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Gold Price Preview: April 1 - 5

Gold prices have started the week with some upward momentum after challenging—and then solidifying—support at the $1290 in the overnight session.

After laying the groundwork during the first hours of New York’s trading session, the yellow metal was given a boost from lower than expected numbers in the February US Retail report; the month-over-month number showed an unanticipated drop.

The relevant US economic calendar is a little livelier this week than last. The star of the show is Friday’s Jobs Report, but both Manufacturing and Service Sector PMIs deserve some attention too. I’ve also included a list of the FOMC speakers that are scheduled to make public comments, as we remain for another week in the after-glow of the March Fed meeting.

Europe’s economic calendar, in terms of what is relevant to gold traders, is pretty much done for the week after Euro Area inflation was reported early this morning to disappointing results. This week-long impact of this will be a somewhat stronger dollar and resistance to any of the weaker attempts by gold prices to breakout. There is another round of “indicative votes” in UK parliament today, the result of which could give us some degree of clarification on the new Brexit deadline (which currently is April 12.)

US Economic Data to Watch

Monday, April 1 at 10am EDT // ISM Manufacturing PMI (Mar)

[consensus expectation: 54.4 // previous: 54.2]

Last month’s dreg of a number seemed to prove that the rebound in January data was a false dawn, and without a great deal of more-positive data surrounding the US manufacturing sector analysts are this time assuming that PMI will stay near the lows of February and December. A surprise to the upside would likely boost US Dollar pricing and weigh on gold; a print closer to the midline of 50.0 would do the opposite.

Tuesday, April 2 at 8:30am EDT // Durable Goods Orders (Feb)

[consensus exp.: -1.2% MoM // prev.: +0.4%]

The trajectory of manufacturing sectors worldwide has been trending towards weakness lately, leading observers to project a drop in month-over-month orders of Durable goods; there is also a possibility that Chinese New Year, which falls within the reported month, will have added more drag to the data. A report as-expected (or lower) would suggest Dollar-down/gold-up market action, although there is always some noise to sort through as analysts break apart the headline number to look at data ex-defense of transport spending.

Wednesday, April 3 at 8:15am EDT // ADP Employment Report (Mar)

[consensus exp.: +170k // prev.: +183k]

The ADP number moderated closer to (but this time, just below) the 200-225k level last month, following a pair of wild beats to the upside in prior months which correlated with extremely above expectations NFP data for the corresponding months. This time around, analysts expect a further drop vs. the prior month, albeit at a much smaller pace. With the outlandish nature of the last three NFP reports, most attention paid to Wednesday’s ADP data will come in an effort to anticipate Friday’s Jobs report from a US Dollar/US Economy perspective.

Wednesday, April 3 at 10am EDT // ISM Non-Manufacturing PMI (Mar)

[consensus exp.: 58.0 // prev.: 59.7]

Non-manufacturing (or, “service sector”) PMI has been less volatile and (somewhat) less pessimistic than its manufacturers-focused cousin in recent quarters. As such, even with a slight decline expected in March as a result of weakness in regional survey data should have a minimal effect on metals and US Dollar markets. A strong print to the upside or downside of expectations though would have a similar impact as detailed earlier with regards to the Manufacturing PMI.

Thursday, April 4 at 8:30am EDT // Initial Jobless Claims

[consensus exp.: 216k // prev.: 211k]

From Goldman Sachs’ US research team:

“The claims reports of recent weeks suggest that the pace of layoffs remains low, though it probably remains somewhat higher than in early fall.”

Friday, April 5 at 8:30am EDT // Non-Farm Payrolls + Unemployment (Mar)

[NFP consensus exp.: +175k // prev.: +20k]

[Unemployment consensus exp.: 3.8% // prev.: 3.8%]

I’m not trying to be overly technical in my descriptions here, but the last three NFP numbers have been what I, as a smart economics person, call “utter nonsense.” Last month, we expected to finally see a more reasonable data set from the +300k highs of December and January but no serious analysts were calling for 20k, which in this context is effectively zero. So, it’s with caution that market analysts are predicting a very vanilla 175k print for March. As always: higher NFP means a richer US Dollar and pressure on gold prices; a lower-then-expected NFP would likely be a tailwind for gold markets.

Much more reasonable—in part, observers think, because it cannot structurally go lower than is it—the headline unemployment rate is expected to remain unchanged at 3.8% for March.

FedSpeak This Week

  • Wednesday, April 3 at 8:30am EDT // Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic (non-voter)
  • Wednesday, April 3 at 5pm EDT // Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari (non-voter)
  • Thursday, April 4 at 1pm EDT // Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester (non-voter)
  • Thursday, April 4 at 1pm EDT // Philadelphia Fed President Patrick Harker (non-voter)

So that’s how the week lays out ahead for us in the gold markets. I wish you the best of luck out there, traders. See you back here on Friday for a look back at the week.