The gold market could see some follow through this week to significant buying seen on Friday following a disappointing U.S. Employment Situation report. Fresh buying along with some short covering drove gold prices higher by over $30 per ounce in what could be the beginning of a move back to recent highs or beyond.
On Friday, U.S. nonfarm payrolls were reported to have grown by only 38,000 jobs while the unemployment rate registered a reading of 4.7 percent. To put this reading into context, consensus estimates were looking for an increase of about 158,000 jobs in the month of May.
While the unemployment rate did decline, it declined not from American workers finding jobs but rather from more people leaving the workforce.
Any way you slice it this report was a significant miss and calls into question the Fed’s plans for the next hike in interest rates. While the central bank had recently sounded more hawkish (which was perhaps in an attempt to prepare markets for a June hike), they will likely have to take a wait and see approach. Odds of a July hike appear to be significantly lower at this point, with the next rise in rates coming in September or even beyond.
Investors will be paying very close attention to the domestic data stream over the coming weeks, looking for any further clues as to the timing and pace of additional hikes. Global economic data is also likely to be closely scrutinized, and any further weakness out of China in particular could weigh on investor sentiment and global equity markets.
While stocks were lower on Friday following the jobs report, equities may still attempt a push to previous all-time highs. Higher stock prices have been a drag on gold prices, and equities could potentially be on the verge of a retest of last year’s highs. On the other hand, a failure of stocks to mount a significant challenge of those highs could potentially drive investors to take profits and put capital to work elsewhere.
With uncertainty surrounding the pace and timing of another rate hike and the upcoming
“Brexit” referendum, stocks and risk assets could potentially experience increasing volatility in the coming sessions. As investors get more anxious, perceived safe havens like gold and silver could potentially attract more capital inflows.
Finally, precious metals investors will be watching the currency markets this week.
Following a false breakdown below key support early last month, the dollar index had been trending higher as interest rate expectations were in a state of flux. With Friday’s jobs data all but eliminating the chances of a June hike, the dollar index plunged, falling over 1.6 percent.
This sharp decline in the greenback could potentially send the dollar index back to last month’s lows. A breach below the lows of early May could be very significant. Looking at the bigger picture, a drop below the 92 area on the dollar index could, from a technical standpoint, drive more selling in the dollar.
Any dollar weakness could be a significant bullish catalyst for gold, silver and other precious metals. Following Friday’s dismal labor data, investors may be quick to sell the dollar if additional key data points disappoint.