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Japan “Will Now Print and Spend” Following LDP Election Win, “Low Trader Participation” Leaves Gold “Weak”

THE WHOLESALE gold bullion price rose to $1693 per ounce during Monday morning’s London trading, but remained slightly below where it ended last week following falls in Asia, where the Yen opened sharply lower against the Dollar before recovering some ground following the result of Japan’s general election.

“Gold is continuing to trade below the psychologically important threshold of $1700,” says a note from Commerzbank.

“There are signs that the current price weakness is not sustainable, however, and we envisage prices climbing significantly again in the medium term.”

Silver meantime hovered around $32.20 an ounce this morning, a few cents off Friday’s close, while stocks and commodities were little changed on the day.

“Participation is really low right now,” one Hong Kong trader told newswire Reuters this morning.

“It hasn’t been a very exciting year for most people and I don’t think they want to stick around for the last week and a half. People want to put away everything before starting on a totally clean slate in 2013.”

“For 2013 we expect principally similar supporting factors [for gold] as in 2012,” says a note from refiner Heraeus.

“Low interest rates, monetary policy measures by central banks, fear of inflation, purchases by central banks, recovered demand from India as well as increasing demand from China.”

Over in Japan, the Liberal Democratic Party won Sunday’s general election, gaining a so-called supermajority of two-thirds of the lower house of parliament, which will allow it to block decisions made by the upper house.

“The LDP’s landslide election victory gives it a virtually free hand in policy,” says Robert Feldman, head of Japan economic research at Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities.

“The macro[economic] stance will shift to ‘print and spend.'”

During the election campaign LDP leader Shinzo Abe, who will now become Japan’s prime minister for the second time, called on the central bank to adopt an “unlimited” Yen policy to fight deflation.

“It is very unusual for monetary policy to be a focus of attention in an election,” Abe said Monday following his victory.

“But there was strong public support for our calls to beat deflation…I hope the Bank of Japan takes that into account.”

BoJ policymakers meet on Wednesday and Thursday this week to discuss the latest monetary policy decision. Abe said that after he has formed his cabinet next week, his government will issue a joint statement with the BoJ which will include a 2% inflation target for the central bank – double the current target.

In Washington meantime, Republican House of Representatives speaker John Boehner has said he will consider raising tax rates for people earning more than $1 million a year. President Obama has said he wants the income threshold for higher taxes to be lower, at $250,000 a year.

Boehner has also offered to remove the subject of the debt ceiling from the debate for a year, according to US press reports Sunday.

The US government is expected to hit the current $16.4 trillion debt limit in early February next year. In August last year, ratings agency Standard & Poor’s stripped the US of its AAA credit rating after negotiations to raise the previous limit continued without agreement until the limit was hit.

The ongoing lack of agreement on the fiscal cliff “will likely leave investors somewhat at a loss as to what they can expect heading into the year-end,” says Edward Meir, precious metals analyst at brokerage INTL FCStone.

“At this stage of the game, we would welcome a broad multi-market retrenchment over the course of this week, as it may finally nudge the politicians towards a badly-needed compromise. However, should we get a sell-off, we suspect gold will be caught up in the resulting downdraft.”

The difference between bullish and bearish contracts held by Comex gold futures and options traders – known as the speculative net long – gained slightly in the week ended last Tuesday, weekly data from the Commodity Futures Trading Commission show.

The data do not however cover gold’s price drop that began Wednesday last week.

Ben Traynor
BullionVault

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Editor of Gold News, the analysis and investment research site from world-leading gold ownership service BullionVault, Ben Traynor was formerly editor of the Fleet Street Letter, the UK’s longest-running investment letter. A Cambridge economics graduate, he is a professional writer and editor with a specialist interest in monetary economics. Ben writes and presents BullionVault’s weekly gold market summary on YouTube and can be found on Google+

(c) BullionVault 2012

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