By Gina Lee
– Gold was down on Tuesday morning in Asia, but the focus remained on silver as investors booked profits from Monday’s rally.
Gold futures were down 0.28% at $1,858.65 by 10:54 PM ET (3:54 AM GMT).
Silver prices rose as much as 11.2%, near highs last recorded in February 2013, during the previous session. The precious metal’s price soared after retail investors piled into the market to drive prices up, driven by messages on Reddit.
The activity has sparked “close monitoring” by the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, acting chairman Rostin Behnam said on Monday, as the previous weeks’ volatility in securities markets impacted trading in the silver market.
The impact continues to leave investors in places as diverse as the U.S. and Singapore scrambling for silver bars and coins to meet demand. CME Group Inc. (NASDAQ:CME) has also raised Comex 5000 Silver Futures margins by 17.9% to $16,500 per contract from $14,000 for February.
On the stimulus front, hopes for further U.S. stimulus packages were boosted after a two-hour meeting on Monday between U.S. President Joe Biden and a group of ten Republican senators to discuss a downsized COVID-19 stimulus package proposed by the group.
Although the meeting was “very productive”, Biden said that the downsized package does not go far enough to solve the COVID-19 crisis and is insistent on keeping the $1.9 trillion package that he proposed in January. However, Democrat lawmakers had filed the $1.9 trillion budget measure on Monday, a step towards bypassing Republicans to get the measure passed in Congress, ahead of the meeting.
Meanwhile India slashed import duties on gold and silver on Monday to boost retail demand and curtail smuggling. The China Gold Association, on the other hand, said on Monday that gold consumption in the country fell by almost a fifth in 2020.