By Taras Berezowsky
MetalMiner's index of global precious metals prices dropped yet again this month, falling 3.8% for a January 2017 reading of 76, down from 79 in December.
Key Precious Metal Movers
The U.S. palladium price got a bit too frothy last month, resulting in a December MMI reading of $768, which was good enough for an 18-month high.
However, for the January MMI reading, that price experienced a pullback, dipping back down under $700 per ounce (although not quite reaching November's levels).
So, a correction in that price point's journey is evident. The U.S. platinum bar price also had a slight drop-off, as did silver and gold prices across global markets tracked by the MetalMiner IndX.
What's Happened Since October?
Short answer: a ton.
Trump. Cubs. Brexit. Syria. Refugee crises. Panama Papers. Pokemon GO. (We could keep going...)
But a few of those had a lot to do with what's happening across precious metals markets right now, especially gold.
Gold in Focus
What's causing gold prices to fall dramatically? The U.S. dollar.
Gold (in dark) vs the dollar index (in green). Source: MetalMiner analysis of @stockcharts.com
Since mid-August, the dollar started a bull run that is still in play. Three main factors are propelling the dollar's bull run, according to MetalMiner's Raul de Frutos:
Markets expected the Federal Reserve to raise rates by the end of the year. In December the Fed raised interest rates by a quarter point, as expected, but policymakers signaled a likelihood of three increases in 2017, up from prior expectations for two moves. While interest rates outside the U.S. stay near zero or even in negative territory, it's no wonder yield-seeking investors are going after the greenback.
The ongoing political tensions in Europe are causing the dollar to appreciate against the euro. The ongoing refugee crisis in Europe, Brexit, terrorist attacks and political instability are some of the events causing investors to lose their appetite for the European currency this year.
Finally, the victory of Donald Trump has added fuel to the dollar's bull market. The new president-elect has proposed new tax policies that will potentially make multinational companies bring their foreign profits back to U.S., increasing the demand for dollars. In addition, the dollar is perceived as a stronger currency since investors expect growth in US to get a boost.
Essentially, what we wrote last month is still holding true, and it's hard to see a reversal in the near term.