Gold prices gain as euro strength pressures the dollar

Gold futures climbed on Thursday, poised to score a third straight session gain, as strength in the euro in the wake of the European Central Bank’s decision to leave its policy unchanged pressured the U.S. dollar.

The European Central Bank left its policy unchanged at minus 0.5% and its refinancing rate at 0%, while reaffirming it plans to leave rates at present or lower levels until inflation rises to converge with its target at 2%.

In a news conference, ECB President Christine Lagarde said the Governing Council “extensively” discussed the recent strength of the shared currency, but reiterated that the bank doesn’t target the exchange rate. A Bloomberg report, meanwhile, said that members of the council had agreed to not overreact to euro strength.

“The ECB has confirmed that there is no further need for additional help,” said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade, in a market update. “For traders, the ECB’s confidence in the Eurozone’s economy is a good thing and this is the reason that we have seen the EUR/USD moving higher.”

In Thursday trading, the euro

 traded at up 0.8% at $1.19, but that helped pull the ICE U.S. Dollar Index

 down by 0.5% to 92.802. A weaker dollar can provide support for assets priced in greenback, making them less expensive to overseas buyers.

December gold


was up $18.60, or 1%, at $1,973.50 an ounce, following gains in each of the last two sessions.

December silver


traded 54 cents, or 2%, higher at $27.62 an ounce after climbing 0.3% in the previous session.

In U.S. economic news Thursday, the number of American who applied for unemployment benefits through state and federal programs in the week ended Sept. 5 was unchanged at a seasonally adjusted 884,000, the Labor Department said. Still, continuing jobless claims, the number of people already receiving benefits rose by 93,000 to a seasonally adjusted 13.39 million in the seven days ended Aug. 29.

“The mixed bag of economic data confirms that there is gradual recovery for the U.S. economy,” said Aslam. “However, things are not improving and this is the reason that we are seeing improvement in the gold price. It is likely that the bottom is in for the gold price and it is likely to continue to move higher.”

Other metals traded on Comex also moved higher Thursday. December copper

traded at $3.0545 a pound, up 0.1%. October platinum

 added 2% to $943.50 an ounce and December palladium

 climbed 1% to $2,342 an ounce.

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Teranga Gold: SMGC Is A Game-Changer For This Mid-Tier Producer (OTCMKTS:TGCDF)

The Q2 Earnings Season for the Gold Miners Index (GDX) has finally come to an end and one of the last companies to report its results was Teranga Gold (OTCQX:TGCDF). While the majority of the sector was busy revising guidance lower and struggling with impacted operations, Teranga Gold has had an incredible start to FY2020. Not only has the company seen a better-than-expected ramp-up at its newest Wahgnion Mine, but also Sabodala is set to be transformed by being combined with the Massawa acquisition. Based on the company’s organic growth potential as Sabodala-Massawa Gold Complex [SMGC] ramps up and the potential for added production long term from the Golden Hill, I have moved the stock up to rank #3 among African gold producers. Therefore, I would view any pullbacks below C$12.60 as low-risk buying opportunities.

(Source: Company Presentation)

Teranga Gold released its Q2 results in mid-August and reported quarterly gold production of 89,000 ounces, up 40% from the year-ago period. The significant increase in production year over year was attributed to the company’s newest Wahgnion Mine moving to commercial production in Q4, offset by a weaker quarter at Sabodala due to lower head grades. This solid performance helped Teranga to generate record revenue of $164.2 million, up 96% year over year. This is one of the strongest revenue growth rates in the sector for large gold producers, only slightly behind Kirkland Lake Gold’s (KL) 107% revenue growth due to the addition of Detour Lake. However, the quarter’s biggest news was the SMGC economics, with expected average annual gold production of over 380,000 ounces. Let’s take a closer look at the quarter below:

(Source: Author’s Chart)

