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Inflation spirals to 85 no surprise according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Inflation spirals to 8.5%, no surprise according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland

Today the BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics) released its CPI inflation report for March 2022. The report showed that inflation had risen to 8.5% when compared to the inflation level in March 2021. When compared to month-over-month levels, inflation rose 0.6% as February's level of inflation came in at 7.9%. However, this news was no surprise as it had been released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland on March 30.

As we said in our letter published on March 30, the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland released its estimates and forecasts for both the PCE and CPI index. Their forecast indicates an increase in the PCE of 0.62% year-over-year. They also have made a prediction on the CPI index for March, which will be released next month. Their forecast is based upon data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Bureau of Economic Analysis, Energy Information Administration, Financial Times, and Haver Analytics. Based on their analysis, they forecasted that the CPI index for March would come in at 8.41% year-over-year and that the March PCE would increase by 0.75% month over month.

Since the Federal Reserve has access to the same government bureaus that produce the report, they are privy to this information long before it is released to the public. It is for that reason that the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland was able to correctly forecast the CPI report for March before the month had concluded. Their forecast was off by only 0.09% from the actual number released today. They also forecasted that the level of inflation for the first quarter of 2022 would come in at 9.01% when compared to the first quarter of 2021.

Forecasts by the Federal Reserve braced the investment community for this extreme acceleration in inflationary pressures, and today's report verified that inflationary pressures continued to grow in March. This sent ripples through financial assets resulting in rising yields in U.S. treasuries and a strong uptick in safe havens such as gold and the dollar.

The 10-year Treasury note settled at 2.724%, according to information on TradeWeb. The Wall Street Journal reported that "The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note settled at 2.724%, compared with 2.779% Monday, its highest close since early 2019. The yield is up from 1.496% at the end of 2021."

The U.S. dollar also strengthened with the dollar index breaking above 100 after factoring in today's gain of 0.39% which took the index to 100.315.

As of 4:50 PM EDT both gold and silver had substantial gains. The most active June 2022 gold futures contract is currently trading up $20.80 or 1.07% and fixed at $1969 per ounce. Silver futures gained 2.33% or $0.58 with the most active contract currently fixed at $25.57.

While there was certainly a warning by the forecast released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland at the end of March, it was not until verification by the BLS in today's report that market participants fully factored this uptick in inflationary pressures into market pricing. Although the Federal Reserve is planning an aggressive and hawkish monetary policy to curtail the spiraling level of inflationary pressures, it will be difficult at best to have any real impact. This is because inflationary pressures continue to be in goods and services in which demand cannot diminish as they are essential to day-to-day life. The primary goods and services hit with increased inflation in March were food, energy, automotive purchases, and rental prices.

By Gary Wagner

Contributing to kitco.com

Time to buy Gold and Silver on the dips

 

Tim Moseley

What effect has Ukraine inflation and the Fed had on gold prices?

What effect has Ukraine, inflation, and the Fed had on gold prices?

Gold prices have been affected by three primary factors, inflation, the war in Ukraine, and lastly, statements and actions by the Federal Reserve. Overwhelmingly, market participants are focused on the effects of spiraling inflation levels and the war on Ukraine providing bullish market sentiment for the precious yellow metal. While statements and actions by the Federal Reserve have curtailed any sustained upside movement gold continues to gain value this year.

As of 4:15 PM EDT gold futures basis, the most active June contract is trading at $1957.80, after factoring in today's gain of $12.20 or +0.63%. Most noteworthy today is the high gold achieved in trading overseas, reaching an apex of $1974.60.

However, following the intraday high were statements by the president of the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank, Charles Evans said, that he would not oppose interest rates moving higher to more of a neutral stance between 2.25% and 2.5% by the end of the year. This could only be accomplished by the Federal Reserve raising interest rates by ½% at two of the remaining FOMC meetings this year.

Speaking to the Detroit economic club Charles Evans said, "Fifty is obviously worthy of consideration; perhaps it's highly likely even if you want to get to neutral by December." The net result of his statements today took gold from its intraday high roughly $18 above current pricing, to its current price just below $1960 per ounce.

The primary reason that gold continues to trade higher in light of a much more aggressive Federal Reserve is the current level of inflation as well as the war in Ukraine.

