Gold futures on Friday settled higher for the first time since a nine-session winning streak ended on Wednesday. The move lifted gold for a third weekly gain with prices up 0.4% from the week ago close.
Gold for April delivery climbed $6.70, or 0.5%, to settle at $1,323.60 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Bullish technical charts, weaker-than-expected economic data and safe-haven demand have been supportive of the yellow metal, opined analysts.
"Gold continues to get some support from weaker U.S. data," Bart Melek, an analyst at TD Securities in Toronto, said in a telephone interview according to Bloomberg News. "Prices have largely remained range bound after rising above $1,320, since it still looks like the Fed will continue to shrink the stimulus."
Gold is "attractive as a hedge against exposure to emerging-market assets, acting as a stabilizer when emerging economies suffer wobbles. Recent events, for example in Turkey, show that these risks haven’t disappeared, and that problems in individual countries can trigger fresh demand for gold," MarketWatch quoted Gary Dugan, chief investment officer for Asia and the Middle East at Coutts.
"Several technical events have confirmed the bullish nature of the recent upturn in gold after last year’s precipitous price decline," Kitco News quoted Ralph Preston, principal, Heritage West Financial.
Majority participants in weekly gold surveys by Kitco News have accurately predicted gold’s direction in seven of the last eight weeks. Most participants in Kitco’s latest survey see higher gold prices next week.
"Out of 33 participants, 23 responded this week. Nineteen see prices up, while two see prices down and two see prices trading sideways or are neutral," reports Kitco News.
"Few survey participants are neutral or bearish. The couple of participants who see weaker prices said given the sharp rally gold has experienced in February, it is due for a pullback in the short term."
Gold prices for the month so far have jumped $83.80, or 6.8%. They are up on the year by $121.30, or 10.1%.
Silver, Platinum and Palladium Futures
Silver tracked gold and also rose for the first time in three sessions. Silver for March delivery tacked on 10 cents, or 0.5%, to close at $21.78 an ounce. It notched eleven straight session gains until dropping on Wednesday. Silver prices advanced 1.7% on the week.
PGMs scored increases as well. In their breakdowns on Friday:
April platinum advanced $15.40, or 1.1%, to $1,427.90 an ounce.
- Up for a second day, palladium for March delivery gained $3.70, or 0.5%, to $740.00 an ounce.
For the week, platinum inched down 0.2% while palladium settled up 0.3%.
London Fix Precious Metals
London precious metals logged Friday gains but split on the week. When comparing the London fix prices from Thursday PM to Friday PM:
- Gold rose $7, or 0.5%, to $1,323.25 an ounce,
- Silver turned up 15 cents, or 0.7%, to $21.74 an ounce,
- Platinum gained $9.50, or 0.7%, to $1,422.50 an ounce, and
- Palladium added $3, or 0.4%, to $739 an ounce
Higher on the week was gold by 0.2% and silver by 3.1%. Platinum dipped 0.2% from a week ago while palladium gave back 0.1%.
US Mint Bullion Coin Sales in February
United States Mint bullion sales registered mixed weekly performances. Gold coin sales strengthened overall for a third straight week while silver coin sales dipped from the week ago level after two higher performing weeks. The U.S. Mint continues to ration its silver coins, however, so their sales do not necessarily indicate real demand. In weekly bullion sales comparisons:
Gold coin sales hit 13,500 ounces or 2,000 ounces more than last week. Splits were 11,500 ounces in American Gold Eagles compared to 7,000 ounces previously, and 2,000 ounces in American Gold Buffalo coins compared to 4,500 ounces previously.
- American Silver Eagle sales rose 750,000 versus 900,000 from the previous week and 850,000 from the first week of the month. The coins topped the 7 million mark on Tuesday. Since the Silver Eagle series start in 1986, only three other years through the first two full months recorded higher sales.
Below is a current sales breakdown across all the bureau’s bullion products.
|American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Sales (# of coins)|
|Friday Sales||Weekly Sales||Sales Last Week||Feb Sales||YTD Sales|
|$50 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins||3,000||10,000||5,000||17,000||79,500|
|$25 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins||0||0||0||2,000||14,000|
|$10 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins||0||0||0||8,000||36,000|
|$5 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins||10,000||15,000||20,000||45,000||205,000|
|$50 American Buffalo Gold Bullion Coins||1,000||2,000||4,500||11,500||53,000|
|American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins||69,000||750,000||900,000||2,500,000||7,275,000|