Commentary: Paul Ebeling on Wall Street

Commentary: Paul Ebeling on Wall Street


Gold futures finished a volatile week higher, but the precious metal/investment/safe-haven asset, continues to look vulnerable to the Southside in the wake of positive news over US-China trade relations late in the week.

Last week’s price action did not reveal any surprises. Shorts-covered after the previous week’s steep sell-off when the headlines said trade talks had hit a snag.

Short-sellers returned when US officials said a trade deal was close. In between, gold was pressured after the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) surprised the markets again by putting a rate cut on hold.

Then gold found support 2 days later when weaker-than-expected Australian employment data suggested the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) may lower rates again in December.

Last week, December COMEX gold futures settled at $1468.50, + $5.60 or +0.38%.

Economic data also played a role in gold’s 2-sided trade. Helping to keep a lid on prices was stronger-than-expected US consumer and producer inflation. Providing a little boost was mixed US retail sales data.

Fed Chairman Powell also dampened the chances of a breakout rally in gold after he said the central bank is unlikely to adjust interest rates anytime soon as long as the economy remains on its present path.

“Looking ahead, my colleagues and I see a sustained expansion of economic activity, a strong labor market, and inflation near our symmetric 2 percent objective as most likely,” Chairman Powell said in his remarks to Congress on 13 November. “This favorable baseline partly reflects the policy adjustments that we have made to provide support for the economy.

While Mr. Powell’s comments were pressuring gold prices, global economic data and events were propping it up.

Gold was supported as protests in Hong Kong turned violent last week, heightening an already volatile situation days after a group of pro-democracy lawmakers was arrested in the city.

Traders also bought gold in response to a report that showed growth in Japan’s economy ground to a near standstill in the third quarter, at its weakest in a year, as the US-China trade dispute and soft global demand knocked exports and kept pressure on policymakers to ramp up stimulus in order to bolster a fragile recovery.

Gold was also underpinned by a report that showed China’s industrial output grew significantly slower than expected in October, as weakness in global and domestic demand and the drawn-out US-China trade dispute weighed on activity in the world’s largest economy.

Gold was further supported after disappointing October jobs data raised the chances of another rate cut by the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) in the coming months.

Weekly Forecast: The US stock markets at record highs and positive comments from US officials that progress is being made on the “Phase 1” trade agreement with China are likely to continue to keep a lid on gold prices and could even drive prices through recent lows.

However, weak global economic data, falling Treasury yields and general uncertainty over the timing of a trade deal could continue to underpin gold prices.

The RBA mins could provide support if they come across as Dovish. However, the Fed mins are expected to be Hawkish. The ECB policy mins will be closely watched and could ultimately decide which way the trade goes for gold prices.

Flash PMI data from the Eurozone and the United States could also influence the price action.

With traders taking protection in the safe-haven Japanese Yen, US Treasury Bonds and gold, and investors aggressively driving US stock markets to record highs, something has to give.

So, the longer gold stays in a tight trading range, the greater the chances of a volatile breakout. The direction will be determined by the outcome of the trade deal.

Remember, always take what the market gives, it is your money so your responsibility, be prepared.

Have a terrific week


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