Record-setting trend

Market report Michael Blumenroth – 04.04.2024

Weekly market report

What a week it has been for gold prices. There was no sign of respite either before or after Easter. Whereas most traders were likely mentally preparing for the Easter break, gold barely took a moment’s pause on its record-setting trend. 

The sharp increase in prices on Maundy Thursday was certainly partially attributable to the aim of some investors to maximise the proportion of gold in their portfolios by the end of the quarter in order to demonstrate that were sufficiently invested in the precious metal. 

Signs from leading indicators

This made the steep climb as of Easter Monday all the more surprising. While the Easter eggs from Sunday’s rainy egg hunt were still being enjoyed in Germany, traders in the US were startled by the ISM Manufacturing Index – a highly regarded leading indicator that provides guidance on manufacturing development over the coming months. The index was significantly higher than expected, climbing from 47.8 points in the previous month to 50.3 – thus passing the 50-point mark, at which it can be assumed that the sector will soon show growth again – for the first time since September 2022. The increase to 51.4 points in the new orders subindex, taking it back to the growth zone, and the sharp rise to 55.8 in the price index – the highest level since July 2022 – were particularly impressive.

Implications for interest rate and yield development

In other words: this data caused many market players to doubt even more that the US Fed would cut interest rates in the near future. A turnaround in interest rates in June was only temporarily priced into the futures markets, and only with a probability of less than 50%. This resulted in an increase in yields on US Treasuries to their highest level since November last year. The US dollar also appreciated considerably, also to its highest since November 2023 – also against the euro. 

Gold rallies even in the current environment

This is not the type of environment in which gold usually feels at home. But rather than throwing in the towel, it continued its unswerving uptrend and achieved new record highs in US dollars and euros.

Gold was still trading at USD 2,198 per ounce on Thursday of last week, but continued to climb throughout the day until it closed trading and the quarter at a new all-time high of USD 2,232 per ounce. It then jumped to USD 2,263 per ounce on Easter Monday before reaching an unprecedented USD 2,288 per ounce yesterday morning. After a brief dip, the rally continued again in the evening, following the confirmation by Fed Chair Jerome Powell that the Fed intends to cut interest rates by the end of the year. After setting another record of USD 2,304.75 per ounce, we will start European trading today (Thursday) at around 7 a.m. at USD 2,299 per ounce, significantly higher than Thursday of last week.

In Asia, gold was listed at EUR 2,126 per ounce this morning – another unprecedented price. The price of Xetra-Gold has followed suit to new record highs. During normal trading hours, it climbed from EUR 65.35 per gram last Thursday morning to EUR 68.00 per gram at the start of trading on Wednesday morning this week. Xetra-Gold is likely to start this morning at around EUR 68.10 per gram due to the somewhat stronger euro against the US dollar, which would mean a major increase on the previous week and a new record high. 

Tomorrow's US labour market data will garner considerable attention from market players, and the next ECB meeting is scheduled for next week. However, gold prices do not seem to be affected by macroeconomic data at present. After trading in a broad sideways range for around three years, this dynamic breakout is very impressive. Although setbacks should always be expected due to profit-taking and other reasons, gold will likely continue to have upside potential in the medium term.

I wish all readers a pleasant – and hopefully dry – weekend.

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