Top Stories This Week: Powell Compares Gold to Crypto, Uranium Companies Get Physical

Precious Metals
"ready set gold"

Catch up and get informed with this week’s content highlights from Charlotte McLeod, our editorial director.

Market watchers were eyeing this week’s testimonies from US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, but ultimately their words did little to move gold.

The metal spent the week fairly rangebound, trading between about US$1,725 and US$1,745 per ounce.

More intriguing for some industry participants were Powell’s comments on gold and cryptocurrencies.

In a Monday (March 22) panel discussion hosted by the Bank for International Settlements, he described cryptocurrencies as “highly volatile” and therefore not a useful store of value; Powell added that they are “essentially a substitute for gold,” not the dollar.

“(Cryptocurrencies are) highly volatile … and therefore not really useful as a store of value, and they’re not backed by anything. They’re more of an asset for speculation … it’s more a speculative asset that’s essentially a substitute for gold rather than for the dollar” — Jerome Powell, US Federal Reserve

Moving away from precious metals, I want to touch on our last poll, where we asked our Twitter followers if they were more bullish on gold, silver, copper or nickel. We chose those metals because they came up the most frequently during our interviews at this year’s PDAC convention, but we found that quite a few respondents wrote in a completely different commodity.

The commodity was uranium, and there have been some recent developments investors may want to consider. Over the last couple of weeks, companies including (but not limited to) Canada-focused Denison Mines (TSX:DML,NYSEAMERICAN:DNN) and US-based UEC (NYSEAMERICAN:UEC) have announced plans to acquire physical uranium.

Denison is targeting purchases of about 2.5 million pounds of U3O8 on the spot market, while UEC has entered agreements to buy 400,000 pounds of uranium concentrates. The companies gave various reasons for their programs, although both said they would expect to see balance sheet improvements.

So what does that mean for the industry? Overall, market watchers seem optimistic. Lobo Tiggre of Independent Speculator, who I’ve spoken to previously about uranium, pointed out there was a move in the spot price the week of the news. Meanwhile, Peter Grandich of Peter Grandich & Company, who I’ve also talked to in the past about uranium, reminded investors that in his opinion the best is yet to come.

With uranium in mind, we asked our Twitter followers if they think 2021 will be the year the commodity breaks out. By the time the poll closed, about 65 percent had answered “yes,” with about 11 percent saying “no” and 24 percent in the “too soon to tell” camp.

We’ll be asking another question on Twitter next week, so make sure to follow us @INN_Resource or follow me @Charlotte_McL to share your thoughts.

Finally, in the cannabis space this week, INN’s Bryan Mc Govern looked at the history of short selling. The GameStop (NYSE:GME) saga has of course generated mainstream interest in this strategy, but it has a fairly long and tumultuous history in the marijuana market.

A couple of high-profile cannabis short selling incidents include the 2018 attacks on major companies Aphria (TSX:APHA,NASDAQ:APHA) and Cronos Group (TSX:CRON,NASDAQ:CRON). The two firms had very different reactions after being targeted, with Aphria making major changes and Cronos weathering the storm — an important consideration for investors in the space.

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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.

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