Euro Pressured by European Crisis
By JAVIER E. DAVID And TANIA CHEN
Renewed concerns about Europe's ability to avert financial disaster pressured the euro, momentarily eclipsing the stormy U.S. debt-ceiling debate as investors mulled whether the euro-zone crisis could take a turn for the worse.
Barely a week after a landmark European Union summit struck an accord to rescue financially distressed Greece, investors have yet to be fully mollified.
Even in the face of widening pessimism about the U.S.'s ability to overcome the political stalemate and raise its $14.3 trillion debt ceiling by early next week, the euro fell for the second-consecutive session.
Analysts have nervously eyed the yields on Italian and Spanish government debt—the euro zone's third- and fourth-largest economies, respectively—as proxies of the market's growing concern that Europe can successfully manage the possibility of Greece's debt woes leapfrogging to Spain and Italy.
Italian government bond yields rose further Thursday after the Treasury held a long-term bond auction. Ten-year yields rose to 5.82% from 5.68%, and even two-year debt yields rose to 4.20%, well above the 3.5% interest rate that EU leaders promised the Greek government.
"The Italian auction did not go as well as expected and spreads are creeping higher," noted Brian Kim, currency strategist at RBS Securities. "As time goes by, people are getting a bit more skeptical" about the Greek rescue package. "You still need to see the details behind it all."
Late Thursday, the euro was at $1.4331, from $1.4369 late Wednesday. The dollar was at ¥77.72 from ¥77.99. The pound was at $1.6373 from $1.6331. The dollar was at 0.8010 Swiss franc from 0.8017 franc.
The ICE Dollar Index, which tracks the U.S. dollar against a basket of currencies, was at 74.117 from about 74.087.
In the meantime, today's dollar trading was choppy and range-bound, with the greenback rising against the euro but falling against the yen. Market watchers were waiting for the results of a congressional vote on a possible debt agreement.
The uncertainty that hangs over the market continues to contain the dollar's gains, as U.S. lawmakers are still at a loss to reach agreement on the debt ceiling. This has undermined risk sentiment, which helped drive stocks and other risk-correlated assets lower as investors fear either a default or a downgrade of the U.S.'s coveted triple-A credit rating—or both.
In a measure of how the debt-ceiling debate has undermined confidence in the dollar, risk-related currencies—which normally fall during periods of global turmoil—have surged for a lack of investors willing to hold the greenback.
Analysts say neither of the scenarios looks favorable in the long term. "The U.S. is just going to have to muddle through its own fiscal crisis," says Mark McCormick, currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman. He added that the likelihood of the U.S. going into default was still unlikely, but few are holding out hope for a perfect agreement as the Aug. 2 deadline approaches.
George Maniere: Most investors believe that the reason silver is about 50 times cheaper than gold is because it’s a more abundant resource. It’s a simple example of the law of supply and demand. Having done some study on this I was amazed to find that this is simply not true. The amount of available silver is far less than the amount of available gold. I believe that the divergence in the price between an ounce of gold (
NYSE:GLD) and an ounce of silver will be closing and soon.
This is a fact that is overlooked by the many seasoned silver investors. While global silver mining has increased significantly over the past two decades and silver output has more than doubled since the early 1990’s, the global demand for silver is outpacing the global supply. In fact according to a report from the CPM group, a commodities research and asset management team, global silver production has been unable to meet global demand for more than fifteen years. The world’s silver mines are simply not producing enough silver to meet demand. [more reading: $60 Silver: How Investors Should Play This Silver ETF Trade]
For those of you that read me on a regular basis know that I have been a gold and silver bug since I was a child and my Grandma used to teach my brother and I about coin collecting. Back then it was a hobby. You also know that I have written on more than one occasion that I have more than my fair share of physical gold and silver. I have also written about the logistical problems of holding physical. Storage and safety are two issues that come to mind immediately. One of my readers wrote to me that if I have physical gold and silver I also better have a gun and be prepared to use it. He signed off “I remain long Gold, Silver and Lead!”
