Panic-stricken bank depositors in Cyprus emptied ATM machines across the nation after the surprise announcement Saturday that, as part of an extremely controversial European Union and International Monetary Fund bailout deal, authorities would seize up to 10 percent of all savings deposited in Cypriot banks. Markets across Europe plunged as fears of contagion or even a large-scale bank run in the region plagued investors, with the single euro currency falling to multi-month lows and gold rising back above $1,600 following news of the $13 billion scheme.

Global demand for gold hit a new record value level in 2012 and central banks around the world were gobbling up the precious metal at rates not seen in nearly 50 years, according to findings released by the World Gold Council this month. The industry council said that in value terms, gold demand in 2012 was over $235 billion — an all-time high — and fourth-quarter figures of more than $66 billion marked the highest Q4 total ever.

The consequences of governmental intrusion into the private market are inevitable, painful, and costly, as students such as Nick Keith found out much too late.

Foreign governments continue to increase their purchases of U.S. government debt despite concerns over the fiscal cliff and the government's continued profligate spending.

Calling it “unexpected,” Reuters reported that the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) from the Institute for Supply Management for November fell to its lowest level in over three years. A poll of economists by Reuters showed they didn't see it coming.

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