The final trading session of this most eventful week began on a relatively upbeat note in precious metals, following yesterday’s rather minor (1.5% from the recent high in gold) setback, which, for now, we will refrain from calling a “correction.” Crude oil rising past $103.00 on the back of continuing skirmishes in Libya, and a US dollar apparently stuck near the 76.40-76.50 zone on the trade-weighted index (and still at nearly a four-month low against the euro) gave rise to scattered early buying, but metals players were still cautious ahead of the 8:30 AM release of the US Labor Department’s employment data for February.
Spot gold dealings opened with a $3.60 gain on Friday morning, and they were quoted at the $1,418.90 indication price. Silver spot added 30 cents to open at the $34.53 level while platinum rose $3 to start the session off at the $1,828.00 mark per ounce. Palladium dropped by an equivalent amount, to open at $810 the troy ounce, while rhodium remained unchanged once again, and was quoted at $2,380.00 per ounce. Apple iPad junkies can now rejoice, as the Kcast Gold Live app can be with them 24/7/365 wherever they might find themselves, and offer them the above-mentioned quotes, up to the minute.
Well, the February US joblessness rate came in at its lowest level since April of 2009 and it revealed a gain of 192,000 positions in February. The figure did miss the analysts’ estimates that had called for a gain of 218,000 jobs, but the overall US unemployment rate fell by one-tenth of a percent from January’s 9% level. Thus, early caution among commodity players dissipated somewhat on account of the 26,000 jobs-created-discrepancy between the USLD report and previous expectations, and the crowd set out to buy more gold and silver with a tad more confidence.
We are looking at probably another weekend ahead of which players might not want to go home without a safety lining in metals. However, book-squaring activities and any possible geopolitical developments could still make for a volatile session. Libya, oil and the US dollar remain the top items on market participants’ minds.
Also on market participants’ minds this morning, were continuing reverberations from comments made by Mr. Trichet the other day. The ECB’s head sounded an even more than normally hawkish tone on Thursday as he intimated that interest rates in the euro zone could rise as early as April. Albeit the IMF warned against such a move, the ECB appears to have its mind made up that inflation — along the lines of its current trend — is not a welcome guest in the region’s economy. The word-pair “strong vigilance” was used by Mr. Trichet in his news conference, and analysts pointed out that this is historically the telltale sign of an imminent rate move.