Gold traded slightly lower yesterday morning but still higher than the previous day as prices once again test the $1,750 range and silver tops $34 an ounce. Gold started out flat at $1,719 an ounce yesterday.
Gold once again started out flat, down $1.41 an ounce to $1,743.56. Silver was up $0.12 in morning trading, topping $34.19 an ounce. The price moves are largely in line with the euro gaining back ground against the dollar as the debt negotiations with Greece finally show a glimmer of possibility, even though a deal remains stubbornly elusive.
Equity markets were mostly positive with only the FTSE 100 as the lone loser down 0.01 percent. Stock futures for U.S. markets mirror the optimism and appear to be set to follow overseas markets higher.
2012 is shaping up to be an interesting transitional year for the economy as we gradually chart a new path forward out of the old debt economy to something different that hasn’t quite materialized yet. We’re already seeing a change in consumer behavior as young people shy away from any long-term commitments. Childbirth is down, marriage is down, leases have largely replaced auto purchases in many markets, and young people would rather lease than own a home.
The sudden commitment phobia among younger Americans is completely understandable in light of current economic conditions. Employers have finally been able to eliminate anything resembling job security in the U.S., companies continue to find new ways to dump their pension obligations, there’s an almost daily assault on unemployment benefits, and even Social Security and Medicare are under attack. Who in their right mind would want to take on a 30 year mortgage or start a family in that environment?
So now our nation’s economic world is going to be different. When you can’t count on having a job, you’re going to lease instead of buy because it’s easier to break a lease than sell a home. Mobility to move where the jobs are will be a key survival skill and anything threatening that will get put on the back burner.
It’s also changing investing. If you can’t count on interest rates for government bonds, or a decent return from the rigged casino we call Wall Street, then you’re more likely to adopt a defensive investment strategy. Consequently, I expect more young people will be taking a hard look at gold and silver as we move into the brave new economy shakes out of this current transition.