Gold-Silver Ratio Hits Lowest Level Since 2014 as Silver Futures Record Biggest Weekly Gain in Nearly 3 Years
London (July 4) Gold’s value relative to silver fell on Friday to its lowest level since 2014, as precious metals continued to surge in the wake of Britain’s vote to exit the European Union (EU) last month.
The gold-silver ratio used by investors to determine when to buy and sell precious metals closed at 68.39 on Friday. This essentially states that 68.39 ounces of silver are needed to buy one ounce of gold. That was the lowest ratio since September 2014.
Silver for September delivery surged 6.6% to $19.66 a troy ounce on Friday, the highest settlement on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile exchange since August 2014. For the week, silver spiked 10.5%, the strongest five-day gain in nearly three years.
Gold futures surged $18.40 or 1.4% to close at $1,339.00 a troy ounce Friday, the highest since March 2014. Since the start of the year, gold futures have gained 26.3%.
Precious metals were supported by a sharp decline in the US dollar. The dollar index, an exchange weighted average of the US currency against a basket of six competitors, declined 0.5% to settle at 95.65 on Friday.
The US dollar has faced renewed selling pressure this year as it became clear the Federal Reserve isn’t prepared to raise interest rates anytime soon. Based on the latest CME FedWatch indicator, traders are pricing in a less than 25% chance the US central bank raises rates in 2016.
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) will meet again in July before breaking until September. The FOMC downgraded its outlook on economic growth and interest rates at its June policy meeting. FOMC hawk James Bullard recently admitted to being the lowest dot on the Fed’s “dot plot” chart of interest rate expectations. Mr. Bullard said its no longer suitable to expect “usual cyclical dynamics” in the economy, a sign that low-growth is here to stay.
The post-Brexit trading environment has been characterized by sharp swings in volatility. Britain’s decision to quit the EU triggered the biggest two-day selloff in stock market history, as over $3 trillion in paper value was erased. This caused a spike in precious metals and risk-off currencies, such as the dollar and Japanese yen. However, global markets nearly regained all of their post-Brexit losses over a four-day winning streak.
Although stock markets have corrected, investors remain jittery about Britain’s future negotiations with the EU. This partly explains the dramatic rise in precious metals at the end of last week. Gold and silver had experienced somewhat of a pullback early last week as investors re-entered stocks.
Analysts have described the Brexit vote as a result without a clear outcome. That’s because it will take years for the United Kingdom to negotiate new trade terms with the now 27-member bloc. But even negotiations aren’t expected to begin anytime soon following David Cameron’s resignation as British prime minister. The ruling Conservative party is expected to announce his replacement by October.
Conservative frontrunner and key Brexit proponent Boris Johnson withdrew from the leadership race on Thursday.
“Having consulted colleagues and in view of the circumstances in Parliament, I have concluded that that person cannot be me,” Mr. Johnson said in a press conference on Thursday.
Investors will turn their attention to the economic calendar next week. The data deluge begins on Tuesday with a slew of global releases, including Australian trade, Chinese services PMI and US factory orders.
The minutes of the June FOMC policy meetings will be released on Wednesday, giving investors further insight into the central bank’s decision to keep interest rates unchanged.
Separately, payrolls processor ADP will release its estimate of US private sector job creation in June. The Institute for Supply Management (ISM) will also release its monthly gauge of US services activity.
The Labor Department will release the June nonfarm payrolls report on Friday, arguably the most closely followed economic release of the month. According to a median estimate of economists, US employers added 180,000 workers to payrolls last month. Job creation slowed to just 38,000 in May, the lowest hiring pace in over six years.
The national unemployment rate is also expected to edge up to 4.8% from 4.7%.