Silver futures little changed with Fed minutes, Bernanke in focus

LONDON (July 10) Silver futures were little changed on Wednesday, as investors stuck to sidelines ahead of the release of the minutes of the Federal Reserve’s June policy meeting later in the trading day, while a speech by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke was also in focus.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, silver futures for September delivery traded at USD19.20 a troy ounce during European morning trade, up 0.3% on the day.

Comex silver prices held in a range between USD18.98 a troy ounce, the daily low and a session high of USD19.27 a troy ounce.

Silver prices were likely to find support at USD18.18 a troy ounce, the low from June 28 and a 34-month low and near-term resistance at USD19.58, the high from July 5.

Investors will scrutinize the minutes of the Fed's June 18-19 meeting for further hints regarding the direction of U.S. monetary policy.

In addition, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke is scheduled to speak at a National Bureau of Economic Research conference in Boston later Wednesday.

Bernanke said last month the bank could begin tapering its USD85 billion-a-month asset purchase program by the end of 2013 and wind it down completely by the middle of 2014 if the economy picks up as the central bank expects.

Silver prices are on track to post a loss of almost 37% on the year, amid speculation the Fed will start to unwind its bond purchasing program in the coming months.

Moves in the silver price this year have largely tracked shifting expectations as to whether the U.S. central bank would end its bond-buying program sooner-than-expected.

Elsewhere on the Comex, gold for August delivery added 0.6% to trade at USD1,253.55 a troy ounce, while copper for September delivery eased up 0.3% to trade at USD3.073 a pound.

Copper’s gains came despite the release of disappointing trade data out of China earlier in the day.

Official trade data showed that Chinese exports fell 3.1% from a year earlier in June, confounding expectations for a 4.0% increase.

The report also showed that imports declined 0.7%, bringing the country’s trade surplus to USD27.1 billion for the month, broadly in line with expectations for a surplus of USD27 billion.

China is the world’s largest copper consumer, accounting for almost 40% of world consumption last year.