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Daily Gold Update
Current precious metals news

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Daily Gold Update presents a recap on today's action in the precious metals markets. View archives.


March 4: Gold slides 0.3%, holds above $1,200

Source: Bill Musgrave, American Gold Exchange

Austin -- Gold slid for a third session to close just under $1,201 as slightly better U.S. data boosted the dollar, reducing demand for alternative stores of value.

ADP reported that the private sector added 212,000 jobs last month, well under January's revised total of 250,000 and fewer than expected but still a solid showing. The more important nonfarm payrolls report, due on Friday, is forecast to register job-gains of 238,000, down from 257,000 the month before.

Two days after reporting that U.S. manufacturing expanded at its slowest pace in a year, the ISM today said the services sector grew a little faster in February, edging up to 56.9% from 56.7% in January, as measured by its non-manufacturing index.

The dollar rose to an 11-year high against the euro despite stronger economic reports from the Eurozone this week, driven by record-low yields on European bonds and speculation that the Fed will raise interest rates sooner than the ECB. A rising dollar pressures gold and other commodities denominated in it for international trade by making them more expensive to holders of other currencies.

The other precious metals tracked lower with gold. Silver lost 0.9% while platinum and palladium fell 0.7% and 0.1%, respectively.

At the Comex close: April gold slid $3.50 to $1,200.90; May silver lost 14 cents to $16.16; April platinum fell $7.90 to $1,181.70; and June palladium edged down $1 to $830.65 an ounce.




March 3: Gold dips ahead of U.S. data

Source: Bill Musgrave, American Gold Exchange

Austin -- Gold dipped 0.3% to close below $1,205 as traders consolidated positions ahead of a wave of important U.S. economic data due later this week.

Equities and the dollar both pulled back along with gold in anticipation of this week's nonfarm payrolls report on Friday. Speculation that the Fed will keep interest rates near zero until well past June has risen over the past week, following Wednesday's release of dovish Fed minutes and recent statements by prominent Fed members advocating patience. If the new payrolls report comes in strong, however, that sentiment is likely to reverse. Higher rates would weigh on the price of gold and other commodities by strengthening the dollar, making them more expensive to buyers using other currencies.

Also due this week are the Fed's Beige Book report of economic activity in the various Fed regions, along with figures on fourth-quarter productivity and January factory orders. Weak data is likely to shift sentiment back toward a delay in monetary tightening, supporting higher gold.

Stronger data in the UK and Eurozone helped to underpin gold by weakening the dollar. Retail sales in Germany unexpectedly surged 2.9% in January, far surpassing forecasts of around 0.4%, in a sign that the region may finally be recovering. Unemployment in the EU dropped to its lowest level in three years.

The UK's BullionVault reported today that appetite for gold among private investors reached a 22-month high in February, according to its Gold Investor Index. Much of the demand comes from Eurozone investors hedging against the currency risks associated with the ECBs newly-launched program of Fed-style quantitative easing. Tantamount printing money, QE devalues currencies and increases the risk of long-term inflation.

The other precious metals were mixed, with silver dropped 0.9% while platinum and palladium finished nearly flat.

At the Comex close: April gold dipped $3.80 to $1,204.40; May silver dropped 15 cents to $16.29; April platinum slipped 30 cents to $1,189.60; and June palladium inched up 55 cents to $831.65 an ounce.




March 2: Gold slides 0.4% after China rate cut

Source: Bill Musgrave, American Gold Exchange

Austin -- After gaining 1.3% over the previous three sessions, gold slid 0.4% to close above $1,208 as a surprise cut in interest rates by China helped to boost the dollar, reducing demand for alternative stores of value.

Concerned about falling growth and tighter credit, China cut benchmark lending and deposit rates over the weekend, joining the ECB, Japan, Switzerland, Canada, and Singapore in recent policy shifts to cheapen their currencies through deeper monetary easing. Global central bankers are pumping additional cash into their economies to stimulate consumer spending, business investment, and growth in exports.

The dollar ticked up in response to China's rate cut, supported by expectations that the Fed is on the opposite course and will tighten monetary policy later this year. A rising dollar weighs on gold and other commodities denominated in it for international trade by making them more expensive to users of other currencies.

A spate of soft U.S. economic data was largely ignored by currencies traders. Consumer spending fell for a second straight month in February and manufacturing expanded at its slowest pace in a year.

In bullish news for gold, imports of the metal into India are projected to surge to 100 metric tons in March from 25 tons in February on pent-up demand ahead of the Hindu festival and wedding seasons.

