This morning’s main driver of prices is the ongoing OPEC meeting in Vienna, where member nations and non-member states are hammering out an agreement to extend oil production cuts for nine more months.
The WannaCry ransomware attack from May 12 -16 was largest computer virus attack in history. An estimated 200,000 systems in 150 different nations were infected in less than 48 hours. The resulting damage worldwide from lost data and downtime could be as much as $4 billion.
Cybersecurity experts estimated Tuesday, more than four days after the attacks began, up to 1.3 million computers were still at risk from this computer worm that encrypts important files on a computer, and refuses to restore them unless a ransom is paid. Experts warn that this is just the beginning of the new era of global hacking attacks.
Gold demand exploded Wednesday on news that an independent counsel has been appointed by the Justice Department to oversee the FBI investigation into possible collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russian operatives. Spot gold closed $24.20 higher Wednesday at $1260.90 an ounce, while the stock market saw its largest one-day losses in 8 months.
Precious metals are trending higher this morning, with gold prices rallying for the fourth day on a weaker dollar and risk-off sentiment on the global stage.
Soft economic news in the US has the dollar weaker for another day, with some analysts predicting that the greenback’s rally is done for now. A softer dollar boosts the price of gold, oil and other commodities that are priced in dollars.
Precious metals received a boost to start the day today, as weaker than expected retail sales figures and soft consumer price pressures deflated the US dollar. Gold prices jumped above the $1,230 mark on the sudden dollar weakness, adding to yesterday’s gain of six dollars an ounce. Silver prices have also already matched Thursday’s gains.
Gold prices fell through support this morning after first-time jobless claims were reported far under estimates. Spot gold is trading under $1,230 an ounce in New York — $10 lower on the day, and at a six-week low. Spot prices have fallen nearly $30 since Tuesday evening.
European safe haven demand fell sharply overnight, as optimism regarding a victory for centrist candidate Emmanuel Macron in Sunday’s presidential elections in France grew. Macron was widely considered the winner of last night’s televised debate with far-right candidate Marine Le Pen.
Precious metals are quiet this morning, as the Federal Reserve Bank’s Open Market Committee Meeting gets underway. There is little doubt that the Fed will leave the fed funds rate alone, with this morning’s CME FedWatch gauge giving a 95.2% chance of the Fed standing pat tomorrow afternoon. Recent data showing a weakening economy over the first four months of the year has stayed the Fed’s hand, but a turnaround may be in the making.
The war between the Langbord family, heirs to noted Philadelphia coin dealer Israel Switt, and the United States Government has finally come to an end. Last week, the US Supreme Court declined to hear the Langbords’ appeal of a 2016 lower court ruling that stripped them of ownership of ten 1933 double eagle gold coins.
Precious metals are lower this morning, despite the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan both keeping interest rates in negative territory, and showing no signs of tapering their stimulus measures. Major bearish factors today are a sudden jump in the dollar, as well as stock markets opening higher after yesterday’s skittishness over reports that Trump will pull the US out of NAFTA.
Sunday’s presidential vote in France will be an election for the ages. euroskeptic extremists on the left and the right are both polling surprisingly well, and hope to draw enough voters from a fractured center to put them over the top.
Centrist candidates are putting forth populist or anti-immigrant plans, hoping in turn to woo enough voters away from the far-left or far-right to make the May 3 run-off.
This election has repercussions far beyond the borders of France. The fate of the European Union and the stability of Western Europe hang in the balance.
Things are booming once again in the Yukon.
From 1897-1900, the Yukon Territory was the site of one of the most famous gold rushes in history. One hundred and twenty years later, rich strikes by junior gold mining companies in the Yukon have revealed that some of the largest gold deposits in the world.
This new bonanza has attracted the attention of the world’s largest mining companies and heralds the start of the new Yukon Gold Rush.
Gold prices are trending just below unchanged this morning, after dropping $9.40 yesterday to return prices to the $1,279 range. Geopolitical tensions over North Korea and a surprise call for elections in the UK helped gold test the $1,290 mark again earlier this week. Gold bulls were unable to push prices beyond that resistance level, and an easing of safe haven demand let gold fall back into its previous channel of $1,279 – $1,283.
Precious metals are reversing their recent trends this morning, with gold giving back gains notched yesterday, after hitting a 5-1/2 month high. The platinum group metals have finally seen some bargain hunting, as both platinum and palladium are up around a half-percent in early New York trading. Silver is the odd man out this morning, continuing its downtrend.
Gold prices are trading nearly unchanged from yesterday’s close this morning, after rising as high as $1297 an ounce early Monday. That safe haven spike triggered some profit taking, which brought spot gold down to close at $1,284 even. Silver prices followed much the same trajectory, and are trending marginally lower than yesterday’s close.
The woes of Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PdVSA exploded onto the Washington, DC political scene this week, when doubts surfaced that it could meet a $2.2 billion bond payment due on April 12.
Part of that total due last Wednesday included a payment on a $1.5 billion loan from Russian oil giant Rosneft. The Venezuelans put up a 49.9% stake in their US subsidiary Citgo as collateral. Had the Venezuelans not made that payment, the Russian government could have suddenly found itself the proud owner of 4% of America’s oil infrastructure.
Gold prices are holding on to yesterday’s $20 in gains this morning, as tensions on the Korean peninsula ratchet ever-higher. North Korean dictator Kim Jung Un and US president Donald Trump continue to taunt each other in press releases and on Twitter, as a US Navy carrier battle group heads to the eastern coast of Korea. Gold is now trading at its highest level since before Trump’s victory in last November’s presidential election.
Indian gold demand is sharply higher right now, due to Hindu New Year festivals and the upcoming spring wedding season. A stronger rupee, which has gained 4.8% against the dollar so far this year, has helped moderate gold prices and stoke demand, and a good monsoon season last year has given rural Indians the money to buy.
American Silver Eagle sales for the first quarter of 2017 totaled a bit over 7.9 million coins, the slowest start since 2009. Considering that the first quarter is usually the most active time for Silver Eagle sales each year, current demand is pointing toward 2017 being the lowest mintage in at least six years. This poses the question: Will 2017 be a semi-key, or even key date for the American Silver Eagle?
Gold saw a small pop in early New York trading this morning, lifting prices to just above unchanged. This is a muted response to Thursday’s big losses, which had spot gold finish the day down by $11 an ounce.
Markets across the board will be influenced by the fact that today is the last day of the week, the month, and the first quarter.