Precious metals spot values are conceding some value as of the writing of this post early Friday morning, but for the week, it is clear to see that gains are going to be made. Looking back on the last 5 days of trading, investors have witnessed the global marketplace shift from being bearish on precious metals to bullish on them. The reason for this is due to the large amount of uncertainty exhibited by investors over the last two weeks or so.
This week played host to quite a bit of economic data, and most of it had some sort of impact on the precious metals market. In reality, the whole of investors was truly focused on any and all information coming from the European Union. With big policy changes expected to take place in the EU by this time next week, it really makes sense that investors are so concerned with the region.
SNB Makes Surprise Decision
In a surprise move made yesterday, the Swiss National Bank decided that it was going to unpeg the Franc from the Euro. No one was expecting this move to be made, but with the Euro consistently depreciating, it really shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The SNB initially decided to peg the Franc with the Euro back in 2011 in an attempt to stave of rapid appreciation of the currency.
As a result of yesterday’s move, the Franc appreciated by more than 20% against the Euro, which has definitely seen better days.
In other news from Europe this week, on Wednesday it was reported that the European Court of Justice ruled the European Central Bank’s quantitative easing plans are legal to pursue. Because of this, it is now widely expected that we will hear an announcement regarding the implementation of quantitative easing at next week’s ECB meeting. As you could have probably guessed, this news also did not do the Euro any favors. Fortunately, most currency markets were down this week, so the Euro really didn’t lose all that much ground.
Poor Retail Sales Reported in the United States
The biggest piece of economic data from the United States this week came in the form of December’s retail sales. Because Christmas falls in late December, most people expect that month’s retail sales to be more upbeat than most other months of the year. Unfortunately, December 2014 saw retail sales decline by almost a full percentage point. This data was disappointing because the market was expecting a rise of at least .2%.
This piece of data along with current market conditions have many, many people thinking that the Fed may still be a good while away from raising interest rates. We already know that it is likely interest rates will remain put through this first quarter, but most experts are convinced that we will see near-0 interest rates for the rest of this year, at least.