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Top Stories This Week: Gold Bars Fly Off Shelves in South Korea, Shipwrecked Silver Case Gets Settled

Gold and silver prices were on the move this week, with the former rising above US$2,370 per ounce on Friday (May 10), and the latter hitting US$28.67 per ounce that same day. Both pulled back slightly to finish.

Market participants continue to digest the US Federal Reserve's decision to leave interest rates unchanged, and a recent Gallup poll shows that persistent inflation is affecting the public's faith in Chair Jerome Powell.

While 39 percent of US adults have a “great deal” or a “fair amount” of confidence that he will do the right thing for the economy, that's up only 3 percent from a year ago, when Powell was taking heat for rising prices.

Confidence in Powell is much higher among Democrats than Republicans at 56 percent vs. 30 percent.

Across the pond, all eyes were on the Bank of England, which like the Fed held rates steady at its latest meeting; however, officials seem relatively confident that inflation is being reined in, with rate cuts possible in June.

CME Group's (NASDAQ:CME) FedWatch tool shows the Fed is expected to leave rates unchanged at its June and July meetings, with a 50.3 percent likelihood of a cut in September. The next consumer price index reading is due on May 15.

Bullet briefing — South Koreans buy gold, Argentum loses silver claim

South Korean retail investors snap up gold

South Koreans are eager to get their hands on gold, and retailers are delivering. Since April, the country's largest convenience store chain has been selling miniature gold bars weighing between 0.1 and 1.87 grams, and they're flying off the shelves — 1 gram bars reportedly sold out within two days, with people in their 30s being strong buyers.

Another chain, called GS25, is even selling gold wafers from vending machines.

If you've been following gold demand trends, this story out of South Korea will likely sound familiar. It's similar to the "gold beans" spree that swept China earlier this year, and it's also in the same vein as Costco's (NASDAQ:COST) foray into gold sales. While the experts I've spoken with have emphasized that buying gold in such small denominations generally isn't cost effective, they've been encouraged to see wider demographics take an interest in gold.

Argentum loses salvaged silver claim

Argentum Exploration, a company owned by GB News investor Sir Paul Marshall, has lost a legal battle with South Africa over 2,364 salvaged silver bars worth an estimated US$42 million.

Back in 2017, Argentum recovered the silver from a WWII-era shipwreck in the Indian Ocean. It launched a claim for salvage, but South Africa said it was the rightful owner — the metal was sold to the country by India for use in South African and Egyptian coins, but the vessel transporting it was sunk by Japanese torpedoes.

Although South Africa didn't ask Argentum to retrieve the metal, several courts have now ruled against Argentum, making South Africa immune to its claim. The parties reportedly came to a private agreement prior to the judgment.

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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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