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Haywood’s Heritage Moment: In Switzerland, ores and other mineral resources were already being extracted by mining methods 3500 years ago. There has been no mining activity in this country since 1967 – there is however an interest in its history. Source: Geology Portal

Precious Metals Steady Despite Renewed Concerns of a Greek Euro Exit

The week saw re-escalating concerns surrounding Greece’s ability to finance its sovereign debt. There is growing speculation that finance ministers will not grant further financial support to Greece after the next Eurogroup meeting beginning next Friday (April 24th), resulting in a debt default that would likely see a surge in demand for safe haven assets like gold. A number of commentators have highlighted on the relationship between the gold price and Greek government yields, which have been much more closely aligned over the last 5 to 7 years compared to the association between gold and the surging U.S. dollar. Despite this, gold, silver and platinum prices were mostly flat for the week, finishing at $1,204, $16.23 and $1,172 per ounce respectively. Meanwhile, trade data from China continues to reflect a weakening Chinese domestic economy, with import, and export sales in particular, unexpectedly falling (↓12.7% YoY and ↓14.6% YoY in March respectively), at odds with a 12% rise in export sales as forecast by economists. Surprisingly, industrial metals including iron ore and copper were actually up for the week, with iron ore in particular registering a 6.3% gain while copper was up slightly (↑0.2%) to finish at $2.79 per pound. Nickel (↓0.6%), lead (↑1.3%) and zinc (↑0.2%) all finished at $5.67, $0.92 and $1.00 per pound respectively. Finally, the news of a court injunction on behalf of Japanese residents of the Fukui prefecture in Japan during the week against the restarting of two nuclear reactors saw uranium prices down slightly, with the UxC Broker Average Price of uranium finishing at $38.88 per pound (↓0.7%).

Here’s an overview of what’s in the Dig this week:

Weekly Dig screen

Click here for the full report.

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[Switzerland source]