In 2010 the global demand for silver exceeded 1.05 billion ounces while the global mining only produced 700 million ounces. That begs the question, where is the surplus coming from? The answer is that over the last two generations major government stockpiles of silver have been sold off to supply the shortfall. The United States government alone has supplied nearly 5 billion ounces of silver into the market since World War II. [more reading: Gold & Silver ETFs: Buy High and Sell Higher]
While silver is 17.5 times more abundant in the Earth’s crust than gold the amount of above the ground gold far exceeds the amount of silver. This is because silver has industrial uses. Products like CD’s, cell phone batteries, calculators, printed circuit boards, hearing aids, electronic switches, TV screens, catalytic convertors, inks, computer monitors and thousands of other products use silver in their production. There are new technologies every day that use silver.
What do we do with these products when they have out lived their usefulness? We throw them away. That is because it is so labor intensive to reclaim the silver, it ends up garbage dumps. Indeed, I predict that garbage dumps will be a source of silver in the future. So while gold is produced but silver is consumed. Even though gold is highly desired, silver is needed. Add to this that the middle class man would rather own 40 ounces of silver than one ounce of gold and you can see why I believe the divergence in price between gold and silver will not last long. I’m not saying that it will be one for one but a ratio of 15 to 1 seems more like a realistic possibility in the near future. [more reading: Silver ETF Investors May Need To Be Patient For The Next Payoff]
OK. I have a nice position in physical and I want to use
ETF’s to buy my positions to take advantage of these parabolic runs we have experienced. I have decided to use two silver ETF’s. The Sprott Physical Silver Trust (NYSE:PSLV) and Proshares Ultra Silver ETF (NYSE:AGQ). I have shied away from using the iShares Silver ETF (NYSE:SLV) because there is ample evidence that if SLV was ever asked to produce the underlying asset it would not be able to do so. Add to this that a look at the chart below will show in the last run up PSLV actually outperformed SLV. I conclude that this is because they do hold the physical silver.
I also have done a lot of study about ProShares Ultra Silver ETF (NYSE:AGQ). This ETF makes no bone about the fact that they don’t hold silver. What you are buying are futures contracts that are leveraged 2 to 1. It is not a trade for the faint of heart. Yesterday while Nero fiddled and the market sold off for the second day I was watching AGQ and I knew that today it would bounce. I bought 10,000 shares at $174.92 at 2PM on Tuesday and prayed. I innately knew that gold would make a big move today and whatever happened in the market gold would carry silver with it. For safety I had a tight stop under it so I knew if it went badly I would be out without too much pain. See the Chart from today below.
In the pre-markets I saw that AGQ was going to open at 183.00 so I knew things would go my way. And boy did it! At 11:27 AM on Wednesday I sold all 10,000 shares at $198.88. That’s a realized profit of 23% in I day! I do want to stress that while it worked remarkably well today this is a stock that is used for day trading. I want to stress that as I have already written this holding is not for the faint of heart. If this holding goes the wrong way you get wiped out in a heartbeat.
In conclusion, I will continue to build my position in PSLV on any weakness and when the opportunity arises and I am sure as sure can be I will float like a butterfly and sting like a bee with AGQ.
Related ETFs: ProShares Ultra Silver (NYSE:AGQ), ProShares UltraShort Silver (NYSE:ZSL), iShares Silver Trust (NYSE:SLV), SPDR Gold ETF (NYSE:GLD), Sprott Physical Silver Trust ETF (NYSE:PSLV).
In 2004, after retiring from a very successful building career, I became determined to learn all I could about the stock market. In 2009, I knew the market was seriously oversold and committed a serious amount of capital to the market. Needless to say things went quite nicely but I always remebered 2 important things. Hubris equals failure and the market can remain illogical longer than you can remain solvent. Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.