Precious metals ended the day incredibly higher after posting losses all week long. In fact, both gold and silver lost almost every single day over the course of this 5-day trading week up until Friday. To be fair, most factors are turning the tide against precious metals and that is being reflected in recent losses. Though there were quite a few different pieces of economic data dealt from the United States, investors were completely focused on the United Kingdom as they decided whether to remain part of the European Union or not.
For precious metals, the biggest factor contributing to losses has been the fact that so many people were convinced that the UK would decide to remain part of the EU. Other than that, Federal Reserve chairperson Janet Yellen also spoke a few times this week, and it goes without saying that she mentioned interest rate hikes at least once.
US Economic Data Dealt
The first piece of data that made a splash this week came in the form of the existing home sales data from May. For the third straight month, sales of existing homes improved from the month before. The National Association of Realtors say that the upbeat figures with regard to existing home sales are likely due to the fact that interest rates have remained at their current levels for the last few months; which was far longer than anyone had originally anticipating. Now, there is no clear consensus as to when interest rates might be raised, so I would not be surprised to see this same figure be equally upbeat next time around.
In addition to the existing homes data, it was relieving for most to see that weekly jobless claims fell last week. Officially, first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell by 18,000 to bring the seasonally-adjusted average number of claims back down below the 260,000 mark. After a few weeks’ worth of poor weekly jobless claims data, it was encouraging for investors to see the change of pace.
On a not so upbeat note, the International Monetary Fund downgraded its US growth expectations for this year. While this is never good news, the fact of the matter is that even a downgraded IMF prediction for US economic growth still sees the US leading most major economies as far as growth is concerned. It will be interesting to see whether the IMF’s expectations are beaten, or if they will even be lived up to at all.
BRExit Vote Takes Center Stage
The undeniably biggest news of the week came in the form of the UK referendum which decided whether the United Kingdom would remain part of the European Union or become independent, At first, it was thought that the UK would opt to leave the EU, but over the past week and a half or so we have seen the opinion of investors and experts alike shift.
When this week opened up, the overwhelming majority of people were under the impression that the UK would remain part of the EU when all was said and done. When it came down to it, UK citizens decided that they would like to leave the European Union and venture forward independently. Thanks to the overwhelming amount of uncertainty that this creates, gold and silver ended up being given a large safe-haven boost the second markets opened up on Friday. With spot values moving upward at a fast pace, it will be interesting to see just how far things can progress.
In addition to the BRExit vote having an immediate impact on the global marketplace, it has also had an immediate impact on interest rate hikes here in the US. Now, there are plenty of experts who do not think interest rates will be hiked for the foreseeable future. There are some who think another rate hike might not happen at any point during the 2016 calendar year. That much, however, remains to be seen.