PRECIOUS-Gold scales 2-week peak; palladium matches record high


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By Arpan Varghese

Photo by Pixabay on

Feb 15 – Gold jumped to a two-week high on Friday after weak U.S. economic data boosted expectations the U.S. Federal Reserve would hold pat on monetary tightening, while palladium matched an all-time high on a prolonged deficit.

Spot gold was up 0.4 percent at $1,317.36 an ounce at 12:47 p.m. EST (1747 GMT), having touched its highest since Feb. 1 at $1,319.81.

U.S. gold futures rose 0.5 percent to $1,320.60.

While gold is on track for a small weekly gain, it was rangebound for most of the week, with gains on Friday stemmed by a firmer dollar and a rebound in stocks.

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Thieves Mine Catalytic Converters for Metal More Valuable Than Gold

By David Hodari Feb. 10, 2019 8:00 a.m. ET

Soaring palladium prices are inspiring an unusual band of criminals: catalytic converter thieves.

The exhaust-control devices common in most cars contain the silvery white precious metal, whose prices have climbed more than 50% since mid-August. Palladium is now more expensive than gold.

A supply squeeze, stricter environmental standards and the increased demand for cleaner-burning gasoline engines—which require converters with more palladium—means demand for the metal both among auto makers and thieves is likely to remain high.

Police in Chicago say perpetrators, who harvest the devices and sell the scrap metal, have converter theft down to a fine art.

“What tends to happen is that in the middle of the night, a group of guys come by with a truck and a reciprocating saw. They cut out the converter, throw it in the truck and drive away,” said Howard Ludwig, public information officer at the Chicago Police Department.

“They’ll tend to hit several blocks in the same evening with at least one guy driving the [getaway] vehicle and one underneath the car.”

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The impact of the opioid epidemic on oral health


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Business News | yesterday | Thomas Biuso

Drug addiction and dental health

The opioid epidemic is affecting countless lives and communities across the country, including here in Arizona. In fact, opioids each day cause more than 130 overdose deaths in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC); and the economic cost exceeds $500 billion annually, according to a study from The Council of Economic Advisors.

Painkilling prescriptions are often necessary and useful for some medical conditions; however, these powerful drugs – such as oxycodone or codeine – come with a high risk of misuse and addiction. This is especially true for teens and young adults, in part because adolescent brains are not fully matured and are therefore more susceptible to the effects of opioids.

One potentially overlooked aspect of the opioid epidemic is the connection to oral health. In fact, oral health professionals write 12 percent of all opioid prescriptions, including 45 percent of opioidprescriptions for adolescents, according to a UnitedHealthcare analysis of claims data.

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, an opportunity to recognize the risks for young people – and provide a reminder for parents – about the connection between oral health and opioids. With that in mind, here is information for people to consider:

Wisdom Teeth: More than 5 million people had their wisdom teeth removed last year, mostly teens and young adults. While the decision to remove wisdom teeth should involve professional advice from a dentist or oral surgeon, patients and parents should also be aware of the risks associated with potential exposure to opioids following this procedure. For many young people, wisdom teeth extraction often represents their first exposure to opioids, and a recent study from Stanford University found that teens can end up in a battle with opioid additional following this procedure.

Limit Supply: Other than in extreme cases, it is important to limit prescriptions for the minimum appropriate dosage and number of days, which the CDC recommends at three days and fewer than 50 morphine milligram equivalents per day. This is because the likelihood for chronic opioid use increases after the third day of use and rises rapidly thereafter, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and misuse or dependence on opioids can lead to addiction to more powerful illicit drugs.

Alternative Pain Medications: If you or a loved one is prescribed an opioid following a dental procedure or another medical event, it is good to ask your health care professional if there are alternatives, including over-the-counter pain relievers such as a combination of acetaminophen and ibuprofen. In many cases, these medications can be equally effective in pain management, without the risk of addiction. 

Proper Disposal: Approximately 70 percent of misused opioid prescriptions were obtained, stolen or purchased from a friend or relative, according to the CDC. That’s why it is important to keep opioids in a safe place – like a locked cabinet – and always properly dispose of unused medications. That can include returning the drugs to your pharmacy, or mixing them with water and an unappealing substance, such as cat litter, and putting in the trash (if simply thrown in the trash, unused prescription drugs can be retrieved and misused).

