US jobless claims increase
A surprise increase in initial jobless claims on Thursday should serve as a stark reminder to Congress that the labor market recovery is very vulnerable and at a critical juncture as mounting lockdowns will force many businesses to close. Over 20 million Americans are still receiving some type of benefits, and with the lockdowns just starting to take place, the labor market should be prepared for that figure to trend higher over the next several weeks. Congress will take action once unemployment claims start showing significant increases across the hardest-hit states.
Oil prices are weighed down from a strong dollar that stemmed from mounting Covid lockdowns and oversupply concerns grew after the UAE raised doubts that the OPEC+ meeting in two weeks will not be easy. In addition to the UAE resistance for delaying production output increases, Libya’s output continues to increase sharply. All the vaccine optimism is bullish for oil prices in 2021, but the current situation will cap WTI crude until the virus spread in the US peaks, which might not be until mid-December.
Gold prices declined for a third consecutive day as the dollar staged a comeback. Lockdowns will be the theme in the US throughout the holiday season and that will drive a modest rally for the greenback. Gold has softened towards the lower boundaries of its recent trading range and could be vulnerable to a break of the USD1850 level if the dollar continues to rebound. Gold’s weakness should be short-lived, but if bearish momentum persists, the USD1800 level should prove very attractive for long-term investors.
Gold’s longer-term bullish remains intact as unprecedented stimulus will still have a debasement effect on the dollar and once the global recovery accelerates inflationary pressures will arise. Gold demand should also improve from Asia and that should provide underlying support throughout the holidays.