OnlyFans Offers a Lesson for Protesting Historically High Home Appraisals
Today I’m going to kick off my discussion of historically high home appraisals with an unlikely topic—OnlyFans.
Many of you are probably already familiar with OnlyFans, but for those who are not, it’s an online platform that allows content creators to reach audiences directly through monthly memberships, similar to Patreon and Cameo. Unlike those other sites, however, OnlyFans permits adult content to be shared, and that’s made all the difference.
Launched in 2016, the London-based company saw its revenues explode during the pandemic as the number of users jumped sixfold from 20 million at the beginning of 2020 to 120 million by the end of the year.
Today, the top OnlyFans creators can make over $100,000 every month. Celebrities like rapper Cardi B can make tens of millions.
Not everyone has been thrilled with the company’s cavalier attitude toward smut. If you recall, OnlyFans—which is currently seeking to go public—surprised the world last August when it announced it would ban all explicit content following objections from its “banking partners and payout providers,” including Visa and Mastercard.
Public outrage was loud and swift, and within days, the company made a sharp U-turn. In a tweet dated August 25, OnlyFans thanked its supporters for “making your voices heard,” adding that it had “secured assurances [from payment services] to support our diverse creator community.”
And that, believe it or not, brings me to home appraisals.
Texas Home Valuations at All-Time Highs
Hundreds of thousands of homeowners in Texas appear ready to make their own voices heard after receiving their 2022 home appraisals. In Bexar County, where U.S. Global Investors is headquartered, home values have risen 23.2% from last year. Austin homeowners recently got notice that their residences skyrocketed a jaw-dropping 56% in value.
So, what’s going on? You might say “inflation,” and certainly that’s part of the story. There’s a housing boom in major Texas metro areas, with median home prices in Austin, the next big American tech hub, surging above half a million dollars for the first time ever. (Back in 2015, a Texas Monthly article asked, “Can You Afford to Live Here?” Since then, homes have doubled in some cases.)
This appreciation is in line with home prices nationwide, which have climbed at their fastest annual rate on record. In December, houses were selling for 23% more than they were just a year earlier, topping the previous all-time rate of 19% set way back in 1973.
But inflation isn’t the full story. Texas famously has no income taxes, but it still has school, hospitals, highways and more for which it must raise funds. It’s for this reason that the Lone Star State has among the highest property taxes in the U.S.—the sixth highest of any state, in fact, according to the Tax Foundation.
When local officials and lawmakers need a bump in revenue, then, homes are appraised at higher values. If you’re planning to sell your home, this is exactly what you want to see; if not, then receiving your inflated property assessment was probably a rude awakening.
The same goes for mark-to-market accounting. Unrealized gains and losses on corporate investments are recorded on the income statement, meaning revenue can go up or down on paper quarter-to-quarter. The difference with home appraisals is that, for tax purposes, valuations only go up for the most part.
Record Number of Home Appraisal Protests Expected
Fortunately, Texas taxpayers are given the right to protest their property appraisals, the deadline for which is May 15. Many districts are expecting a record number of protests and lawsuits, so if you were considering it, I would get started ASAP. The link to submit your appeals and protests is here.
There’s no guarantee that your property taxes will be lowered, of course, but if the OnlyFans case teaches us anything, it’s that change is more likely to happen if enough people raise a fuss.
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- The major market indices finished mixed this week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.63%. The S&P 500 Stock Index rose 0.40%, while the Nasdaq Composite fell 1.02%. The Russell 2000 small capitalization index lost 0.28% this week.
- The Hang Seng Composite lost 5.39% this week; while Taiwan was down 9.94% and the KOSPI fell 11.19%.
- The 10-year Treasury bond yield rose 15 basis points to 3.092%.
- The best performing airline stock for the week was Japan Airlines, up 3.51%. According to a widely circulated Flight Attendant memo, effective June 2, Delta Air Lines is increasing boarding time by five minutes across its fleet and establishing boarding pay rates for the first time by a U.S. carrier. The boarding time adjustment is one of a series of changes Delta is making to improve its operational reliability, reports financial media. In addition, the airline will pay flight attendants for work during boarding time, rather than paying them for flight time only after the aircraft door closes.
