Gold hits record high on haven demand as markets rally sputters

first_imgThe greenback was down against most other currencies, with the euro at its highest since September 2018, while higher-yielding units such as the South Korean won and Indonesian rupiah were also up.Stock markets were mostly up but with little conviction as investors fret over the impact of the virus on the economy.Shanghai was slightly higher, having suffered big losses last week as China and the US closed consulates in Chengdu and Houston, ramping up tensions between the superpowers.Sydney was up 0.2 percent, while Singapore and Jakarta each added 0.3 percent, though Seoul climbed more than one percent and Taipei jumped more than two percent.Tokyo, Hong Kong and Mumbai drifted lower.Investors are growing concerned about lawmakers’ slow progress on a new US stimulus program, with Republicans still to present their proposals worth around $1 trillion, which is less than a third of the plan set out by Democrats.There are concerns an agreement could take some time, hitting millions of Americans whose much-needed extra unemployment benefits are about to come to an end. Eyes are on the Fed’s next policy meeting this week, with some predicting further measures to boost the economy — possibly negative interest rates — that could put more pressure on the dollar and send bullion above $2,000.There are also concerns that a worse-than-forecast reading on second-quarter US gross domestic product could spark another dollar sell-off.While the weak dollar has been a key catalyst for the metal’s advance, gold has also been boosted by its attractiveness as a haven in times of turmoil with China-US relations souring by the day.”Strong gains are inevitable as we enter a period much like the post-global financial crisis environment, where gold prices soared to record levels as a result of copious amounts of Fed money being pumped into the financial system,” said Gavin Wendt, senior resource analyst at MineLife. Key figures around 0400 GMT Gold: UP 2.2 percent at $1,944.71 per ounceTokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.3 percent at 22,685.31Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.1 percent at 24,683.66 (break)Shanghai – Composite: UP 0.1 percent at 3,199.67 (break)Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1715 from $1.1652 at 2100 GMT Dollar/yen: DOWN at 105.56 yen from 105.95 yen Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2848 from $1.2791 Euro/pound: UP at 91.13 pence from 91.07 penceWest Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.3 percent at $41.15 per barrel Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.4 percent at $43.15 per barrelNew York – Dow: DOWN 0.7 percent at 26,469.89 (close)London – FTSE 100: DOWN 1.4 percent at 6,123.82 (close) Gold hit a record high Monday as investors rushed into the safe-haven on concerns about China-US tensions, a spike in virus infections around the world and a lack of progress on a new stimulus bill in Washington.After months of healthy rallies across equity markets, fuelled by trillions of dollars in government and central bank support, traders are beginning to step back as they weigh the long-term economic impact of the coronavirus.With vast monetary easing measures put in place by the Federal Reserve pushing the dollar lower against most other currencies, gold is flying, hitting an all-time high of $1,944.71, well above its previous record of $1,921.18 seen in 2011.center_img Bloomberg News contributed to this story  Topics :last_img read more

