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  • Silver has been coming off in recent trade and is currently testing $26.00.
  • A pick-up in the US dollar and US bond yields from earlier lows is weighing on precious metals.

Spot silver (XAG/USD) prices have been on the back foot in recent trade and have dropped back to the $26.00 level from early European session highs of above the $26.40 mark. That means that silver is back trading in negative territory, down about 0.75% or just under 20 cents on the day.

Driving the day

US government bond yields and the US dollar remain key drivers for precious metals markets; in recent trade, US government bond yields have been rising and the 10-year, which had been as much as 4bps lower and under the 1.50% level, is now trading flat around 1.52% – yields appear to have been given a lift by stronger than expected weekly US jobless claims numbers. For the weekend ending on 6 March, 712K American signed up for unemployment benefit, slightly below expectations for 725K sign-ups. Meanwhile, the number of Americans who continued to claim unemployment benefits in the week ending on 27 February was a little lower than expected at 4.144M versus consensus expectations for something closer to 4.22M.

While the recent recovery from lows in US bond yields is one factor weighing on precious metals, a recent pick up in the US dollar is another; the buck seems to be deriving support from a combination of the above mentioned stronger than expected US labour market data and associated recovery in yields, as well as some weakness in the euro in wake of Thursday’s ECB meeting.

To cut a long story short, the reaction to Thursday’s ECB meeting has been dovish given that the bank opted to explicitly signal that it will accelerate the rate at which it is purchases bond over the next three months in order to make sure European government bond yields don’t rise too much – markets were not expecting such clear messaging of the bank’s intent and this has caused European bond yields and the euro to drop (which is helping the US dollar at the expense of precious metals).