Top Stories This Week: Gold Recovers After Big Price Drop, Norway Rare Earths Discovery Makes Waves

The gold price has yet to fully recover after falling off a cliff on June 7.

Last week's steep drop below US$2,300 per ounce was a double-whammy — US jobs data came in stronger than expected, while news hit that China's central bank didn't add to its gold reserves in May.

Gold got back above US$2,300 this week, but faced ups and downs, especially on Wednesday (June 12), which brought the release of new US consumer price index (CPI) numbers, as well as the Federal Reserve's latest meeting.

Statistics shared by the Department of Labor show that the CPI rose 3.3 percent year-on-year in May, lower than April's 3.4 percent increase; the index was flat month-on-month compared to April's uptick of 0.3 percent. Core CPI, which excludes food and energy, had monthly and yearly readings of 0.2 and 3.4 percent, respectively.

Gold moved higher after the CPI report came out, nearly hitting US$2,340. But it fell back after the Fed announced it would once again leave interest rates unchanged. The central bank also indicated that only one cut is on deck in 2024. However, its dot plot shows four reductions amounting to one percentage point are now anticipated in 2025.

In its statement, the Fed said "modest progress" has been made in reaching its goal of 2 percent inflation, with Chair Jerome Powell echoing that idea during a press conference.

"We see today’s report as progress and as, you know, building confidence. But we don’t see ourselves as having the confidence that would warrant beginning to loosen policy at this time," he said.

Bullet briefing — Europe's largest rare earths discovery, missing Russian copper 

Rare Earths Norway makes Europe's largest discovery

Privately owned Rare Earths Norway has released an initial inferred resource estimate for its Fen carbonatite complex in Norway, and according to the company it shows that the property hosts Europe's largest rare earths deposit.

"The Maiden Inferred Mineral Resource, which satisfies the RPEEE is at 559 Mt at 1.57% Total Rare Earth Oxides (TREO). This means that the Fen Carbonatite Complex contains 8.8 Mt TREO with a reasonable prospect for eventual economic extraction. Within the TREOs, there is estimated to be 1. 5 Mt of magnet-related rare earth used in electric vehicles and wind turbines" — Rare Earths Norway

China's rare earths dominance is well known, and discoveries outside the country tend to attract attention as the world looks to diversify supply. As Rare Earths Norway's CEO told CNBC, Europe currently doesn't produce any rare earths.

The company plans to continue exploration at Fen, and has already planned a drill program for this year. It also wants to set up a pilot factory close to the deposit.

Chinese trader loses copper worth US$20 million

A copper shipment from Russia has gone missing, leaving a Chinese commodities trader with a loss of about US$20 million. The firm reportedly bought 2,000 metric tons of the red metal from Russian company Regional Metallurgical in late 2023, and although it was due to be delivered last month it never showed up.

Records from the shipping line that dealt with the transaction show that instead the copper was listed as granite, which is much cheaper, and may have ended up in Turkey. Bloomberg notes that the incident isn't likely to impact the global copper market, but is a blow to the reputation of international metals trading.

Other recent incidents include trading group Trafigura's 2023 loss of about half a billion dollars due to fraud.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Charlotte McLeod, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

Editorial Disclosure: The Investing News Network does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the information reported in the interviews it conducts. The opinions expressed in these interviews do not reflect the opinions of the Investing News Network and do not constitute investment advice. All readers are encouraged to perform their own due diligence.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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