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Thu, Feb 21st, 2019
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Futures Market News and Commentary

Precious Metals Decline on Dollar Strength and FOMC Minutes

Apr Comex gold (GCJ19) this morning is down -14.1 (-1.05%) and March silver (SIH19) is down -0.337 (-2.08%). Precious metals are lower this morning on dollar strength and on negative carry-over from Wednesday afternoon's minutes of the Jan 29-30 FOMC meeting, which were released after the metals markets closed. The minutes were not as dovish as expected and stated there could be a shift back to hawkish policy when they said, "Many participants observed that if uncertainty abated, the Committee would need to reassess the characterization of monetary policy as 'patient' and might then use different statement language." Silver prices are also under pressure this morning on signs of weakness in global manufacturing activity, which is negative for industrial metals demand. The Eurozone Feb Markit manufacturing PMI fell -1.3 to a 5-1/2 year low of 49.2, and the Japan Feb Nikkei manufacturing PMI fell -1.8 to a 2-1/2 year low of 48.5. In addition, U.S. economic concerns weighed on silver prices after the Feb Philadelphia Fed business outlook survey fell -21.1 to a 2-3/4 year low of -4.1, and Jan existing home sales fell -1.2% to a 3-year low 4.94 million. Fund buying of precious metals is a bullish factor as global geopolitical concerns and stock market volatility have fueled demand for gold as a store of wealth after long gold positions in ETFs rose to a 5-3/4 year high on Jan 31. Also, fund demand for silver has increased after long silver positions in ETFs rose to a 5-week high on Wednesday. A positive for gold in an increase in inflation expectations that boosts demand for gold as an inflation hedge after the 10-year T-note breakeven inflation expectations rate today rose to a 2-1/2 month high of 1.91%, up by +23 bp from the early-Jan 1-3/4 year low of 1.68%.
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