to promote such shows without sounding like they are endorsing the products on display. Blockbusters, with their accompanying needs for extravagant staging and high-security, are expensive to produce.

DAM surely hopes to draw more than the 400,000 visitors that came during its recent “Passport to Paris.” That gives it little choice but to put out marketing materials that call the objects “stunning” and “precious” and label the company “one of the world’s most prestigious names in jewelry and luxurious accessories.”

In the end it has to rely on its long-term reputation and hope that is not damaged if things come off as crass. It’s not by accident that DAM is also showing the traveling exhibit, “Matisse Friends,” one floor down, another balancing act that heightens it credibility.

Will DAM’s fan forgive the commercial aspects and just enjoy the jewelry? So far, so good. Tickets have already sold out for several of the time-stamped viewing opportunities during opening week.

Brilliant: Cartier in the 20th Century: The Denver Art Museum presents an exhibit of jewelry produced by the French company from 1900-1975. Nov. 16 through March 15. Adults $25; $15 for members. Tickets and info: 720-913-0130 or

Ray Mark Rinaldi: 303-954-1540, or

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Jewelry Loans at Kluh Jewelers: A Safe Alternative to Pawn

November 15, 2014 Posted by admin



Submitted by L. Jeanette Strole Parks for Kluh Jewelers

Matt Kluh, owner of the Lacey location

Matt Kluh, owner of the Lacey location

The Reality TV world has made much of pawn shops lately, and while there are better and worse pawn shops, another proposition for local residents is to do a jewelry-collateral loan at Lacey’s Kluh Jewelers. Located in the Kohl’s and Target Plaza on Sleater-Kinney, Kluh Jewelers will happily assist you in getting maximum value for your valuable items, whether you opt to outright sell the jewelry, or just do a temporary loan.

So what is the difference between a pawn shop and a jewelry loan? “Kluh Jewelers specializes as a jewelry pawn shop and handles personal cash loans for jewelry, diamonds, Rolex watches, gold, silver flatware, or solid gold coins used as collateral. We are a licensed pawnbroker and members of the Washington Pawnbrokers Association.”

In other words, when you sign up for a loan contract with Kluh, you retain ownership until you pay off the loan, at which point you can claim your jewelry.  Getting a loan at a reputable store means you will have a pleasant and trustworthy experience with trained jewelry professionals, versus with a pawn shop  also filled with lawnmowers, stereos and rifles.  You can rest assured that Kluh will give you a good price for your aunt’s cameo brooch.

“You are merely leaving it with us as collateral in case you fail to pay for the loan in accordance with the terms of the loan agreement.” Using state of the art technology they can evaluate the quality of metals, gems, and carat or gram weight of stones and metals and pay you a fair market value right on the spot.  Your jewelry will be cleaned free of charge upon pick up.

As you can imagine, this is considerably safer than mailing off your jewelry to an unknown destination, hoping that they won’t keep your items, and stiff you on the fair value. In addition to that, the jewelry is not harmed in any way, whereas many other places will melt your gold and silver down to weigh it and check for purity, and then you no longer have an option to change your mind. As far as the interest rates go on a jewelry-collateral loan, a $100 loan has an interest rate of 3%. This is much cheaper then a what disruption in utility services may cost.

The advantage to doing a jewelry-collateral loan is that there is no credit-check involved and you can quickly get money and have the option to come back to fetch your valuable items. The cost is less than a “pay-day loan” and cheaper than service charges or late fees on bills that you might be struggling to pay.

Of course, you also have the option to sell the items outright, or get a second opinion about the value of your item if you have already received an offer from a competing jewelry store.

The following is a condensed list of what Kluh Jewelers will buy from walk-in customers:

Photo by Alaina Lynn Photography

Photo by Alaina Lynn Photography

  • Gold and platinum,
  • Diamond jewelry,
  • Gemstone jewelry (sapphire, emerald, ruby and tanzanite)
  • Designer jewelry such as Cartier, and Tiffany and Co.
  • Gold watches
  • Solid-gold coins
  • Antique and estate jewelry
  • Silver tea sets, flatware, hollow ware, and serving pieces.

If you have any questions, stop in and ask. Kluh Jeweler’s customer service is most agreeable, professional and helpful.

So, the next time you feel a little strapped for cash, consider what jewelry items might be laying around in your house that could float you through a lean month and take a trip to Kluh Jewelers in Lacey.


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PRECIOUS-Gold down on drop in oil prices, bright US outlook

November 14, 2014 Posted by admin

* Oil tumbles again, decreases need for inflation hedge

* U.S. jobs data dampens appeal of safe-haven gold

* World gold demand dips 3 pct as China buying slides – WGC

(Adds comment, byline; updates market activities; changes
dateline, adds NEW YORK)

By Frank Tang and Jan Harvey

NEW YORK/LONDON, Nov 13 (Reuters) – Gold fell on Thursday,
as another sharp pullback in crude oil prices and improving U.S.
jobs data decreased bullion’s appeal as a hedge, and continued
outflows from gold-backed ETFs suggested the precious metal is
susceptible to further losses.

Weighing heavily on the gold market was a nearly 4 percent
drop in oil prices after government data showed U.S. crude
stockpiles surged at the delivery point for crude futures. Oil
prices have slumped some 30 percent since Brent hit a June high
above $115 on fears of an oil glut.

Higher U.S. quits rate and new jobless claims remaining near
a 14-year low suggest the U.S. job market is moving toward full
health, undermining gold’s appeal as a hedge against economic

A sell-off since Oct. 31 has sent gold sliding below the key
technical level of $1,180 an ounce to a 4-1/2-year low of
$1,131.85, triggering demand for physical metal from
price-sensitive buyers.

“Physical buyers have responded positively to cheaper prices
despite continued liquidations from the gold-exchange traded
funds,” said James Steel, chief metal analyst at HSBC.

However, sharp outflows in gold exchange-traded funds
suggest the metal’s price could fall further, Steel said.

Spot gold was down 0.1 percent at $1,159.59 by 2:38
p.m. EST (1938 GMT).

U.S. COMEX gold futures for December delivery
outperformed spot, settling up $2.40 an ounce at $1,161.50.

The dollar was down 0.3 percent against the euro on
Thursday. The U.S. unit fell after New York Federal Reserve
President William Dudley said any premature tightening in
America’s monetary policy could hurt the economic recovery.

A run of relatively firm data had raised expectations that
U.S. rates will rise sooner rather than later, pressuring
non-yielding gold. That has already largely been priced into the
metal, analysts said.

Holdings in the world’s largest gold-backed exchange-traded
fund, SPDR Gold Shares, fell 1.8 tonnes to 722.67 tonnes
on Wednesday, the seventh straight day of declines.

Some support was offered by buying of physical gold in China
overnight, dealers said.

However, the World Gold Council reported on Thursday that
Chinese demand fell heavily in the third quarter, with jewelry
demand down 39 percent and bar and coin buying 30 percent lower.
That helped knock global demand 2 percent lower.

Silver fell 0.5 percent to $15.55 an ounce. Platinum
was down 0.8 percent at $1,187.70 an ounce and palladium
dropped 1 percent at $763.98 an ounce.

(Additional reporting by A. Ananthalakshmi in Singapore;
Editing by Michael Urquhart and Diane Craft)

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