Gold finished trading in New York yesterday at $913.70, up $10.70 and silver was up 37 cents to $17.72. Gold surged on the COMEX open after initial jobless claims rose sharply to their highest level in 5 years. Gold subsequently gradually sold off and the slow sell off continued in electronic trading and in Asian and early European trading.
Gold's weakness is likely due to continuing weakness in oil and commodity markets with the Reuters-Jefferies CRB Index having experienced its largest monthly drop in 28 years. It is down some 10% which while a sharp correction, is small in comparison to some of the far greater losses in equity markets. It seems likely that this is another correction and commodities may rally again. But a serious global recession would see price falls on demand destruction.
However, gold's safe haven attributes should see it decouple from oil and commodities in the coming months. Gold remains up more than 9% year to date and some 36% in the last 12 months and this is a sterling performance in the light of the sharp falls seen in equity and property markets.
While the short term trend remains down we expect a summer low to have been reached or to be reached in the coming days prior to a significant move upwards in mid to late August and into gold's strong months - September and October.
Continuing concerns regarding the health of the US and global economy should result in gold remaining above strong support which remains at the rising 200 day moving average at $887.
Greenspan's Issues "Once in a Century Crisis" Warning
Alan Greenspan's frank comments about the grave nature of the growing risks facing the US financial system and economy also contributed to increasing risk aversion as seen in falling equity markets in the US, Asia and in Europe this morning.
Greenspan said that the current financial crisis was continuing and could deepen and it is a "once in a century" crisis tied to the housing market's plunge and that the US teeters on the brink of a recession. Given the extent of the turmoil, he said he would be surprised if there was no recession. Greenspan said that falling home prices were "nowhere near the bottom." He also expressed support for the idea of nationalising mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, saying they were a "major accident waiting to happen."
Greenspan's grim warning is ironic as he had a significant role in creating the cheap money, Nasdaq and housing bubbles and unregulated structured vehicle and derivatives market that has gotten the world into this current crisis. Also it is worth noting that this is the same ex Fed chairman who on June 13 said "the worst is over in the financial crisis or will be very soon." Although Greenspan is far from alone in this regard as many on Wall Street - executives, analysts and commentators made similar ludicrous pronunciations that have proved entirely wrong.
It is likely that Greenspan realises how the economy is likely to deteriorate and is "covering himself" and when the economy does deteriorate he can claim that he clearly warned of the risks.
Whether this is an exercise in "damage limitation" or not is beside the point - what is the point is that Greenspan's views are true and should be heeded by market participants if they wish to prosper in the coming months.
Today's Data and Influences
Markets await the week's key non-farm payroll release at 13.30 GMT today. The consensus expectation is for a reading of 75,000 jobs lost close to last month's negative reading of 62,000. But yesterday's sharp jump in weekly jobless claims has led to concern regarding this afternoon's non-farm payrolls report. A disappointing number will likely see stocks and the dollar under pressure and gold remain firm to strong. A less bad number could see more risk appetite and opposite price movements in stocks, the dollar and gold.
Gold and Silver
Gold is trading at $910.20/910.70 per ounce (1130 GMT).
Silver is trading at $17.59/17.64 per ounce (1130 GMT).
Platinum is trading at $1714/1720 per ounce (1130 GMT).
Palladium is trading at $372/377 per ounce (1130 GMT).