US data dampens gold price, but ETP holdings rise, says Sharps Pixley

US employment data, as well as currency and inflation moves reported from Asia, have had a dampening effect on the dollar price of gold, but ETP holdings have edged up again, says precious metals broker Sharps Pixley.

Recent economic data from the US have dampened the rebound in gold prices. The US reported that jobless claims fell 4,000 to 323,000 in the week ending 4 May, with the average claims over the past month back to the pre-recession level in 2007. The US consumer sentiment is at a five-year high while payrolls improved again in April. The Chicago Fed however wanted to see a monthly job growth of at least 200,000 continuously for six months before calling a sustainable labour market recovery.

The April Chinese inflation climbed to 2.4% due to rising food prices. Inflation is expected to increase further as the government plans to relax the constraints on utilities and resources. Many economists do not see further monetary stimulus from China given the country wants to restrain credit growth and improve the quality of economic growth.

As the BOJ is purchasing more bonds to reach its two percent inflation target and the dollar continues to strengthen, the dollar/yen crossed the important level of 100 on Thursday, representing the 50% retracement between the 2011 high of 75.35 and the 2007 trough of 124.14. The yen is expected to weaken further.

The first gold ETP rise in five weeks

During the week ending 9 May, the gold-backed ETP holdings rebounded 0.1% to 2,241.708 metric tons, the first rise since the beginning of April. In India, gold imports will likely top 100 tonnes in May after rising the same amount in April. The weaker gold prices, the concern that the central bank may restrict banks’ gold imports as well as the festival of Akshaya Tritiya next week all help to boost the gold demand.

The Bank of America tallied that the global central banks have cut rates 511 times since June 2007, and still have an easing bias as recovery is weak and inflation is low. Low real rates should help to support gold prices while inflation will tick up at some point given all the liquidity.

Data to watch next week

The market will focus on Ben Bernanke’s speech this Friday. Next week, we will watch China’s April industrial production data and the US April retail sales on 13 May, the EU-17’s preliminary Q1 GDP on 14 May, the US April industrial production and Japan’s preliminary Q1 GDP on 15 May as well as the ECB president’s speech on 16 May.


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