Gold prices advanced in four of five days this week. Three were surging increases which propelled the yellow metal to its best weekly pick-up of the year with a gain of $68.20, or 4.1%.
Gold settled mildly higher Friday to extend a winning streak that began on Wednesday when the Federal Reserve pledged to keep ultra-low interest rates until late 2014.
"The trigger offered by the Fed definitely helped," said Daniel Briesemann, an analyst at Commerzbank AG in Frankfurt, according to Bloomberg. "The opportunity costs of holding gold will remain low in the future and this should boost the attractiveness of gold. We don’t see an end to the long-term uptrend in gold prices."
In closing the week, gold prices edged up $5.50, or 0.3%, to $1,732.20 an ounce in the February futures contract on the Comex in New York. Prices moved between an intraday low of $1,714.20 and a high of $1,735.00.
Gold’s weekly advance followed a 2.0% increase last week, a 0.9 % rise in the second week of the year and an improvement of 3.2% during the first week. Gold surged 10.2% last year for an 11th straight annual gain. The precious metal is already up $165.40, or 10.6%, in 2012. Expectations remain high for continued gains, as highlighted in the latest weekly surveys.
"A heavy majority of participants in Kitco News’ Gold Survey this week expect prices to rise as some technical indicators have turned positive in the short-term and after a dovish statement by the Federal Open Market Committee meeting on Wednesday," reports Kitco News.
"In the Kitco News Gold Survey, out of 32 participants, 25 responded this week. Of those 25 participants, 19 see prices up, while six see prices down, and none are neutral on prices..
Several participants cited the announcement from the FOMC to extend the ultra-low U.S. interest outlook until 2014 as bullish for gold. Some participants who were previously expecting prices to fall in this quarter changed…"
In Bloomberg’s weekly gold survey, 9 participants expect higher gold prices next week while 6 are bearish.
Silver, Platinum, and Palladium Futures Surge on Week
In other precious metals, silver prices for March delivery added 4.7 cents, or 0.1%, to $33.790 an ounce. The white metal traded between $33.240 and $33.940. Silver surged 6.7% (+$2.12) this week and it has rallied 21.0% (+$5.875) in 2012, maintaining a healthy lead as this year’s top performing precious metal.
Platinum prices for April delivery ended up $6.20, or 0.4%, to $1,623.00 an ounce, ranging from $1,603.30 to $1,627.80. The PGM metal shot up 5.9% (+$90.70) for the week and has cruised ahead 15.5% (+$218.10) in 2012.
Palladium prices for March delivery declined $4.30 or 0.6%, to $690.15 an ounce, trading between $681.00 and $694.80. Palladium gained 2.1% (+$14.45) this week and it has advanced 5.2% (+$34.00) in 2012.
London Precious Metals
Precious metals in London, with the exception of silver, retreated Friday after rallying Thursday. When comparing London PM fixings between both days;
- Gold declined $1.00 to $1,726.00 an ounce,
- Silver advanced 13.0 cents to $33.48 an ounce,
- Platinum fell $7.00 to $1,608.00 an ounce, and
- Palladium stepped back $14.00 to $684.00 an ounce
Like bullion futures in New York, London precious metals rallied over last Friday’s prices with weekly gains of 4.4% for gold, 10.3% for silver, 6.0% for platinum and 2.2% for palladium.
U.S. Mint Bullion Coins
American Gold Eagles registered weekly sales of 15,000 ounces due to sharp gains on Monday and Friday. While high, the amount was below the 20,500 ounces sold by the U.S. Mint during the previous week. Year-to-date Gold Eagle sales are at 121,000 ounces which is the highest since August. In types and number of bullion coins sold this month:
- the one ounce Gold Eagle is at 79,500 which is the most since September,
- the half ounce Gold Eagle is at 49,000 which is the highest since December 2009,
- the quarter ounce Gold Eagle is at 38,000 which is the strongest since June 2010, and
- the tenth ounce Gold Eagle is 75,000 which is the best since February
Combined across all Gold Eagle bullion coins, 241,500 have been ordered in January which is the most in a month since June 2010.
Despite silver’s soaring increases this week, American Silver Eagle sales were somewhat tame as they came in at the lowest weekly level of the year. The 99.9% fine silver coin climbed 400,000 this week after gains of 250,000 on Monday with the remainder on Thursday. Overall, January sales are at 5,697,000 for the second highest monthly total in the series 26-year history. The all-time Silver Eagle monthly record occurred in January 2011 at 6.422 million.
The latest daily, weekly, and year-to-date sales of U.S. Mint bullion coins follow:
|Sales of U.S. Mint American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Coins|
|Daily Gains||Prior Weekly||Weekly Gains||January/YTD 2012|
|American Gold Eagle Coin (1 oz.)||3,500||6,000||12,000||79,500|
|American Gold Eagle Coin (1/2 oz.)||3,000||28,000||3,000||49,000|
|American Gold Eagle Coin (1/4 oz.)||6,000||2,000||6,000||38,000|
|American Gold Eagle Coin (1/10 oz.)||0||0||0||75,000|
|American Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.)||500||1,500||1,500||11,000|
|American Silver Eagle||0||700,000||400,000||5,697,000|
|Sales of America the Beautiful 5 Oz. Silver Bullion Coins|
|Prior Weekly||Weekly Gains||All-Time Total|
|Olympic National Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||0||0||84,600|
|Vicksburg National Military Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||2,000||1,000||37,300|
|Chickasaw Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||500||700||28,100|
All bullion coins in the above tables are in the number of sold, not the amount of ounces. The United States Mint does not provide daily sales figures for its 5-ounce silver bullion coins, but figures were updated Friday after having been silent since the January 17, 2012.