February 19th Silver Market Update

Thanks to bargain-hunting, precious metals have been able to recover slightly after suffering pretty sizable losses through the first few days of the week. Like last week, this 5-day trading session has been mostly devoid of markets-moving economic data. Because of this, investors the world over have had plenty of time to focus on other scenarios unfolding across the globe.

The focus of the market has been drawn time and time again to Europe and the various situations unfolding there. This week, investors have had a Ukrainian ceasefire as well as Greek austerity negotiations to focus on. Both of these events have had only small impacts on the global market, but it is more than we can say about any other events this week. Asia has remained mostly quiet thanks to the celebration of the Chinese Lunar New Year, and will likely stay that way as we head into next week.

FOMC Minutes Deemed to be Mostly Dovish

The FOMC minutes from the Fed’s latest meetings are always of special importance to investors. The reasons for this are many, but most recently investors have been hoping to find out as much information as possible about the future of interest rates in the US. For the better part of the past 6-12 months, investors have gone back and forth on when they think interest rates will be raised, and how much they will be raised by.

Unfortunately, this round of FOMC minutes offered very little in the way of concrete information regarding interest rates in the US. In fact, if anything, yesterday’s minutes caused an increasing number of investors to believe that interest rate hikes will not be coming until at least 2016. Prior to yesterday’s minutes release, there were a large contingent of investors who were fairly certain we would see interest rate hikes sometime during this summer.

Market’s Focus Turns to Europe

Like was previously stated, investors have given the EU a lot of attention in recent weeks. A combination of a few noteworthy events and the fact that there is little else going on across the global economy has caused investors to focus on a wide variety of issues.

First, the market at this point last week was pleased to hear that a ceasefire agreement had been reached in Ukraine. Unfortunately, by this Tuesday, barely two days into the agreement, there were already widespread reports from both sides claiming that the other was violating the agreement. Now, on Thursday, it seems as though the fighting has more or less picked back up to where it was a little more than a week ago.

In other European news, the market has also focused on the ongoing talks involving Greece’s new government and their EU creditors. To the surprise of everyone, however, this week’s talks seemed to have gone well seeing as Greece is now allowed to postpone instituting some austerity measures and will be given a fresh injection of cash almost immediately. Thanks to this cash injection, the Mediterranean country will narrowly avoid a credit crunch that would have otherwise forced Greece out of the EU.


February 12th Silver Market Update

Precious metals are holding steady through the first half of the day on Thursday, but losses are threatening due to a rally on the part of European and US equity markets. In general, this week has not been too action-packed and has not played host to too much in the way of economic data. With that said, the market has still had plenty to talk about, especially as it pertains to Greece and their new government’s refusal to cooperate with 2012 financial bailout agreements.

Today, the big news came from Eastern Europe where it was finally reported that some progress had been made with regard to a ceasefire in Ukraine.

Ceasefire Agreement Reached in Belarus

Talks between Western nations, Russian officials, and Ukrainian officials seemed to have gone well seeing as a new ceasefire will go into effect in Ukraine on Sunday. Through talks held in Belarus this week, it seems as though the three sides of this debacle have come to a preliminary agreement to end the fighting in Ukraine.

The biggest surprise of the day came in the form of praise from German Chancellor Angela Merkel directed towards Vladimir Putin. According to Merkel, Putin cooperated and was one of the biggest proponents of this now agreed upon ceasefire. How long this ceasefire will last is unknown, but this is definitely a step in the right direction.

Metals are suffering as a result of today’s news simply because investors have regained some confidence in the EU region. As such, stocks in the US and Europe are performing quite well today.

In other news, the eyes of the investing world are continuing to focus on Greece and their refusal to cooperate with the EU. According to multiple sources, Greece’s new government is not going to follow through with debt reduction and austerity measures that were set forth as prerequisites to the country receiving more financial help from the EU.

Germany, who is the biggest lender to beleaguered EU nations is taking a hardline stance on Greece’s refusal. Basically, Germany is telling Greece that they can either cooperate with the previously agreed upon plans or leave the EU. At this juncture, it really is looking more and more like Greece will be leaving the European Union before long. Whether this prompts other nations to leave the EU or not remains to be seen.

