Haywood-1-1Playing down expectations of an interest rate rise in the short-term, the Federal Reserve’s speech was reflective of a negative week in economic data in the U.S., translating to a depreciating dollar and rebound in precious metals prices. Major economic indicators including housing starts, industrial production and initial jobless claims were all negative, perhaps reflecting the harsh winter conditions in February/March that may have impacted economic activity. In her speech in Washington on Wednesday, Yellen stated that current interest rate policy “remains appropriate”, and that the Fed is not likely to raise interest rates in April, and that any potential change in June would be dictated by economic data moving forward. In response, gold rose 2% to finish at $1,182 per ounce on Friday, while silver (up 6.5%) and platinum (up 1.8%) were also up, finishing at $16.74 and $1,139 per ounce respectively. Palladium was down for the week (down 2.1%) finishing at $777 per ounce. Base metals were a mixed bag this week, with copper (up 3.1%) and zinc (up 2.6%) closing at $2.76 and $0.93 per pound respectively, while nickel and lead both lost ground closing at $6.45 and 0.81 per pound respectively. The UxC Broker Average Price (BAP) of uranium rose above the $40 per pound mark on Wednesday, before dropping back to $39.25 per pound on Friday. Finally, WTI crude prices continued to be highly volatile, almost falling to $42 per barrel before recovering to finish the week at $45.72 per barrel.

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