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Gold prices climbed for a third straight session Thursday as weakness in the U.S. dollar spurred buying. the yellow metal did achieve a four-week high earlier in the day but fell just below the level in later trading.
"the dollar appears to have peaked last week and people are buying gold as a hedge," MarketWatch quoted Mike Smith, president of T&K Futures and Options.
For a second straight day, gold prices rose by exactly $8.10 or 0.5%. the February gold futures contract on the Comex in new York closed at $1,647.70 an ounce, with trades occurring between $1,640.90 and $1,662.90.
Both metals (gold and silver) are in the midst of an upward push which might carry them to the $1,700 and $32 areas respectively, before their downtrends resume," noted Jon Nadler, Senior Analyst at Kitco Metals Inc.
Silver prices for March delivery ended up 23.4 cents, or 0.8%, to $30.124 an ounce. Silver prices traversed from an intraday low of $29.870 to a high of $30.675.
Platinum prices for April delivery edged up $2.40, or 0.2%, to $1,500.10 an ounce, trading between $1,491.20 and $1,512.50.
Palladium bucked the trend. Palladium prices for March delivery declined $4.40, or 0.7%, to $641.25 an ounce, ranging from $633.25 to $649.00.
London Precious Metals
London precious metals advanced as a group. When comparing the London fixings on Thursday (PM) from those on Wednesday (PM), gold gained $26.50 to $1,661.00 an ounce, silver prices advanced 77.0 cents to $30.58 an ounce, platinum edged up $9.00 to $1,498.00 an ounce and palladium gained $7.00 to $645.00 an ounce.
U.S. Mint Bullion Coins – Silver Eagles Maintain Rally
U.S. Mint bullion Silver Eagles continue to rally higher, rising 340,000 on the day to lift their January total to 4,597,000. That placed monthly sales as second all-time best, dating back to the series debut in November 1986. the only month better was January 2011 when Silver Eagles scored total sales of 6,422,000.
In bullion gold coins, both the one ounce and one-half ounce Gold Eagles advanced. across all sizes, the U.S. Mint has shipped a total of 85,500 ounces which is the highest since September. Rising Thursday as well was the Gold Buffalo, up 500 to 8,000 for the month.
The latest daily and year-to-date sales figures for U.S. Mint bullion coins follow:
Sales of U.S. Mint American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Coins Daily GainsJanuary/YTD 2012American Gold Eagle Coin (1 oz.)2,50061,500American Gold Eagle Coin (1/2 oz.)1,00018,000American Gold Eagle Coin (1/4 oz.)030,000American Gold Eagle Coin (1/10 oz.)075,000American Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.)5008,000Silver Eagles340,0004,597,000Sales of America the beautiful 5 Oz. Silver Bullion CoinsWeekly GainsTotalOlympic National Park 5 oz. Silver Coin50084,600Vicksburg National Military Park 5 oz. Silver Coin034,300Chickasaw Park 5 oz. Silver Coin026,900TOTAL500145,800
All bullion coin totals in the above tables are in the number of coins sold, not the amount of ounces. the U.S. Mint does not always provide daily sales for its 5-ounce silver coins. Those figures are current as of Monday, January 9, 2012.
Gold prices sank below $1,600 an ounce Wednesday and toward a five-month low when the U.S. dollar rallied as the euro fell to its lowest level since January. Gold was also pressured, opined analysts, from news that the Fed would avoid new stimulus programs.
"There is turbulence across the commodity market because of the strength in dollar," Jochen Hitzfeld, an analyst at UniCredit SpA in Munich, said in a telephone interview that was recounted on Bloomberg. "No further stimulus from the Fed is bearish for the market."
Gold prices declined $76.20, or 4.6 percent, to $1,586.90 an ounce in the February futures contract on the Comex in New York. It was gold’s lowest settlement price since July 13 and the first time it traded below $1,600 an ounce since September 29. Jon Nadler, Senior Analyst at Kitco Metals Inc, noted the following earlier Wednesday.
"the price washout in precious metals intensified in the wake of the Fed’s failure to please the markets with more stimulative action. the disappointment was palpable and when combined with the on-going angst surrounding the European debt debacle, the sentiment resulted in fresh two-month lows for gold and significant breaches of long-standing moving averages. the domino theory in action here, and now. Curiously, the one domino that was supposed to be ‘toast’ by now — the USD — is not only standing, but it is taking out the 80.50 (!) level on the index."
Gold’s lowest point of the day came in at $1,565.70 and it reached a high at $1,645.80 — an $80.10 difference. Similar price swings could be all too common, according to James Steel, chief technical analyst at HSBC.
