Precious metals prices are weaker this morning, with the complex down an average of 0.2%. Spot gold prices are at $1,328.05 per oz. This follows a general day of weakness on Tuesday when the complex closed down an average of 0.7%, which was partially driven by a firmer US dollar index.
Another turn-around in the dollar has weighed on gold, especially as it happened when gold prices were once again challenging recent highs. Platinum is holding up relatively well, silver less so and palladium is consolidating after its latest half-hearted rebound. With the US treasury auctions underway, for now yields are likely to remain bid and that is likely to underpin the dollar and weigh on gold, but we do expect gold prices to remain well supported as concerns over higher bond yields and the impact that may have on equity and bond prices may prompt some pick-up in safe-haven buying.
The metals prices on the London Metal Exchange are mixed this morning, Wednesday February 21, with nickel and tin prices firmer by 0.4%, while the rest are lower by between 0.1% and 0.5%. Copper prices are off 0.1% at $7,068 per tonne.
Volumes remain light with 1,862 lots traded as of 07:05 am London time – we expect this to change tomorrow with China returning from the Lunar New Year holiday.
Tuesday’s trading was for the most part weaker, with copper, aluminium, lead and zinc closing down an average of 0.8%, while nickel and tin were little changed. The cash/three-month spread on aluminium has also eased to $30-32 per tonne backwardation, from $50 on Tuesday morning.
In wider markets, spot Brent crude oil prices are weaker by 0.52% at $64.67 per barrel and the yield on US 10-year treasuries remains firm at 2.91% as US treasury auctions are underway. On the other hand, the German 10-year bund yield has eased to 0.72%, from 0.75% on Tuesday.
Equity markets in Asia are firmer – the Nikkei is up by 0.21%, the Kospi is up 0.60%, the ASX 200 is up 0.05% and the Hang Seng is up 1.71%. This follows a mixed performance in western markets on Monday, where in the United States the Dow Jones closed down by 1.01% at 24,964.75, and in Europe where the Euro Stoxx 50 closed up by 0.8% at 3,435.08.
The dollar index’s rebound continues, being recently quoted at 89.89 – the fourth consecutive day of gains. This is applying some downward pressure on other currencies, with the euro at 1.2317, sterling at 1.3980, yen at 107.82 and the Australian dollar at 0.7845. The emerging market currencies we follow are on a back footing, which reflects the slightly firmer dollar.
The economic calendar is busy today and includes flash PMI data and the minutes of the latest FOMC meeting. Data out already from Japan shows flash manufacturing PMI dipping to 54 from 54.8 in January and all industries activity rising 0.5% in December, from 1% in November. In addition, there is employment and borrowing data out of the UK and US, initial jobless claims and existing home sales data.
Two weeks ago metals prices were selling off, last week they were rebounding and this week they are consolidating. But, with China on holiday so far this week, we are not surprised prices are rudderless, with a slight weaker bias. Today’s manufacturing PMI data may provide some direction, but overall we would expect traders to sit on the side lines until China returns to work in force, but that may not be seen until next week. We still expect dips to be remain well supported.
|12:30am||Japan||Flash Manufacturing PMI||54||55.2||54.8|
|4:30am||Japan||All Industries Activity m/m||0.5%||0.5%||1.0%|
|8:00am||France||French Flash Manufacturing PMI||58.1||58.4|
|8:00am||France||French Flash Services PMI||59.1||59.2|
|8:30am||Germany||German Flash Manufacturing PMI||60.6||61.1|
|8:30am||Germany||German Flash Services PMI||56.9||57.3|
|9:00am||EU||Flash Manufacturing PMI||59.2||59.6|
|9:00am||EU||Flash Services PMI||57.7||58|
|9:30am||UK||Average Earnings Index 3m/y||2.5%||2.5%|
|9:30am||UK||Claimant Count Change||2.3K||8.6K|
|9:30am||UK||Public Sector Net Borrowing||-11.5B||1.0B|
|2:15pm||UK||Inflation Report Hearings|
|2:45pm||US||Flash Manufacturing PMI||55.4||55.5|
|2:45pm||US||Flash Services PMI||53.8||53.3|
|3:00pm||US||Existing Home Sales||5.61M||5.57M|
|7:00pm||US||FOMC Meeting Minutes|