Precious Metals Review
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Week of January 22, 2021
Quotes of the Week
“Americans continued to hit the unemployment line in large numbers as the ongoing surge of Covid cases added to America’s unemployment problem last week.
Jobless claims totaled 900,000 for the week ended Jan. 16, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That was slightly less than the Dow Jones estimate of 925,000 and below the previous week’s downwardly revised total of 926,000.
Markets reacted little to the news amid continued anticipation that President Joe Biden and Congress will soon deliver another large fiscal infusion to help the economy through the pandemic. Stock futures pointed to a modest gain on Wall Street.
Continuing claims showed a slight decrease for the week, falling by 127,000 to 5.05 million.
Weekly claims had been trending lower since exploding in March and April in the early days of the pandemic but began drifting higher again in October amid renewed business restrictions.
The hospitality industry has been hit hardest as hotels, bars, restaurants and casinos either have been closed or forced to limit capacity for guests. In January alone, the industry lost 498,000 workers.
The latest claims report showed that the total of Americans receiving unemployment benefits continues to decline, though largely due to a drop in pandemic-related programs as 2020 came to a close.
There were just under 16 million benefit recipients in the most recent data, down from 18.4 million. However, the decline in pandemic-related claims won’t last as the latest fiscal package includes extended benefits for displaced workers.
Several big states that have had a heavier hand with restrictions saw the previous week’s rise in claims tempered. California (-58,665), New York (-12,212) and Pennsylvania (-9,638) all saw notable declines. Gains came from Arizona (15,347) and Illinois (13,948).
Other economic news for the morning was better than expected.
Housing starts totaled 1.67 million vs. the 1.56 million estimate, while permits came in at 1.71 million against the 1.61 million expectation from Dow Jones. The Philadelphia Fed business activity index jumped to 26.5, better than the 10.5 estimate.”
“Gold rose more than 1% on Wednesday on expectations that U.S. President Joe Biden's administration would increase stimulus measures to deal with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
Spot gold was up 1.6% to $1,868.00 per ounce by 1:56p.m. EST (1856 GMT), having touched more than a one-week high earlier. U.S. gold futures settled up 1.4% at $1,866.50.
"Whether the feelings of comity will last the afternoon remain in question as Biden's first acts will be to reverse some of his predecessor's policies. Gold has had a very good day and a close here or even near $1,860 opens the door for $1,900," said Tai Wong, head of base and precious metals derivatives trading at BMO.
"The most market-relevant indicator for gold markets will be the reception that the 1.9 trillion USD stimulus bill will get on Capitol Hill, especially in the Senate and whether it will encounter a fair tailwind or stormy seas."
Biden was sworn into office on Wednesday, with investors focused on his $1.9 trillion stimulus package proposal and the pace of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.
Gold is considered a hedge against inflation that can result from stimulus measures. Comments by Janet Yellen, Biden's nominee to head the Treasury Department, underscoring the need for stimulus also supported the metal, said Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at RJO Future. Yellen, a former chair of the Federal Reserve, on Tuesday urged U.S. lawmakers to "act big" on relief spending and said pandemic relief would take priority over tax increases.
Gold can still reach $2,000, probably by the middle of the second quarter when a good amount of people get inoculated and there's so much cash in the system with demand almost coming
back to normal, said Howie Lee, an economist at OCBC Bank. "People will start looking at inflation very closely then," Lee added.
Silver rose 2.2% to $25.75 an ounce, platinum climbed 2.3% to $1,108.05, while palladium rose 1.1% to $2,378.37.”