Martinez won’t coddle Barkley

first_imgEverton manager Roberto Martinez sees no reason to protect rising star Ross Barkley despite the teenager’s heavy involvement already this season. The 19-year-old, who has been one of the key figures in the Toffees’ unbeaten start to the Premier League, has been named in Roy Hodgson’s England squad for World Cup qualifiers against Montenegro and Poland next week. Prior to that he will be expected to play a major role against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday having missed just three minutes of Premier League action so far this season. He also had a full England debut a month ago, playing half an hour against Moldova, and his only significant rest was the 90 minutes spent on the bench in last week’s Capital One Cup defeat at Fulham. “Ross is upset even when he can’t win in training never mind when he can’t be involved in games,” said the Spaniard, who has described the academy graduate as an “English diamond”. “He is a young man who has been waiting for this opportunity for a long time and is desperate to enjoy every single second. “When you are young you don’t feel tired. He has a terrific energy and it is just the start of what is going to be a very special season for him.” Previous manager David Moyes was cautious in his handling of the albeit younger teenager, probably mindful of the horrific triple leg break suffered on England Under-19 duty which interrupted his career in 2010. After playing six matches following his Toffees debut aged 17 on the opening day of the 2011-2012 season, Barkley featured just twice between December and May. After loan spells at Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds last season he was used primarily as a substitute on his return to Goodison Park. But after Martinez’s arrival in the summer the midfielder has now found himself in the thick of things and that has brought recognition from England’s senior set-up. Press Association Not that the Toffees’ boss is particularly looking forward to next week’s internationals. “It is going to be a situation where we lose 13 or 14 players for international duty,” he said. “We need to accept it and take the best from the situation but I don’t think any manager at club level welcomes the international break.” Martinez has been impressed with the way Barkley has quickly developed a partnership with on-loan Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku, which was evident during Monday’s 3-2 win at home to Newcastle. “That understanding and relationship with Ross Barkley was magic at times,” he told Press Association Sport. “You see good players always understand each other. I thought Ross and Romelu clicked in the second half of the West Ham game and have developed in training a bit of a natural understanding of each other’s game. “You are talking about 20-year-old players who excite you for the future. “Their potential is terrific and we have to keep working and developing them because they are an important part of our team now. “You can always work on certain aspects of the player but normally it is a natural relationship that is allowed to develop. “Good players always get to know each other well in the way they enjoy their football. “It is something which they can grow and improve in the future.” Lukaku is reportedly attracting interest from Serie A giants Juventus. The Belgium striker has scored three goals in one-and-a-half league appearances for the Toffees. “That’s the first time I’ve heard that (Juventus link),” said Martinez. “It doesn’t surprise me. What matters is that he is enjoying his football. “I thought his away debut (45 minutes and a goal against West Ham) was impressive, I think the home debut (90 minutes and two goals against Newcastle) was exciting to watch. “It is only the start and he is still only a young man and we are looking forward to seeing him go from strength to strength.” last_img read more

Combine carries too much weight

first_imgAJ MACLEAN/Herald photoYes, the NFL Draft is once again upon us. Beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday morning, the lives of 255 young men will change over the course of two days, with plenty of trades and picks to question along the way.However, the event has come a long way in the last 10 or so years. Cameras show team’s “War rooms” (or whatever they’re called these days), with team officials executing a strategy while ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Jr. fills households across the nation with his opinions on nearly every single player selected.An even more striking change has come in the manner in which teams evaluate talent. In today’s NFL, it seems like a prospects’ use of four to five seconds running on a track are more important than his three or four years of college productivity.All-American status is essentially thrown out. In a somewhat disturbing trend, the things a player can do while working out in shorts and a t-shirt in front of numerous scouts has become just as important, if not more, than that player’s ability to simply play football on any given Saturday.Need proof? The case-in-point sits right in Madison’s backyard.His name is Jim Leonhard.Leonhard hasn’t been able to work out much at all since suffering a stress fracture in his left foot. With no chances to show off his athleticism, Leonhard’s draft hopes are riding the uncertain highway of the sixth or seventh round, with free agency a real possibility.“To make it through four years of college and not have to miss anything and then to come right now, at this time of my career, and have a setback like this is really frustrating,” Leonhard said at Badger Pro Day while wearing a protective boot on his foot. “Hopefully it will work out, I’m hoping to get into camp somewhere.”Unfortunately for Leonhard, his three years of flat-out production since entering UW’s starting lineup as a sophomore may go by the wayside. Leonhard has exactly seven times as many interceptions (a staggering 21-to-three ratio) as Thomas Davis of Georgia, who is believed to be the top-ranked safety on most teams’ draft boards. Now, Leonhard should in no way be put on the same level as a top-notch prospect such as Davis for draft purposes. Yet his stats shouldn’t just be discarded.Tackles and interceptions seem to have little meaning these days when compared to 40-yard dash times and pro agility tests. This is not to say Leonhard would have struggled in these tests. This is a 5-foot-8 man who can dunk a basketball with ease for crying out loud. Had he had the chance and good health to perform, the former Badger would have been able to show off the same athleticism that has caught many an opponent off guard. The point is this — sneering at Leonhard’s career stats simply because he has not followed them up with blistering times and measurements is ludicrous.“I’ve got three years of good film out there and then it’s just trying to prove to them that you’re going to be healthy and that it’s going the right direction that way,” Leonhard said.While players like Leonhard lose out, each year there are several elite workout warriors who shoot up draft boards with their “measurables.” Productivity is thrown out the window in favor of potential. Year after year, pro scouts drool at the raw athleticism displayed by players who, quite frankly, never will capitalize on that ability. See Philadelphia Eagles 1995 first-round pick Mike Mamula for evidence of that. A perfect example this year is Matt Jones of Arkansas, a freakish athlete (6-foot-6, 242 pounds and 4.37 speed) attempting to make the change from college quarterback to professional wide receiver. Now, Jones may in fact have a nice career in the NFL. But it’s hard to believe anyone can learn to play wideout on the fly in the professional ranks with the number of high-caliber athletes in the league. And though he is unquestionably a first-round talent, considering Jones a first-round pick seems a little far-fetched.While the Matt Jones’ of the world will watch with anticipation Saturday, Leonhard and others will play the waiting game late into Sunday. But, it’s no major change for Leonhard — he’s been in this position before. Who would have thought a kid from Tony, Wis., would earn All-American honors? Regardless of what transpires this weekend, Leonhard will find himself with a new set of people to prove wrong. “It’s kind of the same situation (as college), just on a bigger level,” Leonhard said. “Hopefully [I] can do the same thing, have a great career there as well.”last_img read more

