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Trump, bitcoin to dominate precious metals talks: Mines and Money summit

London — US President Donald Trump, the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, and their relevantimpacts on both the gold and silver prices this year and outwards to 2018,were the main points of discussion as the annual Mines and Money exhibitiondrew to a close Thursday.

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The election of Trump has supported gold prices this year due toincreased political risk, investors and analysts at the summit agreed.

"We have seen a disconnection between interest rates and gold pricemovements this year, with both higher expected [core] rates and a rise in thegold price in the second half of 2017," Simona Gambarini of Capital Economicstold the audience. "This has happened on the back of heightened geopoliticaluncertainty."

Trump's announced fiscal stimulus in the US will likely turn outconsiderably smaller than planned at $1.5 trillion instead of $4 trillion,while no major infrastructure spending is expected, which will limit downwardpressure on the gold price, she added.

Bitcoin, the most recognized of all the cryptocurrencies, has ballooned1000% over the past 12 months, and as such was widely addressed bycommentators and a panelist. Many compared it to bullion as it sharescharacteristics, chiefly functioning as an inflation-hedge, largely outside ofgovernmental controls.

Bitcoin's sharp rise the last year is a net positive signal for gold,investors agreed.

"The same millennials that are now so invested in Bitcoin, might beinterested in gold too," Ellis Martin, CEO of the Ellis Report said Thursday. In order to meet younger investors' preferences, the gold investmentindustry itself will become digitized -- backed by blockchain, the technologysupporting cryptocurrencies, said Peter Grosskopf, CEO of Sprott AssetManagement. Projects like Royalmint's RMG, Paxos and TradeWind Markets alreadybuilding a presence in this space, he added.

The bullion market appeared to be being pulled into the digital age atthe 2017 LBMA/LPPM conference in Barcelona back in October, with a key talkingpoint being cryptocurrencies and their implications for gold trade goingforward.Even the most traditional of industry players have been taking note ofdigital currencies, which have become much used buzzwords.

During a panel discussion, Frank Holmes, CEO of US Global Investors,addressed the idea that cryptocurrencies -- those backed by a digitalfingerprint -- will be a key component of the global economic landscape incoming years.

"There is something big happening [in cryptocurrencies]," he said.

There was a lot of chat about the partnership between the CME and theRoyal Mint, allowing investors to trade a form of cryptocurrency fully-backedby Royal Mint-vaulted, allocated gold.

--Pascal Dick, pascal.dick@spglobal.com

--Ben Kilbey, ben.kilbey@spglobal.com

--Edited by Richard Rubin, richard.rubin@spglobal.com