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Director of Dental Hygiene offers tips to save on oral health for ‘WalletHub’

Talk with your Dentist about WalletHub

Marji Harmer-Beem, RDH, M.S., program director of UNE’s Department of Dental Hygiene, recently provided WalletHub with tips on dental health.

The personal finance website released an article on the states with the best and worst dental health. Wisconsin was ranked best, with Arkansas finishing last. Maine checked in at number 33.

Harmer-Beem was one of several experts called on to offer tips as a part of the article. She stated that beyond brushing and flossing, good food choices are also helpful to ensure good dental hygiene for children.

“Good diet and nutrition lead to overall health and good oral health by limiting or omitting sugary drinks such as soda and sugary snacks,” she explained. “In recent years there have been community campaigns to have healthier snacks and drinks available to school children. These initiatives help promote oral health, general health and curb childhood obesity.”

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Delta Dental encouraging a healthy smile throughout month


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February is Children’s Dental Health Month
Photo by Di Lewis on

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month — the perfect time to emphasize the importance of establishing good oral health habits at an early age to prevent tooth decay.

Although preventable, tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease, according to the U.S. Surgeon General. Tooth decay can develop any time after the first tooth comes in, starting around 6 months of age. Establishing good dental habits in early childhood is essential for preventing or lessening the impact of tooth decay while ensuring a lifetime of good oral health. This month, we encourage parents to help their kids develop healthy routines including visiting the dentist regularly, brushing their teeth twice a day and flossing once a day.

Precious Metals Decline On Steady Risk Appetite


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Risk appetite in equity and forex markets and positive US dollar in the broad market caused precious metals to decline in broad market.

Precious metals today saw sharp downside move as market scenario returned to normal following an eventful month. Given the fact that there is no major market altering events in the week ahead and the fact that market is set to see a week full of first tier macro data updates, investor sentiment is positive with plenty of risk appetite across all major global markets. Further US Dollar gained strength in the broad market following upbeat US NFP data and ISM Manufacturing PMI released last Friday. The dollar has retained its strength across Asian and early European market hours which also added to precious metal market bears.

Brent Crude Climbs Above $60 Per Barrel

Positive US dollar in broad market is always bearish for greenback denominated precious metals. A higher value of USD discourages participants from emerging markets owing to higher exchange rate which further reduces activity in the precious metals market. Risk appetite is currently very high in broad market as headlines last week hinted that China & U.S. managed to come to an agreement on many key issues which improved chances of a trade deal between two nations. As of writing this article, spot gold XAUUSD is trading at $1310.92 per ounce down by 0.51% on the day while US gold futures GCcv1 was trading at $1314.90 per ounce down by 0.54% on the day. Meanwhile, spot silver XAGUSD is trading at $15.75 per ounce down by 0.92% on the day.

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Newmont Set to Take Mining Crown — WSJ

01/15/19 02:47 AM EST

$10 billion deal for Goldcorp intensifies consolidation wave as gold supply dwindles

By Alistair MacDonald and Jacquie McNish 

This article is being republished as part of our daily reproduction of articles that also appeared in the U.S. print edition of The Wall Street Journal (January 15, 2019).

Newmont Mining Corp. agreed to buy rival Canadian gold producer Goldcorp Inc. in a $10 billion, all-stock deal, creating the world’s largest gold miner.

The deal intensifies a consolidation wave triggered in part by languishing prices and dwindling supplies of easy-to-find gold, and comes on the heels of another gold-mining blockbuster: Barrick Gold Corp.’s agreement in September to buy Randgold Resources for $6 billion in an all-share merger.

If Newmont consummates the Goldcorp deal, the new company, set to be based in Denver, will surpass Toronto-headquartered Barrick — its longtime rival — in production, a key industry metric. Newmont and Barrick have circled each other for years and had toyed with a combination of their own in 2014.

Newmont, the U.S.’s largest miner measured by market capitalization, said it would acquire each Goldcorp share for 0.328 of its own stock. That represents a 17% premium to the Canadian company’s 20-day volume weighted average share prices.

The depletion of high-grade global gold reserves, and the resulting increase in extraction costs, has pushed miners to seek cost efficiencies and to buy other companies’ to land their reserves.

