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May 16th Weekly Silver Market Update

Gold and silver are ending the week in poor fashion despite most factors seemingly in the favor of precious metals. In fact, just on Thursday the marketplace was dealt a particularly poor piece of data from the US employment sector. Other than that, the week was admittedly very slow and devoid of many developments.

Canadian Wildfire Sparks Oil Rally

When the week opened up, crude oil was on a rally of sorts thanks to a massive, raging fire that was burning across a large portion of Canada’s Alberta province. The fire was one of the biggest Canada has ever seen and is still burning as of the writing of this post, though its condition has become a bit less severe. Regardless, the first is also situated in such a way that it massively disrupted the flow and production of crude oil. In fact, at its peak, more than 1 million fewer barrels of oil were being produced on a daily basis. Thanks to the belief that the first would continue to worsen, and that oil production would all but cease, the spot value of crude oil did well through Monday and Tuesday.

That rally was quickly stopped come Wednesday, when things normalized a bit.

Weekly Jobless Claims Tick Upward

For the second week in a row, claims for unemployment benefits have ticked dramatically upward. This time, the number of claims received last week was more than 20,000 and brought the seasonally adjusted average up above the 290,000 threshold. As the average number of claims continue to rise, people are growing wary about what the future holds for the US economy. Beyond that, people are becoming concerned that perhaps raising interest rates was not the right idea, and that doing so again is something that will not happen anytime soon.

With that being said, there is an explanation for this week’s rise in claims, and that explanation is the weird laws governing unemployment benefits in the US. The particular law is one that allows non-teacher school employees the ability to file for unemployment benefits during a plan or unplanned break in school activities that lasts at least a week.

Being that the entirety of New York City Public schools were shut a few weeks ago for Spring Break, the claims that were filed then are just now being processed and tallied as part of the weekly claims report and seasonal average.

Being that so many employees were off from anywhere form 1 to 2 weeks, it makes sense why we are seeing such a drastic rise in the number of claims being filed. Most analysts were quick to point this out, and are quite certain that the tone of the weekly jobless claims will change come this time next week. With that being said, it will be interesting to see what happens if the tone of data does not change next Thursday.

As we look ahead to the week to come, the big piece of information investors will be waiting for is the next weekly jobless claims report. There is some serious concern being spread across the global marketplace that perhaps the US economy is not as strong as it appeared only a few months ago. Should next week see another upward tick in the number of new jobless claims, there is little doubt that the overall perception of the US economy will be flipped on its head.

Other than that, there really aren’t many ongoing geopolitical issues that investors are concerning themselves with. Instead, we are seeing concern strictly relating to the progress of global economic growth in places like China, Japan, the United States and Europe. As such, economic data from these regions will continue to be eyed very closely for the foreseeable future.

May 9th Weekly Silver Market Update

Gold and silver finished the week having posted impressive gains thanks to a slew of US economic data that, for the most part, really missed the mark. There were quite a few different pieces of data dealt throughout the 5-day trading session, but the theme for investors was employment data. Being the first full week of May trading, the investing world was hinging on all sorts of different employment figures from the United States.

As for happenings in other parts of the world, there really weren’t many. Instead, the focus remained solely on the United States as investors wanted to use this week’s data in order to gauge when the Federal Reserve might move to give interest rates another boost. To make a long story short, the tone of this week’s data has many people under the impression that interest rates are going to stay put for the foreseeable future barring any fresh, fundamental change in the tone of economic data.

Employment Data Mostly Misses the Mark

As is the case almost any time a new weeks gets underway, the investing world was very much concerned with what the large batch of employment data would have to say about job and wage growth throughout April. As is typically the case, the week’s employment data began on Wednesday with the ADP private-sector jobs growth report. Even though most people were expecting to see at least 195,000 new private-sector jobs added to the economy last month, ADP reported that barely over 150,000 jobs were actually created. Without much thinking you can see that this report missed the mark, but the ADP report is not historically the most important piece of jobs data dealt and, as such, it was mostly overlooked by the investing world.

Then, a day later, the market was left to contend with the weekly jobless claims report from the United States. Even despite some choppy economic data recently, the weekly jobless claims report is one that has consistently been positive. This week that did not prove to be the case as it was reported that first time claims for unemployment benefits rose by about 17,000. This brought the seasonally-adjusted average number of claims back above the 270,000 threshold and did well to kill any optimism people held with regard to the US employment situation.

