Gold & Precious Metals

Irish Central Bank Raises Gold Reserves By 33%, Worried About Inflation

Recently the Central Bank of Ireland joined the ranks of sovereign gold buyers, adding 2 tonnes of gold to its monetary gold reserves in 2 months, consisting of a tonne of gold bought in each of September and October 2021.

While in relative terms, the actual quantity of gold added by the Irish central bank was quite small, in percentage terms it was very substantial, since in August Ireland only held 6 tonnes of gold (supposedly held at the Bank of England), and as of the end of October Ireland now holds 8 tonnes of gold, i.e. a 33% increase (and a significant number for those in the know).

For example, during October 2021, while three of the four largest sovereign buyers of gold in the world were the notable gold aficionados namely Kazakhstan (6 tonnes), India (3.8 tonnes), and Russia (3 tonnes), the fourth, was Ireland (1 tonne), not what you would expect…read more.

 

China Creates New State-Owned Mining Giant To Tighten Control Of Rare Earth Supplies

Now that aggressive foreign policy toward China has attracted bipartisan consensus, evidenced by the fact that President Biden has opted to keep certain tariffs imposed by the Trump Administration in place, Beijing is looking for new ways to squeeze Washington. For years now, we have been warning about the risk of China cutting off supplies of 17 rare earth metals critical for the production of tech gadgets.

Earlier this year, we reported that Beijing was keeping a rare-earth export ban in its “back pocket”. Now, it appears the CCP is moving to tighten state control over rare earth production so that they might more easily control who gets the metals.

Whereas rare earth metals were previously mined by six major Chinese firms, the CCP is merging assets from several state-owned firms to create China Rare Earth Group. The new mining giant will be based in resource-rich Jiangxi Province; it’s expected to allow Beijing more leverage over the supply, and by extension, the price, of these incredibly valuable commodities that are essential for the production of chips and other components used in high-tech products from computers to weapons systems.

China is believed to control up to 90% of global supplies of rare earth metals. Only a small number of rare earth mining operations exist outside China. As for where the rest are mined, the chart below offers some insight…read more.

Singapore piles into gold for the first since 2000

The central bank of Singapore increased its gold reserves by 20% this year, buying gold for the first time in two decades.

The gold purchase was made between May and June, totaling 26.35 metric tons, according to the data from the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s (MAS) International Reserves and Foreign Currency Liquidity report.

This boosted Singapore’s total gold reserves to a reported 153.76 tons.

The gold acquisition was only noticed when the data was included in the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) monthly update. According to the IMF numbers, this was the first increase in Singapore’s gold reserves since 2000.

It is unclear how much MAS, Singapore’s central bank, paid for the gold bullion. But according to Monday’s gold price, the acquisition would be worth around $1.5 billion.

The purchase was also highlighted by the World Gold Council’s senior analyst Krishan Gopaul, who tweeted last week: “Here’s something interesting in the latest IMF stats: The Monetary Authority of Singapore added 26t of #gold to its reserves over May and June 2021. This is its first gold purchase since at least 2000, and another instance of a developed market CB buying (along with Ireland).”

Singapore’s central bank chose not to advertise the significant increase in its gold holdings. And many analysts are trying to figure out why such a large acquisition went under the radar…read more.

Venezuelans Break Off Flakes of Gold to Pay for Meals and Haircuts

To fathom the magnitude of Venezuela’s financial collapse, travel southeast from Caracas, past the oil fields and over the Orinoco River, and head deep into the savanna that blankets one of the remotest corners of the country.

There, in the barber shops and restaurants and hotels that constitute the main strip of one dusty little outpost after another, you’ll find prices displayed in grams of gold.

A one-night stay at a hotel? That’ll be half a gram. Lunch for two at a Chinese restaurant? A quarter of a gram. A haircut? An eighth of a gram, please. Jorge Pena, 20, figured that eighth came to three small flakes — the equivalent of $5. After getting a trim one recent weekday in the town of Tumeremo, he handed them over to his barber, who, satisfied with Pena’s calculation, quickly pocketed them. “You can pay for everything with gold,” Pena says.

In the high-tech global economy of the 21st century, where tap-and-go transactions are the rage, this is about as low tech as it gets.

Most of the world moved on from gold as a medium of exchange over a century ago. Its resurfacing in Venezuela today is the most extreme manifestation of the repudiation of the local currency, the bolivar, that has swept the country. It’s been rendered almost worthless by hyperinflation. (Nicolas Maduro’s regime just lopped another six zeroes off it.)…read more.

All the Metals We Mined in One Visualization

Metals are all around us, from our phones and cars to our homes and office buildings.

While we often overlook the presence of these raw materials, they are an essential part of the modern economy. But obtaining these materials can be a complex process that involves mining, refining, and then converting them into usable forms.

So, how much metal gets mined in a year?

Metals vs Ores

Before digging into the numbers, it’s important that we distinguish between ores and metals.

Ores are naturally occurring rocks that contain metals and metal compounds. Metals are the valuable parts of ores that can be extracted by separating and removing the waste rock. As a result, ore production is typically much higher than the actual metal content of the ore. For example, miners produced 347 million tonnes of bauxite ore in 2019, but the actual aluminum metal content extracted from that was only 62.9 million tonnes.

Here are all the metals and metal ores mined in 2019, according to the British Geological Survey…read more.