Gold prices lost their grip this morning as a wave of selling took prices sharply lower. Traders picked out the Philadelphia Fed Manufacturing Index as a reason to hit the panic button, even though other markets did not show a noticeable reaction to the report.
Spot gold went from unchanged to fall as much as $11 an ounce immediately after the Philly Fed report, which saw the index take a huge jump from +2.0 to +12.8. Economists had expected a mild pullback to +1.0.
At 10am, gold was trading at $1,313.20 an ounce. Spot gold is down $9.40, while December gold futures have fallen $12.90. Silver is trading at 18.97 per ounce. Spot silver is three cents lower, while December silver futures have shed ten cents.
Gold snapped a losing streak Wednesday, as spot gold added $4.20 to close at $1,322.60/oz, and December gold futures settled $2.40 higher at $1,326.10/oz. Spot silver and silver futures both gained nine cents an ounce yesterday, to end at $18.94/oz and $19.07/oz, respectively.
Investors have also turned their attention to gold exchange-traded funds. The largest such ETF, the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD), gained 0.4% yesterday, while the iShares Silver Trust (SLV) finished 0.6% higher. The VanEck Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (GDX), which consists of a basket of gold mining stocks, was down 0.2%.
Oil futures settled down yesterday, despite the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) report that domestic crude stockpiles fell by 600,000 barrels last week. This was in contrast to expectations of an increase of 3.3 million barrels, and the American Petroleum Institute's report of a 1.4 million barrel build. The EIA had reported a huge drop in crude supplies of 14.5 million barrels the previous week, which was blamed on offshore wells in the Gulf of Mexico suspending operations ahead of Hurricane Hermine.
Builds in finished products last week offset any positive feelings over the drop in crude supplies. As storage at the nation's refineries fill up, they are likely to cut back on crude purchases. West Texas Intermediate contracts settled 2.9% lower, at $43.58 a barrel. Brent crude futures settled at $45.85 a barrel, 2.7% lower. Nonetheless, crude prices edged higher on Thursday following two consecutive sessions in the red.
It's the Economy, Stupid
The jump in manufacturing may be the hot topic of the day's economic news, just as the report earlier this week that incomes for middle-class Americans rose 5.2% year-on-year from 2014 to 2015. However, taken on balance, these data points are merely encouraging blips in the larger context of a largely unfavorable economic outlook.
For instance, retail sales in the U.S. were weak in August, as was manufacturing (prior to the most recent numbers from the Philly Fed). The slump for retailers was dragged lower by fewer automobile sales. As one of the last major data releases prior to the FOMC's September meeting, the news doesn't portend well for an economic rebound during the second half of the year—nor for an interest-rate increase this month.
The cloudy outlook is all the more reason to be bullish on gold. Although jobless claims have remained low, this measure also ticked up slightly last week. From the producer side of the employment situation, the August producer price index (PPI) came in flat, falling short of analysts' tepid expectations of a 0.1% increase.
The opinions and forecasts herein are provided solely for informational purposes, and should not be used or construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation to buy or sell any product.