Eurozone delaying inevitable
The March U.S. dollar closed lower on Friday at 94.435, down 5.7 points on disappointment after the minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve meeting indicating the preference of members to leave rates around zero. Other currencies gaining against the dollar included the euro on the proposal to extend Greece four more months, which I feel is a waste of time. Greece is not going to be able, with meaningful austerity—which the people reject—to emerge unscathed, and their economy may well cause Greece to leave the euro.
That would not bode well for the euro as I expect the Northern members of the Eurozone with strong economies will reject supporting the Southern countries with extremely weak economies such as Italy, Spain, Portugal, etc. The euro on Friday closed at $1.1383, up 15, the Swiss Franc gained 1.03c to close at $1.0641, the Australian dollar gained 655 points to close at 78.33c. The British pound lost 25 points to $1.5385, the Japanese yen lost 5 ticks to 0.08401, and the Canadian dollar lost 32 points to 79.69c. In the face of the above, we now are back in the bullish camp for the dollar on any further short term declines.
March crude oil closed at $52.14 per barrel, down $1.39 or 2.6% after three session gains. Prices gained 9% for the three seasons but rising U.S. inventories prompted the profittaking and new selling. We prefer the sidelines as the wide price swings in crude predicated by changes in data make trading it too risky for small investors. March natural gas closed at $2.83 per MBTUs up 7.2c or 2.6%. We continue favor natural gas in the group. The unusually harsh winter weather across the U.S. could reduce supplies as demand increases.
April gold closed at $1,200.20 per ounce, down $8.40 or 0.7% as the Chinese Lunar New Year holiday kept those buyers out of the market. March silver closed at $16.265 per ounce, down 11c or 0.7% following gold. Both markets were affected by the minutes of the U.S. Federal Reserve "preference" to leave rates around zero. April platinum lost $9.80 or 0.8% to close at $1,167.20 per ounce while March palladium lost $6.65 or 0.9% closing at $776.60 per ounce. Once again our preferences are silver against gold and palladium against platinum. Otherwise stay out for now.