Copper books best annual return since 2017
Futures for gold on Thursday closed out the year with a slight gain, in a holiday-shortened week that wraps up a tumultuous, viral-stricken 2020 for financial markets.
Commodity markets will be closed on Friday in observance of New Year’s Day.
Gold and silver futures saw modest gains in the face of a weakening U.S. dollar on Thursday, which has been a feature for dollar-pegged commodities for the better part of 2020, helping underpin appetite for assets priced in the world’s reserve currency.
The U.S. dollar is down 0.4% for the week so far, off 2.1% in December, and down 6.7% in 2020, capped by a 4.2% slide in the last three months of the year, FactSet data show, as measured by the ICE U.S. Dollar Index DXY, -0.01%.
That decline toward a 2 1/2-year nadir for the currency has helped to foster gains in silver and gold even as stocks have staged a remarkable comeback from declines driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.
That dynamic also has helped gold to its best annual gain in about 10 years.
February gold GCG21, +0.43% picked up a slight $1.70, or 0.1%, after touching an intraday peak at $1,904.90, to settle at $1,895.10 an ounce, following a 0.6% gain on Wednesday.
Commodity markets held on to their gains after a report on U.S. employment showed that initial state jobless claims fell 19,000 to 787,000 during the Christmas week. That tally compares against average economists’ forecast of 835,000 surveyed by MarketWatch for the week ended Dec. 26 and 803,000 claims from last week. Meanwhile, state continuing jobless claims drop 103,000 to 5.22 million
Silver futures for March delivery SIH21, -0.18%, meanwhile, shed 16.1 cent, or 0.6%, to end at $26.412 an ounce, after a 1.4% gain in the prior session.
For the week, gold is up around 0.5%, and up 6.3% in December, and has seen a nearly 25% gain in the year to date, with gains slowed to a mere 0.3% rise in the last three months of 2020. The year’s gains thus far on a percentage basis mark the best return for the yellow metal since an almost 30% rise in 2010.
Silver futures logged a more than 2% weekly climb, a 17% rise in December, and a roughly 48% annual advance, aided by an almost 13% surge in the fourth quarter. Silver’s gain represent its best annual rise since 2010 when it surged almost 84%.
Elsewhere on Comex, high-grade copper for March delivery HGH21, -0.82% shed 3 cents, or 0.8%, to finish at $3.5190 a pound. For the week, copper declined 1.2%, but rose over 16% in the fourth quarter and logged a 26% gain in the year to date, representing its best annual gain since 2017.
Meanwhile, March palladium PAH21, +3.24% traded $75.40, or 3.2%, higher to end Thursday trade at $2,453.80 an ounce, while April platinum PLJ21, +0.09% picked up 70 cents, or less than 0.1%, to finish at $1,079.20 an ounce.