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Gold, Silver Prices Free Fall on Dollar Rally, Margin Hikes

Harvey thinks the recent selloff doesn't represent a fundamental shift in the precious metal's market. Inflation is still rising worldwide with the U.K.'s reading at 4%, EU at 2.7%, U.S. at 2.1%, China at 5.4% and India at almost 9%.

High inflation and low rates equal negative real interest rates (the interest rate minus the inflation rate). Even with the European Central Bank's recent rate hike and and no increase at today's meeting, the real interest rate is still a negative 1.45%.

Investors flock to gold and silver in that kind of environment as their cash in the bank is worth less, making the metals a safe place to stash wealth. The ECB decision to leave rates at 1.25% was pressuring the euro and boosting the dollar, which was putting pressure on gold and silver. The U.S. dollar index was adding 1.42% to $74.15. Short dollar, long euro has been a recent popular trade, which could also be unwinding now and further explain this intense and violent selloff in dollar-backed commodities.

Some news that was overshadowed Wednesday was a report that the Bank of Mexico added 93 tons of gold to its reserve holdings recently following Russia and Bolivia, which bought gold in the first quarter.

There have been rumors that China, which officially owns 1,054 tons of gold, is looking to add more gold and the metal's 4% selloff from recent highs might be a good catalyst.

"The corrections over the past few days have taken some of the overbought froth out of the markets," said James Moore, research analyst at FastMarkets.com. "But with issues such as negative real-interest rates, eurozone debt concerns and MENA unrest still ongoing investors are still likely to view dips favorably with a test below $1500 in gold and $38 an ounce in silver likely to find fresh demand."

Harvey also believes that gold and silver will have to wait until Monday to get further direction. The London bullion market has had two shortened trading weeks, and with volume light it's hard to get a feel for how the bullion market will respond to gold and silver's volatile ride over the past two weeks.

"It's still the capital of the bullion market," said Harvey, "so we are not going to be able to call this until we see what is going on next week."

Bullion dealers like Nick Barisheff, CEO of Bullion Management Group, says he hasn't seen any panic selling from gold and silver buyers. He notes that sophisticated investors "bought puts to protect their positions" as it is too risky to dump bullion into the selloff, as the fundamental factors, as he sees them, haven't changed. "Once [the selloff is] over I think we will be continuing on same trajectory."

Gold mining stocks were tanking. Barrick Gold (ABX) was down 2.79% to $46.77 while Newmont Mining (NEM) was sinking to $54.71. Other gold stocks, Goldcorp (GG) and AngloGold Ashanti (AU), were trading at $48.50 and $45.53, respectively.

Goldcorp reported solid earnings Wednesday after the close making 50 cents a share on revenue of $1.2 billion, which was slightly light. The fast-growing gold miner produced 637,600 ounces of gold and sold 98% of it. Cash costs were $188 an ounce counting silver sales from its fully ramped up Penasquito mine and $504 on a stand alone basis, higher than the previous quarter.


More on Gold
Gold Price News
How to Invest in Gold

--Written by Alix Steel in New York.



>To contact the writer of this article, click here: Alix Steel.

>To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/adsteel.

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Disclosure: TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors and reporters from holding positions in any individual stocks.
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