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EXTRAORDINARY 2,200-YEAR-OLD GOLD COIN FOUND IN ISRAEL

A university team in Israel has unearthed a gold coin that is 2,200 years old. The coin’s denomination is “mnaieion”.

The coin is one of the top five rarest finds in the history of the country. This was stated by Dr. Donald T. Ariel, head of the Coin Department of the Israel Antiquities Authority (IAA).

Ariel was quoted as saying, “Intrinsically, for coin research, it’s a very exciting find.” He further added, “This is an amazing numismatic find. The coin is beautiful and in excellent preservation. It is the heaviest gold coin with the highest contemporary value of any coin ever found in an excavation in Israel.”

The weight of the coin is almost one ounce, i.e. 27.71 grams. It dates back to 191 BCE and was minted in Alexandria, Egypt, by Ptolemy V.

The ‘head’ of the coin, has a portrayal of Queen Arsinoe II Philadelphus. On the other side, i.e. the ‘tail’  two “overlapping cornucopias decorated with fillets” have been depicted.

Ariel disclosed that the coin was entrenched in a stone wall “separating the northwest storeroom of the Hellenistic administrative building from a room currently identified as a kitchen.”

INVESTORS WAIT FOR RESULTS OF BANK STRESS TESTS

On Thursday, gold prices came down below $1,190 an ounce in Europe. This tripping down of gold prices has come during a time when the investors are waiting for the results of European bank stress tests. These results should be out by this weekend.

Presently, the European Union is determining if a few banks are required to raise capital. The stress tests will help to check how well can banks cope up if the economic situation grows worse.

However, the good news is that it is being expected that most of the financial institutions will be able to clear the tests.

Saxo Bank senior manager Ole Hansen was quoted as saying, “On the gold market, as a lot of the bids back in June were primarily on the back of worries about the banking crisis in Europe, so there has been a lot of noise about the stress tests.”

He further added, “It seems most banks are going to pass, and that is removing some of the safe-haven support we’ve seen previously.”

The growing concerns over the economic conditions in Europe has led to a fall in the gold prices.

On the other hand, European shares showed a positive trend on Thursday after reports came in about high corporate earnings.

ILLEGAL GOLD MINE COLLAPSES IN GHANA: 32 FEARED DEAD

An illegal gold mine collapsed in Ghana on Sunday after heavy rains lashed the area. The mine is located about 200 kms from Accra, the capital of Ghana.

It has been reported that the police arrested the owner of the gold mine. The mine collapse killed 32 artisanal miners and 80 others got stuck inside.
The rescue operation at the mines was the effort of experts from Anglogold Ashanti’s Obuasi mine and the Mines Ministry.

It is being feared that more than 32 miners are dead and there is very less hope of finding the survivors. Rescue operations are in full swing and 80 other miners are still believed to be trapped inside.

Survivors are not willing to divulge any details about the illegal mining operation and this has posed problems for the rescuers.

It has been learnt that the mining pit had been abandoned and the miners were working there illegally in informal groups of about five men each.

Ghana exports gold in huge amounts and artisanal mining is common in west and central Africa.

GOLD TOUCHES $1,235 IN EUROPE

On Tuesday, gold reached $1,235 an ounce in Europe. The metal had touched a whopping $1,265 an ounce on Monday but came down later.

Ole Hansen, senior manager at Saxo Bank, was quoted as saying, “Both times gold reached $1,260 over the last week it has been instantly hammered $30-35 lower.” He further added, “The focus seems to have shifted back toward the strong dollar/weak commodity relation. This has increased the risk for a deeper correction.”

The euro fell down to a drastic low against the Swiss franc. Not only this, it slumped down to a 1-1/2 year low against the sterling.

The euro went down amidst rising concerns as banks have to pay back 442 billion euros on Thursday. This huge amount of money was borrowed last year at very low rates after the European Central Bank tried to resolve the financial crisis.

Metals also weakened as copper went down by almost 4 percent and other metals such as zinc and lead fell even lower.

