February 25th Midweek Gold Market Update

Despite having a rough first half of the week, precious metals were able to bounce back to some extent on hump day. The last two days have seen investors focus on a semi-annual financial testimonial given by the chairperson of the Fed and directed to Congress, so that has consumed a bulk of the marketplace’s attention.

In addition to that, investors also have to contend with the fact that Asian markets are, have been, and will continue to be more or less lifeless due to the celebration of the Lunar New Year. Though the market is still very much concerned with what is happening across Europe from a financial and economic standpoint, most of those issues have faded to the back-burner as the week has worn on. Greece seems to have struck a temporary deal with their numerous creditors, so I imagine it will not be for another 4 or so months until we have to really focus on the peril Greece’s economy is inevitably going to face.

Yellen’s Remarks More Middle-of-the-Road Than Anything Else

Like was stated in the opening, Janet Yellen, Federal Reserve chairperson, has spent the last two days addressing Congress with regard to the overall status and direction of the US economy and financial system. Positively, Yellen commented that the US economy is continuing to lead the world’s economic growth and should continue to do exactly that throughout the rest of this year.

Still, however, she and the rest of the Fed remains reluctant to quickly raise interest rates, despite the fact that they have been at near-0 levels for a few years now. She maintained that the prospect of raising interest rates in the US is something that will need to be discussed and determined on a meeting-to-meeting basis. Basically, she offered investors little to no new information on interest rate hikes and because of that, precious metals were given some support.

At the end of the day, I do not think interest rate hikes are going to happen anytime within 2015 and there are plenty of indicators to back that belief up (instability across Europe/Asia, unpredictable crude oil prices, currency wars, etc.). Still, you can bet that investors will be hanging on every piece of economic data coming from the United States as the US is currently the world’s top-performing economy. Until that changes, investors will look at what the US is doing before they analyze any other global economy.

February 4th Midweek Gold Market Update

Precious metals, after posting losses earlier this morning, were able to bounce back and finish the day having posted gains. Some surprising news from China helped boost spot values, but in reality, metals’ gains were more or less negligible. All in all, this week has been quiet from an economic data standpoint which is part of the reason why metals have not moved too far in any one direction.

Yesterday, the big news was that the Australian Central Bank decided to reduce its main interest rates in an effort to stimulate the nation’s failing economy. In the immediate aftermath of the ACB’s decision, the AUD fell against the US Dollar to a 5.5 year low and is still hovering around that position. As time moves on, it will be interesting to see if Australia’s economy fares any better.

China Reduces Reserve Requirement Ratio

Adding to the long list of central banks making policy changes was China’s when it announced early this morning that it would be reducing the reserve requirement ratio for domestic banks. This move was made in an effort to stimulate the Chinese economy. This is important because after a horrid 2014, China is looking to get this year started off on the right foot.

For precious metals, this news was welcomed with open arms due to the fact that China is the world’s largest importer of raw commodities. This news is also helping contribute to the rally currently happening on the part of crude oil.

In other news, the market is slowly but surely turning its attention to Friday’s release of the latest US employment data from January. As it stands, the market is expecting to see non-farm jobs grow by 235,000. If this figure is reached or eclipsed, gold and silver very well might suffer, but if the opposite is true I am anticipating a solid day on the market for metals. Though this week has been quiet, there is still time for things to heat up. The last few days of the week have plenty to bring and I am sure that we are in for at least a surprise or two.

January 28th Midweek Gold Market Update

Precious metals are backing off from yesterday’s gains, but are not conceding too much value to be honest. So far, this week has played host to some corporate earnings reports from major US companies as well as the beginning of the most recent Federal Open Market Committee meeting.

In case you missed it, last week saw the European Central Bank finally announce that they are finally going to be introducing quantitative easing in the near future. Officially, the ECB announced that they would be instituting a bond-buying plan that will see more than 60 billion euros purchased by the central bank each month. Though the QE announcement did not come as much of a surprise to anyone, the fact that there will be 60 billion euros worth of bonds purchased each month was a bit surprising. In the wake of the ECB meeting, the US Dollar rallied thanks to a further weakening Euro.

Poor Corporate Earnings Hurt US Stocks

The big news story of the week so far came yesterday in the form of poor corporate earnings reports from the United States. Companies like Caterpillar, Microsoft, and Proctor & Gamble all reported weaker than expected earnings. For Caterpillar, a decrease in mining activity across the world resulted in fewer orders for construction equipment both in the US and elsewhere around the world. For P&G, the surging Dollar resulted in overseas earnings being devalued a bit.