Tomorrow the government will release the Consumer Price Index (CPI) report, which will give the investment community the latest information on the current level of inflation in the United States. The current consensus by economic analysts is that the March report will show another uptick in inflation. Adding to the former pressure, which took inflation to its current 40-year high is the war in Ukraine which resulted in higher food and oil pricing. The CPI inflation index came in at 7.9% for February and it is anticipated that tomorrow's report will show that inflation has moved substantially past 8%.

The current military action by Russia as it attacks its neighbor in south Ukraine is expected to accelerate with no end in sight. Ukraine today said that it expects Russia to initiate a major offensive imminently with military action shifting its focus from the capital city of Kyiv to the Eastern portion of Ukraine, where pro-Russian separatists currently occupy the territory of Donbas. Karl Nehammer, the Austrian Chancellor, met with Vladimir Putin, the first EU leader to hold face-to-face talks with the Russian president concluding his viewpoint, "I generally have no optimistic impression that I can report to you from this conversation with President Putin… The offensive (in eastern Ukraine) is evidently being prepared on a massive scale."

Combined, the continued acceleration of inflationary pressures in the United States and the war in Ukraine are overwhelmingly balancing any negative pressure by statements and actions of the Federal Reserve. Collectively these three forces, Ukraine, inflation, and the Federal Reserve, have been the primary sources affecting gold pricing. However, it seems that the war in Ukraine and upticks in inflation are moving gold prices higher than the negative or bearish market sentiment created by the Federal Reserve as it continues its action to normalize interest rates in an attempt to stave off the drastically higher level of inflation.

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Wishing you as always good trading,

By Gary Wagner

Contributing to kitco.com

Time to buy Gold and Silver on the dips

 

Tim Moseley

Silver prices are stuck but future shines bright as industrial demand grows – Bank of America

Silver prices are stuck, but future shines bright as industrial demand grows – Bank of America

Silver prices are stuck in a wide range finding little momentum from subdued investor interest; however, commodity analysts at Bank of America expect the precious metals industrial demand to keep the market well supported.

In a report published Friday, the analysts said that demand from the solar power sector and growing importance in the auto sector will be two critical factors driving silver prices for the next three years.

The bank sees silver prices ending the year at around $32.50 an ounce as the market sees falling supply and growing industrial demand. The long-term bullish outlook comes as silver prices consolidate between $24 and $25 an ounce. May silver futures last traded at $25.81 an ounce, up 0.30% on the day.

"Demand headwinds have been gradually tailing off, and silver usage in solar panels is set to increase further as more photovoltaic (PV) is installed," the analysts said in the report. "Importantly, out to 2025, new PV installations in GW will likely outpace any savings from learning effects that might reduce silver loadings in panels. We assume 19t of silver per GW of capacity installed at the moment."

Looking beyond the solar sector, Bank of America expects electric vehicles to be an essential source of industrial demand for silver. They said that each electric car uses about 38 grams of silver, up 72% compared to conventional internal combustion engines.

"Overlaying these figures with expected EV production volumes, we believe silver usage could rise to 3,522t by 2025, from around 2,000t in the past decade," the analysts said.

Palladium price up 8%; lifts precious metals as London bans Russia PGM refineries

Along with growing demand, the report also noted that the silver market is seeing falling mine production.

"Silver production should remain subdued and is unlikely to return to the levels seen a decade ago. Of course, lack of output growth has been influenced by the low silver quotations in the past decade, which pushed miners to cut capex," the analysts said.

By Neils Christensen

For Kitco News

Time to buy Gold and Silver on the dips

 

 

Tim Moseley

Gold rises as investors brace for Tuesday’s CPI inflation report

Gold rises as investors brace for Tuesday’s CPI inflation report

As of 4:44 PM EDT gold futures basis, the most active June 2022 contract is trading up $11.70, a gain of 0.60% at $1949.50. There were some alarming forecasts for the upcoming release of the latest inflationary data vis-à-vis the CPI (Consumer Price Index) on Tuesday, March 12. Just last week estimates were released by the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland which revealed a detailed estimate of the upcoming CPI report indicating that the level of inflation in March could run as high as 8.41%. Furthermore, estimates for the first quarter of 2022 predict inflationary pressures quarter over quarter could swell as high as 9.1%.

The chart above is a 240-minute candlestick chart of gold futures. We have included are trendlines highlighting a series of lower highs, as well as a series of higher lows. This has created a compression triangle and breakout above the current resistance level. This indicates that gold has concluded its consolidation period and moved back into a solid rally mode. This puts our next target for potential resistance at $1967.60. Above that price point, there is resistance at $2000 and major resistance at $2016.