Such moves have become more pressing because exploration for new reserves has slowed dramatically after gold prices fell following a boom that peaked in 2001.

Newmont and Goldcorp, though, said they have continued to invest in exploration as others have cut back.

“We are not having to scramble for growth. We have it inherent in our existing business,” David Garofalo, Goldcorp’s chief executive, said in an interview. The new company will be headed by Gary Goldberg, the CEO of Newmont, until he retires around the fourth quarter of 2019.

Goldcorp’s share price rose 7.12% Monday, while Newmont’s closed nearly 9% lower.

Newmont said the combined company’s assets will be mostly based in the Americas, with 75% of its resources there. Another 15% will be based in Australia, with 10% in Ghana. That is in contrast to Barrick, which bet big on more politically risky African assets in its deal with Randgold.

In recent years big miners of other metals have gravitated toward deposits in more stable territories. The Goldcorp assets are in better locations, said John Meyer, an analyst at SP Angel in London.

As part of its combination plan, Newmont said it would sell $1 billion to $1.5 billion in assets over the next two years, with the aim of eventually producing a “sustainable, steady-state level” of six to seven million troy ounces of gold a year, after those divestitures.

Newmont and Goldcorp produced a combined 7.9 million troy ounces in 2017, the most recent annual figures available. That production — at least for now — would cause the combined company to leapfrog past Barrick, which has struggled with declining output.

Barrick was the undisputed king of gold production until recently, but its output has fallen more than 25% since 2013, to 5.3 million troy ounces at the end of 2017 — about the same as Newmont. Its acquisition of Randgold added about 1.3 million troy ounces as of the end of 2017.

Newmont traces its roots to 1916. It was founded by William Boyce Thompson, who grew up in Montana but earned his wealth in New York. Goldcorp dates to just 1994.

Gold companies have long signaled a need to consolidate. Apart from giants like Newmont and Barrick, the sector is filled with many smaller miners, all fighting over investors’ dollars.

Gold prices, meanwhile, have languished. They are down about 30% from their 2011 peak. In recent years, they have traded flat, capped in particular by rising U.S. interest rates.

In times of slow but steadily rising rates — like today — many see the yellow metal less favorably, stacked up against ultrasafe securities, like U.S. Treasurys, whose yields are rising.

Miners have also had to contend recently with the depletion of easy-to-reach high-grade gold deposits in stable jurisdictions.

The struggle for fresh reserves is more challenging for gold producers than miners of some other, more plentiful metals. Gold is present in the Earth’s crust in much smaller quantities than many of the most commonly mined materials. All the gold ever mined from the earth could fit in a 60-foot cube.

Discoveries have tapered off. Just 215.5 million troy ounces of gold has been found in 41 discoveries in the 10 years to 2017, compared with 1,726 million troy ounces in 222 discoveries in the preceding 18 years, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. There were no discoveries made in 2017, according to S&P.

“Newmont was one of the few companies to focus on exploration during the last downturn,” said Mr. Goldberg, adding that the new company has 31 exploration sites.

Even in Nevada, where around three quarters of all U.S. gold production is based, discoveries have fallen swiftly. Nevada produced 5.6 million troy ounces of gold in 2017, well below the 1998 peak of 8.9 million troy ounces, according to John Muntean, an associate professor of mines and geology at the University of Nevada.

Goldcorp has been looking for a partner for at least several years, and had held talks with Australia’s Newcrest Mining Ltd. among others, according to people familiar with those discussions.

Mr. Garofalo declined to comment and Newcrest couldn’t be reached for comment.

Once a darling of the gold sector, Goldcorp’s share price has fallen around 75% from its 2011 peak.

Goldcorp’s poor performance has attracted more than one suitor in recent years. Barrick made takeover overtures about three years ago but was rebuffed, one person familiar with the matter said.

“Long-term Goldcorp investors may be disappointed, even with the 17% premium offered, as the company’s long promised (and long delayed) recovery was supposed to begin this year,” JPMorgan said in a research note.

Newmont, meanwhile, was close to merging with Barrick in 2014, during a period when gold prices were plummeting. That deal fell apart due to tensions between the two companies about their combined vision.