- Brazilian low-cost airline GOL’s first quarter earnings came in stronger than forecast, primarily explained by higher-than-expected passenger revenues. Despite the cost pressure witnessed on the fuel side, the company demonstrated solid ability to increase fares.
- Frontier Airlines recently offered an interesting perspective on why it may escape some pressures beguiling its competitors, at least for the next 12-24 month; lifestyle. Despite its smaller size, Frontier has an estimated one-third more pilot bases than Spirit Airlines, and close to three times the number of bases as JetBlue. The typical advancement from right to left seat is about four to five years. Put differently, Frontier offers new hires significantly more options on where to live, and potentially allows pilots to ascend to a point along the seniority curve where long weekends and holidays become a reality, 10 years sooner than a new hire at Delta.
- The worst performing airline stock for the week was Spirit Airlines, down 16.39%. Raymond James is downgrading SkyWest due to a push out in recovery expectations, which is likely to reduce their expected 2023 earnings per share (EPS). Following recent industry commentary/checks, the group now believes the moderation in pilot hiring from 2022 to 2023 might be much lower than anticipated, assuming demand remains strong. Interestingly, the pressure in 2022 might be less than previously anticipated due to mainline airlines working through training bottlenecks.
- Volaris released negative first quarter 2022 results with an operating loss of $31 million (versus $36 million loss in the first quarter), missing consensus estimates of a $4 million loss. The 64% year-to-year increase in unitary fuel cost was the main reason to vanish profitability. Better quarters may come for Volaris during the remaining year, as it has shown a strong historic ability to pass-through higher fuel prices to customers and the renewal of the fleet could be deemed as a natural hedge on higher fuel prices.
- European airline bookings declined sharply in the week. Intra-Europe net sales were down by three points to -26% versus 2019 (versus -23% in prior week) and declined by 21% this week. International net sales declined by 20 points to -47% versus 2019, partially due to a higher 2019 base but with a similar 18% fall this week. This led to a 16-point decline in system-wide net sales this week. The large decline was due to the earlier timing of Easter this year; the base gets easier next week.
- According to JPMorgan, urban air mobility (UAM) or inter-city regional air mobility (RAM) can optimize travel in congested urban centers and between cities, especially when leveraging lower noise and zero-emission Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft. While eVTOL is in its infancy, the bank believes that eVTOL will blossom over the next 5-10 years as aircraft receive flight certification and become operational. In addition, over several decades, the available market could eventually reach $1 trillion, according to their estimates.
- Last week, United Airlines announced the launch of its largest ever transatlantic expansion in preparation of a strong recovery in European summer travel. This expansion includes the launch and/or resumption of 30 transatlantic flights from mid-April through early June. United’s transatlantic route network will be more than 25% larger than it was in 2019, and it will serve more transatlantic destinations than every other U.S. carrier combined, according to the airline.
- According to a survey by JPMorgan, 2022 and 2023 outlook is encouraging: 1) Leisure travel in 2022 should be at a similar level to 2019. Summer 2022 looks strong, with 64% of respondents planning a leisure trip in the next 6 months, 2) VFR travel in 2022 could exceed 2019 levels, and 3) In the business segment, respondents are keen to resume flying in 2022 and 2023. Longer-term, they are divided on the impact of virtual meetings on travel activity.
- Leisure volumes are on par with levels seen at the same point in 2021 and this week, tickets sold decelerated to -11.7% versus 2019 (compared to -9.1% last week). However, the leisure consumer continues to show a willingness to pay higher fares with pricing now up 14.8% versus 2019.
- Spirit Airlines announced that its Board of Directors (“Board”) has unanimously determined that JetBlue’s updated proposal does not represent a “Superior Proposal” under Spirit’s existing merger agreement with Frontier. Spirit’s Board has determined that JetBlue’s proposal has an unacceptable level of closing risk, citing antitrust concern related to JetBlue’s Northeast Alliance (“NEA”) and skepticism of the “JetBlue Effect” on lowering fares as issues that would come up during a regulatory review. Furthermore, the Board stated that a high reverse break-up fee would not fully compensate Spirit’s Board reiterated its support for the merger with Frontier and intends to continue advancing towards completion of the deal, expected to close in the second half of 2022.
- The best performing country in emerging Europe for the week was Turkey, gaining 0.63%. The best performing country in Asia this week was the Philippines, gaining 0.41%.