As we can see from the chart above, Teranga Gold has not been materially affected by the COVID-19 headwinds, with quarterly gold production down just over 2% sequentially, but mostly in line with the previous two quarters. The culprit for the slightly weaker performance was the company’s flagship Sabodala Mine where gold production was down 28% year over year due to both lower grades and slightly lower throughput. During the quarter, Sabodala processed ~1.05 million tonnes, a slight decrease from ~1.08 million tonnes processed in the previous quarter. However, head grades fell by 24% to 1.53 grams per tonne gold, while recovery rates also slipped 190 basis points. This led to a considerable drop in production to just 44,677 ounces, and we saw all-in sustaining costs climb over 20% to $976/oz due to the lower gold sales. The good news is that this soft quarter is not representative of what gold production will look like in the future.

(Source: Company Presentation, Management Discussion and Analysis)

For starters, mining in Q2 was slightly affected by fatigue management protocols, which resulted in lower hours worked. This was not helped by the fact that Teranga burned through the higher-grade Gora stockpiles. Meanwhile, as noted by Teranga, the company began mining Sofia in July and used some of its shovels and excavators in Q2 to help with constructing a haul road to Sofia. Therefore, we should see much higher grades going forward as Sofia is one of the highest-grade deposits at Massawa, and the most significant headwind to operations in Q2 was grades. In fact, milled head grades are expected to increase by over 80% in FY2021 based on the mine plan (~2.90 grams per tonne gold). Therefore, while some investors might be scratching their heads at a near $1.9 billion valuation for a ~ 400,000 ounce producer, it’s important to note that Sabodala’s production should increase 40% to 360,000 ounces with the integration of Massawa next year.

(Source: Company Website)

Moving over to Wahgnion, it was an exceptional second quarter since commercial production was announced with ~ 43,200 ounces produced, down just over 10% from the ~ 51,300 ounces produced in Q1 2020. While this might not look all that impressive on the surface, the mine saw record throughput of 911,000 tonnes in the quarter, and the weaker production was a direct result of lower head grades. Therefore, if not for the lower head grades (1.57 grams per tonne gold vs. 1.87 grams per tonne gold), this would have been a record quarter across the board for Wahgnion. As noted by Teranga, ore tonnes milled was 36% higher than expected in Q2 due to higher leach kinetics, which allowed for de-bottlenecking to aid with higher throughput rates. Meanwhile, a higher oxide to fresh blend being fed to the mill helped deliver the record throughput that’s well above nameplate capacity. Based on the solid operating metrics, the company has increased its guidance to 157,000 ounces at the midpoint for Wahgnion at all-in sustaining costs of $950/oz.

(Source: Author’s Chart)

If we take a closer look at the results in the chart above, we can see that while cost of sales came in at a new 2-year high in the quarter at $1,142/oz, this was more than offset by the higher average realized gold price of $1,697/oz. This massive 30% jump in the gold price year over year ($1,697/oz vs. $1,302/oz) helped Teranga deliver record sales margins of $555/oz, an increase of 94% year over year. The good news is that while the increased margins directly resulted from the higher gold price, we should see a tailwind from the cost of sales in FY2021. This is because Sabodala is the largest contributor to production, and all-in sustaining costs are expected to drop below $700/oz next year. Therefore, I would not be surprised to see the cost of sales margins increase another 20% over the next year with a high single-digit tailwind from costs, and another 7% tailwind from the gold price assuming the metal stays above $1,800/oz.

(Source: Author’s Chart)

Moving over to Teranga’s growth metrics, it was a massive quarter for the company as revenue hit a new all-time high of $164.2 million. As we can see in the chart above, revenue has been steadily increasing over the past two years, but the higher gold price and increased production were massive contributors in Q2. If we look ahead to Q3, we should see yet another record quarter given that the company had $36.3 million in unsold gold bullion inventory related to shipment timing, and is working with a record gold price in Q3. Therefore, it would not be surprising to see triple-digit revenue growth in Q3, given that the company is up against relatively easy year-over-year comps and is benefiting from gold held back in the previous quarter. Given that the sector’s average revenue growth rate is closer to 30%, these revenue growth rates for Teranga are outstanding.

