U.S. precious metals were mixed Wednesday as gold prices rose $2.00, or 0.1 percent, and silver dipped 11.1 cents, or 0.4 percent. Palladium again was the best performing metal with its pick-up of 1.1 percent. Platinum edged higher by 0.5 percent.
Gold’s second straight day of gains was supported by continued weakness in the dollar. The greenback took a hit early after U.S. housing starts data for December showed a larger-than-expected drop of 4.3 percent to a 529,000 annual rate, the lowest level since October 2009. The Dollar Index fell to its lowest point since November.
"Gold is higher with renewed dollar weakness," Matthew Zeman, a metal trader at LaSalle Futures Group in Chicago, said via Bloomberg. "Labor and housing remain the thorn in the side of the domestic recovery."
February gold prices settled to $1,370.20 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Prices ranged from a low of $1,365.50 to a high of $1,378.90.
"The U.S. dollar index was under strong selling pressure again Wednesday and hit another fresh two-month low as the greenback bears have gained fresh downside near-term technical momentum," noted Jim Wyckoff over at Kitco News. "If the U.S. dollar index continues on a downward path in the near term, look for gold prices to trade sideways to higher."
Silver prices for March delivery settled to $28.801 an ounce. They ranged from $28.725 to $29.490.
Platinum prices for April delivery gained $9.80 to $1,838.10 an ounce. Platinum ranged between $1,824.10 and $1,851.10 an ounce, the highest price since July 2008.
Palladium prices for March delivery added $9.30 to $819.75 an ounce. Palladium ranged from $811.65 to $829.85.
In PM London bullion prices, the benchmark gold Fix rose $2.50 from the previous PM fixing to $1,372.00 an ounce. The silver fixing was $29.320 an ounce, advancing 53.0 cents. Platinum was $1,845.00 an ounce, gaining $21.00 for a second straight day. Palladium was higher by $19 with its fixing at $824.00 an ounce.
U.S Mint bullion coin sales figures were unchanged from the previous day.
|U.S. Mint 2011 Bullion Coin Sales|
|Daily Gain||January Totals|
|American Eagle Gold Coin (1 oz)||0||73,000|
|American Eagle Gold Coin (1/2 oz)||0||1,000|
|American Eagle Gold Coin (1/4 oz)||0||2,000|
|American Eagle Gold Coin (1/10 oz)||0||15,000|
|American Eagle Silver (1 oz)||0||4,588,000|