- The Russian ruble was the best performing currency in emerging Europe this week, gaining 6.6%. The Indonesia rupiah was the best performing currency in Asia this week, gaining 0.12%.
- Eurozone PMIs remain strong. The final S&P Global Manufacturing PMI for April was reported at 55.5 versus 55.3. The final Service PMI remained unchanged at 57.7, well above the 50 level that separates growth from contraction.
- The worst performing country in emerging Europe for the week was Poland, losing 4.60%. The worst performing country in Asia this week was Hong Kong, losing 5.42%.
- The Czech koruna was the worst performing currency in emerging Europe this week, losing 0.95%. The Chinese yuan was the worst performing currency in Asia this week, losing 0.90%.
- As expected, China released weaker PMIs. The Caixin PMI, which measures production activity in smaller private companies, fell to 46.0 in April from 48.1 in March. The China PMI, which measures production activity in large government enterprises, declined to 47.4 from 49.5. The Asian nation’s Zero-COVID policy is putting pressure on the economy.
- Wood & Company, a premier broker with extensive coverage on central emerging Europe, sees opportunity in EME (emerging markets of Europe). The research firms says that EME companies could benefit from potential large investment programs to the tune of $1 trillion USD of total spending. This would be for infrastructure and the military sector (which is five-times today’s value of the post WWII Marshal Plan). Moreover, South Korea may join the MSCI Developed Markets and central European stocks may benefit from redistribution of funds. Wood & Company sees EME stock markets outperforming the broader emerging market universe.
- Analysts are expecting China to distribute billions of yuan to buyers of electric vehicles to boost sales. The Guangdong province last week already offered CNY10,000 to buyers to purchase electric cars to replace another vehicle. Those buying a petrol car will be awarded CNY5,000, as the government aims to support the entire industry.
- International donors pledged $6.5 billion in humanitarian aid as the government sought to evacuate trapped civilians. Ukrainian forces counterattacked in areas near Kharkiv and Izyum while Russia resumed missile attacks on key supply lines. Moscow announced a three-day daytime cease-fire around Mariupol’s Azovstal steel plant to allow for further evacuations.
- This week the U.S. Federal Reserve delivered the biggest interest rate increase of 50 basis points since 2000 and signaled it would keep hiking at this pace over the next couple of meetings to bring inflation lower. The U.S. dollar strength is pushing emerging market currencies lower. This trend may continue.
- Inflation in Turkey spiked to 69.97% in April compared with the previous year. This is the biggest year-over-year increase since 2002. Turkish critics blame soaring prices of President Erdogan ‘s economic policies, which favor lower interest rates to boost growth and exports. Year-to-date the Turkish lira is one of the world’s worst performing currencies and there is room for further weakness.
- There is a growing expectation that Russia may announce the annexation of Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kherson next week on May 9, a date which coincides with Victory Day in Russia, marking Russian defeat of Nazi Germany and the end of World War II. Putin did not expect the war with Ukraine to last this long. He appears to be growing desperate, which may lead to desperate actions. Ukraine will not agree to give up any land. Although the Ukraine/Russia conflict will take years to resolve, hopefully a cease-fire agreement can be sealed soon.
Energy & Natural Resources
- The best performing commodity for the week was natural gas, up 11.31%. U.S. natural gas futures extended gains above the key $7 mark this week. This comes after record April performance amid concerns over anemic domestic inventories and signs of growing demand.
- Raymond James’ bullish oil view over the next few years remains firm, and the group is again increasing its price forecast. The updated price deck envisions WTI averaging $105 for 2022 ($100 previously), peaking in the third quarter 2022, before drifting toward $100 average in 2023. Raymond James has several reasons for remaining bullish even after a strong run in the commodity: 1) extremely low global inventories, 2) supply losses that offset demand destruction fears, 3) the coming collapse in OPEC+ spare capacity, especially in Russia, and 4) the need for a higher structural price to further incentivize U.S. supply.
- The jet fuel market has been on a wild ride over the past two years. First, demand for the refined product took an unprecedented, COVID-induced nosedive in February and March 2020. By May 2020, Gulf Coast prices for jet fuel had plummeted to less than 50 cents per gallon and refiners slashed production to 505 Mb/d (from just under 1.9 MMb/d). Domestic air travel is finally back, but with international travel slower to rebound, total jet fuel supply and demand are still off their pre-pandemic levels. Jet fuel prices are taking off, though, last week hitting their highest mark since July 2008.