(Source: Company Presentation)

Some investors might still be scratching their heads over the current valuation as we’ve got a Tier-3 jurisdiction gold producer trading at a $1.9 billion valuation with less than 390,000 ounces of annual gold production based on FY2020 guidance. While this is true, the above chart should explain the hefty premium here, as Teranga is undergoing a massive transformation on the back of its Massawa acquisition last year. As shown above, Teranga is set to grow from a ~ 385,000 ounce producer to a ~ 533,000 producer almost overnight, with a significant decrease in all-in sustaining costs due to both economies of scale at SMGC and much higher-grade Massawa ore. Therefore, while the investment thesis for Teranga was previously a solid one, but nothing extraordinary, it’s since improved massively. Based on this, I have moved Teranga up to the #3 rank among African gold producers, from a previous position of #5.

(Source: Company Presentation)

Given the significant transformation Teranga is undergoing and the potential for a third asset in Golden Hill, there’s a lot to like about the story currently. Typically, I would recommend selling out the majority of a position after a 100% advance in twelve months, but I see Teranga Gold as a Hold here, despite the 109% return year to date. Ultimately, the company’s long reserve life, organic growth profile, and industry-leading costs make it a special situation in the sector for those comfortable with Tier-3 gold producers. Based on the strong investment thesis here and the company’s ability to continue to over-deliver on guidance, I would view any pullbacks below C$12.60 as opportunities to add exposure.

Disclosure: I am/we are long GLD, KL. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: Disclaimer: Taylor Dart is not a Registered Investment Advisor or Financial Planner. This writing is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute an offer to sell, a solicitation to buy, or a recommendation regarding any securities transaction. The information contained in this writing should not be construed as financial or investment advice on any subject matter. Taylor Dart expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken based on any or all of the information on this writing.

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The U.S. Dollar Back On The Gold Standard? Never Happen

Recently, I’ve been reading about one of the “gold bugs'” favorite topics: the “gold standard.” I’ve even had a plethora of comments on some of my articles from followers and SA users that imply “the end is near, we’re headed back to the gold standard”. It will never happen. But that doesn’t mean I am not bullish on gold, I very much am.

My Favorite Gold Anecdote

To grasp the long-term value of gold as a preservation of wealth tool, an investor need only read this anecdote:

In the early 1900s, a man with a 1-ounce US gold coin with a face value of $20 could buy a very nice suit, shirt, belt, tie, and pair of shoes. Today, what could that $20 buy you – maybe the belt? Yet that 1 ounce of gold, currently worth $1,964, can still easily buy that man a very nice suit, shirt, belt, tie, and pair of shoes. The point is obvious: gold holds its value, and paper currencies do not. Gold is a tool for the preservation of wealth.

US Debt

I am certainly not in denial about the US’s massive debt load. In fact, I have mentioned it many times in my articles about gold. Indeed, deficits and the debt load were the main thesis of my article Gold: The Possibility Of A Trump-Induced Bull-Run right after the election back in 2016 (gold was under $1,200/oz at the time).

Let us not forget, the US was already running ~$1 trillion annual federal deficits before COVID-19 hit, after all, massive tax breaks for the super-rich and corporations don’t come for free. But, of course, COVID-19 has put the government US$ printing presses in high gear. According to, US public debt has risen 20% just over the past year:


As a result, and combined with the facts that:

  • the US still has widespread COVID-19 infection and community transmission rates
  • the US has an unemployment rate over 10%
  • the US has seen tens of thousands of small businesses close
  • polls show up to 40% of Americans wouldn’t take a COVID-19 vaccine if/when one was available.

means the currency printing presses are not likely to slow down any time soon.

“King Dollar”

These developments have led some, including myself, to wonder if the US$ could lose its status as the global reserve currency of choice (see Newmont: How To Profit From The Potential End Of “King Dollar”). Since that article was published, many others have wondered aloud about the possibility (see this Reuters article). As expected, we have seen the US$ dramatically weaken since the onset of the coronavirus and the lack of success in containing it:

Source: MarketWatch

Historically, global investors have embraced the US$ in times of crisis – and right after COVID-19 hit the US in March – that again was the case. But since then, the US$ has sold off 10.4% from its high and is now down 4.4% YTD.