Gold prices trip down

Tuesday saw a decline in the gold trade even as traders tried to take full advantage of the soaring prices of gold over the past two weeks.

Standard Bank precious metals analyst Walter de Wet said that the decline in gold trade will probably remain like this for atleast some time now.

Traders are on the lookout for extracting maximum profits as gold prices are on a record high since last year.

Last year on December 3, the gold prices touched an unbelievable $1,226.40. However, the prices then came down by more than 10% in less than three weeks. Prices then further fell by more than 5% in the third week of May after reaching a high of $1,249.70 on May 14.

But the current slowdown seems to be less severe as Mr. de Wet said, “We expect this pullback to be less severe than the pullback in May.”

Gold again set record highs in June amidst worries that U.S. will take much more than the expected time to come out of the financial crisis. As Europe continued to reel under debt, this added more worries to global economic woes.

Gold spiralled downwards as the dollar gained a strong foothold. However, experts believe that gold has not lost its importance as an alternative asset even though economic concerns are on a rise.

Gold prices continue to hit through the roof

Even as the European debt crisis deepened, the price of gold shot up to an unbelievable $1249.70 an ounce on Friday. The sudden spurt in gold prices happened as a result of the traders ignoring equities amid the growing worry that the steps required to be taken to improve the financial position of European governments will eventually lead to slow economic progression.

The main European countries that are a centre of focus at present are Greece and Portugal.

The new UK government is making news as it is preparing to tackle the issue of the huge economic deficit that has been piling up ever since the economic recession began.

The large-scale fiscal stimulus programme that showed a ray of hope towards a strong economic recovery last year has left the country reeling under massive debts.

Another reason for a hike in the gold prices is due to the fact that sterling and the euro dropped down against the dollar.

However, one of the few gainers from the high gold prices was the Mexican silver and gold producer Fresnillo.

Gold crosses $1200 mark

 On Friday, gold prices zoomed up past the monstrous $1,200 per ounce mark. The Greece riots made the investors panic even as trading discrepancies and euro instability continued to cause trouble.

The European Central Bank is not taking any more measures to provide more financial aid to Greece. However, it has not changed the interest rates and kept them fixed at the earlier 1%.

The doubtful economic situation in the U.S. could lead to a further increase in the price of gold. George Gero, Vice President of global futures at RBC Capital Markets was quoted as saying, “Holding pattern emerged after jobs report and some stability in the markets.”

However, the gold mining stocks showed a mixed trend. Barrick Gold (ABX) was down by 1.21% to $43.15 while Newmont Mining (NEM) was lower by 1.17% and stood at $54.04. On the other hand, gold miners like Kinross Gold (KGC) and Goldcorp (GG) were trading higher at $17.43 and $43.08, respectively.

Shares of Iamgold (IAG) were up 0.23% at $17.82 while Randgold Resources (GOLD) went down 0.27% to $84.02. AngloGold Ashanti (AU) was up 1.27% to $41.46 and the shares of the gold ETF, SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) were down 0.13% to $118.33.

Gold-above-ground stocks on an increase: DJ GFMS

 

According to the U.K.-based metals consultancy GFMS, the overall gold-above-ground stocks increased by 1.6% in the year 2009 and went upto 165,600 metric tons. The above-ground stock supply jumped up by 167 tons in 2009. On the other hand, new mine supply rose to 163 tons. It is being estimated that these figures will further show an upward trend and increase even more during 2010.

As per GFMS, the gold supply can be readily available from the new mine supply or above-ground stocks. This will majorly come from bullion that is held by private individuals or non-official institutions.

Higher scrapped fabricated products which compensate for a drop in net official-sector sales were the major reason for the increase in above-ground stocks.

Scrap supply also went up to 1,674 tons, which is an increase of 27% in 2009. GFMS revealed that most of the profits were earned during the first half of the year and the reason behind this was the high gold price.

In a statement given by GFMS, it said, “Given that it is very likely that the gold price will reach a new peak sometime this year, scrap supply is set to register a small increase in 2010.”

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