Better than expected economic news out of Europe smashed a faltering dollar down more than .51% to test the 79 level on the DXY dollar index this morning. The greenback is now at a 6-1/2 month low, despite the crisis in Ukraine.
This has muted the technical correction in precious metals after two strong days of gains. Precious metals are near flat in early morning trading in New York. Gold closed up $9.10 an ounce yesterday at $1,310.70. Silver was up .64% to $19.69. Platinum saw a nearly 1% rise, gaining $14 to $1,452/oz, while palladium was up $6 to $820.
France, Italy, Spain, and the UK all beat expectations in today’s PMI reports. EU composite PMI came in at 54.0, right at expectations. EU composite retail sales were up 0.3%, the third month of gains.
All this happy news sent the euro well above the 1.39 mark against the dollar, a seven-week high. A stronger euro means lower domestic prices and lower exports, something that European Central Bank president Mario Draghi would really prefer not to see. The ECB meets on Thursday to discuss policy, and the pressure is building to expand the money supply with some Fed-style “money printing”.
The U.S. had a bit of good economic news itself, with the trade deficit shrinking to $40.4 billion. This was about in line with analysts’ expectations. Exports increased due to the oil and gas sector, and the export of airliners by Boeing.
Wall St. is opening lower, as Euro stocks gave back early gains on weakness in the banking sector. Tokyo is closed again today for holidays, but London is back to work.
Gold speculators have been exiting short positions, even before the latest outbreak of violence in the Ukraine. This may bode well for the short-term outlook for the precious metal.
Speaking of Ukraine, four servicemen and over 30 separatists are reported killed in the latest government offensive against the rebel-held city of Slovyansk. The government in Kiev accuses Russia of sending agents and special forces troops, as well as supplies, to undermine the region, just as it did in Crimea. Fearing a Russia invasion across Ukraine’s Black Sea coast, the tiny nation of Moldova has put forces on alert along its border. Moldova is less than 50 miles from the Ukrainian port city of Odessa, where over 40 people have died in the last few days in mob violence. Moldova has its own Russian-minority area which has been clamoring for help from Moscow.