- The worst performing commodity for the week was palm oil, off 11.68% as word of stockpiles in Malaysia, the second biggest producer, climbed to a five-month high. Russia’s oil production this year may drop by as much as 17% amid international restrictions on buying the nation’s crude, said Finance Minister Anton Siluanov. “The output will decline. By what amount? 17%, a bit more or a bit less, that is possible,” Siluanov told reporters at a briefing on Wednesday.
- Oil inventories are swelling in China as a series of harsh anti-virus lockdowns hurt fuel consumption in the world’s largest crude importer. Onshore holdings, including commercial and strategic reserves, have expanded to 891 million barrels so far this month, according to data and analytics firm Kpler. That is 2.4% higher than in March and the most since January. The rise in stockpiles adds to evidence of the hit to energy demand in China as investors attempt to navigate the complex fallout from the war in Ukraine.
- While Russian daily oil production so far in April has been about 8.8% below pre-invasion levels, the amount of crude processed by refineries has slumped 15.3%, according to data from the Energy Ministry’s CDU-TEK unit seen by Bloomberg. Oil that is no longer processed by Russian refiners must go somewhere. Initially it was put into temporary storage at the oil fields. Now it is being sent for export, resulting in rising shipments of crude grades like the Siberian Light blend from Russia’s Black Sea coast, according to Jay Maroo, lead crude analyst at Vortexa Ltd.
- China will cut import tariffs for coal to zero from May to the end of March to help guarantee energy supplies, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement. Current tariffs range from 3% to 6% depending on the type of coal. China’s coal imports are down 24% through the end of March this year as global prices have soared. China is the world’s biggest coal importer, and any move that helps boost its purchases will add pressure to prices of the fuel, which surged this month as the European Union and Japan moved to ban imports of the fuel from Russia, further tightening the market.
- The Biden administration has approved more requests to export U.S. natural gas as it seeks to counteract Russia’s efforts to use the fuel as a weapon against Ukraine’s allies, writes Bloomberg. Golden Pass LNG, a liquefied natural gas project Qatar Petroleum and Exxon Mobil Corp. are building in Texas, and Glenfarne Group LLC’s Magnolia LNG project planned for Louisiana received Energy Department authorization to ship gas to countries that do not have a free trade agreement with the U.S. That would include Europe, which has seen its gas prices surge as Russia halted flows to Poland and Bulgaria.
- Germany signaled it would not oppose a European Union embargo on Russian oil, reports Bloomberg, but expressed skepticism that it is the most effective means of damaging Vladimir Putin. Economy Minister Robert Habeck — also vice chancellor in the ruling coalition in Berlin — warned that halting Russian oil imports would cause serious pain to Europe’s biggest economy, including supply shortages and “enormous price increases.”
- Metals producers in India are cutting activity and warning of potential closures as a worsening coal shortage threatens to escalate into a full-blown energy crisis for Asia’s third-largest economy. In the central state of Chhattisgarh, a hub for iron ore and steelmaking, sponge iron makers are running at about 60% of usual levels and could be forced to shut down completely if they cannot get more coal, said Anil Nachrani, president of the Chhattisgarh Sponge Iron Manufacturers Association.
- The $30 billion U.S. solar industry is being ensnared in a trade probe that is leaving projects like Maple Hill in limbo and threatening to slow down — even derail — the country’s shift to renewable power. The panels crucial to the solar farm in Portage, Pennsylvania, were being made in Thailand. But the threat of tariffs, equal to as much as 239% of the equipment’s value, forced the supplier to halt shipments. At least 65% of U.S. solar capacity set to come online in 2022 and 2023 is now at significant risk of cancellation or delay, according to an advocacy group fighting the trade probe.
- U.S. shale giants stung by billions of dollars in hedging losses are spending big bucks to ditch their positions in a risky bet that prices stay high, writes Bloomberg. Companies including Pioneer Natural Resources Co. and EOG Resources Inc. are poised to post historic profits when they report earnings. But those windfall earnings would be even higher if it weren’t for massive accounting losses from hedges that protect against falling prices while limiting upside potential. Producers in the aggregate are looking at about $42 billion in oil and gas hedging losses through 2023, according to Bloomberg NEF calculations of data from last year.