Finally, and as if things could not possibly get any worse, Friday brought about the most important piece of US economic data—April’s non-farm payrolls report. Even with the previous two days’ worth of data, there was still many people who expected that this report would be positive in nature. Unfortunately, the tone of the week had been set and there was nothing that was eveer going to change that. According to the Department of Labor, the United States only added about 160,000 new jobs to the economy last month. Compared to expectations of a rise in jobs of more than 200,000, this data point very clearly missed the mark.

As we move forward through the month of May, the weekly jobless claims report is going to be eyed with more and more scrutiny each week. It seems as though we are reaching a crossroads of sorts, where if the tone of US economic data does not improve quickly, interest rate hikes may be out of the cards for quite some time. Though it may not seem like it now, May will prove to be a pivotal month for the future of interest rates.

May 2nd Weekly Silver Market Update

Precious metals finished the week in impressive fashion thanks to safe-haven demand being on the up and up. There were a number of different things that occurred this week that helped gold and silver make gains, but most notably it was weaker US economic data as well as a Dollar that moved noticeably downward. Looking ahead to next week, we are gearing up for a slew of economic data to be presented by both the United States and other countries around the world. Of this economic data few pieces are more important than the jobs growth report from the US in April.

FOMC Makes No Policy Changes

Every time the FOMC meets for their monthly policy meeting people pay attention. This week was no different even though most people were not anticipating that the Fed would make any changes to monetary policy—namely raising interest rates. In fact, the Fed did not even offer much insight as to when rates might be raised. All in all, the FOMC meeting was more of a miss than anything else and did not end up having that big of an impact on the global marketplace.

The Bank of Japan and their meeting was similarly scrutinized, but this is mostly because people anticipated that the BoJ would announce an expansion of monetary policy. The Japanese economy, like that of the EU, has been performing poorly over the past year or so. As a result, Japan’s central bank decided that quantitative easing policies were necessary. This monetary policy is aimed at devaluing the Yen in order to spur economic growth and thus far we have seen this work with limited success. Being that the Japanese economy is still struggling noticeably, most expected that QE measures would be expanded.

Unfortunately, this did not prove to be the case and the BoJ decided that expansion was not necessary at the current moment in time. Because of the Bank of Japan’s inaction, the Yen posted solid gains against the Dollar. In fact, the Dollar lost more than 4% of its value against the Yen this week, resulting in the worst weekly performance in more than 7 years.

US Q1 GDP Disappoints

Arguably the biggest report of the week came on Thursday in the form of the GDP data from the US through the first three months of the year. Officially, annualized growth came in at less than .5% and this missed the mark by a long shot. To put things in perspective, 2015 Q4 GDP grew by more than 1.4% and had many people anticipating that the first quarter of this year would be equally as impressive.

Now that we know the US economy is beginning to struggle much like the rest of the world, there are doubts that inflation will hit target levels and that the US economy will grow as much as originally expected. This is a fear that will either be slightly quelled or accelerated by the tone of next week’s jobs growth report. If jobs growth does not meet or exceed expectations we are likely to see stocks as well as the US Dollar move lower. This is something that is likely to play in precious metals’ favor.

For now, metals are displaying nice momentum and it is looking like gold very well might eclipse the $1,300/ounce mark.
So long as external factors are continuing to weigh on the minds of investors, gold and silver very well might continue to make gains and add value. Right now we are looking at gold and silver beginning next week and the month of May having gained some nice value that is currently being sustained.

April 25th Weekly Silver Market Update

Precious metals posted small losses on both Thursday and Friday, but gold and silver did so well during the early parts of the week that they are still going to post 5-day gains for the first time in nearly a month. As eventful as this week was, it really lacked as far as economic data was concerned. Instead, there was a whole bunch of commentary delivered by high-ranking officials the world over.

Though we are going to conclude the week with nothing more than marginal gains for gold and silver, the fact of the matter is that any upward movement was going to be welcomed with open arms. The last month or so has seen spot values beaten downward so investors were willing to take any bit of reprieve they could get their hands on.

ECB Meeting Sees Rates Kept Steady

Though there was not so much on the slate as far as economic data was concerned this week, but investors were very interested in the European Central Bank meeting that took place on Thursday. Like the United States’ FOMC meeting, the monthly policy meeting for Europe’s central bank always catches global attention.

