Morning Market Update: Cyprus Bank Panic Edition

March 18th, 2013 by

The big news today is the fallout over the demands of European banks that the government of Cyprus seize up to 10% of depositors’ bank accounts as a deposit on the $13 billion bailout the government needs to survive. Banks and credit unions in Cyprus were closed today and tomorrow to prevent runs on the banks, and ATMs across the island have been drained.  The euro currency, European stocks, and Italian and Spanish bonds were hammered overnight, as Cypriots protested the surprise measure.

Gold and silver both jumped on the NY Globex open, with gold hitting a 3-week high of $1,608, but settled down towards Friday levels on overnight profit taking. They took a significant drop in Asian trading, as physical demand was subdued at the higher prices, but jumped again at the London open and the COMEX open. Gold broke last night’s 3-week high in early morning trading in New York.

Silver was not able to “ride the wave” as well as gold, and traded under Friday’s levels after the initial overnight jump. The boosts received at the London open and COMEX open has it trading near Friday’s levels now.

Base metals and the PGMs took a hit overnight as fears of bank runs from Greece to Portugal led to worries of severe economic contraction. Wall St. opened lower this morning, as the dollar continues to trade near a 7.5-month high on safe haven demand.

Tomorrow is the start of the two-day Federal Reserve Open Market Committee meeting, and today’s news will probably insure a continuance of the $85 billion a month quantitative easing. The Cypriot Parliament is meeting today to alter the “depositors’ tax” plan in order to stave off riots.

by David Peterson