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  • Precious metals topping and silver prices slump.
  • COVID-19 mixed headlines and uncertainty should keep safe havens underpinned.

XAG/USD has lost its grip of the 15 handle and has fallen to a low of $14.90 from a high of $15.42, although remains up 0.21% on the day so far. Precious metals had seen a significant uptick in sentiment this week despite a de-escalation of COVID-19 new cases. In fact, the inverse relationship continues on Tuesday between the COVID-19 contagion and price action in precious metals, as both silver and gold are falling with a rise in the Spanish death toll and New York cities cases which are dominating the headlines. 

COVID-19 dominates market sentiment

Spain saw a surge of 734 more COVID-19 deaths, with the total death toll reaching 13,798, according to Health Ministry data released Tuesday with over 5,500 new cases were confirmed, bringing the total of official cases to 140,510. Over 43,200 of those patients have recovered – an increase of nearly 3,000 since Monday. Only Italy has reported more COVID-19 deaths than Spain, but with Spain’s lower population, it has surpassed Italy in terms of per capita fatalities.

Meanwhile, in New York, the U.S. COVID-19 epicentre, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo said earlier today that 731 people had died of the virus since Monday, the highest one-day total yet. NY’s death toll now stands at 5,489, enough people to fill a small town. “Behind every one of those numbers is an individual, is a family, is a mother, is a father, is a sister, is a brother,” Cuomo said. “So a lot of pain again today for many New Yorkers.” The governor noted and emphasized, however, that death was a lagging indicator in the fight against the virus: People are often ill with it for a long time before they die. Governor Cuomo said that the state still saw evidence that the virus was nearing a plateau.

However, US stock markets from a wider viewpoint, and are fixated on general signs that the spread of COVID-19 is in fact slowing and bulls will prey on the positive headlines (weighing on precious metals). On Tuesday, Wall Street has been ticking higher with the S&P 500 up 1.97%, the Dow up more than 2% and the Nasdaq up around 2% as well at the time of writing. US benchmarks are in the green for the second day in a row and hit their highest level since 11 March at the start of trading.

Uncertainty prevails

Also, this week’s reports say the US Treasury market and short-term securities market are operating more smoothly than a couple of weeks ago, following the Federal Reserve’s massive injection of liquidity into those markets, volatility has declined, (VIX is at 44, way down from the mid-March peak of 85). However, the coming week is going to be “our Pearl Harbor moment, our 9/11 moment,” said U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams, regarding an expected wave of coronavirus deaths across the U.S. New York New Orleans and Detroit face especially tough days ahead. Either way, uncertainty will prevail which is supportive of precious metals. 

“Looking forward, we continue to see a set-up for a multi-year bull market being cemented, as the market is flooded with monetary and fiscal stimulus, while Fed rates are at the zero bound, which suggests investors will continue to seek gold’s warm embrace as real global rates become entrenched in negative territory,” 

analysts a TD Securities argued. 

Silver levels