This time, as expected, no changes were made to the EU’s current monetary policies. For those who are unaware, Europe has been pursuing quantitative easing measures since shortly before the turn of 2016. These measures, which see the ECB purchase millions and billions’ worth of bonds and other assets every month, are aimed at both devaluing the Euro as well as spurring spending and lending. At its core, QE is supposed to give economic activity a bit of a jolt. This worked for the United States and helped the country emerge from the 2008 recession, but some have their doubts with regard to how effective it will be in Europe. So far, we have seen very little, if any, economic recovery tied directly to the QE measures.

Though the ECB’s inaction was mostly expected, Mario Draghi made some comments in the meeting’s wake that worked to drive the Euro lower. In short, Draghi commented that even though interest rates are quite low at the present moment, he and his colleagues made it very clear that pushing rates even lower is not out of the question. He went on to say that interest rates and QE, though very much related, are not directly correlated. This means that if interest rates are lowered, QE is not necessarily going to be expanded, and vice versa. With all this being said, however, Draghi did say that he does still plan on expanding QE in the very near future.

All in all, the ECB meeting and the comments made in its wake worked to push the Euro lower. This also helped the US Dollar make gains to finish out the week, and this is something that has prevented gold and silver from moving upward to finish out the week. Even though Thursday and Friday saw metals lose value, the fact of the matter is that midweek gains were enough to result in a 5-day trading session where gains were made. More important is the fact that this was the first 5-day session in about a month where gains were realized.

Silver was especially impressive this week and ended things above the $17/ounce mark. This is psychologically uplifting for investors and will bode well for the early parts of next week. Now it will be interesting to see what happens next week, when a boatload of economic data is expected to be dealt. In addition to that, it will be intriguing to see what the FOMC has to say at their April meeting. No policy changes are anticipated at the present moment in time, but the Fed loves to surprise the marketplace, so nothing is a guarantee.

April 18th Weekly Silver Market Update

Precious metals began the week posting some decent gains, but by Wednesday that had all changed as losses began to mount thanks to stronger stocks and a stronger Dollar. Though Friday will see both gold and silver finish the week on a positive note, there is not much in the way of gains that can be taken away from this past 5-day trading session.

There were some comments from members of the Federal Reserve with regard to what they think should be done to interest rates, and to the surprise of many, many of them were in favor of raising rates sooner rather than later. The one thing that all of these Federal Reserve presidents had in common, however, was the fact that they have no voting rights on the FOMC—meaning they have no influence as to when rates will be raised nor how drastically they will be raised by. So while it is nice to hear members of the Fed confident that the US economy is in such a position that rates can be raised, it must be kept in mind that the opinions offered from these Fed members are nothing more than their own thoughts and beliefs and don’t necessarily reflect what the future holds for interest rates.

Slate of US Economic Data Dealt This Week

The US economy was dealt a mixed bag of economic news this week as it was reported that consumer prices during the month of March rose just barely, and by margins that were smaller than expected. As far as inflation reaching the 2% goal set forth by the Fed, figures such as March’s consumer prices do not exactly lead one to believe that the 2% goal is a realistic one. With that being said, it is important to remember that we are still only ¼ of the way through the year.

On the other side of the coin was the weekly jobless claims report, which indicated that 13,000 fewer first-time unemployment claims were filed last week than the week preceding it. This means that the seasonally adjusted average number of jobless claims has moved down to a reading of 253,000, despite expectations that we would once again meet or eclipse the 270,000 mark this week.

All in all, the US employment sector is performing well and has been for some time. Now, we are inching in on 60 consecutive weeks where jobless claims, on a seasonally-adjusted basis, have remained below the 300,000 mark.

IMF Downgrades Global Growth Forecast

In a statement made earlier in the week, the International Monetary Fund downgraded their projections for annual global growth. Despite December projections of annual growth just barely short of 3.5%, we are now looking at projections that show the global economy growing just barely more than 3%. This statements comes in the wake of first-quarter economic data that largely missed the mark and showed that most parts of the world had a rough first three months of the year.

Contributing factors to the IMF’s expectations that conditions will not improve at a fast rate are an energy sector that has been beaten to pulp in recent months. Not only has crude oil experience free-fall after free-fall, we just heard this week that one of the United States’ biggest suppliers of coal energy has declared bankruptcy and is doing away with thousands of jobs. As the world attempts to make the transition from fossil fuels to more sustainable sources of energy, the energy sector will continue to take a beating.

It will be interesting to see, over the coming weeks, just how the marketplace responds to monthly meetings held by the FOMC and the ECB. Though most have already discounted the possibility of a rate hike in April, there is still a strong contingent that believes at least one rate hike will happen by or before June. Some of this school of thought’s biggest believers are presidents of US Federal Reserve banks.