Combined with Fed chair Powell’s recent speech indicating the Fed’s willingness to let inflation run above its historical 2% target before raising interest rates. Bottom line (again) is that US interest rates are likely to stay low for a long, long time. The good news: it makes the cost of issuing all that debt discussed previously much cheaper.

I was amazed to see gold sell off ~1% directly after the speech and was wondering if everyone heard the same words from Powell that I heard. It was irrational, as the next day proved when gold turned around and gained about 2%.

The Gold Standard

All of these developments have prodded the gold bugs to their favorite topic: bringing back the gold standard. Yet, there is no indication that the US – let alone the world – would, or even could, bring back the gold standard. Back in 2017, I wrote the Seeking Alpha article The Price of Gold If The US Was Still On The Gold Standard. Feel free to read the details of the calculation, but in short, the answer (at that time) was $5,228/ounce.

At the time, the US debt hadn’t yet crossed $20 trillion, and of course, the Fed balance sheet has greatly expanded as well. The point is that the magnitude of “the problem” is, in a word, huge. After all, it was France exchanging its US$ currency note for gold that was the final straw that forced Nixon to end international convertibility of the U.S. dollar to gold on August 15, 1971. Certainly, US gold reserves have not kept pace with the rapid debasement of the US$ since then, so if it was a “problem” in 1971, it is a much bigger problem today.

Yet some investors/historians want to revisit the empires of Rome and the UK and point out how debasement of those currencies led those powers losing their default status as the reserve currency of choice. They also draw parallels with the path the US empire is on today. No argument with me concerning history. That said, it doesn’t mean the US, let alone the world, will go back to the gold standard anytime soon. After all, the UK didn’t go to the gold standard after the pound lost its position as the world’s leading currency. In fact, no country is on the gold standard today, the last being Switzerland which left it two decades ago.

US$: The Global Reserve Currency of Choice

However, “the problem” hasn’t been all that bad (for the US$…) because it has greatly benefited from being the world’s reserve currency of choice (sometimes referred to as the “Exorbitant Privilege“). Here are three big advantages:

  • Being able to print the trillions and trillions of US$ denominated debt and finding global investors to buy it.
  • A tool for enabling the US to use a US$ denominated global banking system to pressure foreign countries – via sanctions or otherwise – to act according to US foreign policy.
  • Being able to run massive trade deficits.

It also hasn’t been “all bad” from the standpoint that millions of people around the planet have been lifted out of poverty during the reign of the US$ (including hundreds of millions in China), opening up big markets for US products and services at the same time.

That said, many foreign countries that do not enjoy these privileges, and/or find themselves suffering as a result of them, would like to see a change and resent the massive debt the US has been able to rack up. As Axios currently reported, there’s been a big change in US$ denominated trade between China and Russia, with the euro taking over:

Source: Axios

In addition, China and Russia also conduct energy trade between themselves in their native currencies. And as I reported, in 2017, China – now the world’s #1 oil importer and #2 oil consumer – developed a new gold-backed oil futures contract to specifically cut the US$ out of those deals.

Special Drawing Rights (“SDRs”)

Enter the “SDR” concept. Special Drawing Rights are supplementary foreign exchange reserve assets defined supported and maintained by the International Monetary Fund (“IMF”). SDRs were created in 1969 to supplement a shortfall of preferred foreign exchange reserves – namely the US$ and gold. SDRs (in XDR units) are a basket of five currencies:

There had been discussions to add gold and silver and perhaps other precious metals to the basket.

NOTE: Initially, its value was fixed at 1 XDR = 1 U.S. dollar (as equivalent to 0.888671 grams of fine gold), but this was abandoned in favor of a currency basket after the 1973 collapse of the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates.

