Last updateTue, 25 Apr 2017 11pm

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Cracks appear in China's gold leasing trade as jewelers suffer defaults

cnbc gold cois

Chinese banks are growing alarmed by a rising number of defaults among jewelry manufacturers, prompting them to review new gold lending more carefully in the world's biggest consumer, according to sources with direct knowledge of the issue.

The top four Chinese banks alone have up to 443.4 billion yuan ($69.63 billion) tied up in gold leasing, so any pull back could cut China's imports and hit global bullion prices that are already languishing at the lowest in more than five years.

Americans are buying tons of gold

buyin tons of goldThis summer's market mayhem caused Americans to buy gold bars and coins at levels unseen since the financial crisis.

When people are scared about the economy and financial markets, they rush to gold. Boy, were they worried in recent months.

U.S. demand for gold bars and coins surged 207% during the third quarter, the World Gold Council said on Thursday.

The skyrocketing demand signaled a level of interest in gold investment "not seen since the global financial crisis," the group said.

The U.S. Mint backs up that assessment. It said gold Eagle coin sales surged to nearly 400,000 ounces last quarter, the highest level in more than five years.

Four reasons one investor thinks gold could jump this year

By Myra P. Saefong
Markets/Commodities reporter

gold jumpFor many gold traders, the only story worth following is the one about the Federal Reserve and when it will increase the benchmark interest rate.

Not so for Frank Holmes, a longtime mining fund manager who is chief executive of U.S. Global Investors and co-wrote the 2008 book “The Goldwatcher: Demystifying Gold Investing.” He currently co-manages the U.S. Global Investors Gold and Precious Metals Fund USERX, -2.04%

In an interview with MarketWatch, Holmes said four factors — shrinking real interest rates in the U.S., a dip in the dollar that led to a so-called “death cross” formation, a jump in the global purchasing managers index and signs of increased demand from China — suggest that gold could finish the year higher, perhaps as high as $1,350 an ounce, which would be about 25% above Thursday’s close.

Eight-carat diamond smashed in the name of science

eightcaratdiAt the University of Melbourne, a rare, eight-carat diamond has been smashed to smithereens in a bid to discover the secrets of its origin and a potential 'mother lode' of diamonds.

Professor David Phillips, Head of the School of Earth Sciences at the University of Melbourne, recently took a hammer to the diamond to extract two rare, emerald-coloured inclusions.

The inclusions are made of a green mineral called clinopyroxene, which contains small amounts of radioactive potassium.

This makes it possible to date when the diamonds erupted out of a volcano, after they were formed inside. Knowing this makes it easier to hunt down the original source and the all-important 'mother lode' of diamonds.

"It's like looking for a unique word in 'War and Peace' and instead of having to search the whole book, you only have to look through a handful of pages," Professor Phillips says.

Gold sinks 7 sessions in a row, loses 4.7% last week

gold bricksBy Myra P. Saefong
Markets/Commodities Reporter


Prices tank as upbeat U.S. jobs report lifts the dollar

Gold futures on Friday extended their losing streak to a seventh straight session, settling at their lowest level in more than three months after a better-than-anticipated jobs report made a December interest-rate rise look more likely.

December gold GCZ5, +0.18% lost $16.50, or 1.5%, to settle at $1,087.70 an ounce. Prices logged their lowest settlement since Aug. 5. For the week, they lost about 4.7%, for a third straight week of declines.

December silver SIZ5, +0.50% took a hit along with gold, falling 29.2 cents, or 2%, to $14.691 an ounce. For the week, prices saw a 5.6% decline.

Jewelers Mutual, millennial expert Jeff Fromm share insights on ways to attract millennial shoppers

Mutual(NEENAH, Wis.) - There are currently 11.8 million Millennials ages 18-30 living in U.S. households with annual incomes exceeding $100,000. By 2018, Millennials will take over the luxury market.* Is the jewelry industry ready?

It’s a question the team at Jewelers Mutual Insurance Company has been asking itself. As the only insurer exclusively insuring jewelry for over 100 years, they plan to be around for 100 more and know to do so requires staying relevant to the most influential consumers. “The number one consumer changing the face of today’s jewelry shopper is the millennial,” said Trina Woldt, Chief Marketing Officer at Jewelers Mutual.

Polished diamond prices soften in October

RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1ct. GIA-Graded diamonds -1.3%

(NEW YORK) - The Rapaport Group reports polished diamond prices fell in October despite rising expectations for the U.S. holiday season. Trading improved but turnover is well below last year’s levels. Suppliers are holding large polished inventory, while dealers are trying to buy select goods at deep discounts.

The RapNet Diamond Index (RAPI™) for 1-carat, GIA-graded diamonds fell 1.3 percent in October. RAPI for 0.30-carat diamonds slipped 0.1 percent and RAPI for 0.50-carat diamonds declined 1 percent. RAPI for 3-carat diamonds slid 0.4 percent.