Gold prices are modestly higher in early U.S. trading Monday, lifted on some modest safe-haven demand and by an upside technical correction following Friday’s strong losses that drive prices to a three-week low. The gold market bears on Friday did regain the slight near-term technical advantage. April Comex gold was last up $5.50 at $1,240.20 an ounce. March Comex silver last traded up $0.206 at $16.90 an ounce.
It’s a “risk-off” day in the market place to start the trading week Monday. That’s bearish for stocks and most commodities but bullish for the U.S. dollar, U.S. Treasuries and gold.
During the weekend concerns increased markedly regarding Greece’s future within the European Union. As he tried to wiggle out of previous sovereign debt repayment commitments, Greek Prime Minister Tsipras also said he would not accept any extension of Greece’s bailout package but instead wanted a bridge loan. This news sunk the Greek stock market and Greek bond yields rose. Other European stock markets also felt selling pressure from the Greece news. The Euro currency was also down against the U.S. dollar. Some EU watchers are wondering if Greece will exit the European Union as soon as the end of the month.
Asian shares were under selling pressure Monday on a bearish economic report coming out of the region’s economic leader. China’s exports and imports were reported at surprising declines in January. Exports were down 4.9% and imports were down a whopping 21.4%, year-on-year.
On the geopolitical front, the U.S. and key European nations are trying to keep a unified stance on the crisis between Russia and Ukraine. Meetings on the matter this week could prove crucial, but Russia appears to be unwilling to budge on its hard-line stance.
U.S. economic data due for release Monday is light and includes the employment trends index.