Gold and silver were sharply lower Thursday morning on reports of a larger-than-expected drop in weekly U.S. jobless claims and the European Central Bank’s decision to hold eurozone interest rates steady.
Spot gold was down 1.22%, bid at $1,633.60 as of 11:16 a.m., having traded as high as $1,647.20 and as low as $1,631.50 an ounce, according to Kitco market data. The London afternoon reference price was set at $1,637.75, $10.25 an ounce lower than Wednesday’s afternoon reference price.
Spot silver was showing a 1.22% loss, bid at $30.12. The morning high as of time of writing was $30.63 and the low was $30. Thursday’s reference price was set at $30.36 an ounce in the London a.m., 16 cents an ounce below Wednesday’s price fix.
As expected, the European Central Bank (ECB) decided to hold interest rates at current levels despite signs of a weakening eurozone economy. With interests rates near zero and having enacted a long-term bank-lending facility, the ECB has taken “unprecedented steps” to support the eurozone banking system. It’s now looking to member governments to take steps to shore up member countries’ flagging economies.
Spain sold more government bonds than allocated at auction this morning, though rising yields mean it’s costing more to finance the government’s operations. An auction of French government debt securities ahead of this Sunday’s presidential election attracted strong demand.
Seasonally adjusted initial claims for unemployment insurance fell more than expected last week, dropping 27,000, to 365,000, the Labor Dept. reported. The less volatile four-week moving average increased a slight 750, to 383,500, its highest level since December. Last week’s read was the largest decrease since early May last year.
Corporate layoffs were virtually unchanged in April, totaling 40,559, a 7.1% increase from the 37,880 employers surveyed by Challenger, Gray & Christmas. Year-over-year, April job cuts were 11.2% higher than in April 2010, when employers announced the lowest monthly total for 2011.
Retailers are reporting a year-over-year slowdown in same-store sales for April, though it was noted that unseasonably warm weather shifted Easter shopping activity forward into March.
Wholesale gold bullion prices fell to a weekly low in London morning trading Thursday, dropping to $1,640 an ounce on a strengthening dollar, BullionVault reported.
“[The gold price ] has flat lined on a closing basis,” BullionVault quoted the latest technical analysis from Russell Browne at Scotia Mocatta in New York, “staying glued between $1,635 and $1,670 over the past month. “This sideways consolidation is the calm prior to the next storm…. The long-term bullish trend line comes in near $1,630 on daily chart.”
Gold and silver trusts were on the downside in U.S. stock exchange trading.
Gold and silver mining ETFs were heading south as well.
The Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF (NYSE:GDX) was showing losses of some 1.9%.
The Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF (NYSE:GDXJ) was down around 2.5%.
The Global X Silver Miners ETF (NYSE:SIL) was down around 2.15%.
Gold mining shares were moving sharply lower.
Agnico-Eagle Mines (NYSE:AEM) was down around 3.25%.
Barrick Gold (NYSE:ABX) was down some 3%.
Eldorado Gold (NYSE:EGO) was down more than 4%.
Goldcorp (NYSE:GG) was down around 3.15%.
Kinross Gold Corp. USA (NYSE:KGC) was around 2.35% lower.
Newmont Mining (NYSE:NEM) was around 2.55% lower.
NovaGold Resources (NYSEAMEX:NG) was some 5.55% lower.
Yamana Gold (USA) (NYSE:AUY) was down around 3%.
Silver mining shares also were down sharply.
Coeur d’Alene Mines (NYSE:CDE) was nearly 3.7% lower.
Hecla Mining (NYSE:HL) was nearly 2.2% lower.
Pan American Silver (NASDAQ:PAAS) was showing losses of more than 4.5%.
Silver Wheaton (NYSE:SLW) was down around 1.9%.
Silver Standard Resources (NASDAQ:SSRI) was down some 3.35%.
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.