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Gold puzzle beyond me

A hint yesterday that the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at the June meeting of the board of governors seems to have momentarily unnerved gold buyers.

When I checked the Kitco website this morning, the precious metal was trading at $1,244.80 an ounce.

In just a few days it has gone from looking like $1,300 is in the bag to threatening a retest of $1,200.

Are there any clues to the future price of gold to be gleaned from the pattern of gold American Eagle sales?

Sales numbers seem to make the future course of prices as clear as mud.

So far in the month of May, the Mint has sold 30,000 one-ounce Eagles.

At first blush, this might seem low, as the April total was 93,500.

However, the entire month of March registered sales of 29,000.

February was 67,500 and January was 89,000.

So like a Sodoku puzzle, we can ask ourselves what is the next number in the sequence 89,000, 67,500, 29,000, 93,500 whereas we know that it will be at least 30,000.

If it were simply a math puzzle, I would add two monthly numbers of 72,000 and 33,500. But sales figures are not math puzzles.

If you can discern something from these monthly sales figures, you are much cleverer than I am.

If no further gold sales occur in May, which isn’t likely, the 30,000 number fits comfortably in the sales experience of 2016 so far.

Looked at another way, if the sales pace of the first half of May is maintained throughout the second half, the monthly figure will be more like 60,000, also comfortably within the fluctuations of 2016.

There is no clue buried in that number that I can see that would aid in a forecast of a future gold price.

Sometimes it is simply better not to drive yourself crazy.

Do you have a sensible investment position? It will still be sensible even after the fluctuations in the price of gold this week are long forgotten.

Buzz blogger Dave Harper has twice won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog and is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."

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