As we head further into this month and year, I am certain that Greece will remain in the headlines.


January 22nd Silver Market Update

Precious metals are more or less holding even to begin a very busy day for global investors. The top news story of the day and week came in the form of the European Central Bank meeting today. Because it was widely expected, in the lead-up to today, that the ECB would announce some sort of big monetary policy shift, the marketplace had been turned on its head. For gold and silver, the last two or so weeks have seen spot values ascend, fairly rapidly at times.

Though there was some economic data dealt to investors this week, most of it was negligible simply due to the fact that most of the market’s attention was focused on the ECB meeting.

ECB Meeting Sees Rates Left Unchanged

Prior to this week kicking off, most investors were expecting that the European Central Bank would finally announce the institution of their bond-buying, quantitative easing program meant to stimulate the EU economy. Thanks to a ruling last week by the European Court of Justice saying that the ECB’s proposed QE plans were legal, most everyone became convinced that this was the week we would hear of Europe’s QE plans.

This morning, in the wake of the ECB’s meeting, ECB president Mario Draghi announced that there will be an additional 60 billion euros worth of assets purchased each and every month. This was larger than the 50 billion euros that was expected and somewhat surprised investors. For precious metals, it seems as though the ECB’s decision to implement QE measures is being taken as a positive. Spot values in the lead-up to this week’s meeting have been on a constant uptrend and are sitting at and around 6-month highs. Now over key points of technical resistance, it will be interesting to see if metals can hang on to recent gains or if profit-taking, similar to what we saw yesterday, will bring spot values crashing back to earth.

As we look ahead to the final day of this week, it will be interesting to see how global investors continue to digest today’s ECB decision. Early indications show that today’s decision is beneficial for gold, silver, and most equities. Whether these gains hold through the end of the week, however, remains to be seen. As it stands right now, however, gold and silver spot values are looking like they will be making nice weekly gains for a third consecutive week.


January 15th Silver Market Update

Precious metals are once again moving forward on Thursday, and once again safe-haven demand is the culprit behind the tick upward. Now hovering near 4-month highs, precious metals look to have finally overcome the restraints of a bearish market the consumed much of the latter part of 2014.

As investors become increasingly nervous and unsure about the global marketplace, I expect that gold and silver will continue to benefit. As it stands now, this week is looking like it will be the biggest week of gains metals have seen in quite some time. Of course, there still lies a significant quantity of economic data ahead, but early indications are that gold and silver will not be overly affected by such data.

SNB Makes Surprise Move to Un-Pug Swiss Franc

In a somewhat surprising move, the Swiss National Bank decided that it would get rid of the Swiss Franc’s peg to the faltering Euro currency. As a result of today’s move/announcement, stock, financial, and currency markets around the world were sent into a bit of an upheaval of sorts. Another thing that happened in the immediate wake of the SNB’s announcement was that the Swiss Franc made massive, 20% gains against the Euro.

For those who are unaware, the Swiss National Bank pegged the Franc to the Euro in an effort to mitigate rapid appreciation of the currency. Now, the marketplace has grown increasingly unsure and, as result, has flocked to safe-haven assets like gold and silver. This is likely going to continue to be the case as the Euro continues to decline and the ECB pursues easy money policies.

Poor Retail Sales Report Hurts Stocks, the Dollar

On Wednesday, the US was given its latest retail sales report from the month of December. Being that Christmas falls towards the end of the last month of the year, December is historically one of the better months as far as retail sales are concerned. This time around, however, such was not the case as it was reported that December retail sales fell by .9%. Experts were anticipating that this report would see an increase of at least .2%, so it is easy to see why stocks and the Dollar were immediately negatively impacted by this particular report.

Though gold and silver did not have the best of days on Wednesday, the fact that US retail sales came back much poorer than expected helped keep spot values afloat. Now, as we look forward to the last day of the week, it will be interesting to see if gold and silver can continue building upon this week’s gains or if a corrective pullback will bring spot values back down again.