Grand Mufti Sumaworo Urges Muslims to Work for Unity

first_imgGrand Mufti SumaworoThousands of Liberian Muslims celebrating the end of the holy month of Ramadan at the Gurley Street Mosque have been called on to ensure that the Liberian government’s effort to reconcile the country is successful through unity.Delivering the final message yesterday in Monrovia, Grand Mufti Sheik Abubakar Mory D. Sumaworo told his audience  to let unity be their watchword in the building of the Liberian nation.Sheik Sumaworo explained that reconciling the Liberian people demands the total involvement of all segments of the Liberian society. “Our country is moving on a new road of success,” Sheik Sumahoro said. “We must do our part as Muslims and Liberians to make it work.”He noted, amid the declaration of the greatness of Allah, that Liberians cannot and should not prevent the cause of progress that President George Manneh Weah has set in motion to lead the country to another level that will give the country and the people, whether Muslims or Christians, a chance to be proud of their nation.He also reminded Muslims and Christians that both have a shared responsibility to develop the country as brothers and sisters united for a common destiny.Sheilk Sumahoro noted that the month of Ramadan is the most sacred month of the year in Islamic culture and the observation of the month is to mark Allah’s provision of the first chapters of the Quran to the Prophet Muhammad.During Ramadan, Muslims fast, abstain from pleasures and pray to become closer to Allah and it is a time for families to gather and celebrate together. Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, which is a lunar calendar based on the cycles of the moon.The observance begins the morning after the crescent moon is visibly sighted, marking the beginning of the new month. Traditionally, people search for the slight crescent using the naked eye, which has led to the declaration of different starting times for Ramadan, due to weather or geography. In order to have a more consistent start time for Muslims around the world, however, astronomical calculations are now sometimes used.According to Islamic sources, the observance of Ramadan is very personal and individual and is a time for “sacrifice and renunciation as well as a period of reflection and spiritual growth. Ramadan is also a powerful symbol of unity, bringing family and friends together. During this period, Muslims around the world fast simultaneously.Several Muslims interviewed yesterday said completing Ramadan brings them joy “because our families were stronger together in the presence of Allah, the creator of all things.”Fasting during Ramadan is the fourth of the five pillars of Islam and they form the basis of how Muslims practice their religion. According to Islam Guide, the Pillars of Islam are: Shahada: faith in the Islam religion, Salat: pray five times per day facing the direction of Mecca, Zakat: give support to the needy, Sawm: fast during Ramadan, and Hajj: make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once during one’s lifetime.At the end of Ramadan, a three-day spiritual celebration known as Eid al-Fitr occurs. During this time, Muslims rejoice in the completion of the fast. Family members and friends gather to share in feasts and prayers. During Eid al-Fitr, it is customary to donate to the poor and disadvantaged.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more