Gold rallied sharply last night in Asia to touch the $1,300 mark, before a large number of sell orders at the open of the Chinese market slammed prices downward, triggering sell stops.
Gold traded in Europe between $1,285 and $1,290. Two major gold markets, London and Hong Kong, are closed for the Easter holiday.
Speaking of China and gold, Reuters is reporting on growing rumors that the Chinese government is now allowing gold to be directly imported into Beijing. The nation’s capital joins Shanghai and Shenzhen as allowable gateways for gold. Twelve banks are the only licensed importers of gold to China. The Chinese government is reportedly tired of the nation’s imports being analyzed, as they pass through Hong Kong. It considers gold and gold imports to be a matter of national security, and the move to divert more imports away from prying eyes in Hong Kong is a reflection of that policy.
Diplomatic relations between Beijing and Tokyo took another turn for the worse, as a court in Shanghai ordered officials to impound a Japanese-owned ore ship for… WWII reparations. (No joke.) The heirs of a Chinese shipping company that leased two ships to a Japanese company in 1936 have sued for reparations, despite that all reparations claims by China were given up when the two countries resumed diplomatic relations in 1972. The two ships were seized by the Imperial Japanese government and lost at sea during WWII.
Bloomberg reports that this is purely a civil matter, and the Chinese Foreign Ministry claims no responsibility. But, since nothing like this ever happens in China without at least a wink and a nod from Beijing, it’s fairly certain that China is sending a signal of its displeasure over visits by Japanese officials to the Yasukuni War Shrine, where WWII war criminals are buried alongside warriors of the past.
The dollar is seeing support from a weaker yen, as Japan’s trade deficit is reported as widening. Wall St. looks to continue last week’s holiday-shortened rally, while Shanghai closed down and the Nikkei was barely in the red.
The United States and Russia are working to implement last week’s four-party peace agreement for Ukraine. The U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is headed to Kiev, while Russia attempts to talk down pro-Russian separatists who refuse to vacate government buildings in eastern Ukraine.
Reports Friday that the two largest South African platinum companies had given in to the demands of workers after a 13-week strike proved to be premature. The company offer, which seemed to meet the union demand of a 140% pay raise, was counting living expenses and other benefits. The union wants the 140% pay increase as base pay, AND increases in living expenses and bonuses. Therefore, the strike, which has idled 40% of global platinum production for three months, continues.