While the Federal Reserve maintains that inflationary levels are peaking and should begin to decline throughout the rest of the year, this assumption is not written in stone as many variables could continue the rise of inflationary pressures throughout the year. One of the primary unknowns is the current crisis in Ukraine which resulted in global inflationary pressures due to supply chain issues regarding their agricultural exports to countries in the European Union, as well as the continuing boycott of Russian goods, oil of course but also much more, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This has had a dramatic impact on the cost of crude oil worldwide. It also led to the release of over 200 million barrels from the strategic oil reserves of the United States and the European Union.

Russia’s escalated military action following its invasion of Ukraine continues to create geopolitical uncertainty and could prolong the rise of inflationary pressures which began as countries around the world allocated massive amounts of capital to stave off the recession which was a result of the global pandemic.

There is now concern that future actions of the Federal Reserve in its attempt to lessen the rise of inflation will lead to an end to the economic recovery, resulting in a return to a recession in the United States.

James Knightley, chief international economist at ING, said, “With the Fed seemingly feeling the need to ‘catch up’ to regain control of inflation and inflation expectations, a rapid-fire pace of aggressive interest rate increases heightens the chances of a policy miss-step that could be enough to topple the economy into a recession.”

Bloomberg News recently reported that economists polled have raised their U.S. inflation forecast again and downgraded their expectations for economic growth through most of 2023. This forecast is based upon the potential risks that result from the Federal Reserve’s attempt to reduce the current level of inflation.

Many uncertainties will continue to increase inflationary pressures globally. The confidence that the Federal Reserve can effectively execute a soft landing is waning among many economists. The assumption that the Federal Reserve will not have the ability to pull it off without causing damage leads to one of two things. The return of global economic recession, or the continuation of rising inflation. Either of these outcomes will have an enormous impact on economies worldwide and will continue to be highly supportive of safe-haven assets such as gold, moving them to higher prices.

By Gary Wagner

Contributing to kitco.com

Time to buy Gold and Silver on the dips

 

Tim Moseley

Gold moves higher as investors refocus on inflation and Ukraine

Gold moves higher as investors refocus on inflation and Ukraine

Unquestionably market sentiment oscillates amongst the investment community focusing upon inflationary pressures and Ukraine or on the Federal Reserve’s tightening of their monetary policy. Inflationary pressures and the war in Ukraine create bullish market sentiment for the safe-haven asset class, specifically gold. In contrast, reactions to the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy, which includes a series of rate hikes and runoff of their balance sheet assets, lead to bearish market sentiment in gold.

It seems that from day to day, market participants will move back and forth between these factors. As for today, market participants are once again putting their primary focus on the inflation continuing to move higher and the war in Ukraine. In regards to the war, it seems highly unlikely that a peaceful resolution will be forthcoming any time soon. Rather concerns have emerged over the excessive military action and targeting of civilians in Ukraine. The war in Ukraine has also affected levels of global inflation, taking them higher. Currently, Ukraine and Russia collectively export a large percentage of wheat and other agricultural products to countries in the European Union, and the war has pressured agricultural products such as wheat higher.

As of 4:10 PM EDT, gold futures basis most active June 2022 contract is up to $11.50 or 0.60% and is currently fixed at $1934.80. Gold traded to a high today of $1941.70 and a low of $1923.30. Concurrently the dollar has been extremely strong this weekend, providing moderate headwinds for gold prices. The entire precious metals complex on the futures markets has shown gains on the day.

Silver futures are up almost a full percent (+0.97%) or $0.23 and are currently fixed at $25.695. Palladium futures are trading 2.62% higher on the day at $2242 per ounce. However, it must be noted that there has been exceedingly high volatility and downside selling pressure over the last five weeks. During the week of March 7, palladium traded to a record high just above $3400 an ounce and, compared to current pricing, has given up roughly 30% in value. Russia is one of the primary producers of platinum and palladium and provides roughly 30% of the palladium used in the automotive industry’s production of catalytic converters.

Additional sanctions by the United States and the European Union further isolate Russia. Still, it also increases the probability of dramatic military action as a response or rationale for escalating their military campaign.

Lastly, market participants continue to focus on the minutes from the March FOMC meeting, which were released yesterday, and statements made by Federal Reserve members, which indicate a much more hawkish tone and pace at which they will tighten their monetary policy to decelerate the pace at which inflation is rising.

By Gary Wagner

Contributing to kitco.com

Time to buy Gold and Silver on the dips

 

Tim Moseley