It was another day in which the precious metals ran strongly to higher pricing. Initially both gold and silver spiked strongly in mid-March when the coronavirus epidemic grew into a global pandemic. Gold gained almost $300 as it traded from $1450 to $1788.
Gold futures basis the most active August contract closed up $23.70 (+1.28%) and is currently fixed at $1867.50. Silver gained 7.92%, which is a gain of a $1.70. Currently September silver futures are fixed at $23.265.
The accelerated moves to higher pricing are based upon new fundamental events unfolding during the pandemic causing market participants to not only react to central banks flooding liquidity to reignite their contracting economies. The monetary policy of quantitative easing always results in a devaluation of the currency specific to that central-bank.
The recent acceleration of higher gold and silver prices are tied to heightened tensions which have escalated to a new level between the United States and China. China reported today that the U.S. had ordered it to close its Houston consulate, magnifying the existing tension between our two superpowers. China labeled the action by the United States as an “unprecedented escalation by the U.S.” this led China to threaten and retaliate if the decision isn’t reversed.
The recent breakdown and stalemate between China in the United States adds fuel to the fire created from the massive U.S. fiscal stimulus, as well the Federal Reserve maintaining a monetary policy that is very accommodative. The actions by the Federal Reserve have the potential to devalue the U.S. dollar, which is exactly what we have seen.
The totality of geopolitical and economic expenditures creates a perfect storm scenario in which we could see gold challenge and trade to a new all-time record high. Currently, gold is at a new all-time record high when paired against the Euro dollar, the Indian Rupee, the Canadian Dollar and many others.
According to MarketWatch, Boris Schlossberg, managing director of FX Strategy for BK Asset Management said, “Gold attracts flows when real interest rates compress and when political tensions rise, so the current market regime is a perfect recipe for a move higher over the intermediate term horizon.”
It is clear to many analysts including myself that gold and silver have rallied based on two primary reasons; U.S. dollar weakness and extremely bullish sentiment by traders and market participants.
Jeroen Blokland, senior portfolio manager at Robeco Asset Management believes that, “It seems the precious metal has been caught up in the perfect storm. Much of what’s driving silver also is driving gold — aggressive monetary policy financing of fiscal spending, which limits the ability of bond yields to rise. That is sending inflation-adjusted, or real, yields lower, which tends to boost precious metals.”
Unquestionably as long as central banks continue along the path of extremely accommodative monetary policies, they will devalue the currency of their country. However not since the end of World War II have so many central banks devalued their currencies through a process of quantitative easing. These actions can only have one outcome in regards to gold and silver pricing, and that is that they will continue to gain value, and traders will continue to fuel the demand for the safe haven asset grow substantially.
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Oil prices fell early on Monday to start August with losses after posting a fourth consecutive month of gains in July.
Oil settled higher on Friday to end the fourth straight month of gains but erased Friday gains on Monday on resurging COVID cases globally, weak Chinese economic data, and higher oil supply from the OPEC+ group.
As of 11:05 a.m. EDT on Monday, WTI Crude was down 2.31 percent at $72.24 and Brent Crude was trading at $73.89, down 2.02 percent.
“Crude futures had more than reversed Friday’s modest gains in the early hours of Monday’s trading in Asia as headlines over the weekend brought mostly discouraging news on the Delta variant-led Covid resurgence marching across the globe,” Vanda Insights said in a note early on Monday.
“Top-of-mind for the oil market was China, where the worst Covid outbreak in months has spread to two more parts of the country — Fujian province and the megacity of Chongqing — health authorities said on Saturday,” Vanda Insights added.
The weaker economic data and resurgence of COVID cases combined with the higher production from the OPEC+ group to weigh on oil prices at the start of August.
OPEC alone is estimated to have pumped in July its highest oil volumes since April 2020—at 26.72 million barrels per day (bpd), up by up 610,000 bpd from June, the monthly Reuters survey found on Friday. As of August, the OPEC+ alliance is putting another 400,000 bpd on the market.
