Gold prices edged modestly higher Tuesday, capping a January gain of 11.1% and contrasting starkly against the 10.5% meltdown seen during December — although gold still closed 10.2% higher in 2011.
"There’s been a lot of money put to work here during January. Gold was at the beginning of the year one of the few commodities that everyone felt would be a good performer and people have been investing accordingly," Reuters quoted Ole Hansen, senior manager at Saxo bank.
"After the big sell-off we had, there was a lot of nervousness heading into the last quarter. But the decisive move we’ve had, especially over the last week or so, has removed some of that worry," Hansen said.
In ending the month of January, gold prices tacked on $6.00, or 0.3%, to $1,740.40 an ounce in the April futures contract on the Comex in New York. Gold prices moved from an intraday low of $1,727.00 to a high of $1,750.60. Euro zone debt issues remain attractive for gold going forward, according to some analysts.
"Even though the situation is now easing slightly and sentiment is improving, the crisis is far from over. This is likely to maintain a high level of demand for gold in particular," Commerzbank analysts said in a note to clients that was cited on MarketWatch and in reference to pressures on Greece and its debt woes.
Silver prices for March delivery retreated 26.5 cents, or 0.8%, to $33.262 an ounce, moving between $32.930 and $34.130. In percentage, silver was the best performing precious metal in January with a gain of 19.2%. The white metal shot $5.35 higher in dollar terms.
Jim Wyckoff of Kitco News writes in the Tuesday Kitco Roundup about silver’s near-term technicals:
"March silver futures prices closed nearer the session low Tuesday and scored another bearish ‘outside day’ down on the daily bar chart after scoring a fresh 10-week high early on. Profit taking was featured and no significant chart damage occurred.
Silver bulls still have the overall near-term technical advantage. A four-week-old uptrend is in place on the daily bar chart. Bulls’ next upside price breakout objective is closing prices above solid technical resistance at the October high of $35.68 an ounce.
The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at last week’s low of $31.525. First resistance is seen at $33.50 and then at $34.00. Next support is seen at Tuesday’s low of $32.93 and then at $32.50. Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 6.0."
In PGM metals, platinum prices for April delivery declined $28.20, or 1.7%, to $1,588.10 an ounce, trading between $1,583.10 and $1,633.00, while palladium prices for March delivery dipped $2.15 or 0.3%, to $686.35 an ounce, ranging from $684.15 to $696.95.
For January, platinum surged $183.20, or 13.0%, while palladium gained $30.20, or 4.6%.
London Precious Metals
London precious metals registered healthy pick-ups for the day and month. In comparing London PM fixings between Monday and Tuesday, gold prices added $15.00 to $1,744.00 an ounce, silver advanced 42.0 cents to $33.60 an ounce, platinum climbed $21.00 to $1,624.00 an ounce and palladium added $8.00 to $692.00 an ounce.
Like bullion futures in New York, London precious metals rallied in January. Monthly gains included 10.8% for gold, 19.2% for silver, 17.6% for platinum and 8.8% for palladium.
U.S. Mint Bullion Coins
Each of the U.S. Mint’s one ounce American Eagle bullion coins advanced Tuesday. As is often the case, Silver Eagles rose the most with a daily increase of 25,000. While the Mint has not officially closed out January, the latest Silver Eagle sales of 6.107 million could very well be the final figure for the month. That would fall directly behind the all-time monthly Silver Eagle sales record of 6.422 million which was set one year ago.
Check the following tables for other daily and year-to date U.S. Mint bullion coin sales.
|Sales of U.S. Mint American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Coins|
|Daily Gains||January/YTD 2012|
|American Gold Eagle Coin (1 oz.)||3,500||84,500|
|American Gold Eagle Coin (1/2 oz.)||0||49,000|
|American Gold Eagle Coin (1/4 oz.)||0||38,000|
|American Gold Eagle Coin (1/10 oz.)||10,000||85,000|
|American Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.)||1,500||13,500|
|American Silver Eagles||25,000||6,107,000|
|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||1,000||0||37,300|
|Chickasaw Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||700||0||28,100|
All bullion coin totals in the above tables are in the number of coins sold, not the amount of ounces. The U.S. Mint does not publish daily sales figures for its five-ounce silver coins. The latest five-ounce sales were provided on Friday, January 27, 2012.