Gold scored its fifth straight weekly gain and closed at a fresh, more than two-month high as investors turned to safer bets with stocks plunging for a second day.
Gold for February delivery on Friday edged up $2, or 0.2%, to settle at $1,264.30 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The closing price was the strongest since Nov. 10 and 1% higher than a week ago.
"The existing pullback in equities markets has led to some ‘safe-haven’ buying, the potential for an increase in gold imports to India if they lower the import duty, along with efforts in Europe to continue their own quantitative-easing policies are all supportive of gold at the present time," MarketWatch quoted Jeffrey Wright, managing director at H.C. Wainwright.
In U.S. stocks, the Dow posted its worst week since November 2011 and the S&P 500 dropped the most in a week since May 2012 with respective losses of 3.5% and 2.6%.
Most participants in Kitco News’ weekly gold survey forecast further gains. The majority has accurately predicted gold’s upward climb since missing the first weekly gain in its current streak of five.
"In the Kitco News Gold Survey, out of 33 participants, 22 responded this week. Thirteen see prices up, while five see prices down and four see prices trading sideways or are neutral," reports Kitco.
"Those who see weaker prices suggested that gold could digest some of its recent gains and pull back before deciding on its next direction. Those who are neutral are waiting for the Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee meeting to conclude before jumping back in."
Gold prices for the year have jumped 5.2% after dropping 28.3% last year to log the worst annual loss in more than three decades.
Silver, Platinum and Palladium Futures
Falling in four of five days this week to include Friday, silver snapped a streak of four weekly increases by losing 2.7%.
In its final settlement of the week, silver for March delivery lost 25 cents, or 1.2%, to close at $19.77 an ounce.
In other precious metals futures on Friday:
April platinum fell $34.60, or 2.4%, to finish at $1,428.60 an ounce.
- Palladium for March delivery shed $11.10, or 1.5%, to end at $734.80 an ounce.
Each of the two metals declined 1.8% on the week.
London Fix Precious Metals
For a second day in a row, London precious metals fixings divided with gold and silver higher and platinum and palladium lower. When comparing the London fix prices from Thursday PM to Friday PM:
- Gold rose $4, or 0.3%, to $1,267 an ounce,
- Silver added 8 cents, or 0.4%, to $20.19 an ounce,
- Platinum declined $11, or 0.8%, to $1,443 an ounce, and
- Palladium slipped $1, or 0.1%, to $745 an ounce
The metals also moved in the same direction for week. Gains included 1.4% for gold and 0.9% for silver. Platinum and palladium each dipped 0.3%.
US Mint Bullion Sales in January
Sales this week slowed for U.S. Mint bullion coins. A drop-off was expected compared to first weekly orders of the bureau’s new 2014-dated American Eagle and American Buffalo coins.
Under an allocation system, 2014 American Eagle silver coins launched on Jan. 13 and registered first week sales of 3,464,000. The Mint said this week’s Silver Eagle allocation would be much lower at about 500,000 to 600,000 coins. The amount let go ended up at 550,000. January sales so far of 4,014,000 coins are the highest for a month since July’s 4,406,500 coins. However, the all-time monthly record of 7,498,000 coins, set in January 2013, appears out of reach.
American Eagle gold coins advanced this week by 6,000 ounces compared to the prior week’s 29,000 ounces and the first week’s 54,500 ounces. January to date sales of 89,500 ounces are the highest since last year’s top month, April at 209,000 ounces. A total of 150,000 ounces moved in January 2013.
American Buffalo gold coins were flat this week, remaining at 39,500. The tally is the highest for a month since sales of 72,500 in January 2013.
Here is a bullion sales breakdown:
|American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Sales (# of coins)|
|Friday Sales||Weekly Sales||2014 Sales to Jan. 24|
|$50 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins||0||5,000||61,500|
|$25 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins||0||2,000||12,000|
|$10 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins||0||0||28,000|
|$5 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins||0||0||150,000|
|$50 American Buffalo Gold Bullion Coins||0||0||39,500|
|American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins||10,500||550,000||4,014,000|
In related coin news, the United States Mint released the numismatic proof version of the Silver Eagle on Thursday. Its regular issue price is $52.95.