Gold sharply extended its gains for a second day on Thursday and more than made up the losses suffered earlier in the week. Though the metal was slightly lower at the time of this writing on Friday, it is still holding in the positive territory for the week and thus remains on course to post its second two-week rally since the second week of August.
In the last quarter of 2014, in the face of possible oversupply, Saudi Arabia abandoned its traditional role as the global oil market's swing producer and therefore it role as unofficial guarantor of existing ($100+ per barrel) prices.
Many oil companies had trimmed their budgets heading into 2015 to deal with lower oil prices. But the rebound in April and May to $60 per barrel from the mid-$40s suggested that the severe drop was merely temporary.
Crude oil prices neared four-month lows on Friday, set for their fourth straight week of declines, after data showed a contraction in China's factory sector and the dollar rose against a basket of currencies.
U.S. industrial production unexpectedly fell in May as manufacturing and mining activity remained weak, a sign that a strong dollar and spending cuts in the energy sector continued to constrain economic growth.
Crude oil prices are continuing the rally with the spot WTI contract currently breaching the three-week old technical range resistance level. This morning OPEC released their monthly oil assessment. They kept global oil demand the same as in last month’s forecast and said they do not see an increase in demand for OPEC crude.
Outside of individual's holding crude oil stocks, damage to the economy from the fall in oil has been pretty minimal so far. Indeed, the price cut in home heating oil and gasoline has probably outweighed the damage from lower oil prices, so far. Unfortunately, this situation may not last.