Gold was the lone precious metal to advance Friday, but all of the major metals logged weekly losses due, in large part, to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s Congressional testimony on Thursday which lacked hints of stimulus and dashed investors’ hopes.
Precious metals registered weekly losses of 1.9% for gold, 0.1% for silver, 0.6% for platinum and 0.3% for palladium. Support for gold on Friday was attributed to a bit of safe-haven buying.
"There is a tremendous amount of fear going into the weekend as to what’s going to happen with the bailout on Spanish banks. That is driving people into a safe haven, which gold represents," Reuters quoted Jeffrey Sica, chief investment officer at SICA Wealth Management LLC, which has $1 billion in assets.
"Gold is trading so volatile that smaller moves could be very much exaggerated just based on momentum. We could see it plunge or surge at any given moment," Sica said.
In closing, gold prices for August delivery rose $3.40, or 0.2%, to $1,591.40 an ounce on the Comex in New York. The yellow metal traded between an intraday low of $1,556.40 and a high of $1,596.30.
"Gold is always a speculation on monetary policy, but the last week’s action shows leveraged traders treating it like live in-running sports gambling," MarketWatch quoted Adrian Ash, head of research at BullionVault.
"Up on nonfarm [payrolls data], back down on Bernanke — gold continues to lack direction versus the dollar near-term, but the clear trend for euro-zone buyers is higher," he said in emailed comments. "And just like early last summer, that’s where the imminent crisis is."
Gold has gained $24.60, or 1.6%, in 2012.
Gold Prices Expected Higher Next Week
More analysts, bullion dealers and traders are bullish than bearish for gold prices in the coming days, based on surveys conducted by Kitco and Bloomberg.
"In the Kitco News Gold Survey, out of 33 participants, 27 responded this week. Of those 27 participants, 13 see prices up, while nine see prices down, and five are neutral," reports Kitco News.
"Even though the Fed did not tip its hand about stimulus, ideas of more central-bank action because of a possible global economic slowdown has bullish survey participants expecting higher prices…
A number of participants were bearish on prices, citing the way gold could not hold support at $1,600 an ounce this week."
Twenty-four of 31 traders and analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expect gold to move higher next week. Four were bearish and 3 neutral.
In other precious metals closings Friday:
Silver prices for July delivery edged down 5.8 cents, or 0.2%, to $28.471 an ounce. Silver ranged between $27.910 and $28.65.
Platinum prices for July delivery closed at $1,425.10 an ounce, dropping $15.80, or 1.1%. The PGM metal traded between a low of $1,413.70 and a high of $1,446.00.
- Palladium prices for September delivery declined $13.75, or 2.2%, to $612.00 an ounce, ranging from $608.80 to $631.05.
For the year, both silver and platinum have climbed with respective increases of 2.0% and 1.4%. Palladium stands alone with its year-to-date loss of 6.7%.
London Precious Metal
London precious metals were decidedly lower Friday. When comparing the most recent London PM fixings:
- Gold declined $29.50, or 1.8%, to $1,576.50 an ounce,
- Silver fell $1.11 cents, or 3.8%, to $28.17 an ounce,
- Platinum shed $49.00, or 3.3%, to $1,417.00 an ounce, and
- Palladium lost $16.00, or 2.5%, to $613.00 an ounce
For the week, London gold retreated 1.8%. Other precious metals marked increases of 2.9% for silver, 0.7% for platinum and 1.0% for palladium.
Sales of U.S. Mint Bullion Coins
As gold and silver prices fell, sales of U.S. Mint bullion coins took off. Friday was easily the strongest day of the week for the Mint’s 24- and 22-karat gold coins and for its 99.9% fine silver coins.
Over the past five days, U.S. Mint authorized purchasers ordered 12,000 ounces of gold coins as compared to the prior week’s total of 6,500 ounces. Between the bureau’s five ounce and one ounce silver coins, sales advanced by 745,000 ounces against the previous week’s 550,500 ounces.
The following are the latest daily, weekly, June and year-to-date bullion coin sales totals as published by the U.S. Mint.
|Sales of US Mint American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Coin|
|Daily Gains||Prior Weekly||Weekly/June Gains||YTD 2012|
|American Gold Eagle Coins (1 oz.)||9,500||5,000||10,000||240,00|
|American Gold Eagle Coins (1/2 oz.)||0||0||0||54,000|
|American Gold Eagle Coins (1/4 oz.)||0||0||0||46,000|
|American Gold Eagle Coins (1/10 oz.)||5,000||0||5,000||155,000|
|American Gold Buffalo Coins (1 oz.)||1,000||1,500||1,500||66,500|
|American Eagle Silver Coins||448,000||522,500||738,000||15,272,000|
|Sales of America the Beautiful 5 Oz. Silver Bullion Coins|
|Daily Gains||Prior Weekly||Weekly/June Gains||All-Time Total|
|2012 El Yunque National Forest 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins||400||5,400||1,200||6,600|
|2011 Olympic National Park 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins||0||100||0||85,200|
|2011 Vicksburg National Military Park 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins||0||100||200||38,600|
|2011 Chickasaw Park 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins||0||0||0||28,900|
U.S. Mint figures above are in coin totals, not the amount of ounces sold.