With corporate earnings coming back weaker than expected, US stocks ended up having an extremely poor day on Tuesday. In fact, the Dow posted its biggest single day loss since October. Because of this downward price action on the part of US equities, gold and silver were able to add a bit of value on Tuesday.

Now, the market will turn its attention to the ongoing Federal Open Market Committee. With their meeting now concluded, investors are looking ahead to the post-meeting statement to be delivered by Fed Chairperson Janet Yellen. Despite investor concern regarding the future of interest rates, it is now generally agreed upon that we will not see rate changes take place until sometime in 2016, at the earliest. All in all, however, investors have little else to pay attention to apart from continued corporate earnings reports, so I imagine all eyes will be on the Fed.

January 21st Midweek Gold Market Update

Gold and silver are making gains and are adding to their recent upward trend on a quiet day on the global trading bloc. While today is seeing investors mostly hold their positions while they wait for tomorrow’s European Central Bank meeting, there is still plenty of points of discussion to keep investors occupied.

As you may or may not be aware, tomorrow will see the European Central Bank meet for their monthly policy meeting. Though most every ECB meeting sees investors become convinced that there is a policy shift in the works, this time around it seems as though a policy shift is inevitable. As a result of this, investors the world over are mostly holding their positions and waiting to see what Mario Draghi and his colleagues have to say after tomorrow’s meeting.

ECB Expected to Make Major Policy Shift

This week has seen metals make decent gains, but the reality of the matter is that last week played host to a lot more activity. First, the market was dealt with a surprise move by the Swiss National Bank to unpeg the Franc from the Euro. Originally, the Franc was pegged to the Euro currency in an attempt to keep it from appreciating rapidly back in 2011. Now, with the Euro having been on the decline for the better part of the last few months, no one can really blame the SNB for making the decisions to uncouple their currency from the Euro.

Because of the SNB’s decision to unpeg the Franc from the Euro, the wider global marketplace was dealt a bit of a shock. As a result, we saw safe-haven demand for metals shoot up almost immediately.

Shortly thereafter, the Euro was dealt another blow while metals were given even more momentum. This time it was a ruling by the European Court of Justice that really helped precious metals. According to the ECJ, the ECB is able to commit to experimental monetary policies so long as they are explained and fully understood by the public before being enacted. This ruling more or less solidified the fact that the ECB was going to be introducing a bond-buying program, and had investors the world over convinced that the announcement was going to be made this week.

Now, as we are only one day away from the European Central Bank meeting, most investors are holding their positions, waiting to see if the ECB is actually going to make an announcement at their meeting tomorrow.

January 14th Midweek Gold Market Update

Precious metals have backed off a bit today, but are still on course to finish this week having posted gains. The fact of the matter is that investors around the world are growing increasingly anxious about what this year has in store for global growth. So far, early indications have been disappointing as much of the year-end data we have been dealt thus far has been more sub-par than anything else. Just today, we received a retail sales report from the United States that really fell short of expectations in just about every way.

For gold and silver, the start of this New Year has been better than anyone could have ever expected and spot values are at their highest points in months. For silver in particular, the last few days has seen the metal eclipse the $17/ounce threshold and somehow manage to retain those gains. It will truly be interesting to see what the rest of the week has in store for gold and silver. Though they are both posting weekly gains at this point, there is no saying what the next two days have in store.

Poor Retail Sales Report Weighs On Stocks, US Dollar

This week has brought about a good quantity of economic data thus far, but most of these reports have fallen far short of expectations. Just today, the market was dealt a poor retail sales report from the United States from December. Officially, retail sales in December fell on an annualized basis by just shy of 1%. Considering December is when a bulk of Christmas shopping gets done, most experts were expecting that retail sales from that month would be upbeat.

As a result of this poor economic data from the United States, stocks as well as the US Dollar have suffered considerable losses. This is obviously good for precious metals because as investor anxiety rises, so too will interest in precious metals. As investors look to rid themselves of risky investments, interest in gold and silver will naturally begin to increase.

As the rest of the week plays out, investors in the US and elsewhere will turn their attention to the European Union, including the Euro currency and all equity markets. The reason for this is due to the fact that the European Central Bank meeting is scheduled for next Thursday and most are expecting a significant announcement to be made regarding the implementation of a quantitative easing-style bond-buying program. All in all, though this week has been quiet, the next 7-10 days are surely going to heat up.

January 7th Midweek Gold Market Update

After two consecutive days of impressive gains, both gold and silver are conceding value to start of the day on Wednesday. So far this week, the market has been dealt a good bit of economic data, most of which is not having too big of an impact on the marketplace. What is catching the attention of investors, however, has been an equity market decline that has stoked fears that perhaps the global economy is not as strong as originally believed.

