Gold / Silver / Copper Prices - Weekly Outlook: March 11 - 15

March 10, 2019

New York (Mar 10)  Metal traders will continue to monitor gyrations in the U.S. dollar this week after gold prices rose almost 1% on Friday as a weak U.S. employment report sent the greenback lower and clouded the outlook for the global economy.

Markets will get the latest reading on U.S. retail sales on Monday, which are expected to show another decline in January after an unexpected drop at the end of 2018.

Inflation figures will also be closely watched after the Federal Reserve vowed to be “patient” and await incoming data before raising interest rates again. Data on U.S. consumer and producer prices are set to be released on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively.

Other key economic reports in focus this week include U.S. new home sales and durable goods. Meanwhile, U.S. President Donald Trump will introduce his 2020 budget proposal on Monday after a delay caused by the government shutdown in January.

The U.S. dollar was broadly lower on Friday after data showing that the U.S. economy added far fewer workers than forecast in February.

The Labor Department reported a 20,000-job increase in nonfarm payrolls last month, far fewer than the consensus forecast of 180,000. But traders were encouraged by the unemployment rate falling back below 4% and average hourly earnings accelerating by 0.4%.

The U.S. dollar index that tracks the dollar against a basket of six currencies was down 0.36% at 97.314 in late trade. It touched 97.710 on Thursday, the highest since Dec. 14. On the week, the index gained 0.8%.

The weaker dollar saw gold prices climb almost 1% on Friday.

Gold futures settled up 0.98% at $1,298.75 on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

"We saw a surprisingly weak non-farm jobs number that pressured the dollar and the U.S. stock markets, which in turn supported the rally in gold," said Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst at Kitco Metals. "Gold is going to be influenced by the dollar index."

"Growth in the U.S. is going to slow as the country has reached full employment and productivity is very high so there isn't much space for growth ... And we're coming to an end of the Federal Reserve's rate cycle, which should weaken the dollar further," said Natixis analyst Bernard Dahdah.

While Friday's report from the Labor Department did have a few bright spots, such as dip in the unemployment rate and an upward revision to December and January data, it did indicate the U.S. economy is slowing, supporting the Fed's "patient" approach toward interest rate hikes this year. jobs number could be revised up and the "internals" were not so bad, Kitco's Wyckoff said.

"I don't think this particular report alone will alter the Fed's monetary policy," he said. "If we get a string of weak numbers next couple of months, then that's a different story, but right now that 20,000 rise in non-farm is an anomaly."

Elsewhere in metals trading, silver gained 2.08% to $15.331 per ounce, after slipping to its lowest since late December on Thursday. Silver was up 0.8% for the week.

Copper ended at $2.900, down 0.36% for the day, extending the week’s losses to 1.33%.

Ahead of the coming week, has compiled a list of significant events likely to affect the markets.

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