This week, the market will be watching the new Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi taking office and the potential implications for the nuclear talks, especially in light of last week’s drone attack on an Israeli-linked oil tanker offshore Oman, after which the U.S. and the UK joined Israel in blaming Iran for the attack.
“Upon review of the available information, we are confident that Iran conducted this attack, which killed two innocent people, using one-way explosive UAVs, a lethal capability it is increasingly employing throughout the region,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Sunday.
Ottawa Public Health is reporting a slight drop in the number of confirmed active cases of COVID-19 in the capital.
The public health unit said Monday that seven more people in Ottawa have tested positive for COVID-19 and eight people’s cases have resolved, dropping the number of known active cases by one.
To date, Ottawa has seen 27,827 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic and 593 residents have died.
There are zero active COVID-19 outbreaks in Ottawa. There are no Ottawa residents in local hospitals with COVID-19 for a second straight day. No new deaths from COVID-19 were reported in Ottawa for an 18th straight day.
Ottawa Public Health reported a data correction in the number of people in Ottawa who had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, saying those individuals who were previously listed among Ottawa vaccinations were not residents of Ottawa and have been removed from the total number of vaccinated residents. This resulted in a slight drop in the percentage of residents 12 and older who had received at least one dose.
There was no update from the provincial government Monday because of the Civic Holiday. Public Health Ontario will release Monday’s provincial figures alongside Tuesday’s at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.
OTTAWA’S KEY COVID-19 STATISTICS
Ottawa is now in Step 3 of Ontario’s Roadmap to Reopen plan.
Ottawa Public Health data:
COVID-19 cases per 100,000 (July 25 to July 31): 4.6 (up from 4.1)
Positivity rate in Ottawa (July 23 to July 29): 0.5 per cent (unchanged)
Reproduction number (seven day average): 1.15 (up from 1.08)
Reproduction values greater than 1 indicate the virus is spreading and each case infects more than one contact. If it is less than 1, it means spread is slowing.
COVID-19 VACCINES IN OTTAWA
Ottawa Public Health updates vaccine numbers on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. As of Monday:
Ottawa residents with 1 dose (12+): 767,352 (-4,274)*
Ottawa residents with 2 doses (12+): 661,965 (+7,096)
Share of population 12 and older with at least one dose: 83 per cent*
Share of population 12 and older fully vaccinated: 72 per cent
Total doses received in Ottawa**: 1,333,790
*As a result of ongoing quality assurance work on vaccination records in COVax, vaccinations previously assigned to Ottawa residents were found to be for people living outside of Ottawa. These corrections resulted in a small difference in the coverage from what Ottawa Public Health has previously reported.
**Total doses received does not include doses shipped to pharmacies and primary care clinics, but statistics on Ottawa residents with one or two doses includes anyone with an Ottawa postal code who was vaccinated anywhere in Ontario.
ACTIVE CASES OF COVID-19 IN OTTAWA
There are 50 active cases of COVID-19 in Ottawa on Monday, down from 51 on Sunday.
Ottawa Public Health reported eight newly resolved cases on Monday. The total number of resolved cases of coronavirus in Ottawa is 27,184.
The number of active cases is the number of total laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19 minus the numbers of resolved cases and deaths. A case is considered resolved 14 days after known symptom onset or positive test result.
HOSPITALIZATIONS IN OTTAWA
Ottawa Public Health is reporting zero COVID-19 patients in local hospitals and zero in intensive care.
Local ICUs have been COVID-19 free for more than a month.
These data are based on figures from Ottawa Public Health’s COVID-19 dashboard, which refer to residents of Ottawa and do not include patient transfers from other regions.