April 11th Weekly Silver Market Update

Precious metals started out the week slowly but finished on a high note by gaining on both of the final two days of the trading week. All in all, however, both gold and silver seem to be stuck in a bit of a rut where they are unable to break out and make any sort of sustainable, lasting gains. This week did not offer a heavy dose of economic data, but there is a feeling that that much will change come next week.

Members of the Fed, as they usually do, voiced their opinion as it related to the eventual hiking of interest rates in the US, but the tone and content of their comments has not changed much at all.

Dudley Expresses the Need for Caution

New York Federal Reserve president William Dudley spoke on Friday and sounded a lot like Janet Yellen thanks to his remarks. In his comments, Dudley expressed the need for caution when it comes to hiking interest rates. Though he, like many others, agree that rates will be raised in the future, he does not feel any need to rush that course along.

Citing outside factors such as poor global economic growth and inflation levels that are not guaranteed to hit target levels, Dudley does not seem too keen on hiking rates this month nor next. This does well to reinforce the widespread belief that the only realistic time when rates might be raised is in June. Even then, the June date is nothing more than speculation and has very little basis in reality.

Jobless Claims Fall Back Below 270,000

After last week saw first-time claims for unemployment benefits rise by more than 10,000, this week saw that same figure fall by a similar margin. When all was said and done, first-time claims for unemployment benefits fell last week by more than 9,000, bringing the seasonally-adjusted average number of claims back below the 270,000 threshold.

This does well to prove to the world that even though the US and other economies may be struggling to some extent, the labor force is still strong. Perhaps bigger than any other takeaway from this data is the fact that weekly jobless claims have remained below the 300,000 mark for almost 60 consecutive weeks. This proves that the US economy is still hanging in there despite plenty of outside pressures.

Fed’s Minutes Force Dollar Downward

The US Dollar finished the week on a sour note thanks to the minutes from the Fed’s most recent meeting. Though the content of the minutes was about what most people had expected, it hurt the Dollar because it more or less solidified the belief that interest rates will be kept put for the next few months.

Just as Dudley did on Friday, the minutes showed that the Fed is going to proceed with caution when it comes to interest rate hikes. Sure, there is plenty of reason rates could be raised this month, but the fact of the matter is that there is no need to rush it. And that last sentence aptly sums up what the Fed’s minutes had to say. It will be interesting to see, especially next week, if any new, fresh pieces of economic data will change up the way people feel about when rates might be hiked next, though that seems highly unlikely. For now, we will be content to watch precious metals and see what kind of direction they open up next week heading in. Having posted gains on both of the last two days of the week, I am not so sure that the beginning of next week will be so kind to spot values.

April 4th Weekly Silver Market Update

Gold and silver, after making some solid strides forward on Thursday, were beaten back down on Friday thanks to US jobs data that beat expectations. On the whole, this week was not very full of economic data, but what it lacked in data it made up for in discussions and speculation regarding when interest rates might finally be boosted. Because most people were still celebrating the Easter holiday on Monday, this week also got off to a slow start.

For right now, precious metals are in a state of limbo, without much impetus to move forward, but with enough buying interest that spot values are not likely to move all that far downward either. As we move into April and people look forward to what the Fed might have to say about interest rates, I am intrigued as to what might take place.

Fed Comments on Interest Rate Hikes

In a testimony to members of the US government this week, Fed Chair Janet Yellen did her part in praising the resilience of the US economy, but at the same time made it clear that she was in no rush to see interest rates raised. As has always been the case with her, she needs to see clear-cut evidence that factors enable such an increase. Her remarks were taken as more dovish than anything else and worked do drive the US Dollar downward.

Barely a day later, also in a speech, Charles Evans, who heads the Federal Reserve in Chicago, claimed that now is the perfect time for rates to be raised. Not only does he expect that economic growth through the last three quarters of this year will be robust, he expects inflation to hit or exceed the Fed’s 2% target. Though this caused a stir in the marketplace, it must be mentioned that Mr. Evans is not a voting member of the FOMC and has no direct say in what happens to rates going forward. Still, his remarks had a lot of people getting quite excited.

Jobs Data Galore

As is typical with the end of the month, there was plenty of US jobs data for investors to mull over this week. First up was the ADP private-sector job growth report that was due out on Wednesday. This report showed that the private-sector of the US economy grew by 200,000 jobs last year, a number that just fell short of expectations. While this report initially had people worried, it is important to remember that the ADP report almost never directly influences the report dealt by the US Labor Department.

