GOLD PRICES FLUCTUATE THROUGHOUT WEEK
This week, Gold prices moved up and down on economic reporting and a major sell off of commodities. Weaker than expected manufacturing data released Monday put downward pressure on the dollar, causing a mild lift in the Gold price. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) reflected a significant slowing of U.S. manufacturing expansion for March. The index slipped from 54.2 percent in February to 51.3 percent, surprising economists who expected levels to stay the same. The news of sluggish domestic manufacturing comes amid increasing optimism regarding the future of the U.S. economy. However, without a sustained period of positive data in industrial output and job markets, the Federal Reserve is expected to continue its quantitative easing, which analysts forecast as a strong bullish factor for the long term appeal of Gold. All of Monday’s gains were quickly erased Tuesday as the financial outlook in the U.S. continued to improve. As equities in the U.S. marketplace reach for all time highs, Precious Metals struggle for support. “There is an overwhelming sentiment that growth will remain slow and not inflationary, and that has eliminated some of the momentum investors in Gold,” SICA Wealth Management’s Chief Investment Officer Jeffrey Sica said. Economists now look toward Friday’s U.S. labor report for possible directional indicators.
As the week progressed, Gold continued to feel pressure from the strengthening U.S. dollar. The market overlooked news coming from central bank policy meetings that saw the Bank of Japan state they will advocate further monetary easing as the European Central Bank holds steady to its policy. “We have a lot of liquidation of the Gold ETFs and the short position on the Comex for Gold remains very high, so a lot of the macro hedge fund selling have put pressure on Gold,” HSBC Metals Analyst Howard Wen said. Investors await Friday’s U.S. employment data, which will be yet another factor to show if the economy is developing at a successful rate. Gold and Silver prices rebounded significantly while stock futures dipped in the moments following the release of the U.S. nonfarm payrolls report. Expectations for the number of jobs added in March were around 200,000, but the number came in at just 88,000. Earlier in the morning, UBS said in a note, “A significantly weaker-than-expected employment number could spark a powerful upside response (for Gold) given sentiment and the current level of shorts that would be forced to cover.” Though the number of new jobs was a disappointment, the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 7.6 percent; however, that is most likely due to fewer Americans looking for work. Federal Reserve policymakers have said recently that figures like the unemployment rate and the number of jobs added month-over-month are key factors in their decision on continuing monetary easing, which has historically been a boon for the Gold price.
GLOBAL ECONOMIC HEADLINES
Though the situation in Cyprus seemed to have been pushed to the backburner of investors’ minds, some experts believe the crisis isn’t over yet. PIMCO CEO & Co-CIO Mohamed El-Erian said, “Draconian capital controls have restored a sense of calm to a disorderly situation in Cyprus. At best, this is a short reprieve. If not followed by more fundamental (and inevitably controversial) decisions, it will just be a matter of weeks before the controls go from being a temporary solution to becoming part of an even deeper problem.” Many believe the issues in Cyprus are a microcosm of the region as a whole. The eurozone employment report was released Tuesday, showing unemployment in the region is higher than it’s ever been, and the numbers keep climbing. More than 19 million people are out of work as of February. That is almost two million more unemployed citizens than this time last year. “Such unacceptably high levels of unemployment are a tragedy for Europe and a signal of how serious a crisis some eurozone countries are now in,” EU Employment Commissioner Laszlo Andor said. Europe is not the only region with upsetting financial news this week. The Bank of Japan’s announced that it would pump $1.4 trillion into asset purchases over the next two years, which is perhaps the most aggressive central bank easing policy to date. “I still think Japan’s still the key story,” UBS Financial Services’ Director of Floor Operations Art Cashin said. “We’re going to have to find out in a couple weeks whether that begins to move money through the Japanese economic system.” Liberal easing programs by central banks have traditionally been supportive of Gold. Many will wait to see what Japan’s stimulus program holds for world stock and Precious Metals markets.
At 5:00 pm (EDT), the APMEX precious metals spot prices were:
- Gold, $1582.10, Up $28.20.
- Silver, $27.37, Up $0.50.
- Platinum, $1539.20, Up $21.40.
- Palladium, $728.00, Up $2.50.