Weekly market recap

Your weekly global financial market newsletter

  • Is silver more interesting than gold? Gold and silver have managed to appreciate quite significantly recently, even though the US dollar is also strengthening. However, according to some analysts, the rise in the price of silver is too slow. While two weeks ago the price reached USD 30 per troy ounce, the highest since 2020, it has the potential to continue its rise at a much faster pace than gold.
  • With interest rate cuts coming sooner or later from central banks, precious metals could continue their rise as their attractiveness increases in a low-attack rate environment. At the same time, silver is still relatively undervalued compared to gold.
  • It currently takes around 80 ounces of silver to buy one ounce of gold, but in the past the price of gold in silver ounces has been much lower. According to some analysts, the price of gold in silver could easily drop to somewhere near 40 ounces. And given that gold still has the potential to appreciate, the rally in gold could be very interesting in the coming months, according to analysts.


US stocks managed to break a three-week losing streak and have had a very good week. The S&P 500 index posted its best weekly result since last October. Despite preliminary GDP data pointing to a stagnant economy, investors were positive, thanks mainly to good results from tech giants Tesla, Microsoft and Alphabet.

Good corporate results and a calming of the situation in the Middle East led to good stock market performance in Europe as well. The pan-European STOXX Europe 600 Index ended 1.74% higher, Germany’s DAX gained 2.39%, France’s CAC 40 added 0.82%, the UK’s FTSE 100 Index climbed to fresh all-time highs, putting on 3.09%.



The price of US Natural Gas fell below $1.6/MMBtu during the week, the lowest in 2 months, due to seasonal influences in which the forecast of milder weather is playing a major role. Another factor is the excessive inventory build in recent weeks. The latest EIA report showed US utilities added 92 billion cubic feet of gas into storage during the week ended April 19th, 2024, the biggest rise in six months, compared with market expectations of an 87 Bcf increase. Storage stood at 2,425 Bcf, 439 Bcf higher than at this time last year and 655 Bcf (or 37%) above the five-year average of 1,770 Bcf.

Precious metals also lost ground during the week as investors bet that central banks will take fewer interest rate cuts this year than originally expected. Thus, gold and silver may be weighed down by the fact that high interest rates reduce the attractiveness of non-yielding assets such as gold. On the other hand, however, the US PCE data was broadly in line with expectations, so the outlook for rate cuts did not deteriorate, which helped gold at the end of the week, which moreover still benefits from its status as a safe haven in times of uncertainty.



The US dollar was mainly influenced during the week by expectations of important data. Contributing to the dollar’s weakness was PMI data on Tuesday, which indicated that U.S. manufacturing activity fell back into contraction territory (below 50.0) in April. Then on Thursday, the dollar weakened again when data showed that the U.S. economy grew at an annualized rate of 1.6% in the first quarter of 2024, the lowest in two years and well below the forecast of 2.5%. Friday’s mixed PCE data then helped the dollar to pare losses, but it still weakened against most currencies during the week.

The exception was the Japanese yen, which fell to 158 yen per dollar on Friday, where it last traded in May 1990. This is because the Bank of Japan is keeping interest rates unchanged despite the significant depreciation. The yen has already lost over 10% against the dollar since the start of the year thanks to carry trades, as the BOJ has kept interest rates around zero while other central banks have been raising their rates.



As tensions in the Middle East eased slightly over the past week, investors focused mainly on earnings season, which so far looks positive, and also macro data. Already on Tuesday, preliminary data from S&P Global showed that the manufacturing sector in the US fell back into contraction territory in April at 49.9, well below consensus estimates of around 52.0. Services sector activity, while still indicating expansion, also missed expectations, at 50.9 versus 52.0.

U.S. GDP growth cooled in Q1 to its slowest pace in two years, expanding at an annualised rate of 1.6% in the first quarter, well below consensus estimates of around 2.5%. US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen told Reuters that US GDP growth for the first quarter could be revised higher as more data come in.

On Friday, US PCE data came largely in line with expectations. The monthly key rate and monthly core rate, the Fed’s preferred underlying inflation gauge, increased by 0.3% in March. The headline annual inflation rate accelerated slightly more than anticipated to 2.7% and the annual core rate remained steady at 2.8% missing forecasts of a slowdown to 2.6% “While high inflation is bad for an economy still dealing with the consequences of the previous price surge and a Fed having lost some policy credibility, stagflation is a lot worse,” said economist Mohamed El-Erian.

In Europe, business activity grew at the fastest pace in nearly a year in April, driven by a recovery in the services industry, according to purchasing managers’ indexes by S&P Global. The first estimate of the HCOB Eurozone Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which includes the services and manufacturing sectors, came in at 51.4, up from 50.3 in March. Business activity in the UK grew at the fastest pace in almost a year, with the composite PMI rising to 54.0 from 52.8 in March.

What to watch out for this week

  • Next week, investors will continue to show interest in earnings season and, of course, geopolitics. Probably the main event of the week will be the FOMC meeting and the Fed's interest rate decision on Wednesday. The rate change is not expected, but the commentary on the possible further development of rates following the macroeconomic data so far will be watched. Expectations for interest rate cuts have faded as data on the labour market and inflation continued to surprise on the upside and the market no longer expects the US rate cut cycle to start in June or July. Investor will be waiting for any clues regarding the timing and frequency of interest rate cuts expected to be delivered this year, particularly in light of persistent inflationary pressures.
  • Labour market data will be awaited with anticipation. During the week first ADP data on private sector hiring as well as the report on JOLTS job openings will be published. Friday's data will then show the full state of the US labour market. The non-farm payrolls are expected to increase by 210K in April, a slowdown from 303K in March. The unemployment rate is forecasted to remain steady at 3.8%, with monthly wage growth expected to remain unchanged at 0.3%.
  • Other releases to watch for include April's ISM Manufacturing and Services PMI’s, CB Consumer Confidence, factory orders, and regional activity indexes such as the Dallas Fed Manufacturing Index and Chicago PMI.
  • In the Eurozone and Europe's largest economies, flash data on first-quarter GDP figures, April's consumer price inflation, and March's unemployment levels will be reported. The block is expected to have expanded by 0.2% in the January to March period, following stagnation at the end of 2023, while inflation is projected to remain at 2.4%, hovering close to one of its lowest levels in over two years. Final PMI figures for Europe's largest economies, alongside flash figures for Italy and Spain, will also be in the spotlight.
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