As the duration of this week plays out, investors will continue to deal with the boatload of economic data that is expected to be made public. In addition to this, the market will also continue to pay close attention to the status of global equity markets as most of them have taken a beating through the first few days of the week.

Equities Dive On Global Growth Concerns

Through the first few days of this week, the market has seen equities from around the world take a noticeable downward dive. Thanks to the value of crude oil dipping below $50/barrel and holding that position, energy stocks the world over were being sold off at a rapid pace. While declining crude oil prices are taking their toll on energy stocks, they are also bolstering fears regarding possible price deflation.

In addition to all of this, the market is still very much concerned with what is happening across the European Union. Just yesterday, the Markit PMI for the EU in December was released, and though December’s reading was better than November’s, the data, on the whole, was deemed poor. This only adds to a recent string of poor economic data as it is still very clear that the EU is in a lot of trouble both financially and economically. Looking ahead, a European Central Bank meeting expected to be held within the next two weeks is beginning to cause a lot of speculation.

Possible Monetary Policy Change by ECB

Investors are already preoccupied with the forthcoming ECB meeting simply because it is now widely expected that the EU’s central bank will announce the institution of a government bond-buying monetary stimulus package.

Just the possibility of this happening has been enough to sink the Euro currency to new lows against the greenback. As you are probably well aware at this point, the more the monetary policies of the EU and the US diverge, the more likely it is that the greenback will make gains against the Euro currency. Typically, a stronger Dollar is something that does gold and silver no favors, but this week that has not really been the case up until today.

December 31st Midweek Gold Market Update

Gold and silver are conceding some value as of the writing of this post early Wednesday morning, but have not fared too poorly through the first three days of this week. With today being New Year’s Eve and tomorrow being the new Year holiday, this week is shortened and because of that has been particularly quiet.

With most investors simply holding their positions and awaiting the slew of economic data that 2015 will bring. As a result of this, the marketplace has been devoid of much investing activity and investors are instead choosing to spend time with their families and preparing for this evening’s festivities.

US Dollar, US Stocks Improve During Quiet Week

Through the first two days of this week and for much of Wednesday, US stocks as well as the USD have both been adding a lot of value. This news is obviously not good for metals and is a major part of the reason losses are beginning to pile up on this final day of 2014.

As we head into next year, the primary focus for almost every investor will inevitably be the progress of the US economy. 2014 saw the US economic system grow considerably, but with other economies lagging and certain aspects of the United States’ economy sub-par in nature, the US’ progress has been undermined a bit.

With the future of interest rates in the US a major concern for almost every investor, you can bet that the status of the US economy will be a top concern going forward. Speaking of the US economy, today brought about a weekly jobless claims report that saw almost 300,000 jobless claims filed last week. This is an unusually high number of claims for employment benefits, but with this statistic being one of the United States’ better in recent history, investors were not too worried.

As we look ahead to the rest of the week, it is highly likely that investors will remain away from markets. Friday will be a normal day of trading, but with it being the day after New Years I anticipate that it will be just as quiet as the rest of this week has been.

December 24th Midweek Gold Market Update

Precious metals spot values are not far from where they began the day and are not looking like they will venture too far in any one direction. Being that today is Christmas Eve, most traders have taken the day off, but even those who decided to come into work today will likely be leaving early. For all intents and purposes, the duration of this week will more than likely be characteristic of a holiday trading week. There isn’t too much economic data on this week’s slate, and that is only working to make the market atmosphere even quieter.

As surprising as it is, this week did already play host to some interesting economic data from the United States. Unfortunately for gold and silver, this data worked against spot values and saw modest losses pile up through the first two trading days of the week. At this point in time, it is still quite clear that the global market is bearish and none too interested in precious metals.

US 3rd Quarter GDP Revised Upward

The big news of the week came yesterday when it was reported that the 3rd-quarter GDP of the United States actually improved by better than originally recorded. For the timeframe covering July-September, the US economy grew by 5% on an annualized basis, according to the newly revised report. Original readings held that growth was over 3%, but due to an increase in consumer spending and business investment, that reading was forced to be revised upward.

In the wake of this revision, stocks as well as the US Dollar poked upward. In fact, the past 5 days or so have seen US equity markets and those in Europe posting nice gains. While there was plenty of safe-haven demand for gold and silver a few weeks ago as a result of global economic worries, that safe-haven demand has almost entirely faded away.

