U.S. gold prices closed to another fresh record near $1,493 an ounce and silver followed as it settled near $43 an ounce after Standard & Poor’s downgraded its long-term outlook for U.S. debt to negative.
June gold prices added $6.90, or 0.5 percent, to finish at $1,492.90 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Gold traded between $1,477.80 and $1,498.60.
"The perception that a downgrade would even be possible for the U.S. is driving the gold market," Frank McGhee, the head dealer at Integrated Brokerage Services LLC in Chicago, was quoted on Bloomberg. "The dollar is going to get whacked."
"The U.S. debt situation got a reality check this morning from the move by S&P," John Kilduff, a partner at Again Capital in New York, said according to Reuters. "Only precious metals will be seen as attractive in the aftermath of the outlook downgrade. The overall economic outlook becomes more opaque with this; equities and energies will be very much under pressure now."
Silver prices for May delivery rose 38.5 cents, or 0.9 percent, to settle at $42.956 an ounce. Silver ranged from $42.200 to $43.560 — its highest level in 31 years.
Platinum prices for July delivery lost $12.00, or 0.7 percent, to end at $1,782.80 an ounce. Platinum hit an intraday low of $1,778.50 and a high of $1,800.00.
Palladium prices for June delivery plummeted $29.00, or 3.8 percent, to $739.10 an ounce. Palladium traded between $735.10 and $770.05.
New York precious metals prices followed the direction of the earlier London PM fixing prices. In London, gold and silver were higher and platinum and palladium lower when comparing their Monday to Friday PM fixes.
The PM gold fix added $16.25 at $1,493.00 an ounce. Silver prices advanced 18.0 cents at $42.790 an ounce. The platinum fix fell $9.00 at $1,778.00 an ounce. Palladium declined $23.00 at $749.00 an ounce.
As has been the case in recent weeks, Mondays tend to be the best day for U.S. Mint bullion coins — at least for the one-ounce sizes which were the only gainers. Daily increases were:
- 9,500 for the Gold Eagles
- 2,500 for the Gold Buffalo
- 658,500 for the Silver Eagle
Bullion Silver Eagles have now topped 14.5 million in sales for the year.
The following are the latest U.S. Mint sales figures:
|U.S. Mint 2011 Bullion Coin Sales|
|April 2011||YTD 2011|
|American Eagle Gold Coin (1 oz)||56,000||319,500|
|American Eagle Gold Coin (1/2 oz)||0||22,000|
|American Eagle Gold Coin (1/4 oz)||0||40,000|
|American Eagle Gold Coin (1/10 oz)||15,000||175,000|
|American Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz)||12,500||50,500|
|American Eagle Silver (1 oz)||2,079,500||14,508,500|