Product sales in the first half of 2017 were up considerably from last year as the jewelry industry continues to thrive. Refining ounces were also up primarily in low grade material further confirming that manufacturing is on the rise.
Now in the third quarter we continue to focus on providing quality products and unparalleled service to our customer. Our metallurgists continue to develop new products for our ever evolving industry and I am proud to say we have now introduced our newest formulation, SimplyWhite® - an alloy for 18K white gold. For more information, contact your account representative.
President and CEO
In this issue of United News …
Cracked CZ's in Wax Set Casting
Cracked CZ's on one side of cast tree in wax set castings. Several customers have called about a rather confusing problem, when casting wax set CZ's they are experiencing cracked CZ's on one side of the cast trees. The problem has happened regardless of alloy composition and is not always consistent. The wax set flasks in question were all air cooled and not quenched. The problem did not occur with the wax set diamonds, only the CZ's.
After considering all the variables in wax set casting, there was one common denominator, both customers were using fans to speed the cooling of the cast flasks. The fans were directed at one side of the cast flasks. When the customers stopped using the fans on the wax set flasks of CZ's the cracking problem stopped. The faster, uneven cooling was causing the CZ's to crack on the side of the flask facing the fan. This problem did not occur with wax set diamonds, the CZ's are more sensitive to faster temperature changes.
Technological Advances at United PMR
As technology continues to advance into our industry, United has adapted and continues to evolve our business model. Two years ago, we introduced the mobile app allowing customers to browse our product catalog, schedule a FedEx pick up, view live market prices and more. We've continued development of the App to allow users to chat with United's representatives, lock in metals via the chat function and calculate values of refining lots.
Now United is in the process of revamping our facility to allow for additional technological advances including a new monitoring system that will allow customers to track their lots in house. Customers will be able to log on and see where in the process their lot is. Additional enhancements are being discussed and are expected to be implemented by January 2018. Stay tuned for more updates.
Market Recap for 2017 YTD
Gold had a somewhat volatile second quarter, but in the end managed to finish modestly lower from where it began in April. An early rise in the quarter due to geopolitical tensions and U.S. dollar weakness lifted gold to $1292. However, an anticipated French election result failed to ignite the speculative buying needed to lift gold over the $1300 level. Disappointed longs began to unload after the U.S. dollar began to recover, and gold fell back to $1215 by early May.
Ongoing day to day accusations about Russian interference and possible obstruction of justice exacerbated relations between President Trump and Congress – with the Media being more of a participant than a just a reporting service. This has led to some increased concerns over the ability of the still new administration to execute its domestic policy plans such a Tax Reform and Health Care. The apprehension effectively ended the equity market rally and prompted another rise in the gold price, with the yellow metal rising back above the $1290 level in early June.
However, once again the rally failed as any evidence against Trump failed to materialize and the FOMC raised domestic interest rates. The "hawkish" tone of the Fed also lifted the dollar, superseding the previous rise in the Euro prompted by a belief that EuroZone will begin the wind down their easing program in the near future. Gold fell through the remainder of the month to finish back at its opening levels.
The 3rd quarter begins under some pressure. The U.S. dollar has shown some strength following some recent positive financial data – although in general mixed economic news has been typical as of late. It is reported that U.S. coin sales are down and premiums are sagging. Given some near term liquation and a disappointing silver performance (new low for the year), perhaps a near term selloff is in the offing. However, something in North Korea has got to give, and President Trump is not one to let things go. Until definitive legislation begins to get passed in the House of Representatives concerning tax reform, the equity markets are going nowhere. There will be no one who is going to like almost any version of the new HealthCare package when approved. Finally, Trump will be Trump. All these factors will tend to limit the downside of the market and rising interest rates globally will bring attention to the burgeoning debt crisis which no one wishes to acknowledge. Look for an overall steady rise in metal prices as the world recognizes that the world is like an almost cooked soufflé – it looks pretty good unless someone slams the door at the wrong time.