Happy Monday, traders. I hope you all enjoyed your unexpected nap time during last night’s Super Bowl.
Unfortunately for those of you after a little but of excitement, this week’s economic calendar won’t have it. After getting the blood flowing again last week, things remain a bit slow this time around as the federal government continues catching up on its data collection and reporting after the prolonged shutdown.
That lack of kinetic energy seems to be weighing on gold prices a bit as we begin the week, with spot markets trading at $1313 this morning after finding solid support at $1310 following an overnight/early-morning sell off.
We do have a group of FOMC members speaking this week, a couple of them particularly interesting, and Brexit commentary from the Bank of England. In terms of data points, this week’s focus in the US will be on Tuesday’s ISM Non-Manufacturing Index for January.
Let’s dive right in.
US Economic News to Watch
Monday, February 4 at 8:30pm EST // Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester speaks
One additional effect of the FOMC apparently peeling any forward guidance out of their post-meeting statements will be some increased scrutiny of the individual members’ public comments, at least between now at the March meeting. While President Mester is currently a non-voting member, I think her commentary may be particularly interesting as the committee’s overt shift to a dovish stance was preceded at the end of 2018 by Mester, long a reliably hawkish influence on the whole, signaling that even she herself would be open to a “Fed pause.” This evening I will be interested to see how she aligns with last Wednesday’s statement.
Tuesday, February 5 at 10am EST // ISM Non-Manufacturing Index (January)
[consensus expectation: 57.0 // previous: 58.0]
The “services” edition of ISM’s Purchasing Managers Index has continued out-performing even as the manufacturing index as been sliding over the last two months, and so has been one of the few leading indicators for economic growth that still has a healthy shine to it. Many market analysts’ own models for tracking service sector PMI have less-optimistic outputs however (including Goldman Sachs’, which they report has fallen to 52.7 for January,) so just as with the manufacturing vintage at the end of 2018 we could be in store for a “catch-down” in the Non-Manufacturing number this week. Should that be the case, expect it to put another dent in the US Dollar and perhaps help gold spot reclaim a position above $1315/oz.
Thursday, February 7 at 8:30am EST // Initial Jobless Claims
[consensus exp.: 220k // prev.: 253k]
Thursday, February 7 at 7:30pm EST // St. Louis Fed President James Bullard speaks
St. Louis Fed President Bullard’s messaging hasn’t seen quite the same acute shift as President Mester, but he still has a track record as a reliable bellwether for the committee as a whole and so his planned remarks and Q&A about the economy and monetary policy will be worth noting.
Global Economic News to Watch
Thursday, February 7 at 2am EST // German Industrial Production (December)
[consensus exp.: +0.8% MoM // prev.: -1.0%]
The Q3 of 2018 auto sector turmoil that dented German production and growth is expected to have rolled out of the data by now, and so December’s Industrial Production is hoped to have expanded in the heart of the European Union’s economy. Should that not be the case, I would expect further weakness in the Euro and possibly gold, as the US Dollar will get a boost from the growth differential between the two major economies that such a report would indicate.
Thursday, February 7 at 7am EST // Bank of England Inflation Report & Rate Decision
[no change to rates expected]
We don’t anticipate any fireworks this time around from Governor Mark Carney and the Bank of England in terms of monetary policy. Of interest this month will be Carney & Co.’s evaluations of the current state of Brexit negotiations. I suspect they will press hard on the projection that a “no-deal” Brexit would mean turmoil for the UK economy.
And that’s the week ahead. I’m afraid until the regular flow of data resumes things may continue to be as dull as yet another Super Bowl parade in Boston, but we’ll be sure to update you on any developing macroeconomic stories that could put some fire into precious metals markets.