Then, on Thursday, the marketplace was dealt the weekly jobless claims report, and it showed that more than 10,000 new people applied for unemployment benefits last week. This not only brought the seasonally-adjusted average number of claims back up above the 270,000 mark, it put a damper on how so many people feel about the strength of the US employment sector.

Finally, on Friday, it was announced by the Department of Labor that about 215,000 new non-farm payrolls were added to the economy last month. This not only boosted hopes that interest rates would be risen sooner rather than later, it also beat expectations by a far amount. Now we will have to wait and see what the Fed has to say at their upcoming meeting. Right now, it does not look like interest rates are going to be raised anytime soon, but the Fed acts in mysterious ways so I truly would not be surprised to see the trigger pulled sometime in April or May.

This much, however, remains up in the air and a point of contention for investors everywhere.

March 28th Weekly Silver Market Update

Precious metals did not do much moving to close out the week, mostly thanks to the fact that investors are already beginning to celebrate the Easter holiday. All in all, this was quite an eventful week for a handful of reasons, unfortunately none of those events or pieces of data very much played in the favor of gold and silver. The big headline of the week was a terror attack that was carried out in a few different locations throughout the city of Brussels, Belgium. These events rocked the world and sent Belgium grinding to a halt, but in the end the global marketplace seemed to barely skip a beat in the wake of the tragedy.

Seeing as Easter falls on Sunday, I anticipate that the early parts of next week will yield very little activity. For gold and silver, this may mean that the downturn we have witnessed over the past two weeks may be extended to some extent. With that being said, however, spot values have fallen so far that bargain-hunting might make an appearance to kick off the last week of March trading.

James Bullard Calls for April Rate Hikes

James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Federal Reserve, is almost always one of the more outspoken members of the FOMC. This week he lived up to that billing as he called for the Fed to raise interest rates again in April. While most of the market has become convinced that rate hikes are not likely to happen for another few months, Bullard feels as though it is safe to make that move right now.

The reasoning for his eagerness to hike rates is two-fold. For one, he believes that the overall unemployment rate will fall to 4.5%, if not even lower, by the end of the year. Perhaps even bolder of an expectation is his for inflation, as he sees the overall rate of inflation hitting the Fed’s pre-set 2% target. It is extremely difficult to confirm either of these two things barely a third of the way through the year, but Bullard spoke with confidence and really got investors thinking. Now, this gives April’s FOMC meeting just a bit more allure than it might have had a week ago.

Brussels Attacks Linked to ISIS

Just as US markets were opening on Tuesday, headlines began streaming across televisions, talking about a series of explosions that had rocked Brussels, Belgium. Not only were bombs set off in the city’s airport, but also in the subway as well. These attacks, as they usually are, came unexpectedly and forced Belgium into a state of terror.

For gold and silver, these attacks really failed to prompt the type of safe-haven demand you usually see in the wake of events such as these. All in all, the global marketplace did a good job of not succumbing to the fear these terrorists so viciously wished to create.

Oil Rally Stopped

Beginning last week and carrying into this week, the price of crude oil was making somewhat steady strides forward. In the lead-up to a major OPEC meeting where production cuts were the main topic of discussion, some investors were confident that OPEC would do something about the growing supply-glut that has been forcing the price of oil steadily downward for much of the past year.

Unfortunately, last week’s OPEC meeting was not as fruitful as expected, and the rally for oil was brought to an end. Things got even worse for the commodity when, on Thursday, it was announced that the US stockpile of crude oil was more than 3 times what it was estimated to be. Though the future of crude oil’s price remains uncertain, it is difficult to envision the spot value doing anything other than lose value.

March 21st Weekly Silver Market Update

Precious metals had a fantastic week this 5-day trading session, mostly thanks to a slew of outside factors that helped spur safe-haven demand. All in all this was quite the busy week, but no event was highlighted more than the monthly meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee of the United States. With so many people interested in what the turbulent global economy means for the future of interest rates, the post-meeting statement delivered by Janet Yellen was watched over by investors of all types.

In addition to this, there were a few pieces of key economic data that did well to shake up the marketplace a bit. Gold and silver are going to be heading into the weekend ahold of some solid momentum, but it will be interesting to see if they are able to retain it come the opening of markets on Monday.

