A pre-dawn “bear raid” on gold futures in July had the same effect as the same event two years ago: pushing physical gold prices down dramatically. COMEX gold futures (aka “paper gold”) ended the month down 6.6%, and spot gold declined by 7% — the worst performance since the last paper gold bear raid in July 2013.
A stock market crash in China had investors scrambling to cover margin calls, leaving little money to take advantage of low gold prices, though physical gold demand has picked up recently. Precious metals have also been sharing the pain that all raw commodities are feeling from the recent dollar rally, which makes commodities more expensive to foreign buyers.
Mineweb reports that 10% of all gold mines in the world are losing money at current spot prices, which may lead to reduced supply. Some analysts are already declaring that peak gold production has been hit, and supplies will shrink going forward.
Those who could afford to load up on gold last month did so, with the U.S. Mint reporting a 469% increase in gold coin sales in July, compared to last year. (202,000 troy oz compared to 35,500 troy oz.) Silver Eagle sales were over 5.5 million coins, up 180% y/y, with only two weeks of sales. The Mint ran out of Silver Eagles on July 7, and did not resume sales until July 27.