"some macro hedge funds are liquidating gold holdings and taking profits in a difficult year. as trading volume typically drops toward year-end, we expect increasingly volatile price swings," Reuters quoted Steel.
Silver prices for March delivery plummeted $2.325, or 7.4 percent, to settle at $28.935 an ounce. Silver prices touched a low at $28.530 and hit a high at $31.070 — a difference of $2.54.
Platinum prices for January delivery declined $66.00, or 4.4 percent, to $1,426.30 an ounce, trading between $1,408.50 and $1,484.10.
Palladium prices for March delivery dived $44.55, or 6.7 percent, to $619.60 an ounce, ranging from $600.50 to $649.50.
London Precious Metals
London precious metals losses were severe as well, but to a bit lesser degree than futures in New York. When comparing London fixings on Wednesday (PM) from those on Tuesday (PM), gold declined $69.50 to $1,603.00 an ounce, silver prices fell $1.42 to $29.92 an ounce, platinum lost $38.00 to $1,454.00 an ounce and palladium declined $44.00 to $617.00 an ounce.
U.S. Mint Bullion Coins
U.S. Mint gold bullion coins have moved forward in seven of the last eight days, maintaining a trend this year of rising quicker as precious metals fall faster. of note, the Mint’s popular one ounce bullion coins in the first 14 days of December have already surpassed each of their previous monthly sales totals.
On Wednesday, the American Gold Buffalo gained 1,500, bringing their December sales to 10,500. the 24-karat bullion coins jumped past their November sales of 8,500 on Tuesday.
The 22-karat American Gold Eagle stands at 41,500 for the month after a daily increase of 9,000. that gain lifted their monthly sales over November’s total of 38,500.
Finally, the American Silver Eagle advanced 50,000 to reach 1.406 million for the month. the daily increase drove the .999 fine silver bullion coins over their prior monthly sales of 1.384 million.
The latest daily, monthly, and year-to-date U.S. Mint bullion coin sales follow:
Sales of U.S. Mint American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Coins Daily GainsDecember GainsYTD 2011American Gold Eagle Coin (1 oz.)9,00041,500886,000American Gold Eagle Coin (1/2 oz.)0065,000American Gold Eagle Coin (1/4 oz.)0082,000American Gold Eagle Coin (1/10 oz.)00370,000American Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.)1,50010,500164,000American Silver Eagle (1 oz.)50,0001,406,00039,265,500Sales of America the beautiful 5 Oz. Silver Bullion Coins* Gains over Last WeekYTD 2011Gettysburg National Military Park 5 oz. Silver Coinn/a – sold out 126,700Glacier National Park 5 oz. Silver Coinn/a – sold out 126,700Olympic National Park 5 oz. Silver Coin083,300Vicksburg National Military Park 5 oz. Silver Coin032,500Chickasaw Park 5 oz. Silver Coin40025,100TOTAL400394,300
*The United States Mint does not provide daily sales figures for its 5-ounce silver coins. the sales are current as of Monday, December 12, 2011.
Gold for December delivery plummeted $101.90 to settle at $1,639.80 an ounce at the Comex division of the new York Mercantile Exchange. the gold price has traded as high as $1,757.90 and as low as $1,631.70, while the spot gold price was down $89, according to Kitco’s gold index. Silver prices torpedoed down $6.47 to close at $30.10 an ounce. the U.S. dollar index was down slightly at $78.33. Silver was getting hammered hard as were all industrial metals on global double-dip recession fears, although in after hours trading silver was climbing into the green. “It’s an absolute tantrum by most markets,” said Jon Nadler, senior analyst at Kitco.com, in describing the carnage in commodities. Gold prices tanked almost 10% in two days as investors rushed into cash, pushing the U.S. dollar index to a seven-month high. the dollar rally was pausing Friday, but the strong currency was still weighing on the metal. the two typically move inversely, and a strong dollar makes the dollar-backed commodity more expensive to buy in other currencies sidelining buyers. Traders also sold gold to raise cash to cover losses in stocks, and portfolio managers are rebalancing their books headed into the end of the third quarter — which means booking profits in gold. both technical factors pressured prices. “Liquidation selling in gold and silver seems to be outweighing its safe-haven buying,” said James Moore, research analyst at Fastmarkets.com, “but we would expect that to return before too long.” Nadler is a bit more skeptical, saying it’s possible gold prices make one more push higher on safe-haven buying as global stocks enter a bear market and investors panic over a global slowdown and no resolution to the European debt crisis. “It’s possible that we have one more push to the upside possibly above the previous highs in the low $1,900s but that has to come about quickly,” Nadler said. If gold prices can’t hold the $1,700 level, then Nadler foresees a correction to the mid-$1,600 level or even as deep as $1,480-$1,500 an ounce.