Precious metal prices were climbing again on Friday as the markets pushed forward for a solid weekly gain. After a rally for the metals was kicked off following this week’s rate hike from the Federal Reserve, spot gold managed to add another $4 per ounce on Friday morning, trading north of $1,230/oz. Meanwhile, spot silver was up 0.2% to just above $17.30/oz.
Platinum was slightly higher while palladium surged 1.3%.
Interestingly enough, the response to the Fed’s rate hike on Wednesday has been a bit baffling. Markets are behaving as if the central bank cut rates rather than raised them. Stocks mostly jumped higher in the wake of the decision, though they have fallen back from their highs. The dollar tumbled, which has certainly left a number of analysts scratching their heads. (Higher interest rates are strongly correlated with a firmer dollar.) The DXY index sat at 100.4 on Friday morning.
European stocks were higher across the board in early trading. The weaker dollar helped the euro, which rose above $1.07. The British pound sterling approached $1.24 as London’s FTSE 100 outpaced its continental counterparts, advancing 0.4% by 9:30 am EST. There may be lighter trading on Friday due to the St. Patrick’s Day holiday observed in Ireland and the U.S. In Japan, the Nikkei 225 lost 0.35% overnight. At the same time, the yen is enjoying its strongest level against the USD in a month, approaching ¥113 per dollar.
Crude oil prices have reversed course amid a volatile week and are now looking at their first weekly gain in March. Prices plummeted at the beginning of the month as the cut in production from OPEC countries has been countered by higher stockpiles of crude in the U.S. The Brent crude benchmark was near $52 per barrel while WTI crude remained below $50/bbl.
President Trump will be meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel today while Secretary of Treasury Mnuchin is attending G20 meetings in Germany with Wolfgang Schaeuble. Both communiques should help iron out relations between the U.S. and Europe’s largest economy. Trump has been critical of Merkel’s handling of the Syrian refugee crisis, as she allowed over 900,000 refugees to take sanctuary in Germany last year.
Elsewhere overseas, Secretary of State Tillerson is in Beijing as the international response to North Korean aggression largely hinges on relations between the U.S. and China.
There was some safe-haven flight in the markets, however, after the alarming news of a letter bomb being sent to the offices of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Paris. One employee was injured by the parcel.
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