So, it’s clear, at least to me, that global finance ministers and the IMF have been tussling with “the problem” for decades now, and the best “solution” they came up with was SDRs. That is likely to be the case in the future. And if the US loses its status as the world’s reserve currency, it is likely its % weighting in the SDR “basket” will fall. It is also likely that if China’s economy keeps growing, its weight in the basket will rise (one reason I have invested in the SPDR S&P China ETF (GXC)).

Any investor investing in gold simply for as a “hope and a dream” that the US, or the world in general, will return to the “gold standard” – that stopped working decades ago – will likely be disappointed in that opinion. But they will be happy because they likely hold gold, and that will, I have no doubt, continue to appreciate (especially in US$ terms). In fact, I think the popularity of Bitcoin is a sign that investors not only don’t believe a gold standard will return, they believe well-designed digital currencies are the future.

It’s Not An “Either/Or”

A person can believe that the US won’t go back to the gold standard (as I do) and still be bullish on gold (as I am). The two are not mutually exclusive. I am bullish on gold because, as an American, my savings and investments are predominately based on a currency that is being rapidly debased. As a result, I want to hedge that by buying gold and silver and miners and investments like the GXC ETF. I’ve allocated a specific amount in my portfolio as a “preservation of wealth” bucket in case of a big drop in the US$. That bucket has done very well over the years.

Newmont (NEM) is the only individual mining stock I own; the rest I own through the Fidelity Select Gold Portfolio (FSAGX). I like Newmont due to its tremendous free cash flow potential and a management team that has proven itself to be shareholder-friendly. As a result, I expect significant dividend growth over the coming years.

The chart below shows how nicely levered Newmont is to higher gold prices:

Source: August Presentation

This chart is a bit misleading, and so I underlined “5 Year Cumulative FCF” in red. Not sure why the company presents the bar graph like that – I think it is their way of telling shareholders they won’t be running out of gold producing assets any time soon. Perhaps, a better way to look at Newmont is by picking out the highlights of their Q2 EPS report:

  • Produced 1.3 million ounces of gold
  • Had an AISC = $1,097/oz (all-in-sustaining cost)
  • Had an average realized price for gold of $1,724
  • Generated $388 million of Free cash flow

Note that gold is currently $200/oz+ higher as compared to the Q2 average realized selling price. Also, note that $388 million in FCF equates to $0.48/share (based on 805 million fully diluted shares). The bodes well for near-term dividend growth, considering the Q2 dividend was only $0.25/share.

Summary & Conclusion

The US, whether its currency loses its status as the global reserve currency of choice or not, will not be going back to the gold standard. Neither will any other country on Earth, in my opinion. What is likely to happen is that SDRs will play a growing and more important role in global trade as the world moves away from the US$. I also predict the Chinese yuan will also play an increasingly larger role in the basket of currencies that comprise an SDR.

What can Americans do to preserve their wealth through such developments? Buy gold & silver bullion, but the GXC ETF, buy a mining stock like Newmont, or buy a gold miners fund like FSAGX. Good luck to you!

Disclosure: I am/we are long GXC, FSAGX, NEM. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

Additional disclosure: I am an engineer, not a CFA. The information and data presented in this article were obtained from company documents and/or sources believed to be reliable, but have not been independently verified. Therefore, the author cannot guarantee their accuracy. Please do your own research and contact a qualified investment advisor. I am not responsible for the investment decisions you make.

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Gold prices inch higher, but aims for first monthly loss in 6 months

Gold futures inched higher on Monday as the U.S. dollar weakened slightly, but prices still looked to end lower for the month, in the wake of five consecutive monthly gains.

Overall, bullion continues to be viewed as a haven in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the precious metal drew increased attention last week after the Federal Reserve said it is shifting to a policy of average inflation targeting which would effectively see policy makers end the practice of pre-emptively hiking interest rates to stave off inflation. That setup is viewed as a bullish one for gold, which is viewed as a hedge against rising inflation.

