Base Metals

Copper Investing

Market watchers are growing concerned that the Fed will raise interest rates sooner rather than later. Silver, copper and oil prices also took hits this week.

Gold was boosted briefly on Tuesday when attacks in Brussels spurred safe-haven demand for the metal, but is now on track to record its largest weekly loss in over four months. 
According to Reuters, the yellow metal sank to $1,212.20 per ounce early Thursday, its lowest since February 26. Market watchers have attributed gold’s fall to anxiety about the US Federal Reserve — while the central bank left interest rates unchanged last week, since then fears that the Fed’s next rate hike will come sooner rather than later have ramped up.
Explaining the situation, James Steel, a strategist at HSBC, told The Wall Street Journal, “the shift in investor focus … back to monetary policy and recent hawkish Fed official comments gives the market rationale to correct still lower.”


As of 12:48 p.m. EST on Thursday, gold was trading at $1,221.
For its part, the silver price fared much the same as gold did this week. While it started the week off strong, also getting a boost from Brussels turmoil on Tuesday, it’s since dropped and was sitting at $15.20 per ounce as of 12:00 p.m. EST on Thursday.
While that’s not the best news, silver bugs did see some excitement this week when CME Group (NASDAQ:CME) and Thomson Reuters (TSX:TRI,NYSE:TRI) announced plans to implement measures that will “further enhance and develop the LBMA Silver Price Benchmark.” The new measures include introducing a blind auction and sharing the imbalance in the auction.
On the base metals side, benchmark LME copper was down 0.4 percent, at $4,930 per tonne, in Thursday morning trade. Reuters states that the metal’s fall came “as a stronger dollar triggered profit-taking ahead of the Easter holiday weekend.” That said, its losses were limited by optimism about Chinese demand.
“Base metals are reacting to the dollar, looks like profit-taking before the Easter holiday. Our survey of Chinese demand shows things are not roaring, but they are picking up,” Macquarie Group’s (ASX:MQG) Vivienne Lloyd told the news outlet.

Finally, oil prices recovered Thursday after taking a nosedive Wednesday, another Wall Street Journal article states. Wednesday’s fall was triggered by US Department of Energy data showing that US crude supply increased by 9.4 million barrels last week — much higher than analyst estimates. The oil space took another hit earlier in the week after doubt was cast on prospects for a production freeze from OPEC.
By Thursday, the benchmark US oil contract was down 1.4 percent on the NYMEX, at $39.20 per barrel, while the global Brent benchmark was down 0.7 percent, at $40.19, on the ICE Futures Exchange Europe.
 
Securities Disclosure: I, Charlotte McLeod, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article. 
Related reading: 
Weekly Round-Up: Silver Outperforming Gold
Weekly Round-Up: 13-month High for Gold Price
Weekly Round-Up: Gold Enters Bull Market Territory
Weekly Round-Up: Buy Gold Now, Says Deutsche Bank
Weekly Round-Up: Gold Price Still Has Momentum

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