The price of gold increased almost $17 to the range of $1,677.40 per troy ounce, potentially extending its highest one-week gain in six weeks. The Eurozone debt crisis is a major reason for this volatility, which is being demonstrated in the risk appetite of traders and investors. Overall, spot market gold prices have appreciated by about three percent this week. This week saw mixed results in an Italian bond auction, with Spanish bond yields reaching nearly six percent, a level perceived to be unsustainable for the government to service its debt. Spain announced more austerity measures, and the head of the central bank warned that the country's commercial banks will need more capital if the economy deteriorates further. According to Kitco, the gold to silver ratio rose to around 51.7, an increase from a week ago that highlights the outperformance of gold. The ratio is a benchmark for traders and investors, and compares the number of troy ounces of silver needed to obtain one troy ounce of gold. For investors, a major driver of gold prices over the next few days could be the anticipated release of the US Consumer Price Index (CPI). This month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is making significant changes to the format of the index. Charts will be restructured to focus on three broad categories: Food, Energy, and All Items Less Food and Energy. According to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey, the CPI climbed 0.3 percent last month after gaining 0.4 percent in February. A disappointing result in the data could stimulate increased pressure on gold prices in anticipation of a change in policy from the Federal Reserve. A stronger than expected number could result in a contraction for gold prices. Company newsAngloGold Ashanti Ltd. (NYSE: AU) missed its output target, producing about 980,000 ounces of gold in the first quarter. Production was constrained by overall safety stoppages as well as unforeseen repairs at the main shaft of the Obuasi mine in Ghana. Safety stops cut 76,000 ounces, approximately the equivalent of $126 million at current prices. There will be a “consequential impact” on the cost of gold production for AngloGold, as it was previously expecting to produce gold at a cash cost of $820 to $835 per troy ounce. Five workers, including one injured in September, died after accidents at South African operations during the previous quarter, while one was killed in Argentina. Mining fatalities in South Africa declined to 123 last year from 127 in 2010, while injuries were reduced by 15 percent to 2,918. Junior company newsAvrupa Minerals Ltd. (TSXV: AVU) purchased the remaining ten percent interest in MAEPA. This agreement will put Avrupa in a better position to negotiate with its mineral property interests for potential Portuguese joint venture partners. Bravada Gold Corp. (TSXV: BVA) has significantly increased its resource estimate for its Wind Mountain property since its 2007 report. The company is expecting results from its preliminary economic assessment at the property over the next seven weeks and is expecting to follow with a technical report on SEDAR. Source Exploration Corp. (TSXV: SOP) filed a NI 43-101 technical report titled “Technical Report on the Capricho Au-Ag Property, Sinaloa State, Mexico” on SEDAR.
Securities Disclosure: I, Dave Brown, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.