Precious Metals Smacked By Demand Concerns, Firmer USDX

New York (April 11)  Gold and silver prices are trading sharply lower in midday U.S. trading Thursday. Platinum and palladium prices are also getting hammered. A combination of elements this week is adding up to notions of slackening demand for the precious metals markets in the coming weeks and months. A rebound in the U.S. dollar index and chart-based sellers entering the futures markets also worked against the metals markets bulls today. June gold futures were last down $16.90 an ounce at $1,297.00. May Comex silver was last down $0.304 at $14.935 an ounce.

The marketplace is this week digesting economic data on several fronts that suggest world economic growth is slowing down and that the major central banks of the world will refrain from raising interest rates and could even ease their monetary policies. This theme is a mixed bag for stock markets but should be bullish for world government bond prices. At least on this day, the metals market traders are looking at this theme as bearish due to the implications slowing global economic growth has for demand for raw commodities. Remember that traders are fickle. Maybe in the near future the specter of easing monetary policies will be bullish for the raw commodity markets, including the metals.

U.S. first-quarter corporate earnings reports are starting to come out, with many expecting a generally downbeat theme to emerge. If so, that could work to pressure equities and produce some better asset flows into the metals. But right now there remains minimal risk aversion in the marketplace, which continues to be a bearish element for the safe-haven gold and silver markets.

The other key outside markets today finds Nymex crude oil prices are lower on profit taking and trading around $63.50 a barrel.

Technically, June gold futures prices closed nearer the session low today. The bulls still have the overall near-term technical advantage. However, a six-week-old downtrend line on the daily bar chart remains in place and trend-line resistance turned back prices today. Gold bulls' next upside near-term price breakout objective is to produce a close above solid technical resistance at the March high of $1,330.80. Bears' next near-term downside price breakout objective is pushing prices below solid technical support at last week’s low of $1,284.90. First resistance is seen at $1,305.00 and then at $1,310.00.

KitcoNews