January 8th Silver Market Update

Gold and silver spot values began the day moving downward, but things corrected themselves before long. The safe-haven demand we saw earlier this week has since faded into the background as risk-appetite abounds. The uptick in investor risk appetite is clearly illustrated by the resurgence of US stocks. Stock indexes that saw massive downturns only a few days ago are now back to adding considerable value.

This week has already played host to quite a bit of economic data, but we are far from having heard the last of the data. With more reports due out today, tomorrow, and next week, investors will have plenty of economic data to mull over as the next few weeks play out. In addition to this, investors will also be concerned about the possible outcomes of both the upcoming European Central Bank and FOMC meetings. As it stands, investors are anticipating that the ECB meeting will see a major policy shift announced, though that remains to be seen.

Investors Look Ahead to Monetary Policy Meetings

While there is no denying that investors are eager to pick apart recent economic data, it seems as though they are even more eager to hear from global central banks at their upcoming policy meetings. The European Central Bank meeting, in particular, is one that has caught the attention of investors already. The reason for this being that most investors are expecting the ECB to announce a bond-buying program similar to the quantitative easing we saw play out in the United States. Though it is not a definite that such an announcement will be made at the next ECB meeting, most investors are convinced that it is.

Because of this speculation, the Euro has taken a beating this week and is trading at fresh multi-year lows against the US Dollar. This is a trend that is widely expected to continue through the early parts of 2015 as the US Dollar is expected to keep gaining strength.

From the United States, yesterday brought about the minutes from the FOMC’s most recent December meeting. For those hoping to hear some fresh information regarding the future of interest rates in the United States, yesterday did not bring about anything resembling that. Instead, yesterday’s minutes saw the FOMC reiterate their intent to keep interest rates at near-zero levels for the foreseeable future. In fact, most are anticipating that interest rates will remain at current levels at least through the first quarter of 2015. Of course, as with anything regarding the FOMC, that is liable to change.

December 18th Silver Market Update

Stocks have bounced back, the Dollar is trading lower, and gold and silver have surprisingly hung in there after yesterday’s more dovish post-meeting statement by the FOMC. As you probably could have guessed, the marketplace’s top concern this week was the latest meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, which wrapped up yesterday afternoon. The meeting was expected to emit some very useful information regarding interest rate hikes in the United States, but in all reality really failed on that front.

As we look ahead to the rest of today as well as the final day of the week, I expect that the market will continue to digest the Fed’s statement while simultaneously keeping a close eye on equity markets as well as the value of crude oil. As we near the end of the year, I do not foresee many overly busy days on the open market as investors are gearing up for extended holiday vacations and fresh economic data that will be made public on the opposite side of the new year.

FOMC Statement Leaves Everyone Guessing

Because it wasn’t necessarily expected that the FOMC would make any policy shifts at this week’s meeting, no one was surprised when the meeting ended and interest rates remained put. Still, investors were on edge, waiting to hear what Janet Yellen had to say in her post-meeting press conference. You see, though no one was expecting interest rates to be raised this week, quite a large number of people were anticipating that the FOMC, through Janet Yellen, would announce a rough timeline for when rate hikes might occur.

Instead, Ms. Yellen shied away from offering any new insight into the future of interest rates here in the United States. The media heard her reiterate that there will still be “considerable time” before global economic conditions permit US interest rates to be raised. Keep in mind that, in recent months, members of the Fed have commented that slow growth on the part of other world economies is really putting a hamper on when the Fed might make a move to raise interest rates.

In response to her remarks, US equities surged forward, making their biggest single-day gains this year. As of the writing of this post early Thursday morning, US stocks are still performing well. Gold and silver, perhaps unsurprisingly, are taking advantage of Yellen’s more dovish comments and are making decent gains after beginning the week in dismal fashion. As we head into the final day and a half of this 5-day trading session, it will be interesting to see what direction precious metals head in. Perhaps safe-haven demand will encourage more physical purchases, but, on the other hand, perhaps the progress of equities might distract investors and shift their attention away from gold and silver.


December 11th Silver Market Update

Gold and silver spot values are moving downward by small margins this morning, but not enough to make any major impact in the gains accrued through Monday and Tuesday. As you can probably already tell, both gold and silver opened this week up in impressive fashion by adding unprecedented value in the face of a market that seemed to bearish to support a precious metals rally.