Read:Fed’s Clarida says new inflation-fighting strategy has roots in failure of old approach

Expectations for a low-rate regime in the U.S., and in much of the developed world, and softness in the U.S. dollar also has boosted appetite for gold, experts say.

“Gold will continue to be one of the best beneficiaries of the dollar’s weakness so expect to see a retest above $2,000 in the upcoming weeks,” wrote Hussein Sayed, chief market strategist at FXTM, in a Monday note.

December gold


was up $6.20, or 0.3%, at $1,981.10 an ounce. Gold’s latest move comes as the U.S. dollar was off 0.3%, as measured by the ICE U.S. Dollar Index
a gauge of the buck against a half-dozen currencies.

The most-active December silver contract

meanwhile, added 52 cents, or 1.9%, at $28.31 an ounce.

Hope for some pickup in economic activity, amid optimism over potential coronavirus treatments, also has boosted appetite for silver, which is viewed as both an industrial and precious metal. China’s official gauge of business activity expanded faster in August, with the nonmanufacturing purchasing managers index rising to 55.2, compared with 54.2 in July.

For the month, gold was trading down about 0.3%, while silver surged roughly 16%, according to FactSet data.

Investors are “deferring to a slowing in the pace of growth improvement and U.S. election uncertainty coming into keen focus as the reason to own gold and remain short the dollar,” said Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at AxiCorp, in a market update.

“I suspect this week’s jobs data could be a lively affair,” he added. U.S. August nonfarm payrolls data are due Friday.

Among other metals traded on Comex, December copper

traded at $3.0475 a pound, up 1%, while October platinum

tacked on 0.2% to $942 an ounce and December palladium

added 2.5% to $2,286.90 an ounce.

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Pure Gold, Miner ETFs Add Luster to Portfolios in Uncertain Times By

© Reuters.

By Christiana Sciaudone — Gold has been hitting record highs recently. Are gold ETFs overdone?

Probably not, says Dan Weiskopf, a portfolio manager at Toroso Investments whose Twitter handle is @ETFProfessor. 

“We’re dealing in a world that has a lot of unknowns,” Weiskopf said in a phone interview. “Gold’s a good place for everyone’s portfolio.”

The U.S. dollar may fall apart, the world is printing money relentlessly. At some point inflation will be needed to pay it back — can protect investors from that issue.   

The question becomes how much and how do you play the metal, Weiskopf said. There are both pure play ETFs and gold miner ETFs to consider.

To the pure plays: SPDR Gold Shares (NYSE:) — the largest gold ETF in the world by assets at $77 billion and the largest commodities ETF trading in the U.S. — and SPDR Gold MiniShares (NYSE:) offer essentially the same product. GLDM has about $3.3 billion in assets, and the same sponsor. The difference is that each GLD share represents 1/10th of an ounce of gold to GLDM’s 1/100th of an ounce of gold. Additionally, GLDM’s annual expense ratio is 0.18% compared to GLD’s 0.4%. 

And that’s the key, said Todd Rosenbluth, head of ETF & mutual fund research at CFRA.

“GLD is the heavyweight, it’s where institutional investors have long gone to put money to work but there are cheaper alternatives,” Rosenbluth said in a phone interview last week.

He points not only to GLDM, but also to GraniteShares Gold Trust (NYSE:) — BAR, where the expense is about half and the exposure is the same.  

“For a retail investor who is unlikely to be trading in size, GLDM, BAR and others like it are extremely appropriate ways of getting exposure to gold,” Rosenbluth said. 

When it comes to miners, Rosenbluth likes VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSE:) — GDX, which includes Newmont Goldcorp Corp (NYSE:), Franco-Nevada Corporation (NYSE:), and Wheaton Precious Metals (NYSE:). 

“We think that fundamentals for these companies look positive,” Rosenbluth said.  

VanEck Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (NYSE:) is a similar bet, but on smaller cap companies. 

Rosenbluth points out that pure gold ETFs have less potential upside and downside than stock-based ETFs. For example, GLD is up 25% over the past year, while GDX rose 35% and GDXJ increased 37%.   



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