- BMW’s earnings rose 12% in the first quarter, supported by strong demand for top-end cars. The carmaker shifted production to higher-margin models as output has been hampered by the semiconductor shortage and other supply-chain problems. Despite delivering 6% fewer cars in the first quarter, BMW’s auto revenue rose 17% compared with the same period last year.
- Manhattan’s luxury home market had a strong April despite uncertainties due to rising rates and inflation along with geopolitical tensions. There were 39 contracts signed on homes asking $4 million or more in the week ending last Sunday, two more than the prior week, according to Monday’s report from Olshan Realty. The most expensive contract signed last week was for a six story Upper East Side townhouse asking almost $30 million.
- Polaris, a producer of recreational vehicles, was the best performing S&P Global Luxury stock for the week, gaining 11.13%. Shares bounced after the company reported earnings miss last week. The company also declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.64 per share, payable June 15.
- Morgan Stanley reported that Chinese mall traffic has been severely impacted by lockdowns, showing a 59% mall traffic decline in 2022 versus 2019. The broker sees little probability that China will exit from its “Zero-COVID” policy in the next four to five months, given low vaccination rates.
- A luxury property development at the heart of the Square Mile in London is still two thirds empty more than two years after sales began, Bloomberg reports. The luxurious complex has 160 apartments for sale and only 55 have been sold. According to research from estates agent Benham and Reeves, prime properties in London are selling for an average 3.6% discount on their asking price.
- Cettire, an Australian online retailer selling luxury products worldwide, was the worst performing S&P Global Luxury stock for the second week in a row, losing 21.97%. Shares continued to decline after the company released a disappointing quarterly update.
- A new market study published by Global Industry Analysts Inc., says that the global luxury goods market will reach $296.9 billion by 2026 (versus this year’s estimate of $242.8 billion) growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.8%. The apparel and cosmetic/perfume segment are projected to grow at the fastest pace. The sale of luxury goods is supported by a growing influence of social media platforms and rising sales through e-commerce channels.
- Volkswagen reported strong quarterly results. The German company said Wednesday that it continues to expect 8%-13% revenue growth in 2022 and an operating return on sales of between 7% and 8.5% compared with 8% in 2021, despite parts shortages. Strong company results provide more support for the anticipated Porsche IPO, which could be valued at EUR90 billion.
- Gucci will start accepting cryptocurrency payments at selected stores in the United States toward the end of this month. Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Wrapped Bitcoin, Litecoin, Dogecoin, and Shiba Inu should be accepted in all directly operated North American stores by the summer. Gucci is embracing new technologies providing enhanced experiences for its customers.
- The Federal Reserve hiked interest rates in the United States by 50 basis points. It was the biggest rate increase since 2000. Chairman of the Fed, Jerome Powell, surprised the market saying that higher rates are not in the cards for now, but the overall tone of the Fed was hawkish, signaling a 50-basis points rate increase over the next couple of meetings. Rising rates will negatively impact consumption.
- This week, Estee Lauder cut its adjusted earnings per share and sales forecast for the full year. The revenue in Asia/Pacific declined the most and the company sees further headwinds due to COVID-related lockdowns in China. Chinese customers are heavy consumers of luxury products and the current spike of coronavirus cases in Beijing and Shanghai will negatively impact luxury goods sales in the region.
- Fiji’s High Court has allowed U.S. and local authorities to seize a $325 million mega-yacht to prevent the yacht from leaving the territory. The United States claims that the yacht is owned by sanctioned Russian gold billionaire Suleiman Kerimov. After the West imposed sanctions on Russian oligarchs, their yachts, planes, and villas have all been confiscated.
Blockchain and Digital Currencies
- Of the cryptocurrencies tracked by CoinMarketCap, the best performer for the week was MetaPay, rising 720%.
- DraftKings has teamed up with Metabilia, a memorabilia and NFT company operating at the forefront of physical and digital collectibles, which will become the latest NFT supplier on DraftKings Marketplace, according to Bloomberg. The collaboration introduces “Membership NFTs” for fans to chronicle the careers of young players and will feature star major leaguers beginning with Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Ronald Acuna Jr., Shane Bieber, Wander Franco, Joe Musgrove, and Fernando Tatis Jr.
