Gold and silver were lower Monday morning amid reports on U.S. retail sales, New York regional manufacturing, eurozone and China trade balances and eurozone unemployment.
Spot gold was lower, down 0.39% bid at $1,652 as of 11:20 a.m., having t.raded as high as $1,659.70 and as low as $1,643.30 an ounce, according to Kitco market data. The London afternoon reference price was set at $1,653, $13.50 an ounce lower than Friday’s afternoon reference price.
Spot silver was showing a loss of 0.1%, bid at $31.47. The morning high as of time of writing was $31.82 and the low was $31.23. Monday’s reference price was set at $31.32 an ounce in the London a.m., $1.04 an ounce below Friday’s price fix.
U.S. retail sales rose sharply — and more than expected — in March, the Commerce Dept. reported. March U.S. retail sales increased 0.8%, with sales for building materials, autos, home furnishings, electronics, appliances and clothing fueling gains. Sales excluding autos rose 0.8% last month as well.
Manufacturing in New York State “improved modestly” in April, remaining positive at 6.6, the New York Federal Reserve reported. The general-business-conditions component index fell 14 points, though the employment-component index “rose to its highest level in nearly a year.”
China’s trade surplus rose to $5.35 billion in March. Economists were expecting a second straight decline. China posted a $31.5 billion trade deficit for February. A 10.4% increase in exports to the U.S. helped fuel the rise. Imports were weaker than expected, increasing 5.3%.
The People’s Bank of China announced that it widened its Chinese yuan-U.S. dollar trading range yesterday. The yuan will be allowed to fluctuate as much as 1% from the bank’s fixed price.
The eurozone’s balance of trade unexpectedly improved in February, though the unemployment rate rose to a 15-year high. Exports from the 17 eurozone nations surged 11% on increased shipments to China and the U.S., while imports rose 7%, resulting in a February trade surplus of 3.7 billion euros ($4.81 billion). German and French exports recorded strong gains, while exports from weaker members continued to fall.
Eurozone unemployment rose to 10.8%, in line with a Reuters’ survey of economists’ expectations, down 0.1% from January. February’s increase was the tenth consecutive month of rising unemployment in the eurozone. Expectations are that the unemployment rate will go higher before turning down later in 2012. At 24%, Spain’s unemployment hit a record high. Spanish government bond yields broke the 6% barrier.
Gold prices were hovering around $1,650 an ounce in London morning trading, well within its four-week range, BullionVault reported in its London Gold Market report.
Contracts the equivalent of some 7.3 metric tons of gold bullion changed hands on China’s Shanghai Gold Exchange Monday. “Current levels are by no means excessively weak,” according to a note from investment bank UBS, “but the fact that average daily turnover sits at just about half of the 18 tonne all-time high seen last year is in itself confirmation that there is less gold fever in China this year versus last.”
Gold and silver trusts were moving lower in U.S. stock exchange trading.
Gold and silver mining ETFs also were heading south.
The Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSE:GDX) was showing losses approaching 1.1%.
The Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (NYSE:GDXJ) was showing losses of around 0.8%.
The Global X Silver Miners ETF (NYSE:SIL) was down around 0.9%.
Gold mining shares were moving lower across the board.
Agnico-Eagle Mines (NYSE:AEM) was showing losses of more than 1%.
Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX) was down some 0.7%.
Eldorado Gold (NYSE:EGO) was around 13% lower.
Goldcorp (NYSE:GG) was showing losses of around 0.2%.
Kinross Gold Corp. USA (NYSE:KGC) was down more than 0.4%.
Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM) was down nearly 0.4%.
NovaGold Resources (NYSEAMEX:NG) was down nearly 3.6%.
Yamana Gold (USA) (NYSE:AUY) was down nearly 1.2%.
Silver mining shares were being hit by sellers as well.
Coeur d’Alene Mines (NYSE:CDE) was showing losses of around 0.7%.
Hecla Mining (NYSE:HL) was down nearly 1.7%.
Pan American Silver (NASDAQ:PAAS) was showing losses of around 1%.
Silver Wheaton (NYSE:SLW) was sharply lower, down more than 5%.
Silver Standard Resources (NASDAQ:SSRI) was down some 2.1%.
As of this writing, Andrew Burger did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities. Adrian Ash of BullionVault contributed to this report.