OPEC Meeting Looked at Skeptically

Exactly 7 days ago, the marketplace caught wind of a rumor that said that OPEC was going to soon be holding a meeting where member-nations would vote on the merits of a production freeze. This move would be aimed at lessening the global supply glut that is currently responsible for cheap prices at the pump and generally cheap energy prices. Though there was optimism surrounding the idea of this meeting a week ago, people have begun to rethink that a bit.
For one, there is a strong feeling that not every OPEC nation is going to be exactly keen on halting the production of one of their biggest revenue streams. In addition to that, there is an even stronger belief that, if OPEC nations stop producing for any amount of time, Iran will step in and fill that void. After all, Iran has not been able to produce oil on the scale they are now for quite some time. This caused the price of crude oil to dip this week, and it is now hovering around $40/barrel.

FOMC Makes No Changes to Monetary Policy

Perhaps the biggest event of the week came over the course of Tuesday and Wednesday when the Federal Open Market Committee of the United States held their monthly policy meeting. No one was expecting the Fed to make any changes to monetary policy, but instead were paying attention to what Janet Yellen had to say in her post-meeting conference.

All in all, it is clear that the Fed thinks the US economy is going to continue growing at a moderate pace going forward. This is even despite the fact global economic conditions are deteriorating more and more with each passing week. If job growth continues as it has been recently, the US economy may finally be able to withstand another interest rate hike.

Jobless Claims Climb, But Overall Picture Remains Positive

Last week saw first-time claims for unemployment benefits rise slightly, but this news was not perceived as being overly negative seeing as the rise was not as steep as was anticipated. As it stands, the seasonally-adjusted average of jobless claims remains at 265,000.

The real employment news today is the fact that this week marks the 54 consecutive week where the seasonally-adjusted average of weekly jobless claims fell below the 300,000 mark. This is the longest such streak since the 1970s and give investors a good bit of confidence that perhaps the employment sector of the United States is doing as well as some of the recent data is suggesting.
As we head into the weekend and into the latter half of March, it will be interesting to see if the safe-haven demand and other factors driving spot values forward will persist. The near-term looks good for precious metals, though anything can happen.

February 19th Weekly Silver Market Update

Gold and silver finished the week making some small strides forward, but the week as a whole did not lend itself to metals’ gains. All in all, the past 5-day trading session (4 day in the United States) was quieter than usual and did not offer up much in the way of markets-moving economic data. Some employment and pricing data was offered, but other than that we saw investors focusing on many of the same factors that have been making a splash across the global economy for the past few months.

A somewhat interesting development that is now almost a week old is the fact that Russia, Saudi Arabia, and a few other oil-producing countries have come to an agreement aimed at drastically reducing the daily output of refined oil. With crude oil prices hitting multi-year lows for the better part of the past 6 months, something needed to be done. Whether this will effectively raise oil prices remains to be seen, but if nothing else it is a start.

Weekly Jobless Claims Fall Again, Consumer Prices Rise in January

Perhaps more important than any other piece of economic data dealt this week was Thursday’s release of the most recent reading on first-time claims for unemployment benefits. Towards the end of January and the beginning of February the US employment sector was showing some very clear signs of weakness. These past two weeks, however, have worked to derail the belief that US employment is once again becoming a bleak facet of the US economy.

After falling by more than 10,000 2 weeks ago, it was reported on Thursday that last week’s reading for first-time claims fell by another 7,000, bringing the seasonally-adjusted average number of claims to 262,000. Towards the end of last week, the number for the seasonally-adjusted average of claims was just under 270,000 and experts expected that to climb. Unexpectedly, this week brought about some good news and it is clear that employment in the US is better now than it has been in more than 5 years. Many are hoping that this will continue, especially as other global economies continue to struggle.

Another report that was dealt towards the end of this week was one that claimed consumer prices rose modestly during the month of January. Though the pricing uptick was nothing major, most experts were anticipating that it would fall. Perhaps even more important is the fact that prices rose across the board as opposed to just one or two sectors rising. Technology, durable goods, and clothing all saw price increases last month, which goes to show that the average American consumer has more money in his or her pocket and is not afraid to spend that money. As we head further into this year, it will be interesting to see if retailers and producers continue to raise prices, or if they will opt for proceeding cautiously due to the unpredictable nature of the global economy.
As we look ahead to next week, a question to ponder is how far gold and silver can run forward. Despite not really gaining this week, it was nice to see precious metals more than hold their own. Now at the helm of some momentum, there is a strong belief that gold and silver can move forward and build upon gains made the last few weeks. If nothing else, metals will continue to benefit from the global economy being as shaky and uncertain as it has been the last few months. There is no end in sight for economic turmoil across the globe, and that seems to lend itself to precious metals making gains.