Gold Prices Rise 10.2% for 11th Annual Gain, Silver Falls 9.8% in 2011

by Mike Unser on December 31, 2011 · 2 comments

Fine Gold Bars Gold futures advanced nearly $26 Friday, rebounding from six straight session losses to close out a roller-coaster year with a gain of 10.2% — an 11th consecutive annual increase.

Other precious metals rallied as well, chipping away tiny slices from what turned out to be staggering yearly losses. Platinum and palladium were hit hardest in 2011, falling 21.0% and 18.3%, respectively. Silver was hammered 9.8% lower than its close last year.

Returning to the yellow metal, gold prices advanced $25.90, or 1.7%, to settle at $1,566.80 an ounce in the February futures contract on the Comex in New York. For the year, gold surged $145.40 above its 2010 settlement price of $1,421.40 an ounce — a nice rally for sure, but timid against its previous annual gain of $325.20, or 29.7%. Gold not only strayed away from its safe-haven path with frequent volatile binges, its luster dimmed 3.4% since September to snap a streak of 12 straight quarterly gains. Its future direction is more uncertain than ever.

"We think gold could struggle into the first part of 2012 and potentially drop into the $1,300 to $1,450 region," Reuters quoted Mark Arbeter, chief technical strategist of S&P Capital IQ. "…considering that gold remains in a decade-long bull market, in our view, we think a major bottom could be seen in the weeks ahead."

Other analysts expect improvement next week, according to the latest weekly Kitco survey. Of participants, 14 project higher prices while 4 voted lower.

"Friday’s strong price rebound may be signaling a period of price consolidation is at hand. We may see renewed short covering buying that has the potential to once again test the $1,600 level, basis the February futures, next week," Mike Zarembski, senior commodity analyst at optionsXpress, was quoted in the Kitco Metals survey.

On another flip side, Bloomberg’s weekly survey has 13 participants expecting lower prices with 6 seeing them higher — the most bearish casting results for gold since July 29. Bloomberg did note that Dennis Gartman, the often cited economist and editor of the Gartman Letter, said he is "about to become bullish."

"We did not expect to see gold hold as well as it has or did in the past 24 hours," Gartman wrote in his letter e-mailed Friday.

Silver, Platinum, and Palladium

Silver prices for March delivery ended up 60.0 cents, or 2.2%, to $27.915 an ounce. The white metal traveled upon a rocky road in 2011, falling $3.022 from last year’s close of $30.937 an ounce when prices raced 83.7% higher. After soaring 22.5% in the first quarter, silver dropped 8.1% in the second, fell 13.6% in the third and finished up with a loss of 7.2% in fourth. In between were spikes that made gold’s volatility look mild.

Platinum and palladium were on the ropes for most of the year, an obvious fact noted by their enormous annual losses — $373.30 for platinum and $147.35 for palladium.

On Friday, platinum prices for April delivery gained $38.10, or 2.8%, to $1,404.90 an ounce while palladium prices for March delivery surged $32.40, or 5.2%, to $656.15 an ounce.

With palladium’s rallying fury Friday coupled with earlier gains, the PGM metal advanced 6.8% since September — the only precious metal to register a quarterly gain. Platinum dropped 7.8% during the last three months.

London Precious Metals

London precious metals movements were a few percentage marks different than futures in New York for 2011. The gold Fix ended up 11.7% higher on the year. Rounding out the yearly losses by order of magnitude, silver declined 8.0%, palladium declined 19.6% and platinum lost 20.2%. In their final 2011 fixings:

  • Gold prices advanced $43.50 to $1,574.50,
  • Silver added $2.02 to $28.18,
  • Platinum gained $27.00 to $1,381.00, and
  • Palladium climbed $6.00 to $636.00

Annual performances for London precious metals over the last 11 years follows.

