For what it's worth, I just got back (last weekend) from a vacation in Maui. When I go on vacation I completely unplug. I check out from all the craziness of work and investments etc. Imagine my surprise when by chance, I found myself in the right place at the right time to overhear a conversation pertaining to metals.
While I was there I spent an afternoon in the town of Makawao. Makawao is a very small community and there is a section where the streets are lined with little shops full of items made by local artists and artisans.
In one woman's shop there is a section that includes jewelry she makes by hand. While in her shop, I overheard a conversation she was having with one of the locals. The owner, sounding very upset and discouraged, was saying how much more difficult it was for her to obtain gold. She said that the larger buyers are buying ever increasing percentages of what's available and the smaller buyers (small shop owners and such) end up having to fight over the scraps. She said the larger buyers have been consistently squeezing out (her words, not mine) the smaller competition. She lamented that she might not be able to continue making jewelry because she either couldnt obtain gold or had to pay a much higher price to obtain it than many of her competitors.
As I drove on down to Paia I was kicking myself for not attempting to join in the conversation. I was curious as to whether she had considered maybe, just maybe, the plain folk, the unwashed masses, the slobs, the sheeple, as some like to call them, had finally gotten it through their heads and started buying, or whether this is simple, straightforward, supply & demand forces at play from those already in the buying chain?
Any thoughts from the crowd?