Gold & Precious Metals

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.

Gold price shoots higher on US labor data disappointment

Gold prices advanced past the key $1,750 level on Thursday as investors sought haven after a new labor report pointed to an uneven recovery in the US jobs market.

Spot gold rose 1.7% to $1,757.38 per ounce by 11:55 a.m. EDT, its highest level in more than a week. US gold futures gained 2.1% to trade at $1,760.30 per ounce in New York.

Still, gold is on course for its biggest monthly loss since June, with precious metals pressured by the prospect of a pullback in stimulus measures by the Federal Reserve.

The latest labor data shows that applications for US state unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose for a third straight week, led by another surge in California. The dollar fell after the report, boosting bullion’s appeal for investors holding foreign currencies…read more.

Is gold ready to run higher?

The gold market continues to see lackluster demand even as the price holds support above $1,800 an ounce. However, one market strategist said that sentiment could start to shift to the bullish side once again before the end of the month.

In an interview with Kitco News, Robert Minter, director of investment strategy at Aberdeen Standard Investments, said that it will soon be clear that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the growing threat of the Delta Variant will continue to weigh on the U.S. labor market, which is a critical element to the Federal Reserve’s plan to reduce its monthly bond purchases.

He added that any delay in the Fed’s much-anticipated plan will be positive for gold prices. He said that another component of the labor market is if workers are still unemployed, the U.S. government could be forced to launch a new stimulus package…read more.

Visualizing the Critical Metals in a Smartphone

In an increasingly connected world, smartphones have become an inseparable part of our lives.

Over 60% of the world’s population owns a mobile phone and smartphone adoption continues to rise in developing countries around the world.

While each brand has its own mix of components, whether it’s a Samsung or an iPhone, most smartphones can carry roughly 80% of the stable elements on the periodic table.

But some of the vital metals to build these devices are considered at risk due to geological scarcity, geopolitical issues, and other factors…read more.