The real test came yesterday, when most investors and experts were expecting to see a harsh corrective pullback that would basically undo the gains made earlier in the week. To everyone’s surprise, however, yesterday did not bring about a major corrective pullback at all. While spot values did lose a bit of ground, the losses were mostly negligible and the day was considered a win. I suppose that the rest of today will really determine whether gold and silver can withstand some technical pressure.

Crude Oil Is This Week’s Hot Topic

For the past 4 or 5 months, crude oil has been making headlines due to its massive decline and current position, which is hovering near a 5-year low. For the better part of the past three weeks or so, investors and analysts alike were expecting crude oil to make a recovery bounce, but that bounce never came. As people continued to wonder why the price of oil continued to drop, someone finally did enough digging to find the answers.

Yesterday, it was made widely known that the current slump being experienced by crude oil is a resul of more US-supplied oil hitting the market. With demand for oil remaining mostly stagnant, and the supply growing by good margins, it is no surprise that the value of crude oil has dropped and has since remained in those lowly positions. In fact, is the US keeps up current levels of production, the value of crude oil very well might remain subdued for some time to come.

In addition to a larger supply driving down the price, crude oil from the US is more often than not cheaper than oil from foreign competitors because there is no additional cost added to the price of a barrel. You see, in dangerous, war-torn parts of the Middle East and Africa, the process of extracting, refining, and shipping crude oil is dangerous simply because of the rugged terrain and countless number of military groups who may or may not let shipments pass through the areas which they control. Because oil originating from the Gulf of Mexico or somewhere in West Texas is not subjected to these same logistical obstacles, the price, per barrel, is often significantly cheaper than its Middle Eastern and African counterparts.

It will be interesting to see, as the weeks pass, how crude oil affects gold and silver. Up until this week, oil had acted as a weight, dragging down the spot values of both gold and silver. This week, however, that all changed due to the fact that global economic worries have grown so much, that safe-haven demand is making an impact on the marketplace. With worries regarding the pace of economic growth in Asia and Europe abounding, I would not be surprised to see safe-haven demand for crude oil continue to rise.


November 20th Silver Market Update

Precious metals are seeming to extend yesterday’s losses as of the early morning hours of Thursday, but with a healthy batch of economic data on the way today, there is no saying where spot values will wind up. This week began in upbeat fashion for metals, and even at this point a day ago, both gold and silver were continuing to add value. Unfortunately, by day’s end on Wednesday, those gains had turned to losses and those losses are currently being intensified this morning.

All in all, this week has not been overly exciting, but there have been a few key factors that have caught the attention of the wider marketplace. Among these factors are comments from European Central Bank president Mario Draghi as well as the release of the minutes from the FOMC’s October 28th/29th meeting.

Draghi, while speaking to the media, reiterated that quantitative easing measures (ie the purchase of government bonds aimed at stimulating the economy) are still not out of the question. In fact, most investors interpreted Draghi’s remarks as meaning that the ECB is on the verge of changing monetary policy even further. With a fresh policy meeting little more than a week away, I anticipate that the market will be paying it their undivided attention.

The release of the FOMC minutes are always eventful occurrences, but this time was a bit different as no new developments with regard to interest rate hikes in the US emerged as result of yesterday’s minutes release. In all, the minutes really didn’t have much of an impact on the marketplace at all.

Investors Look Ahead to Busy Day of Economic Data

Despite the fact that this week and much of last week was devoid of any noteworthy economic data, today will be a bit different. The US is set to release data points relating to existing home sales, consumer prices, and manufacturing. As has been the case for some time now, investors will be picking apart today’s data in an effort to determine whether this batch of reports will convince the Fed interest rates should be risen sooner rather than later or if it will spur them to continue being cautious with regard to any policy shifts.

Also important will be the release of the weekly jobless claims. In case you missed it, last week’s weekly jobless claims report came back with a far greater number of filings than expected. This was a none too comforting follow-up to October’s incredibly weak non-farms data.

