(Kitco News) — Gold and silver prices are modestly higher in early U.S. futures trading Thursday. Risk aversion is back in the marketplace late this week, as the coronavirus outbreak has escalated in China. February gold futures were last up $4.30 an ounce at 1,575.80. March Comex silver prices were last up $0.093 at $17.59 an ounce.
Asian and European shares were mostly down overnight. U.S. stock indexes are also pointed toward lower openings when the New York day session begins.
New cases of coronavirus increased markedly Thursday in China’s Hubei province. There were over 14,800 new cases were reported Thursday in contrast to around 2,000 new cases reported Wednesday. Reports said there were around 240 new deaths in the region. Chinese health officials also widened their definition used to confirm cases. More than 1,300 people have died from the epidemic and the total number of afflicted in the Hubei province stands at over 48,200. The World Health Organization warned the recent reports about the slowdown in the spread of the virus should be treated with “extreme caution.” “This outbreak could still go in any direction,” the WHO said, regarding the status of the outbreak.
China’s businesses are being seriously impacted. There are reports of impending steel shortages and other supply chain disruptions. Auto sales in China are reported down around 20%. Global crude oil demand in the first quarter of this year is forecast to hit the slowest rate of growth in 10 years amid the coronavirus outbreak, according to the International Energy Agency. The IEA said “there is already a major slowdown in oil consumption and the wider economy in China.”
The ebb and flow of this matter as it relates to the marketplace continues—shifting between the front burner and the back burner of the marketplace on any given trading day.
The key outside markets today see crude oil prices weaker and trading around $50.75 a barrel. Meantime, the U.S. dollar index is slightly down in early U.S. trading and not far below this week’s multi-month high.
U.S. economic data due for release Thursday includes the weekly jobless claims report, the consumer price index, and real earnings.
Technically, the gold bulls have the overall near-term technical advantage and have stabilized the market. Bulls are working on restarting a nearly three-month-old price uptrend on the daily chart, but need to show more power. Bulls’ next upside price objective is to produce a close in April futures above solid resistance at $1,600.00. Bears’ next near-term downside price objective is pushing futures prices below solid technical support at $1,550.00. First resistance is seen at the overnight high of $1,581.10 and then at $1,590.00. First support is seen at the overnight low of $1,568.50 and then at this week’s low of $1,564.40. Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 6.5
March silver futures bears have the overall near-term technical advantage. A five-week-old downtrend is in place on the daily bar chart. Silver bulls’ next upside price breakout objective is closing prices above solid technical resistance at $18.00 an ounce. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid support at $17.00. First resistance is seen at this week’s high of $17.825 and then at $18.00. Next support is seen at this week’s low of $17.435 and then at the January low of $17.28. Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 4.0.