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Gold and silver prices are tradingnear steady in early-afternoon U.S. trading Thursday. Prices are well off theirdaily lows as the U.S. dollar index has backed down from its daily high. Still,the greenback has rallied strongly this week and hit a four-week highovernight. Combined with sharply lower crude oil prices today, these twoimportant outside markets worked to limit buying interest in the preciousmetals markets. April gold futures were last down $0.10 an ounce at $1,314.30.March Comex silver was last down $0.001 at $15.70 an ounce.
The U.S. dollar has appreciated this week followinga strong U.S. jobs report issued last Friday, which contrastswith some downbeat economic data coming from other major economies recently.Just last week the USDX hit a three-week low. The other key outside markettoday sees Nymex crude oil prices solidly down and trading just above $52.00 abarrel. It will be tough for the metals and other raw commodity markets tosustain price uptrends if the oil market starts to significantly erode again.
Chinese markets and some other Asian markets havebeen closed this week for the Lunar New Year holiday, which is making forsubdued trading in many world markets this week.
There was more downbeat economic news coming outof the European Union, the world’s third-largest economy. The EU’s EuropeanCommission cut its growth forecast for the Euro zone to 1.3% in 2019, which iswell down from a 1.9% growth rate forecast in November. The report blamed inpart the U.S.-China trade war for the slower growth rate. The report alsolowered Euro zone inflation expectations, to 1.4% in 2019 and 1.5% in 2020. Andin Germany, industrial output in December was down 0.4% from November when arise of 0.8% was expected.
The Bank of England held its regular monetarypolicy meeting today, but no changes were made and none were expected.