Gold and silver futures prices are sharply lower in early U.S. trading Friday. The safe-haven metals are seeing selling pressure amid rallying global stock markets that see the U.S. indexes at record highs today. It could also be that the meteoric price rise in bitcoin prices this week and its present media attention are pulling away investor demand for the metals. February gold futures were last down $29.00 at $1,884.60 and March Comex silver was last down $0.616 at $26.65 an ounce.
The data point of the week, if not the month, is today’s Employment Situation Report issued by the Labor Department. That report showed a U.S. unemployment rate of 6.7% and a non-farm jobs decline of 140,000 in December, versus a rise of 245,000 in November. The December jobs report was expected to show a rise of 50,000 workers. However, the big miss on the downside in the ADP national employment report on Wednesday had many thinking the same would occur in Friday’s jobs report, which was the case. Today’s big miss on the jobs consensus forecast did not significantly move markets. Reason: Traders and investors are so keenly focused on the bullish aspects of the likely end of the raging pandemic this year and the ensuing expected booms in world economies. That focus did not even waver when the U.S. Capitol was stormed by an angry mob this week, as the U.S. stock market continued to march higher.
Global stock markets were mostly up overnight. U.S. stock indexes are pointed toward higher openings and new record highs when the New York day session begins. Trader and investor risk appetite remains upbeat, due in part to notions a Democratic president and Congress will provide massive spending in the coming months to prop up U.S. businesses and Americans hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, which is still raging but which also sees some light at the end of the dark tunnel due to successful vaccines.
A feature this first week of the trading year is the re-emergence of the inflation trade. Many commodity futures markets are in bull runs, led by crude oil. The U.S. Treasury markets are seeing rising yields, with the benchmark 10-year note yield now fetching 1.10%, after trading below the 1.0% level since late last winter. Meantime, the U.S. dollar index this week hit a 2.5-year low as the greenback continues to depreciate on the foreign exchange market. To anyone who has studied economics, it seems nearly unfathomable that the massive injections of liquidity into global financial systems over the past months (read that central banks printing money) cannot produce problematic inflation down the road. Rising commodity prices are a harbinger of that problematic inflation scenario.
The key “outside markets” today see the U.S. dollar index slightly up, while Nymex crude oil futures prices are higher, hit a 10-month high overnight and are trading around $51.50 a barrel.
Other U.S. economic data due for release Friday includes…
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