(Kitco News) - Comex gold futures prices are trading firmer Wednesday morning. A still-bullish fundamental picture for the precious metals, combined with strongly bullish technical postures, keeps the path of least resistance for gold and silver prices sideways to higher. Comex April gold last traded up $7.10 an ounce at $1,434.30. Spot gold last traded up $4.20 at $1,433.50.
Crude oil prices are trading near steady Wednesday morning, and are still above $104.00 a barrel. While there have been no fresh, major developments in the Middle East this week, traders are still very closely watching the price of crude oil as a gauge of the tensions in the Middle East. Some analysts believe a United Nations-established "no fly" zone over Libya could put serious downside price pressure on crude oil, which would also likely pressure the gold market. The stronger crude oil prices have been bullish for the precious metals due to the inflationary implications and the related geopolitical uncertainty that invites safe-haven demand.
The market place has this week been reminded of the serious problems the European Union is facing with its smaller countries' sovereign debt. The EU debt situation will continue to limit selling interest in precious metals for at least the near term. This problem is not going to just fade away.
The U.S. dollar index is trading weaker Wednesday. Dollar index bears have the solid overall technical advantage, which continues to be bullish for the precious metals markets.
U.S. economic data due for release Wednesday includes the weekly MBA mortgage applications survey, wholesale trade inventories and the weekly DOE energy stocks report.
The London A.M. gold fixing was $1,431.50 versus the previous P.M. fixing of $1,426.25.
Technically, the gold market bulls have the strong overall technical advantage as prices hit a fresh all-time high of $1,445.70 Monday. Gold prices are in a steep six-week-old uptrend on the daily bar chart. Gold bulls' next near-term upside technical objective is to produce a close above solid technical resistance at $1,450.00. Bears' next near-term downside price breakout objective is closing prices below solid technical support at $1,410.00. First resistance is seen at Tuesday's high of $1,437.20 and then at Monday's record high of $1,445.70. Support is seen at the overnight low of $1,423.20 and then at the February high of $1,418.80.
May Comex silver futures last traded up 54.7 cents at $36.205 an ounce Wednesday morning. Prices hit a fresh 31-year high of $36.745 on Monday. Silver bulls have the strong overall near-term and longer-term technical advantage. Prices are in a steep six-week-old uptrend on the daily chart. The next downside price breakout objective for the silver bears is closing prices below solid technical support at $35.00. Bulls' next upside price objective is producing a close above solid technical resistance at $37.50 an ounce. First support is seen at the overnight low of $35.805 and then at Tuesday's low of $35.51. Next resistance is seen at the overnight high of $36.32 and then at Tuesday's high of $36.55.
By Jim Wyckoff of Kitco News; firstname.lastname@example.org