The Global Precious MMI joined most of the other sub-indexes this month in experiencing a 6% loss as a broad metals correction hit most markets.
Unlike the base metals, however, our precious metals are not facing bifurcated markets where U.S. tariffs are keeping domestic prices high. As almost always with precious, this month’s fall was a global phenomenon.
Johnson Matthey is weathering the storm as best as it can this year as platinum group metals prices are starting to lose the momentum the first half of the year promised.
Production Surplus Stubbornly Lingers
According to Thomson Reuters‘ “GFMS Platinum Group Metals Survey,” a rebound in mine production last year pushed the platinum market back into a marginal physical surplus, despite improved demand.
Macroeconomics have continued gold’s roller coaster ride this month. Before Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen dialed back expectations of an interest rate hike this week — after a bad jobs report — a strengthening U.S. dollar dragged gold prices down for much of May. Now, though, with a dovish Fed, gold is strengthening again. Silver has taken a similar ride.
The investment and industrial metals, globally, saw prices fall this month as a storm of both bad economic data for the investment metals and oversupply for the industrial metals came together. Yet, even as I write this gold and silver are strengthening again as the dollar weakens in light of that horrid jobs report. But it might just be that neither industrial demand nor monetary policy will be the story of the last six months of 2016 in precious metals.
Jessica Fung, a metals strategist at BMO Capital Markets, said in the Wall Street Journal that slowing global growth should help push gold higher and likely bring silver with it.
“We believe focusing on the Fed alone is simplistic and only drives very near-term sentiment and volatility,” Ms. Fung wrote in a note. “The potential impact of sluggish global growth on the U.S. economy should not be ignored.”
Actual Global Precious Prices
U.S. Silver bars/ingots dropped from $17.53 an ounce in May to $15.95/ounce this month, a fall of 9%. Japanese gold bullion dropped from $41.08 a gram in May to $39.22 a gram this month, a decrease of 4.5%. Chinese platinum bars fell to $34.19 a gram this month from $35.52/gram in May, a fall of 3.74%