Gold and silver prices ended the U.S. day session weaker and dropped to five-month lows Tuesday. Bearish "outside market” forces worked against the precious metals markets on this day, as the U.S. dollar index was higher and crude oil prices were lower. Many traders are on the sidelines ahead of the Federal Reserve’s Open Market Committee (FOMC) statement Wednesday afternoon.February Comex gold was last down $5.10 an ounce at $1,241.70. March Comex silver was last down $0.12 at $15.665 an ounce.
This is a big week for economic events, highlighted by the FOMC meeting. It’s widely expected the Fed will raise U.S. interest rates at the conclusion of its FOMC meeting Wednesday afternoon. Fed chair Janet Yellen will also hold what will likely be her final press conference after the FOMC statement.
The European Central Bank and Bank of England monetary policy meetings also take place this week. ECB President Mario Draghi is set to deliver a speech Tuesday, which will be closely monitored for any comments he makes on future ECB monetary policy.
World stock markets were mixed but mostly higher Tuesday. U.S. stock indexes were mixed in early afternoon trading. There continues to be a general "risk-on” trading attitude in the world marketplace that is boosting equity markets and limiting buying interest in the precious metals.
The NFIB U.S. small business index was released early this morning and was at a record high for small business optimism. This is yet another testament to the upbeat attitudes in the marketplace, at present.