On the final day of February, gold and silver fell from multi-month highs on the combination of profit-taking and testimony by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke which offered no hints of further monetary easing.
"People were expecting that the Fed would loosen policies, even if the perception is that the economy is doing well," James Dailey, who manages $215 million at TEAM Financial Management LLC in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, said in a telephone interview recounted on Bloomberg. "The investor sentiment changed as the Fed committed to nothing. This is the manic nature of the market."
Gold prices tumbled $77.10, or 4.3%, to $1,711.30 an ounce in the April futures contract on the Comex in New York. Gold traded between an intraday low of $1,704.50 and a high of $1,792.30.
"There is no hint from Bernanke’s speech that there will be a QE3 type program which people have been hoping for," Reuters quoted Jeffrey Sherman, commodities portfolio manager of DoubleLine Capital, a Los Angeles-based investment manager with $28 billion in assets. "It’s just a pullback, it doesn’t feel like it would be the start of a bear market," Sherman said.
Gold still has gained $144.50, or 9.2%, in 2012. It was, however, the single precious metal to register a monthly loss.
Silver was pounded the hardest Wednesday. Silver prices for May delivery plunged $2.563, or 6.9%, to $34.642 an ounce, moving between $33.825 and $37.580. But the white metal came out ahead in February by $1.38, or 4.2%. Its pick-up for the year stands at $6.73, or 24.1%.
PGM metals were hurt least Wednesday and sported healthy gains in February of 3.2% for palladium and 6.6% for platinum — the best of the precious metals.
On Wednesday, platinum prices for April delivery declined $30.90, or 1.8%, to $1,692.60 an ounce, ranging from $1,678.10 to $1,739.00. Palladium prices for June delivery lost $13.80, or 1.9%, to $708.40 an ounce, ranging from $702.50 to $727.80.
For the year, platinum has advanced 20.5% while palladium is up 8.0%.
London Precious Metals
London precious metals had already been fixed before the impact of Bernanke’s testimony drove New York futures lowers. As such, most London Fix prices were higher. (Ironically, had precious metals dropped Wednesday in London as they did in New York, the U.S. Mint would not have raised prices on several of its collectible platinum and gold coin products.)
When comparing the London PM fixings between Tuesday and Wednesday, gold dipped $11.00 to $1,770.00 an ounce, silver jumped $1.63 to $37.23 an ounce, platinum rose $14.00 to $1,726.00 an ounce, and palladium added $10.00 to $722.00 an ounce.
London metals posted February gains of 1.5% for gold, 10.8% for silver, 6.3% for platinum and 4.3% for palladium.
U.S. Mint Bullion Coins
The U.S. Mint does not officially close out bullion coin sales figures for a month until the beginning of a new one — although figures published on the final day of the month often do not change.
The Mint’s two most popular bullion products advanced Wednesday. The one ounce Gold Eagle improved by 1,000 and the Silver Eagle rose by 30,000. The following are the latest available daily, monthly and year-to-date bullion sales figures.
|Sales of U.S. Mint American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Coins|
|Daily Gains||Feb. Gains||YTD 2012|
|American Gold Eagles (1 oz.)||1,000||20,000||104,500|
|American Gold Eagles (1/2 oz.)||0||0||49,000|
|American Gold Eagles (1/4 oz.)||0||2,000||40,000|
|American Gold Eagles (1/10 oz.)||0||5,000||90,000|
|American Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.)||00||7,000||20,500|
|American Silver Eagles||30,000||1,490,000||7,597,000|
|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||0||0||37,300|
|Chickasaw Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||0||300||28,400|
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 generally publish daily sales figures for its five-ounce silver coins. These latest sales are as of Monday, February 27, 2012.