The other precious metals were mixed, with silver dropping 0.7% while platinum and palladium picked up 0.4% and 1.5%, respectively.

At the Comex close: April gold slid $4.90 to $1,208.20; May silver dropped by 10 cents to $16.451; April platinum picked up $4.30 to $1,189.90; and June palladium gained $11.60 to $831.10 an ounce.




February 27: Gold up for day and week, down for month

Source: Bill Musgrave, American Gold Exchange

Austin -- Gold gained 0.3% to close above $1,213 as downbeat U.S. economic data lowered expectations that the Fed will raise interest rates in June. The metal finished 0.8% higher for the week but surrendered 5% in February after January's 8% surge.

The economy slowed in the fourth quarter by more than previous thought, with GDP expanding at just 2.2% rather than the 2.6% pace estimated last month. U.S. consumer sentiment fell in February, according to the University of Michigan survey published today.

The main reason for slower growth was a widening trade deficit because of the stronger dollar, which makes U.S. goods more expensive overseas. Consumer spending was also revised down slightly, though remained robust at 4.2% growth.

Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said rates should be off the table until June at the earliest, and considered thereafter only as data improves. Separately, San Francisco's John Williams echoed Lockhart, telling the Wall Street Journal that the Fed could hike in June but may wish to wait longer. Rising rates would strengthen the dollar and pressure gold and other commodities denominated in it for international trade by making them more expensive to users of other currencies.

New York Fed President William Dudley said the greater risk to the economy comes from raising too early rather than too late, which "argues for a more inertial approach to policy" until inflation and labor market pressure are evident. A permanent voting member of the FOMC, Dudley agreed with research published today by Goldman Sachs and Bank of America calling for a delay of at least six months beyond June before the first rate increase, followed by steeper increases thereafter.

The other precious metals were mixed on the day but higher for the week. Silver slid 0.5% for the day but gained 1.6% for the week. Platinum gained 1.1% today and 1.4% this week. Palladium rose 1% to finish the week 5% higher.

At the Comex close: April gold gained $3 to $1,213.10; March silver slid 5 cents to $16.54; April platinum picked up $12.90 to $1,187; and March palladium rose $7.75 to $818 an ounce.




February 26: Gold gains 0.7% on CPI, China demand

Source: Bill Musgrave, American Gold Exchange

Austin -- Gold gained 0.7% to finish above $1,210, its highest close in seven sessions, as weak inflation and rising jobless numbers boosted the Fed's case for remaining patient about the timing of interest rate increases.

The Consumer Price Index tumbled 0.7% in January, its biggest one-month drop since 2008, on sharply lower gasoline prices. Consumer inflation over the past twelve months turned negative the first time since 2009, sliding to minus 0.1%. Core inflation excluding energy and food rose 0.2%, slightly more than forecast.

Low inflation was mentioned this week by Fed Chair Janet Yellen as a key reason for the central bank to exercise "patience" in determining when to raise interest rates. Her dovish statements on monetary policy before Congress this week led traders to speculate that rates will remain near zero for longer than expected, perhaps until September or later, boosting the gold price and weakening the dollar.

Other U.S. data was mixed, with durable goods orders rising for the first time in four months while jobless claims surged by 31,000 to 313,000. The dollar rallied 1% on the durable goods data, making today's strong showing by gold all the more impressive. A rising dollar typically pressures the price of gold and other commodities denominated in it for international trade by making them more expensive to holder of other currencies.

Gold's gains were further supported by solid demand returning in China's markets after the weeklong closure for the Lunar New Year. Net gold imports from Hong Kong rebounded strongly in January, climbing to 71.6 metric tons from 58.8 in December. China runs neck and neck with India as the world's largest gold consuming nation.

The other precious metals tracked gold higher. Silver rose 0.9% while platinum and palladium both picked up 0.4%.

At the Comex close: April gold gained $8.60 to $1,210.10; May silver rose 15 cents to $16.62; April platinum picked up $4.80, to $1,173.60; and June palladium added $1.75, to $811.05 an ounce.




February 25: Gold gains 0.4% on rate view

Source: Bill Musgrave, American Gold Exchange

Austin -- Gold gained 0.4% to close above $1,201 as Fed Chair Janet Yellen concluded her testimony before Congress, emphasizing that the central bank is in no hurry to raise interest rates. Gold was also supported by returning demand in China after the Lunar New Year holiday.

