Weekly Update 28 Feb 2020
Stocks and cryptocurrencies fell, bonds and most national currencies rose, and commodities were mixed. The big winner was 20+ year treasury bonds, which soared 7.1%; the Japanese Yen came second, gaining 5.7%. Crude oil registered the largest loss, falling 14.4% to a four year low. Ethereum dropped 12.8%, leaving it about where it was three weeks ago. Platinum closed at a new all-time low, and silver saw its lowest close since October of 1992.
The only declining national currency was the Chinese Yuan, which fell just 0.2%; all other major currencies were higher, led by the Japanese Yen which soared 5.7%. The Euro came second, gaining 3.3%. USD cash rose 2.1%, but its short term bonds added 2.9% and its long term bonds spiked 7.1% higher scoring the week's largest gain.
Ethereum fell 12.8%, wiping out its gains for the last three weeks. Bitcoin rose early in the week to 187.8 grams, then declined to a low of 165.4 grams on Thursday before rallying to close at 167.6 grams, down 8.6%. Some smaller cryptos were hit even harder than Ethereum; for instance, DASH (not in table) fell 16.9%.
The best performing stock index was the Japanese Nikkei; it fell "only" 4.4%, boosted by the super-strong Yen. Gold stocks registered the largest loss, falling 11.9%, but the Dow Industrials were close on its heels, dropping 10.5%. The DOW's recent decline may be related to concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak, but it is part of a downward pattern of lower highs and lower lows that began in late 2018.
Commodities were a very mixed bag, with huge losses for crude oil, cotton and platinum, combined with solid gains for palladium and coffee. Crude oil fell 14.4% to 865 mg/bbl, the week's biggest drop and a four year low. Platinum closed at 16.8 grams, down 8.9%, a new all-time low. Palladium continued to climb, adding 3.2%, while coffee rose 3.1%, reversing the prior week's loss. Silver fell 5.5% to 332 mg, its lowest price since 8-Oct-1992 and only 7.4% above its all-time low of 309 mg set on 25-Feb-1991. Natural gas (not in table) also hit a new all-time low this week, closing at 32.5 mg per million BTU.
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