Crude prices extended gains after a mixed payroll report showed the labor market recovery is moderating but still headed in the right direction. The Omicron variant continues to be the key to short-term crude demand outlook and the latest updates have been mixed. A South African study showed that Omicron reinfection risk is 3X higher. The study of 2.8 million positive COVID samples in South Africa showed the Omicron mutation has a substantial ability to evade immunity from prior infection. As Omicron spreads across the US, energy traders can’t forget about Delta as hospital admissions are increasing across 39 states.
The aftermath of the OPEC+ meeting on output has many traders believe that if Omicron poses a bigger risk to the short-term crude demand, that would be met with a quick response of production cuts.
Gold prices initially popped after a big headline jobs miss lowered the chances that the Fed would double the taper speed at the December 15th FOMC meeting, which would also push back expectations for that first Fed rate hike. After traders processed the entire employment report, they realized it was not as bad since the participation rate rose sharply with both black and Hispanic unemployment also improved significantly.
Gold is still near one-month lows as markets continue to anticipate two Fed rate hikes next year, which should keep the dollar in demand. Even as the Fed seems poised to wrap up tapering around the start of the first quarter, traders are not confident on when real yields will turn positive and that should be a primary driver for gold to rally after Wall Street confidently fully prices in the first couple of Fed rate hikes. Leading up to the December 15th FOMC decision, gold should consolidate between $1750 and $1800 as next week’s inflation report doesn’t come with an extremely hot inflation report that includes a reading of 7% or higher.
Bitcoin is in ‘no man’s land’ right now and that does not seem to be changing anytime soon. The long-term bullish case remains intact but prices seem poised to consolidate between $52,000 and $60,000.
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