After both gold and silver were able to make significant strides forward on Monday, profit-taking only a day later is driving spot values right back down. Perhaps the biggest loser so far this morning is silver, who made marginal gains of only a few cents yesterday and is now down nearly half a dollar thus far today. While profit-taking is definitely taking its toll on spot values today, a a calming down of tensions in Ukraine is also limiting safe-haven demand for gold and silver.
Though we will continue to keep a close eye on everything happening between Ukraine, Russia, and the West, the real news of this week is Thursday's release of US non-farm jobs data. As is the case almost every month, the market is expecting non-farm payrolls to have jumped by a decent margin in February.
Tensions Down, But Still High In Crimea
Yesterday, there were a number of news agencies reporting that Naval officers in Russia's Black Sea fleet had ordered Ukrainian soldiers in Crimea to put their weapons down and surrender before this afternoon or they would be faced with a military strike. This news did well to quickly escalate tensions, but today we found out that such a threat/promise was never made officially.
Today, Putin has reportedly called for his troops in Ukraine to return to their bases and has called for a halt of military exercises in and around the Black Sea. This news increased risk-appetite a bit and has worked to bring some stabilization back to the Russian economy, which has been under-performing for the last two weeks or so. Despite today's calming down of the situation in Ukraine, everyone involved is still very much on edge and there is no saying where the next few days will take us.
In other news from around the world, it was reported that in the early morning hours, North Korea fired two missiles off of their Eastern shores. Though the missiles were not locked on to any specific targets and ended landing safely in the sea, South Korea and the US are not taking this action lightly.
The reason behind North Korea's seemingly random launch of a missile out to sea is due to their disapproval of South Korea and US military joint exercises currently happening in and around the Korean peninsula. Though these exercises happen around this time every year, North Korea is none too pleased about it. Despite the launching of missiles looking more like an empty threat than anything, tensions are still high in the region. If anything notable ends up happening on the Korean peninsula in the coming days, safe-haven demand for gold and silver will undoubtedly be given a boost.
As we head into the second half of the week, investors will be keeping their eyes on Ukraine as well as the latest jobs figures from the United States. As it stands, market expectations are that 150,000 jobs were added in February and that the unemployment rate will remain steady at 6.6%.