Traders are taking profits in oil and precious metals this morning with the dollar also sharply lower, on sentiment that a U.S. strike on Syria is not a done deal. Gold saw minor sell stops triggered as it fell below the psychologically important $1,400 level.
Safe haven investments are seeing outflows as tensions temporarily ease in the Middle East, and positive economic data from China, Europe, and the U.S. boost equities. Short-term trader sensitivity to U.S. economic data will only grow, the closer we get to the September 17-18 Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting, where the taper question will be answered or not. The next big data release will be Friday’s non-farm payroll report.
In South Africa, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), which controls 2/3 of the workforce in the nation’s gold mines, has been on strike over wages. The action is costing the South African economy an estimated $35 million a day in lost production, in a country already wracked by labor strikes across multiple industries.
This labor unrest and the threats of the expansion of the Syrian civil war are the two largest bullish factors for gold at present.