The recent mega-mergers could trigger additional deals as investors pressure gold miners to boost returns as they push into higher-risk regions to develop and operate new mines.

“There are too many players in an industry with shrinking opportunities, ” said Sean Boyd, CEO of Toronto-based Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd.

Write to Alistair MacDonald at and Jacquie McNish at

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 15, 2019 02:47 ET (07:47 GMT) Copyright (c) 2019 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

Asian Metal Market Update


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Big moves will be there in metals, energies and the US dollar Index only after the outcome of US-China trade talks are known. Till then, the consolidation phase will be there. Focus of the world in on a Chinese slowdown. Long term metal investors are on the sidelines as they expect slower and lower Chinese demand. If the trade talks succeed and all issues comes to an end once and for all, then also, the Chinese economic growth will not happen overnight. It will take at least another quarter to see actual higher and sustained growth.

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Gold slides after solid jobs data; palladium crosses key $1,300 mark

Photo by Michael Steinberg on

Gold prices fell on Friday, pulling back from a more than six-month peak hit earlier in the session, after stronger-than-expected U.S. jobs data, while palladium prices punched through the key $1,300 level for the first time.

Spot gold slipped 0.78 percent to $1,283.56 per ounce as of 2:00 p.m. ET, after dropping as much as 1.3 percent to $1,276.40.

The metal was however on track for a third straight weekly gain, up about 0.2 percent so far, mainly helped by recent strong gains. It touched its highest level since mid-June at $1,298.42 earlier in the day.

U.S. gold futures settled down $9.00 to $1,285.80 per ounce.

“Industrial commodities and currencies have rebounded therefore the precious metals which have been the safe haven such as gold, silver have retraced today,” said David Meger, director of metals trading at High Ridge Futures.

“That is exacerbated by a stronger-than-expected payrolls data.”

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Gold jumps from near two-week low after Powell says interest rates are ‘just below’ neutral

Gold jumped from near a two-week low on Wednesday after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said interest rates were “just below” neutral, soothing investor worries over the pace of rate hikes.

U.S. gold futures settled up $10.20, or 0.8 percent, at $1,223.60.

“Interest rates are still low by historical standards, and they remain just below the broad range of estimates of the level that would be neutral for the economy — that is, neither speeding up nor slowing down growth,” Powell told the Economic Club of New York.

Spot gold was up 0.7 percent at $1,222.45 per ounce after rising as much as 1 percent to $1,226.24.

“Assuming a hike next month and that 3% is the rate level the Fed wants to get to, then yes they are ‘just below’ where they want to be, at the modeled out ‘neutral rate’,” Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group, said in a note. “I think today’s comments take off the table for now the possibility of them wanting to get above the so called 3% neutral rate (assuming that’s what they think it is).”

Traders believed Powell was signaling there would be fewer rate hikes in 2019, which would theoretically boost the value of gold because it is seen as a hedge against inflation.

The dollar index rose to its highest since Nov 13. The currency has risen for previous three sessions, taking it near its year high of 97.69.

The dollar gained momentum after Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida on Tuesday backed further interest rate hikes, weighing on non-interest bearing bullion.

“The buzz word (in Powell’s speech) seems to be we are ‘just below’ neutral status regarding rate increases,” said Walter Pehowich, executive vice president of investment services at Dillon Gage Metals.

“So, with a December rate hike and one or two more in 2019 that should be enough to put the Fed where they want to be.”

Higher U.S. interest rates tend to boost the dollar, making gold more expensive for holders of other currencies. Higher rates also increase the opportunity cost of holding gold, which does not pay interest.

Investors will watch for the minutes from the Fed’s Nov. 7-8 meeting, due on Thursday, for clues to policy in 2019. The Fed has raised rates three times this year.

Later this week, U.S. President Donald Trump is likely to meet his Chinese counterpart on the sidelines of the G20 meeting to discuss trade. Bullion has largely lost out to the dollar as a safe haven asset this year as the U.S.-China trade war unfolded while U.S. interest rates rose.

“The market remains very tight. … Potential growth for supply is very limited and demand remains robust even though we’ve seen a decline in auto sales in China and a slowdown in car sales in the U.S.,” said Suki Cooper, precious metals analyst at Standard Chartered Bank.

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