Gold, silver up as crude oil spikes up

Gold and silver futures prices are solidly higher in midday U.S. action Tuesday, boosted by positive daily outside markets that include sharply higher crude oil prices, a lower U.S. dollar index and a slight drop in U.S. Treasury yields. February gold futures were last up $17.90 at $1,816.90 and March Comex silver was last up $0.323 at $22.785 an ounce.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testified to a Senate banking committee today, regarding his nomination for a second term as Fed chair. He was asked questions about Fed monetary policy and inflation prospects. Powell revealed insight that was not much different than that proffered by the Fed recently. What may have helped lift crude oil prices and in turn helped rally the precious metals is that Powell was very upbeat on U.S. economic growth prospects. Also, Powell did not sound any more hawkish than what the marketplace has seen from the Fed recently.

Global stock markets were mixed overnight. U.S. stock indexes are higher at midday. Traders and investors are a bit more cautious this week, trying to adjust to a marketplace of tighter central bank monetary policies in 2022, amid rising inflation.

The U.S. data point of the week will be Wednesday's consumer price index report for December, which is expected to come in at up 7.1%, year-on-year.

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