Building on what she called "flexibility" in Fed policy, Yellen told lawmakers that the FOMC will weight data on a "meeting-by-meeting basis" but remains unlikely to raise rates until inflation is clearly on track to reach its 2% target. The personal consumption expenditures index, the Fed's preferred measure, rose just 0.7% in the 2014 and has remained below that 2% for nearly three years.

The dollar fell for the second day on speculation that rate hikes will be delayed, supporting higher prices for gold and other commodities denominated in it for international trade.

Gold was further supported by strong demand returning to Chinese markets following the week-long Lunar New Year holiday closures, boosting prices in Asia by 1% overnight and increasing premiums by up to $6 per ounce on the Shanghai Gold Exchange, according to Reuters.

The other precious metals tracked higher with gold. Silver rose 1.5% while platinum and palladium added 0.5% and 2.3%, respectively.

At the Comex close: April gold gained $4.20 to $1,201.50; March silver rose 24 cents to 16.43; April platinum added $6.20 to $1,168.80; and March palladium jumped $18.05 to $808.05 an ounce.




February 24: Gold dips as Greece outweighs Yellen

Source: Bill Musgrave, American Gold Exchange

Austin -- Gold dipped 0.3% in choppy trade, closing just above $1,197, as apparent relief from the Greek debt crisis outweighed dovish signals from Janet Yellen about U.S. interest rates, reducing safe-haven demand.

Greece's troika of lenders—the EU, IMF and ECB--approved its bailout extension today by accepting the new government's reform proposals. The struggling nation will receive an additional four months of aid, preventing its default and exit from the euro for the time being. The individual member states of the Eurozone will now have to ratify the deal.

After skidding as low as $1,190 in intraday trade when the Greek plan was accepted, gold quickly rebounded to as high as $1,204 as Fed Chair Janet Yellen testified on monetary policy before Congress. Yellen stated that inflation and wage growth remain too low despite improvements in the job market, emphasizing that the Fed will remain flexible and not lock into a timetable for raising interest rates.

The dollar quickly tumbled on Yellen's testimony while Treasury bonds rallied on speculation that rates will remain near zero until late this year. Lower rates support higher prices for gold and other commodities by weakening the dollar.

Gold was also supported by reports that U.S. consumer confidence fell in January, dragged down by pessimism about ongoing job market health and business prospects in coming months. Consumer spending accounts for nearly 70% of GDP.

The IMF reported that the central banks of Kazakhstan and the Ukraine increased their gold reserves last month, while Russia trimmed its holdings slightly after nine straight months of increases. Central banks have been net buyers of gold for five consecutive years, adding more than 470 tonnes last year, and are expected to buy another 400 tons this year to offset rising currency risk.

The other precious metals were mixed, with silver and platinum slipping 0.4% and less than 0.1%, respectively, while palladium added 0.6%.

At the Comex close: April gold dipped $3.50 to $1,197.30; March silver lost 6 cents to $16.19; April platinum dipped 30 cents to $1,162.60; and March palladium added $4.05 to $790.




February 23: Gold slips on dollar, holds above $1,200

Source: Bill Musgrave, American Gold Exchange

Austin -- Gold slipped 0.3% to close just under $1,201 as a stronger dollar outweighed soft U.S. housing data and persistent concerns about Greece to reduce demand for alternative stores of value.

The dollar rose against the euro and most major competitors after initial optimism for Friday's agreement between Greece and its EU creditors gave way to skepticism that a real resolution has been achieved. A rising dollar pressures gold and other commodities denominated in it for international trade by making them more expensive to holders of other currencies.

Friday, Greece received a four-month extension on the bailout plan that has kept it afloat since 2011, contingent on reforms that must be submitted by Greece and approved by the EU's troika of lenders, the IMF, European Commission, and ECB. The list of proposed reforms, due today from the Greek government, has been delayed until Tuesday.

Morgan Stanley said Greece's odds of remaining within the Eurozone have not improved as a result of the apparent agreement, suggesting that no credible resolution has yet been determined and Greece's problems have merely been postponed by the extension.

U.S. home sales dropped to a nine-month low in January, according to the National Association of Realtors. Rising prices and lagging wage-gains are pushing affordability beyond the reach of more prospective buyers, preventing a more robust recovery in the crucial housing sector.

The other precious metals were mixed. Silver dipped 0.1% and platinum dropped 0.5% while outlier palladium gained 0.9%.

At the Comex close: April gold slipped $4.10 to $1,200.80; March silver dipped 2 cents $16.25; April platinum dropped $6.60 to $1,162.90; and March palladium gained $6.75 to $785.95 an ounce.




