It’s been a bumpy week for the gold price, which sank as low as $1,239.40 per ounce on Thursday before spiking to a 13-month high of $1,285. As of 2:00 p.m. EST on Friday, it was changing hands at $1,259. 

As MarketWatch explains, Thursday’s volatility came after the European Central Bank “loosened monetary policy, but backed away from additional easing measures.”

[T]raders were finding it hard to digest all the news,” Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at AvaTrade, told the news outlet. “But, as the dust settles, traders do envisage that the ECB’s [decision] could help the eurozone and the economic situations could mend.”

All in all, the yellow metal is now up an impressive 19 percent since the start of 2016, and is enjoying its best start to the year since 1980, according to the Financial Times. The next catalyst to watch for will the US Federal Reserve’s two-day meeting next week. Market watchers believe it will offer key clues about the central bank’s interest rate plans.

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For its part, the silver price peaked this week at $15.71 per ounce on Monday and hit a low of $15.19 on Thursday. As of 2:00 p.m. EST on Friday it was trading at $15.59.

On the base metals side, benchmark copper on the LME closed Friday up 1.6 percent, at $4,970 per tonne. Reuters states that the rise came “as funds reversed bets on lower prices ahead of economic data from top consumer China” — the Asian nation is set to release industrial output and investment data over the weekend.

“Industrial production data will give us a clearer picture of what’s going  on with Chinese demand,” said Macquarie’s Vivienne Lloyd.

Finally, oil prices were up on Friday, with Brent crude changing hands at $40.86 per barrel — that’s up from $28.50 in January. Meanwhile, West Texas Intermediate futures were at $38.59 and above on Friday, as per The Associated Press.

Oil prices have been down and out for the last couple of years, and some investors may be worrying that recent price increases may not last. However, it appears there’s some hope in that regard. The Associated Press also notes that the International Energy Agency has said that “there are signs that prices might have bottomed out.”

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Securities Disclosure: I, Charlotte McLeod, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article. 

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