2000-2011 Gold Prices and Annual Gains/Losses
Year Price $ Annual Gain % Annual Gain
2000 $272.65
2001 $276.50 $3.85 1.41%
2002 $342.75 $66.25 23.96%
2003 $417.25 $74.50 21.74%
2004 $435.60 $18.35 4.40%
2005 $513.00 $77.40 17.77%
2006 $635.70 $122.70 23.92%
2007 $836.50 $200.80 31.59%
2008 $865.00 $28.50 3.41%
2009 $1,104.00 $239.00 27.63%
2010 $1,410.25 $306.25 27.74%
2011 $1,574.50 $164.25 11.65%

 

2000-2011 Silver Prices and Annual Gains/Losses
Year Price $ Annual Gain % Annual Gain
2000 $4.58
2001 $4.52 -$0.06 -1.20%
2002 $4.67 $0.15 3.21%
2003 $5.97 $1.30 27.87%
2004 $6.77 $0.81 13.50%
2005 $8.83 $2.06 30.43%
2006 $12.90 $4.07 46.09%
2007 $14.76 $1.86 14.42%
2008 $10.79 -$3.97 -26.90%
2009 $16.99 $6.20 57.46%
2010 $30.63 $13.64 80.28%
2011 $28.18 -$2.45 -8.00%

 

2000-2011 Platinum Prices and Annual Gains/Losses
Year Price $ Annual Gain % Annual Gain
2000 $611.00
2001 $477.00 -$134.00 -21.93%
2002 $598.00 $121.00 25.37%
2003 $814.00 $216.00 36.12%
2004 $859.50 $45.50 5.59%
2005 $964.00 $104.50 12.16%
2006 $1,117.00 $153.00 15.87%
2007 $1,529.00 $412.00 36.88%
2008 $899.00 -$630.00 -41.20%
2009 $1,466.00 $567.00 63.07%
2010 $1,731.00 $265.00 18.08%
2011 $1,381.00 -$350.00 -20.22%

 

2000-2011 Palladium Prices and Annual Gains/Losses
Year Price $Annual Gain % Annual Gain
2000 $954.00
2001 $440.00 -$514.00 -53.88%
2002 $233.00 -$207.00 -47.05%
2003 $193.00 -$40.00 -17.17%
2004 $184.00 -$9.00 -4.66%
2005 $253.00 $69.00 37.50%
2006 $324.00 $71.00 28.06%
2007 $370.00 $46.00 14.20%
2008 $183.50 -$186.50 -50.41%
2009 $402.00 $218.50 119.07%
2010 $791.00 $389.00 96.77%
2011 $636.00 -$155.00 -19.60%

 

U.S. Mint Bullion Coins

It is an extremely rare week when zero gains are reported by the U.S. Mint for its popular American Eagle bullion coins. That would appear to be the case for the final week in 2011. However, the U.S. Mint has not officially closed out the month of December, meaning accounting updates may occur immediately after the new year. If not, the only bullion coin advancing this week was the American Gold Buffalo, up 1,000.

The latest daily, weekly, 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 Prior Weekly Weekly Gains December Gains YTD 2011
American Gold Eagle Coin (1 oz.) 0 0 0 65,500 910,000
American Gold Eagle Coin (1/2 oz.) 0 0 0 0 65,000
American Gold Eagle Coin (1/4 oz.) 0 0 0 0 82,000
American Gold Eagle Coin (1/10 oz.) 0 0 0 0 370,000
American Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.) 0 6,500 1,000 21,000 174,500
American Silver Eagle 0 450,000 0 2,009,000 39,868,500

 

Sales of America the Beautiful 5 Oz. Silver Bullion Coins*
Prior Weekly Weekly Gains 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 0 84,100
Vicksburg National Military Park 5 oz. Silver Coin 500 0 33,800
Chickasaw Park 5 oz. Silver Coin 500 0 26,400
TOTAL 1,000 0 397,700

 

*The United States Mint does not always provide daily sales figures for its 5-ounce silver coins. The sales were last reported as current as of Monday, December 19, 2011.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Kevin January 2, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Funny how a financial network reported how gold was ‘down 20% since….[its high this year]’ rather than its bull run for 11 years.
Just compare gold’s performance with the DOW over the last 10 years. You’ll likely never see that comparison done on tv.

bill January 2, 2012 at 11:17 pm

The Main Stream Media is the enemy.

They only tell you what the people making the rules (banksters) want you to hear.

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