Gold edged lower and toward $1,700 an ounce on Monday as investors remained cautious following last week’s 3.7% loss. News that China trimmed its 2012 economic growth expectations to 7.5% from 8% was also cited as a contributing bearish factor for the metal.
"Gold still faces near-term hurdles such as bouts of dollar strength, broad risk reduction and profit-taking," Suki Cooper, an analyst at Barclays Capital in New York, wrote in a report today and was quoted on Bloomberg. Still, "this is a healthy correction and, in our view, the broader macro backdrop remains gold favorable, given the negative interest-rate environment, longer-term inflationary concerns and lingering sovereign debt uncertainties."
Gold prices settled down $5.90, or 0.3%, to $1,703.90 an ounce in the April futures contract on the Comex in New York. Gold traded between $1,694.40 and $1,718.00.
"Proving for the nth time that what happens in China is a pivotal impact factor to the commodities’ space, the most recent developments in that country sent base and precious metals prices, along with most global equity markets, lower," wrote Jon Nadler, Senior Analyst at Kitco Metals Inc. "The first forecast for lower economic growth in eight years for that country derailed many an asset as the new trading week commenced. Gold and silver were clearly not immune to the negative news," added Nadler.
Silver prices for May delivery lost 83.0 cents, or 2.4%, to $33.695 an ounce, moving through an intraday range of $33.555 and $34.950. Silver fell 2.3% last week. The white metal still remains the best-performing precious metal this year with a gain of 20.7%.
Platinum prices for April delivery sank $29.10, or 1.7%, to $1,662.60 an ounce, ranging from $1,656.20 to $1,702.70.
Palladium prices for June delivery declined $5.60, or 0.8%, to $706.95 an ounce, ranging from $704.00 to $715.05.
London Precious Metals
Earlier fixed London precious metals declined as well. When comparing the London PM fixings from Friday to Monday, gold prices trimmed $2 to $1,705.00 an ounce, silver dropped $1.03 to $34.18 an ounce, platinum fell $32.00 to $1,672.00 an ounce, and palladium prices lost $4.00 to $709.00 an ounce.
U.S. Mint Bullion Coins – Silver Eagles Over 8 Million.
With silver prices falling, investment demand has improved for bullion Silver Eagles. Sales of the 99.9% fine silver coin climbed 180,000, extending the number of daily gains to six. That has not happened since January. The coin is at 455,000 for the month which is already 30.5% of the total reached in February. On another notable front, Silver Eagles have now topped 8 million in sales this year.
Also advancing on the day and for the first time in March was the bullion Gold Buffalo with its pick-up of 3,000.
The following are the most recent daily, weekly, monthly and year-to-date bullion sales figures as published by the U.S. Mint.
|Sales of U.S. Mint American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Coins|
|Daily Gains||March Gains||YTD 2012|
|American Gold Eagles (1 oz.)||0||8,500||113,000|
|American Gold Eagles (1/2 oz.)||0||0||49,000|
|American Gold Eagles (1/4 oz.)||0||0||40,000|
|American Gold Eagles (1/10 oz.)||0||0||90,000|
|American Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.)||3,000||3,000||23,500|
|American Silver Eagles||180,000||455,000||8,052,000|
|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 in the amount of ounces. The U.S. Mint rarely publishes daily sales figures for its biggest five-ounce silver coins. These latest sales are as of Monday, February 27, 2012.