COVID-19 CASES IN OTTAWA BY AGE CATEGORY
0-9 years old: Two new cases (2,306 total cases)
10-19 years-old: Three new cases (3,584 total cases)
20-29 years-old: Zero new cases (6,245 total cases)
30-39 years-old: One new case (4,254 total cases)
40-49 years-old: One new case (3,663 total cases)
50-59 years-old: Zero new cases (3,334 total cases)
60-69-years-old: Zero new cases (1,965 total cases)
70-79 years-old: Zero new cases (1,097 total cases)
80-89 years-old: Zero new cases (856 total cases)
90+ years old: Zero new cases (520 total cases)
Unknown: Zero new cases (3 cases total)
VARIANTS OF CONCERN
Ottawa Public Health data*:
Total Alpha (B.1.1.7) cases: 6,834
Total Beta (B.1.351) cases: 406
Total Gamma (P.1) cases: 35
Total Delta (B.1.617.2) cases: 51 (+2)
Percent of new cases with variant/mutation in last 30 days: 42 per cent
Total variants of concern/mutation cases: 9,150 (+3)
Deaths linked to variants/mutations: 101
*OPH notes that that VOC and mutation trends must be treated with caution due to the varying time required to complete VOC testing and/or genomic analysis following the initial positive test for SARS-CoV-2. Test results may be completed in batches and data corrections or updates can result in changes to case counts that may differ from past reports.
COVID-19 TESTING IN OTTAWA
The Ottawa COVID-19 Testing Taskforce’s next testing update will be released Tuesday, Aug. 3 because of the Civic Holiday on Monday.
On Friday, the taskforce said the positivity rate in Ottawa residents for the week of July 23 – July 29 was 0.5 per cent.
The average turnaround from the time the swab is taken at a testing site to the result is 17 hours.
The government in Newfoundland and Labrador was able to transfer 1,400 doses of AstraZeneca to Ontario in mid-May for use there as they neared their expiry date. However, the province had 2,848 doses of the vaccine expire at the end of June. Nearly 2,900 doses were wasted in July.
Prince Edward Island also disposed of 3,200 expired doses of AstraZeneca, the province announced last month.
But the national wastage rate so far has been “very minimal and far below initial estimates,” according to the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC).
As of July 12, less than 0.05 per cent of total doses delivered by the federal government have been wasted, PHAC told Global News.
The boost in vaccine supply coupled with dropping vaccination rates has left unused doses nearing expiration data, said Dr. Gerald Evans, an infectious diseases specialist at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ont.
“We’re now into that smaller group, which … has been a little bit reluctant (to get vaccinated) up until now,” he said.
According to NACI, people who have received a first dose of an mRNA vaccine should be offered the same vaccine for their second dose, but mRNA vaccines can be interchangeable if the same product is not readily available for the second dose.
1:44 Health officials allay concerns about mixing mRNA vaccines
Health officials allay concerns about mixing mRNA vaccines – Jun 21, 2021
The so-called “brand hesitancy” is also present in Alberta, where an Edmonton pharmacist said that he’s noticed roughly 40 per cent of customers have turned down the Moderna vaccine after a first dose of Pfizer.
Amid wastage concerns, Evans said Canada should look towards either donating vaccines to other countries facing financial issues or other constraints.
Selling them to nations like Australia, which has seen a spike in cases recently and is short on vaccine supply, is another option.
“If we have large quantities like that, we should be right now talking to other countries.”
Provinces should also try to send doses that haven’t been thawed yet to other regions where there is a shortage in supply, he said.
Bill Campbell, a spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Health, told Global News on Monday that the province was “working with federal partners to explore vaccine donation opportunities in the future”.
2:14 Will Canadians need third COVID-19 vaccine dose?
Will Canadians need third COVID-19 vaccine dose?
According to Bates, one strategy to avoid wastage would be to start offering a third booster dose to seniors, high-risk populations of morbidities and immunocompromised people.
“That’s a scenario that we’re asking the Ministry of Health to explore and move on quickly,” he said.
Dr. Theresa Tam, the chief public health officer of Canada, told reporters during a virtual news conference on July 30, that even though the evidence is quickly “evolving,” there’s “not enough data” to support it quite yet – despite countries like Israel pushing ahead with a vaccination top-up.
“There’s not enough data to suggest that in Canada we would go into boosting as of yet,” she said. “But it is something that we’re watching very carefully.”
— with files from Global News’ Sean O’Shea, Chris Chacon and the Canadian Press.
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