Gold and silver spot values have had a very interesting week seeing as prices have moved all over the charts. To begin the week, both gold and silver were on the receiving end of a solid boost after the last day of last week brought about some hefty losses. Unfortunately, only a day later, the gains that were made on Monday were somewhat pared and spot values were once again beginning to move downward. The next few days saw mixed movement on the part of gold and silver, but neither metal’s spot value moved too far in any single direction.
As you may or may not be aware, this week played host to a number of key economic reports and economic happenings. In addition to the European Central Bank meeting that was held on Thursday, investors also clambered to hear the latest employment data from the United States. Unlike last month’s employment report, however, this month’s defeated the expectations of experts.
European Central Bank Meeting Doesn’t Live Up to Expectations
Beginning late last week, investors the world over were speculating over the possible outcomes of this week’s European Central Bank meeting. With so much talk about the ECB changing monetary policy in an effort to spur economic growth, there were quite a few investors who seemed to be convinced that some sort of policy change would come as a result of yesterday’s meeting.
Much to the dismay of everyone, the ECB decided not only to leave interest rates unchanged, they also held off on implementing any new aspects to their monetary policies. In the lead-up to this week’s meeting, it was widely expected that the ECB would announce the implementation of quantitative easing measures. Once again, however, the ECB didn’t enact this policy shift.
Instead, Mario Draghi commented that he and his colleagues are going to be holding off until sometime in 2015’s first quarter until they actually implement changes to monetary policy. This means that, like interest rate hikes in the US, it is not a matter of if QE will be present in ECB monetary policy, but rather, when it will be present. Of course, investors around the world will continue to try and pinpoint exactly when QE will become a factor for Europe, but this will prove to be nothing more than speculation.
US Jobs Data Handily Beats Market Expectations
Other than the European Central Bank meeting, the market was preoccupied with the release of the latest employment data from the United States. As is always the case, the US monthly employment report was deemed to be the most important data of the week. This time, like last time, market experts expected that at least 230,000 non-farm jobs were added to the US economy in November.
Unlike last month, the figures came back and handily beat expectations, showing that over 320,000 new jobs were created last month. This news gave US stocks as well as the US Dollar an almost instantaneous boost while simultaneously adding more selling pressure to the precious metals market. While the overall unemployment rate in the United States remains fixed at 5.8%, today’s jobs figures were upbeat to say the least.
As is the case anytime an upbeat employment report from the United States is made public, investors immediately took today’s data and attempted to decipher what it meant for interest rate hikes in the US. Of course, because of the upbeat nature of today’s report, investors are just a bit more convinced that interest rate hikes will be announced in the US sooner rather than later. Personally, I would not be at all surprised to see interest rates raised sometime in 2015’s first quarter. With that said, however, there are some who do not think interest rates will be touched until next Summer or possibly sometime even later than that.
What I do know for sure is that the ending of this year and the beginning of next will be some telling times for many of the world’s major economies. Things are just beginning to fall in place and as the next few weeks and months play out, you can expect that the market atmosphere will be changing considerably in Europe, the US, and in plenty of other places around the world. What all this change means for gold and silver, however, remains to be seen.