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Sat, Feb 23rd, 2019
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Futures Market News and Commentary

Precious Metals Close Higher on Dollar Weakness and Dovish Fed Comments

Apr Comex gold (GCJ19) on Friday closed up +5.0 (+0.38%) and March silver (SIH19) closed up +0.113 (+0.72%). Precious metals settled higher Friday on a weaker dollar and dovish Fed commentary. New York Fed President Williams said "we have seen some worrying signs of a deterioration of measures of longer-run inflation expectations in recent years," which suggests he favors no additional Fed rate hikes. Meanwhile, Atlanta Fed President Bostic said "the direction of monetary policy over the next 12 to 18 months is not as clear as it was" due to trade concerns and slowdown in China and in the Eurozone. Limiting gains in precious metals Friday was the rally in the S&P 500 to a 2-1/2 month high, which reduced the safe-haven demand for precious metals. Precious metals prices are seeing support from increased inflation expectations, which boosts demand for precious metals as an inflation hedge, after the 10-year T-note breakeven inflation expectations rate on Thursday 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%. 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 Thursday.Big Picture Gold-Silver Market Factors: Bullish factors include (1) expansive Bank of Japan and European Central Bank monetary policies, although the ECB ended its quantitative easing program in Dec 2018, (2) an easier monetary policy by China's central bank, which cut the bank required reserve requirement ratio by 100 bp on Jan 4, and (3) fund buying of gold as global geopolitical concerns and stock market volatility have fueled demand for gold as a store of wealth as long gold positions in ETFs rose to a 5-3/4 year high. Bearish factors include (1) strength in the dollar as the dollar index recently rallied to a 1-1/2 year high, (2) tighter dollar liquidity as the Fed draws down its balance sheet, (3) slack inflation pressures after the Jan ISM prices-paid sub-index fell to a 3-year low of 49.6 and after the 10-year T-note breakeven inflation expectations rate recently fell to a 1-1/2 year low, which reduces demand for gold as an inflation hedge, and (4) the slower Chinese economy and US/Chinese trade tensions that dampen Chinese demand for industrial metals.
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