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  • Silver is on the front foot and has risen from APac lows of under $25.00 to the $25.50s.
  • A softer USD and lower US bond yields in wake of “dovish” FOMC minutes on Wednesday are boosting precious metals.

Spot silver (XAG/USD) prices have been on the front foot for most of the session so far, rising from Asia Pacific session lows of just under the $25.00 mark to current levels in the upper $25.50s. That means the precious metal has managed to surpass its 21-day moving average, which currently sits at $25.39, and trades higher by about 1.7% or over 40 cents on the day.

Now that the precious metal has managed to hurdle the key resistance area in around $25.40 (which contained the 21DMA, 12 and 22 March lows and 24 March high), short-term technical bulls will be eyeing for an eventual move all the back to the 50DMA which currently trades in the upper-$26.20s. The main level of resistance to note before the 50DMA is an area of support turned resistance around $25.80.

Driving the day

The US dollar is a little softer (the DXY is currently slipping back towards the 92.00 level) and US government bond yields are dropping (the 10-year yield is currently trading around 1.63%, down just over 2bps on the session), which is a bullish combo for precious metals markets, hence why silver is trading in the green. As to why the buck is softer and yields lower, market commentators are referring to Wednesday’s FOMC minutes release.

The minutes did not seem to have much of a market impact at the time; they were as dovish as you would expect. However, as time has gone on and markets have had more time to digest the contents, markets seem to be interpreting them as more dovish. Indeed, the minutes emphasised how a number of FOMC participants want the Fed to see actual progress towards their goals before tightening, rather than tightening based on forecasts. In other words, the Fed is keen to put itself “behind the curve”, given that it is of the belief that being “in front of the curve” hurt economic growth by allowing financing conditions to tighten too quickly in the past.

Speaking of the Fed, Chairman Jerome Powell is slated to speak at 17:00BST; markets will be interested in his updated assessment of current economic conditions in wake of recent strong tier one data (the March ISM surveys and March jobs report were both very strong). Though he is likely to note that he is happy to see the data heading in the right direction, Powell will almost certainly reiterate that there is still a long way to go (a sentiment the minutes showed was unanimously agreed upon during the last meeting).

In terms of other drivers of risk sentiment on the day; the latest weekly US jobless claims numbers weren’t great, with weekly initial jobless claims rising to 744K from 719K last week (versus forecasts for a drop to 680K) and continued claims coming in at 3.734M versus forecasts for a drop to 3.65M. Elsewhere, though there still are some concerns about a rising Covid-19 infection rate in the US, the picture still looks optimistic there with US Centre for Disease Control Director Walensky saying that all of those above the age of 12 should be vaccinated by May. Meanwhile reports in the UK suggest the country should reach the herd immunity threshold by Monday. That means the US and UK will be the first two major countries to hit herd immunity, and markets will be watching keenly to see the impact that this has on the pandemic (expectations will likely be for infections to go up as the two countries reopen, but for the hospitalisation and death rates to remain much lower than in the past).