2012-03-13

Gold Price Drops

The gold price dropped $14.79, or 0.9%, to $1,697.98 per ounce Monday as the yellow metal gave back a portion of its recent gains.  The price of gold advanced in each of the past three trading days, but turned lower this morning alongside other precious metals.  Silver prices retreated as well, by $0.49, or 1.4%, to $33.74 per ounce.  Weakness in the price of gold and silver came despite a slight decline in the U.S. dollar against a composite of foreign currencies.

Julia Coronado, chief economist for North America at BNP Paribas, wrote in a note to clients that “The labor market has found its legs in the last few months, and it looks like there’s enough of a broad base that the momentum can be sustained.”

While the better than expected jobs data indicates that the U.S. economy is continuing its modest recovery, Coronado asserted that it is unlikely to alter the Federal Reserve’s stance on monetary policy.  “This leaves the Fed in a bit of limbo as it’s not strong enough to convince them that we’re about to accelerate to much stronger rates of economic growth.”

Looking toward the coming week, the Federal Reserve will have several more pieces of economic data over which to ponder.  On Tuesday morning, Retail Sales for February will be announced.  Thursday’s schedule includes several key reports – including Weekly Jobless Claims, the Producer Price Index (PPI), and the Philadelphia Fed Index.  The week subsequently concludes with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment on Friday.

In addition to the economic data, investors will be keeping a close eye on Chairman Bernanke and the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) ahead of Tuesday’s Fed meeting.  There, the central bank is expected to maintain but not add to the myriad of accommodative monetary policies currently in place.  As a result, the gold price is likely to be influenced more by the tone of the Fed statement and any clues regarding the potential for a third round of quantitative easing (QE3).

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