As we look ahead to the rest of the week, it is quite clear that there really isn’t much to look forward to. Investors from around the world, for the most part, will be taking the day off tomorrow and we will see a marketplace that is quieter than perhaps any other day of the year. I do not expect that gold and silver spot values will be moving too far, but if they do move at all, my guess is that it will be downward. Next week will breed much of the same quiet market atmosphere as the New Year’s Eve holiday falls on Wednesday and New Year’s Day falls on Thursday. All in all, most investors are simply holding their positions until the new year and all the fresh economic data that comes with that.

December 17th Midweek Gold Market Update

Gold and silver spot values, as surprising as it may seem, are adding a little bit of value ahead of what is shaping up to be the most important day of the week. With the latest FOMC policy meeting wrapping up this afternoon, and it widely being expected that a major announcement will be made, you can bet that the market is wholly preoccupied with speculation regarding the future of interest rates in the US. To be fair, it is no wonder the market is so heavily preoccupied with what the FOMC is going to potentially say, because there really isn’t much economic data to speak of this week.

Other than the FOMC meeting, the market has concerned itself with the falling values of crude oil and the Russian ruble. The two assets have been losing value for quite some time not, but they have made their way into the spotlight this week due to some investor concerns.

All in all, this week has been devoid of any major economic data, but with a few geopolitical concerns and all eyes on the FOMC, there has been plenty for us to concern ourselves with.

Russia’s Failing Economy a Growing Concern

For much of the past 12 months, the Russian economy has been underperforming and the Russian ruble has been losing loads of value. A combination of Western economic sanctions and the falling value of crude oil have done little to aid the large economy either. Now, with ruble essentially in free-fall over the course of the past few days, the attention of investors has once again been called to focus on Russia.

This is so because there is a growing fear that a frustrated Vladimir Putin may lash out on Western nations militarily. He has recently been seen flexing his military muscle in all areas of the country, and though no one in the US or EU governments seems overly concerned, investors are wondering what Russia will do to combat their failing economic system.

FOMC Meeting Also Catching the Attention of Market

As is the case every time the FOMC meets, investors perk up and pay close attention. This time is no different, especially because investors are expecting to hear a major monetary policy announcement. Of course, as you could have probably guessed, the market is concerned with the future of interest rates in the United States as they have been a subject of concern for quite some time.

At this juncture, the market is quite honestly expecting the FOMC to make some sort of concrete announcement regarding when interest rates will be raised and by how much they will be raised by. Though we have heard this before, many a time before, in fact, investors seem convinced that today is the day that some more information regarding interest rates will be divulged.

December 10th Midweek Gold Market Update

Despite the fact that there isn’t all that much in the way of markets-moving economic data on the slate this week, gold and silver spot values have fared well thus far. In fact, since Monday, gold has eclipsed the $1,200/ounce threshold while silver has poked its head back up above $17 for the first time in well over a month. After consecutive gains occurred on both Monday and Tuesday, the prevailing belief was that today, Wednesday, would bring about a technical correction or perhaps some profit-taking. Fortunately, as of the writing of this post during the mid-morning hours, spot values are holding steady, with gold down by only a dollar and silver down by a penny or two.

Looking ahead to the final few days of the week, investors the world over will be keen to find out whether gold and silver can continue to do so well despite economic conditions that would make most people think gains would be impossible. Out of all the factors weighing metals down, crude oil has to be the strongest. Still, despite the weight it is adding to the raw commodity sector, gold and silver are doing just fine.

Crude Oil Worries Continue

A theme in the marketplace over the past few weeks has been the recent slump crude oil has fallen victim to. Crude oil prices have been declining and though the market has reacted accordingly, most people thought that the decline would be nothing more than temporary.

Now, we come to find out that perhaps lower crude oil prices are here to stay. A report made public this week indicated that an increase in American-extracted crude oil is causing a supply glut big enough that it is responsible for recently falling prices. In addition to a larger supply of oil driving prices downward, the absence of a so-called “war premium” is helping keep prices subdued.

A “war premium”, for those who may be unaware, is an additional 10%-25% added to the cost of crude oil that is extracted from parts of the world where large, ongoing wars are a problem (ie the Middle East). Because more and more oil is coming from the relatively calm United States, prices are being adjusted accordingly.

Though up to this point, crude oil’s decline has weighed on gold and silver, this week has shown that perhaps precious metals are able to resist oil’s downward pull. With the global economic outlook beginning to deteriorate, I would not be at all surprised to see safe-haven demand continue to drive spot values forward. In addition to safe-haven demand, the fact that gold and silver prices have been beaten down so far will also bring out the bargain-hunters.