Weekly Digest: Mongolia Buys Gold, Climate Code Red

Newsdesk
4 minutes read
Aug 11, 2021

11/08/21: Rising uncertainty over COVID-19 is likely to support gold prices, Mongolia buys 11 tons of the yellow metal to boost the economy, U.N. issues an alarming report on climate change. And more.

Investment news

Over the weekend, gold went through an unexpected flash crash, with the price of the precious metal falling to $1,686 an ounce. The price steadied on Tuesday, with the spot price standing at $1,729.80 an ounce.

This price crash was partly seen as a reaction to last Friday's stronger-than-expected U.S. employment data, combined with market holidays in Japan and Singapore.

However, analysts say the current uncertainty about COVID-19 is likely to support gold as part of a diversified portfolio, but “potential buyers are sitting on the fence concerned about the possibility of tapering to start early,” Saxo Bank analyst Ole Hansen said.

Central banks' gold rush continues. Mongolia has joined a bunch of other countries in adding more gold (11 tons) to its reserves, saying that this would help ensure the country’s economic stability.

Central banks are regaining their appetite for gold: the latest data from the World Gold Council showed global central banks were net buyers of the yellow metal in February, with Hungary tripling its gold reserves in one of the biggest purchases by a central bank in decades.

On Tuesday, the Senate passed a $1 trillion infrastructure package that includes $550 billion in new spending on transportation and broadband, and is expected to help boost the economy following the reopening from the pandemic. The passage of the bill pushed the Dow and the S&P 500 to new record highs.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 162.82 points to 35,264.67 to close at a record. The S&P 500 increased 0.1% to 4,436.75 and closed at a new all-time high.

Meanwhile, the pan-European Stoxx 600 increased 0.3% on Tuesday, with travel and leisure stocks adding 1.7% to lead gains while banks fell by 0.8%.

European companies that reported earnings on Tuesday included the German meal-kit provider HelloFresh and insurance company Munich Re, as well as the UK-based life assurance business ABRDN and InterContinental Hotels Group.

Elon Musk’s SpaceX is buying satellite data start-up Swarm Technologies as part of a rare deal that would expand the space company’s team, and possibly the technological capabilities of its growing Starlink internet system.

Swarm will become “a direct wholly-owned subsidiary” of SpaceX, based on a merger deal reached on July 16. According to Pitchbook, Swarm last completed a fundraising round in January 2019 at a $85 million valuation.

Opinion

In gold we trust: Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris says it’s “fundamental” to keep a quarter of your investment portfolio in gold.

“I say 20% to 30%. I used to be at 50%. It’s something that’s fundamental. It’s always been there,” the chairman and CEO of Orascom Investment Holding told CNBC’s “Capital Connection”.

Sawiris has even launched a $1.4 billion gold mining fund last month, stressing that the move was “personally motivated” because a substantial part of his net worth is in gold.

What else is happening

Will the U.S. default this time? U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen urged Congress once again to raise the national debt limit, which now stands at $28.5 trillion. Failure to do so could trigger a debt default or another federal government shutdown.

“As I said in my letter to Congress on July 23rd, increasing or suspending the debt limit … simply allows Treasury to pay for previously enacted expenditures. Failure to meet those obligations would cause irreparable harm to the U.S. economy and the livelihoods of all Americans,” Yellen said in a statement.

Bitcoin at the movies. AMC Entertainment, the U.S. movie theater operator, said Monday it will start accepting bitcoin as payment for movie tickets, if bought online in all of its U.S. theaters.

Company’s CEO Adam Aron said the company will have the necessary IT systems in place by the end of the year.

The price of bitcoin swung drastically over the past few weeks, last trading around $46,000 after falling below $30,000 in July.

A landmark U.N. report delivers dire warnings on climate change, saying it’s “code red for humanity”.

The analysts said some of the changes thought to be “irreversible” for centuries to come.

“The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning and deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk,” U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said.

And finally…

UFOs visiting the Earth? Moving physical objects just by using your mind? Or even choosing your baby’s gender? This might soon BECOME OUR REALITY (cue dramatic music).

An intriguing idea that our future might be weirder than we think was raised by Holden Karnofsky, the co-chief executive officer of Open Philanthropy.

In his view, the combination of rapid knowledge expansion, artificial intelligence, biotechnology, genetic engineering, and a new computing paradigm, “are likely to change what it means to be human.”

See you next week!

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