- Gucci will accept payments in cryptocurrencies in the U.S starting this month, as the luxury industry takes a tentative step in the digital-asset universe. The company joins fashion designer Phillip Plein whose online store started accepting crypto payments in 2021, writes Bloomberg.
- Of the cryptocurrencies tracked by CoinMarketCap, the worst performing for the week was United Bitcoin, down 95%.
- Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks tumbled on Thursday as Bitcoin and Ethereum slid back to levels not seen since February. Ethereum dropped as much as 7%, back under $2,750 per coin.
- Moody’s Investors Services slashed El Salvador’s credit rating by two notches. The agency cut the nations’ long-term foreign debt rating Wednesday to Caa3 from Caa1. They state that “The downgrade incorporates Moody’s expectation of high material losses to investors ahead of the two upcoming bond redemptions,” reports Bloomberg.
- Google’s cloud group has formed a Web3 team to capitalize on the booming popularity of crypto, reports CNBC. Former Citigroup executive James Tromans will lead the new Google group that will build services to help developers construct Web3 applications. Early efforts could include better management of blockchain nodes and software for exploring blockchain data in third-party applications, the article explains.
- Binance France SAS has acquired the digital asset service provider (DASP) registrations to operate in France by Autorite des marches financiers (AMF), according to Bloomberg. The DASP registration in the European Union highlights Binance’s vision of being a compliance-first exchange. As part of the registration, Binance France SAS can operate as per French AML/CFT.
- Alborz, a joint venture between Bitcoin miner Cipher (CIFR) and renewable energy firm WindHQ, received a two-year $46.9 million secured credit facility from crypto lender BlockFi, according to a press release. Proceeds will be used to buy Bitmain S19J Pro mining rigs for Alborz’s 40-megawatt data center in Texas that is powered by a 163 MW wind energy source.
- The U.S. SEC is adding 20 more officials to a team dedicated to policing cryptocurrency markets, the latest move by Wall Street’s main regulator to crack down on digital tokens that may run afoul of its rules. The additions will bring the SEC’s Crypto Assets and Cyber Unit to 50 people, writes Bloomberg. The focus of the expanded enforcement group will include virtual-currency offerings, decentralized finance and trading platforms, as well as stablecoins.
- Bitcoin dropped the most in almost a month as the optimism seen across financial markets following the Federal Reserve’s meeting on Wednesday faded, writes Bloomberg. The largest digital currency fell as much as 8.4%, the biggest intraday drop since April 11, while Ether slumped as much as 7.2%.
- Mike Novogratz, the CEO and founder of Galaxy Digital, told CNBC that the “amazing ride” from cheap money is over and that “we are not going to get a soft landing,” according to Bloomberg. Novogratz noted that inflation expectations have become a “little unhinged” and that inflation “won’t come down until the labor dynamic shifts away from the strong positions of labor right now.”
This week gold futures closed at $1,882.80, down $8.50 per ounce, or 0.45%. Gold stocks, as measured by the NYSE Arca Gold Miners Index, ended the week lower by 2.58%. The S&P/TSX Venture Index came in off 5.92%. The U.S. Trade-Weighted Dollar finished the week up just 0.04%.
|May-3||Durable Goods Orders||0.8%||1.1%||0.8%|
|May-4||ADP Employment Change||383k||547k||479k|
|May-4||FOMC Rater Decision (Upper Bound)||1.00%||1.00%||0.50%|
|May-5||Initial Jobless Claims||180k||200k||181k|
|May-6||Change in Nonfarm payrolls||380k||428k||428k|
|May-10||Germany ZEW Survey Expectations||-42.5||—||-41.0|
|May-10||Germany ZEW Survey Current Situation||-35.0||—||-30.8|
|May-11||Germany CPI YoY||7.4%||—||4.7%|
|May-12||PPI Final Demand YoY||10.7%||—||11.2%|
|May-12||Initial Jobless Claims||192k||—||200k|
- The best performing precious metal for the week was platinum, up 4.16%, likely related to a pairs trade with palladium. However, lockdowns in China may be playing a role, too. Nomad Royalty Company announced this week a friendly acquisition by Sandstorm Gold, reports Bloomberg, creating the largest, pure-play and highest growth mid-tier royalty company. The all-share transaction is valued at approximately C$755 million. Under the terms of the transaction, shareholders of Nomad will receive 1.21 common shares of Sandstorm for each Nomad share held.