February 20: Gold slides 0.2% on reported Greek accord

Source: Bill Musgrave, American Gold Exchange

Austin -- Gold slid 0.2% to close just under $1,205 as indications that EU finance ministers are nearing a bailout agreement with Greece diminished safe-haven demand. The metal fell 1.8% on the week despite support from dovish FOMC minutes, released on Wednesday.

Reports are circulating that Eurozone officials and Greece have reached a preliminary agreement granting the struggling nation a four-month extension on the bailout that has kept it afloat since 2011. U.S. equities gained on renewed risk-appetite, with the Dow rising 0.9% and the S&P 500 0.6%, and the dollar edged up slightly.

Gold rallied earlier in the week after the minutes from the latest Fed meeting indicated that the central bankers are in no hurry to raise interest rates from near zero. The FOMC expressed concerns about the stronger dollar being "a persistent source of restraint" on growth in their last meeting, the minutes showed, and advocated "patience" before hiking rates. Traders now expect that the first rate hike to be deferred from June until September at the earliest.

The other precious metals fell harder than gold. Silver dropped 1% today for a weekly loss of 6.2%. Platinum lost 0.7% for the day and 4.1% for the week. Palladium fell 0.6% today and 1.8% this week.

At the Comex close: April gold slid $2.70 to $1,204.90; March silver fell 16 cents to $16.22; April platinum lost $8.16 to $1,157.75; March palladium fell $4.71 to $779.80 an ounce.




February 19: Gold gains 0.5% on Fed, Greece

Source: Bill Musgrave, American Gold Exchange

Austin -- Gold gained 0.5% in choppy trade to close above $1,207 as dovish Fed minutes combined with new concerns about Greece's bailout to drive demand for alternative stores of value.

The FOMC expressed concerns about the stronger dollar being "a persistent source of restraint" on growth in their last meeting, the minutes showed, and advocated "patience" before hiking rates. After yesterday's release, the dollar immediately fell and gold rose in electronic trade on speculation that the first rate hike will be deferred from June until September at the earliest.

Gold built on those gains this morning by climbing as high as $1,223 in intraday trading after Germany rejected Greece's request for a six-month extension on its bailout agreement, saying it offers "no substantial proposal for a solution." Greece has until the end of the month before its $273 billion bailout expires, leaving it without financing and at risk of default.

The dollar rebounded on the rekindled Greek crisis, suppressing gold's earlier gains. A stronger dollar weighs on gold and other commodities denominated in it for international trade by making them more expensive to users of other currencies.

The other precious metals tracked higher with gold. Silver rose 0.7% while platinum and palladium picked up 0.4% and 1.3%, respectively.

At the Comex close: April gold gained $7.40 to $1,207.60; March silver rose 11 cents to $16.38; April platinum added $5.10, to $1,172.30; and March palladium jumped $10.20 to $786.80 an ounce.




February 18: Gold slips on Greece, bounces on Fed

Source: Bill Musgrave, American Gold Exchange

Austin -- After slipping 0.7% to close at a six-week low just above $1,200, gold rebounded sharply into gains after hours when the minutes of the latest Fed meeting showed the central bankers in no hurry to raise interest rates.

Gold initially fell in response to growing expectations that Greece will come to terms with its EU creditors to stave off possible default and exit from the euro. The metal fell as low as $1,197 on diminished safe-haven demand before bouncing to the close. It then accelerated to as high as $1,209 immediately upon the release of the surprisingly dovish Fed minutes.

As reasons to be "patient" before tightening monetary policy, FOMC policy makers cited risks to the U.S. economy from slower growth in Europe, a stronger dollar, turmoil in Greece and the Ukraine, and slow wage growth at home. Before the Fed minutes, traders had been expecting a June rate hike. Now speculation is shifting again toward later in the year.

The dollar quickly lost ground against major competitors following the release of the minutes, supporting gold and other commodities denominated in it for international trade by making them less expensive to users of other currencies. Raising interest rates would strengthen the dollar in part by increasing the yield of U.S. government bonds, which must be purchased in dollars by foreign investors.

The other precious metals all tracked lower before rebounding on the Fed minutes. Silver closed down 0.7% at $16.27 before rebounding 1.3% to $16.47 after hours. Platinum dropped 0.8% to $1,167.20 and then erased almost all of that loss, bouncing back up to $1,174. Palladium slid 0.9% to $776.60 and then recovered to $778.55 in electronic trade.




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