Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

February 22, 2014

Futures File: Chinese go for gold, council says

TRAVERSE CITY -—As international athletes competed this week, China came out with a different sort of prize – the Asian nation was declared the world’s largest gold consumer by the World Gold Council.

The number one spot has traditionally been held by India, a nation where gifts of gold and silver are intertwined with the national culture and religious holidays.

Rising import taxes in India recently undercut demand there, while loosening regulation has increased Chinese consumer demand.

Last year, gold prices fell $473 per ounce as global investors sold off stockpiles of the precious metal, and it seems that the ultimate buyers were overwhelmingly Chinese, as China imported a record 1066 metric tons of gold in 2013.

Partially driven by optimistic outlooks of further Chinese buying, gold prices rose to a three-month high this week, reaching $1,330 per ounce on Tuesday.

Natural gas burning up

As another slew of cold weather struck this week, homeowners were forced to crank up the heat yet again.

This contributed to the ongoing decline in national natural gas inventories, which currently stand near 1.4 trillion cubic feet, already the lowest level in five years.

With more cold weather expected, some experts warn that the storage levels could decline below one trillion cubic feet, which hasn’t happened since 2003.

Despite record-breaking natural gas production levels, this winter has put a strain on supplies and pushed prices up to $6.40 per million British thermal units this week, a four-year high.

Corn is king

Corn emerged as a leader to the upside as continued cold weather created more demand for poultry and cattle feed, while further strength in commodities in general (like oil and metals) helped draw the attention of investors and mutual funds to the golden grain.

China’s plans to expand meat production, which depends heavily on U.S. corn feed, is fueling export demand.

Text Only

the BIZ

AP Video
Disbanding Muslim Surveillance Draws Praise Hundreds Missing After South Korean Ferry Sinks Passengers Abuzz After Plane Hits Swarm of Bees Boston Bomb Scare Defendant Appears in Court Pistorius Trial: Adjourned Until May 5 Diaz Gets Physical for New Comedy Raw: Ferry Sinks Off South Korean Coast Town, Victims Remember Texas Blast Freeze Leaves Florida Panhandle With Dead Trees At Boston Marathon, a Chance to Finally Finish Are School Dress Codes Too Strict? Raw: Fatal Ferry Boat Accident Suspicious Bags Found Near Marathon Finish Line Boston Marks the 1st Anniversary of Bombing NYPD Ends Muslim Surveillance Program 8-year-old Boy Gets His Wish: Fly Like Iron Man Sex Offenders Arrested in Slayings of CA Women India's Transgenders Celebrate Historic Ruling Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide