Gold prices advanced Wednesday after two straight days of losses that were driven by S&P’s review and possible credit downgrades of euro zone members. Trading was thin, however, as investors were said to be on the sidelines waiting for Friday’s meeting of European leaders and their actions to address the region’s debt-woes.
"The S&P credit watch is a reflection of stresses in the euro zone, which argue for lower gold prices," HSBC Securities analyst James Steel said in a note to clients cited on MarketWatch. However, "on balance, we believe that the [European Union] summit will boost gold prices, unless ratings agencies further downgrade euro-zone nations’ credit ratings."
Gold prices gained $13.00, or 0.8 percent, to $1,744.80 an ounce in the February futures contract on the Comex in New York. Gold ranged from $1,723.60 to $1,747.00.
"Market participants are in the midst of the traditional year-end book-squaring/window-dressing/portfolio reshuffling frenzy and some will thus take some profitable gold chips off the table. Thus, apart from news headlines-induced counterintuitive rallies or sell-offs, the volatility that such year-end preparations bring about will be amply on display for a couple more weeks," noted Jon Nadler, Senior Analyst at Kitco Metals Inc.
"Still, the current behavior of gold appears to have even the pros publicly declaring that they are a tad baffled. Others are reluctant to unwind positions before the EU summit draws to a close and have been pinning gold rally hopes on a positive outcome from that gathering."
Silver prices for March delivery edged down 11.7 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $32.627 an ounce. Silver on the day moved between a low of $32.265 and a high of $32.860.
Platinum prices for January delivery dipped $2.00, or 0.1 percent, to $1,522.00 an ounce, ranging between $1,510.00 and $1,538.40.
Marking eight straight session increases, palladium prices for March delivery advanced $14.55, or 2.2 percent, to $685.45 an ounce, trading from $671.25 to $690.00. Palladium has gained $115.35, or 20.2 percent, since November 25.
London Precious Metals
After falling across the board Tuesday, London precious metals advanced together Wednesday. When comparing London fixings on Wednesday (PM) from those on Tuesday (PM), gold prices climbed $27.00 to $1,735.00 an ounce, silver gained 60.0 cents to $32.45 an ounce, platinum added $13.00 to $1,518.00 an ounce and palladium surged $43.00 to $681.00 an ounce.
U.S. Mint Bullion Coin Weekly Sales
Gains in U.S. Mint bullion coins were limited to gold products for a second straight day. The Gold Buffalo added 500 and the one ounce Gold Eagle advanced 1,500. 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 Gains||December Gains||YTD 2011|
|American Gold Eagle Coin (1 oz.)||1,500||14,000||858,500|
|American Gold Eagle Coin (1/2 oz.)||0||0||65,000|
|American Gold Eagle Coin (1/4 oz.)||0||0||82,000|
|American Gold Eagle Coin (1/10 oz.)||0||0||370,000|
|American Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.)||500||7,500||161,000|
|American Silver Eagle (1 oz.)||0||806,000||38,665,500|
|Sales of America the Beautiful 5 Oz. Silver Bullion Coins*|
|Gains Over Last Week||YTD 2011|
|Gettysburg National Military Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||n/a – sold out||126,700|
|Glacier National Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||n/a – sold out||126,700|
|Olympic National Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||0||83,300|
|Vicksburg National Military Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||300||32,500|
|Chickasaw Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||300||24,700|
*The United States Mint does not provide daily sales figures for its 5-ounce silver coins. The sales are current as of Monday, December 5, 2011.