Comm: Precious


For those paying attention, the metals market is sending some very worrying signs. Copper and other metals have been going through a rough patch, but yesterday seemed to really spell doom. Copper plunged into a bear market, zinc plummeted, and even gold took a big hit despite the panic across markets. Industrial commodities are a good bellwether for economic activity, and while the markets are partly plunging on worries over the Chinese economy, the big drops signal that the whole world could be in for a recession.

FINSUM: We are growing increasingly concerned about the message that metals markets are sending. The big drop across the board in industrial commodities is quite worrying. Hopefully it is a short-term overreaction to the trouble in emerging markets.

(New York)

Those hoping the current turmoil in the technology sector may turn around the fate of gold will be upset by new data. Gold has suffered its worst start to a year in almost a decade despite the fact that the US equity market was in a correction for much of it. Now, economic data shows that demand for the shiny metal is at its lowest since 2009. The big drop in drop demand did not stem from industry, but instead from investment markets, with ETFs buying ~60% less gold in the last year than the year prior.

FINSUM: Gold is in a tough and interesting spot. On the one hand, it is easy to see why rising rates have depressed gold prices. But on the other, it seems gold have should have benefitted from all the geopolitical and market instability of this year.

(New York)

The idea of bitcoin being a 21st century version of gold, a digital value store for the next generation, has become prevalent. However, Barron’s argues, and we second, the idea that Bitcoin can never be gold. The idea comes from a new paper out of the University of Chicago. The core reason why?: It is simply not as secure. If you pay close attention to the headlines, Bitcoin is being hacked and stolen left and right. Even worse, the more valuable Bitcoin becomes, the more it is stolen. The same cannot be said for gold.

FINSUM: The paper argues that bitcoin will never play more than a “bit role” in the global financial system because of its fundamental vulnerability to theft. It sounds like the cryptocurrency needs a digital Fort Knox.

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