Gold Gains On Risk Aversion

Treasury yields move lower ahead of business activity data

  • On the data front, there will be manufacturing and services PMIs (purchasing managers' index) at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • New home sales will be released at 10 a.m. ET.

U.S. government debt prices were higher Friday morning as traders monitored coronavirus' cases and new data. 

At around 2:47 a.m. ET, the yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note dropped to 0.5692% and the yield on the 30-year Treasury bond also fell to 1.2193%. Yields move inversely to prices.

On Thursday, bond yields also dipped on the back of worse-than-expected employment numbers. U.S. weekly jobless claims came in at 1.416 million for last week. Economists had forecast that 1.3 million workers had filed for unemployment benefits.  

Treasurys

On the data front, there will be manufacturing and services PMIs (purchasing managers' index) at 9:45 a.m. ET and new home sales will be released at 10 a.m. ET.

There are no Treasury auctions scheduled Friday. 

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Adam Boulton and guests discuss the relationship between the UK and Russia after a parliamentary report on Moscow’s activities.

Overseas visits to UK halved in March as COVID-19 struck

LONDON, July 24 (Reuters) – The number of overseas visitors to Britain halved in March, the first month in which COVID-19 seriously affected travel, and there was a similar fall in British people going abroad, official figures showed on Friday.

The number of visits to Britain dropped to 1.4 million, 54% fewer than in March 2019, while the number of Britons travelling overseas fell by 50% to 3.2 million, Britain’s Office for National Statistics said. (Reporting by William Schomberg, writing by David Milliken)

Oil Prices Rise In Cautious Trade

Oil prices rose on Friday after falling about 2 percent the previous day on concerns over excess supply in the market and the outlook for energy demand.

Benchmark Brent crude for September delivery rose 35 cents, or 0.8 percent, to $43.66 per barrel, while West Texas Intermediate crude oil futures were up 38 cents, or 0.9 percent, at $41.45 per barrel.

A slew of European data showed a return to growth, raising hopes for an economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis.

The upside remained capped by rising coronavirus cases and deteriorating U.S.-China relations, with Beijing ordering America to close its consulate in Chengdu in response to the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston earlier this week.

The euro area private sector grew at the fastest pace in just over two years in July due to the relaxation of the coronavirus containment measures, flash survey data from IHS Markit showed.

The composite output index rose to a 25-month high of 54.8 from 48.5 in June.

The U.K. manufacturing and services purchasing managers’ indexes both rose in July, according to initial ‘flash’ readings from IHS Markit.

A measure of U.K. consumer confidence remained unchanged at lower level in July, final data from market research group GfK showed, with the corresponding index coming in at -27 in July, unchanged from flash estimate but above from June’s score of -30.

U.K. retail sales volume advanced 13.9 percent month on month in June, faster than the 12.3 percent rise in May and bigger than economists’ forecast of 8 percent.

Microsoft Discontinues Xbox One X, Xbox One S Digital Edition: Report

Microsoft is halting production of its Xbox One X and Xbox One S All-Digital Edition consoles, the Verge reported. The company will continue to manufacture and sell Xbox One S console across the globe. The decision comes ahead of the company’s planned launch of Xbox Series X later this year.

“As we ramp into the future with Xbox Series X, we’re taking the natural step of stopping production on Xbox One X and Xbox One S All-Digital Edition,” the report quoted a Microsoft spokesperson.

Gamers are urged to check with their local retailers for the availability of the discontinuing Xbox One hardware, as some retailers still may have stock with them.

The Xbox One X, which was launched in November 2017, was designed as the world’s most powerful console at that time. Further, the disc-less version of the Xbox One S – Xbox One S All-Digital Edition – was launched in April last year.

The reported production halt comes at a time when gaming consoles are facing shortages amid surging demand as majority of people across the globe are confined to their homes following the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Verge further said the company is planning to continue its Xbox All Access subscriptions for the Xbox Series X launch later this year. This will offer subscribers an opportunity to upgrade to the new console.

Gunmen in Nigeria Seize 4 Chinese Nationals, Kill Police Guard

Gunmen in Nigeria’s southeastern Cross River state seized four Chinese nationals working in a construction company and killed their guard, police said.

The Chinese expatriates are employees of Danarite Construction Co. working in the Akamkpa district of the state where the men were abducted Wednesday evening, police spokeswoman Irene Igbo said Friday by phone from the state capital, Calabar. “We lost one of our men during the incident.”

No group has taken responsibility for the incident, though people are frequently kidnapped in the adjoining Niger River delta oil region by criminal gangs who later release them in exchange for a ransom.

Gold Gains On Risk Aversion

Gold prices inched higher Friday amid safe-haven demand as investors fretted over rising coronavirus cases around the world, disappointing jobless claims data and worsening U.S.-China tensions.

Sino-U.S. ties have deteriorated further after China ordered the U.S. consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu to close in response to the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston earlier this week.

Spot gold rose 0.3 percent to $1,893.42 an ounce, while U.S. gold futures were up 0.1 percent at $1,891.25 per ounce.

The number of cases around the world linked to Covid-19 has crossed 1.54 crore and the death toll topped 6.32 lakh.

The U.S. government reported overnight that more than 1.4 million workers filed new claims for state unemployment benefits last week, the first time the weekly tally has risen in nearly four months.

Meanwhile, in a sign of worsening bilateral relations, U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo declared U.S. engagement with China a dismal failure and has called on “free nations” to triumph over the threat of what he said was a “new tyranny” from China.

“Today China is increasingly authoritarian at home, and more aggressive in its hostility to freedom everywhere else,” Pompeo said in a speech on Thursday at the Richard Nixon presidential library in Yorba Linda, California.