Gold prices retreated Friday after notching an 18-week high in the previous session, but the precious metal still scored a weekly gain — its fourth in five weeks.
Gold for April delivery on Friday declined $13.60, or 1%, to settle at $1,338.20 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold prices ended $16.60, or 1.3%, higher than a week ago.
Gold saw late week pressure as U.S. jobs data for February came in better-than-expected with employers adding 175,000 to the payroll after creating 129,000 jobs in January.
The jobs number was "not a blockbuster event, [but] it does end a downtrend of the past couple reports and turns around labor participation, which has been at levels last witnessed in the late 1970s," MarketWatch quoted Jeffrey Wright, managing director at H.C. Wainwright.
The U.S. dollar turned higher following the report and gold resultantly moved lower. On the flip side, gold prices earlier in the week saw support over Ukraine-Russian tensions.
"If the situation in Ukraine gets worse, prices will go higher. However, if the crisis is resolved, gold could fall back to $1,320," Reuters quoted Yuichi Ikemizu, branch manager for Standard Bank in Tokyo.
Gold Outlook and YTD Gains
Majority participants in last week’s gold survey by Kitco News missed the mark with their expectations of falling prices this week. Though in fairness, the survey was taken before Russia’s move into Crimea which boosted safe-haven demand that was highlighted by an almost $29 run-up in gold prices on Monday. Participants in Kitco’s latest survey are split over gold’s direction next week.
"In the Kitco News Gold Survey, out of 33 participants, 21 responded this week. Ten see prices up, while six see prices down and five see prices trading sideways or neutral," reports Kitco News.
"Those who see higher prices said gold’s trend remains upward… Those who see weaker prices said gold is due for a retreat for now… A number of survey participants said they were neutral on prices next week, staying there was little reason to put on positions."
Gold prices have rallied $135.90, or 11.3%, since ending last year at $1,202.30 an ounce.
Silver, Platinum and Palladium Futures
Silver was poised for a solid weekly gain until plummeting on Friday with the May contract off 65 cents, or 3%, to $20.93 an ounce. Silver prices on the week ended down 31 cents, or 1.5%. Its year-to-date gain dropped to 8%.
PGMs split on Friday but, like gold, advanced for the week. In their breakdowns on Friday:
April platinum shed $3.20, or 0.2%, to end at $1,483.60 an ounce. The loss was platinum’s first in five sessions.
- Palladium for June delivery edged up 65 cents, or less than 0.1%, to settle at $781.80 an ounce. Platinum extended is winning streak to seven sessions.
As for the week, platinum jumped 2.5% and palladium soared 5%. They have gained support over supply concerns. Russia is the world’s biggest producer of both platinum and palladium.
London Fix Precious Metals
London precious metals were mixed on Friday but gained from a week ago. When comparing the London fix prices from Thursday PM to Friday PM:
- Gold prices lost $10, or 0.7%, to $1,335.25 an ounce,
- Silver gained 27 cents, or 1.3%, to $21.38 an ounce,
- Platinum declined $10, or 0.7%, to $1,474 an ounce, and
- Palladium fell $4, or 0.5%, to $776 an ounce
London bullion fixings on the week rose 0.7% for gold, 0.5% for silver, 1.3% for platinum and 4% for palladium.
US Mint Bullion Coin Sales in March
U.S. Mint sales of American Gold Eagles continued at a depressed rate this week while demand for American Silver Eagles remained strong even as the Mint rations their sales. In week-over-week bullion sales comparisons:
Gold coin sales rose 6,000 ounces versus last week’s total of 7,000 ounces. Splits were 2,000 ounces in American Gold Eagles against 6,500 ounces previously, and 4,000 ounces in American Gold Buffalo coins against 500 ounces previously.
- American Silver Eagle sales rose 1,100,000 compared to last week’s total of 1,250,000. The weekly gain is the second highest since the debut week of the newly dated 2014 issues. On Monday, the silver coins topped year-to-date sales of 9 million, or more than the annual totals in 15 prior years going back to the series start in 1986.
Below is a sales breakdown across U.S. Mint bullion products with columns offering the number of bullion coins sold on Friday, for the week, last week, in February 2014 and for the year-to-date.
|American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Sales (# of coins)|
|Friday Sales||Weekly / March Sales||Sales Last Week||Sales Last Month||YTD Sales|
|$50 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins||0||1,000||5,000||22,000||85,500|
|$25 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins||0||0||1,000||3,000||15,000|
|$10 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins||0||0||2,000||10,000||38,000|
|$5 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins||0||10,000||5,000||50,000||220,000|
|$50 American Buffalo Gold Bullion Coins||0||4,000||500||12,000||57,500|
|American Silver Eagles||140,500||1,100,000||1,250,000||3,750,000||9,625,000|
Read about U.S. Mint bullion sales in February for a recap on coin performances last month.