- Demand growth for gold will be driven by steady wedding and festival purchases given Indian consumers’ strong cultural affinity toward gold, ICRA Ltd., the local unit of Moody’s Investors Service, said in a report. Demand during the second-most auspicious gold buying day in the Hindu calendar of Akshaya Tritiya on Tuesday is expected to be strong, which should lead to a 45% jump in sales in the April-June period from a year earlier. Revenues of organized retailers are likely to rise about 14%, backed by their aggressive store expansion plans and a gradual shift from the unorganized segment to the organized one.
- U.S. Mint sales of American Eagle gold coins soared 129% in April to 88,000 ounces from a year earlier, according to figures on its website. The gold market is also holding at a critical support level, writes Kitco News, even as it sees continued selling pressure and no bullish interest from disappointing employment data.
- The worst performing precious metal for the week was palladium, down 7.81%. Gold is on track for its third weekly loss with the Federal Reserve likely marking the bottom, short-term, for gold as future rate hikes are likely to remain at 50 basis points steps. Equity and commodity investments plunged the day after the rate hike, but gold found positive gains on Friday to close out the week.
- Exchange-traded funds (ETFs) cut 57,382 troy ounces of gold from their holdings in the last trading session, bringing this year’s net purchases to 8.81 million ounces, according to Bloomberg. This was the fifth straight day of declines, the longest losing streak since January 12. The sales were equivalent to $108.8 million at the previous spot price. Total gold held by ETFs rose 9% this year to 106.7 million ounces.
- Elevation Gold announced fourth quarter production 25% lower than consensus on the back of lower tons stacked and lower grades. While the lower grade was attributable to a higher proportion of material being mined from the lower grade West pit, the lower stacked tons was caused by a three-week delay as operations transitioned from heap leach pad 2B to 3A.
- Sandstorm Gold has agreed to acquire nine royalties and one stream from BaseCore Metals LP for total consideration of $525 million, consisting of $425 million cash and $100 million Sandstorm shares. The cash consideration for the acquisition of the BaseCore portfolio will be funded from Sandstorm’s newly upsized $500 million revolving credit facility to be implemented before closing.
- Concurrent with the BaseCore transaction mentioned above, Sandstorm has signed an amended and restated letter of intent with Royalty North Partners Ltd. to become “Horizon Copper”, whereby Sandstorm will sell the acquired 1.66% Antamina NPI royalty to Horizon and Sandstorm will retain a long-life silver stream on the Antamina mine, along with a portion of the post-stream NPI royalty.
- Rod Antal, President and CEO of SSR Mining, commented on the company’s earnings this week, saying “The first quarter of 2022 continued SSR Mining’s proud track record of operational outperformance, as we delivered gold equivalent production of 173,675 ounces at AISC of $1,093/ounce, positioning the Company well against full year guidance. In particular, we reported record quarterly production of 52,582 ounces at Seabee as we accessed a continuation of a high-grade zone outside of the Mineral Reserve that was first mined in the second quarter of 2021.”
- Western Australian gold miner Silver Lake Resources Ltd. withdrew its sales guidance for the year through June due to “severe” disruptions to its operations caused by virus-related labor shortages. The mineral-rich state’s resources industry — which relies on flying workers in and out of remote sites — has been hit by labor shortages during the pandemic after its pursuit of Zero-COVID meant implementing strict border measures, including enforced quarantines. After finally reopening its domestic and international borders in early March, Western Australian mining camps have become susceptible to coronavirus outbreaks, threatening some production.
- Global gold jewelry demand this year could be undermined by China’s stringent lockdowns to combat its COVID outbreaks, according to the World Gold Council. Bullion’s sharp rally earlier in the year hurt the country’s jewelry purchases, and demand all but halted as lockdowns were imposed in cities like Shanghai and Shenzhen, it said.
- As Chinese mining company MMG Ltd. turns its attention to expelling a second group of protesters occupying the giant Las Bambas copper operation in Peru, another group is trying to re-enter the site. Mine security personnel are collaborating with the police to oust members of the Huancuire community from areas near the open pit, said Alexander Anglas, a legal adviser to one of the demonstrating groups.
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