In addition to the forthcoming economic data from the United States, investors are also in the midst of mulling over and analyzing poor manufacturing reports from China and Europe as well as a dismal PMI reading from Japan. All today’s data really tells us is that massive global economic in Europe and Asia are continuing to struggle as they have for much of 2014 already.


November 13th Silver Market Update

Precious metals are holding stead as of mid-morning on Thursday as we near the end to what has really been an uneventful week. To be fair, precious metals have not fared too poorly through the first 4 days of this 5-day trading session, but they have also not done extremely well either. Tomorrow will bring about the weekly jobless claims report and, believe it or not, it is being touted as the most significant piece of economic data made public this week. That alone should tell you how quiet things have been for much of this week.

In case you missed it, the last few days of last week played host to a good bit of economic activity. On Friday, the market waited with anticipation for the release of the latest employment figures for the United States for the month of October. Seeing as September’s employment report showed monthly job creations somewhere in the neighborhood of 250,000, it was not too surprising that the expectations of experts were that October saw at least 230,000 new jobs added to the economy. Unfortunately, and much to the dismay of many, last Friday’s October employment report showed that, in reality, only about 213,000 new jobs were created. While this figure is nothing to scoff at, the fact that it fell so short of expectations was enough to force the Dollar and US equities downward to close the week. As you might have guessed, that data also provided precious metals with a little bit of a boost.

Unfortunately, by the end of the day this Monday, more than half of the gains made by gold and silver on Friday had been parred.

Slow Week Sees Investors Focusing on Key Outside Markets

On the whole, this week has been very quiet and more subdued than usual. The reason for this is due to the fact that not only hasn’t there been much economic data to talk about, there also haven’t been too many geopolitical developments for investors to discuss either. While, normally, this might bode poorly for gold and silver, this week it has come to the aid of metals and has played a major role in stopping the decline of spot values.

Tomorrow will bring about the weekly jobless claims report for the United States, but even that will more than likely have a negligible impact on the market. Though this week has been slow, the Dollar as well as US equities have remained near their record-high levels and are still continuing to trend upward for the most part. So long as this is the case, it is going to be extremely difficult for gold and silver to make any gains worth talking about. Even if gains are made, it is going to be difficult for metals to retain them.


November 6th Silver Market Update

Gold and silver spot values have been moving downward all week long, and today is no exception. Over the course of the past two weeks or so, both gold and silver have depreciated significantly and are both currently sitting at or near massive multi-year lows. While the first few days of this week were generally quiet, things really began to pick up on Wednesday as we saw reaction to Tuesday’s US midterm election results. The Republicans, which are seen as more pro-business and better for the economy than Democrats, took control of both the House and the Senate, and stocks as well as the US Dollar reacted accordingly.

Today, investors do not have even a moment to relax due to the meeting of the European Central Bank. Because of the incredibly poor data that has been streaming out of the EU lately, including a 5-year German bond auction yesterday that fetched all-time record low average yields, most investors are expecting the ECB to make some sort of policy shift in order to more effectively spur economic growth. Whether that proves to be the case or not, however, is still very much up in the air at this point.

ECB Meeting Mostly Lackluster

The European Central Bank meeting that kicked off and wrapped up today did not bring about any groundbreaking announcements from president Mario Draghi. Even in the midst of a slumping economy that is on the verge of recession, Draghi remained calm. He seemed mildly worried about the strength of the EU economy, but did say that policy makers will be standing by at the ready with stimulus measures, should they be needed.

Now, the attention of the marketplace will shift back to the United States, which is set to release its latest employment data from October sometime tomorrow. As it stands, the expectations of experts are for figures that show somewhere in the neighborhood of 230,000 new jobs having been added to the economy last month. These expectations may seem like they are on the high side of things, but after last month’s growth absolutely dismantled expectations for only 215,000 new jobs being added to the economy, it only makes sense that the experts are expecting to hear of extremely positive job growth.

For gold and silver, an employment report that falls in line with current expectations will likely translate into even more selling pressure. At present, the market is really turning bearish, and as risk-appetite being exhibited by investors grows, demand for safe-haven gold and silver will likely continue to sink. For that reason and many more, the next few weeks will be vitally important in determining the long-term trend of metals.