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  • Spot silver is up on Tuesday, with the metal supported to the north of $25.00.
  • US flow has returned after MLK Day in the US on Monday and the mood of the market is upbeat.
  • Yellen’s testimony to Congress will be the market’s main immediate focus.

Spot silver (XAG/USD) prices are up on Tuesday, with the metal crossing back above and remain supported to the north of the $25.00 per troy ounce mark. At present, the precious metal trades with gains of about 0.5% or just over 10 cents, supported primarily by the weaker US dollar (the Dollar Index has dropped back below the 90.50 mark from Monday’s near 91.00 highs).

Driving the day

US flow has returned after North American market closures there on account of Monday’s MLK Day holidays and the mood of the markets has become a little more upbeat; US equities just saw a positive open, US bond yields are higher, crude oil and industrial metal markets are (for the most part) up and in FX, safe-haven USD and JPY are currently underperforming.

No theme or news, in particular, can be pointed to as to why markets are in a slightly more optimistic mood on Tuesday. Seemingly, the main driver has been a technical correction of Monday’s risk-off flows with markets actually in much more of a “wait and see mode” ahead of key risk events coming up.

Speaking of key risk events, the main focus on the mind of investors this Monday is going to be incoming US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen’s testimony to the Senate Finance Committee in Congress. Most of the key parts of her testimony have already been leaked to the media.

On fiscal stimulus; she is expected to call for the US government to “act big” in terms of fiscal stimulus given the low-rate environment (effectively an endorsement of incoming US President Joe Biden’s $1.9T fiscal stimulus package). In the past, Yellen has advocated for the US to pursue a balanced budget, but is not expected to do so on Tuesday.

Regarding the US dollar; Yellen is expected to clarify that the US will be taking a “hands-off” approach to exchange rates, which might also be accompanied by a thinly veiled warning to US trade partners that they ought to do the same (rather than actively seeking to weaken their currency to boost exports).

After Yellen speaks, trade ought to quiet down for the rest of the session. Depending on how the US dollar reacts, precious metals markets will likely act as a function of this. As ever, traders would be wise to also keep an eye on any reaction in real yields and inflation expectations; any drop in the former and move higher in the latter could come as a boost to the likes of silver and gold.