Gold prices ended higher on Wednesday, barely, gaining for a fourth straight session while other precious metals snapped their multi-day winning streaks.
Gold for February delivery added a dime to close at $1,234.50 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold ranged from $1,224.90 to $1,244.60, the highest price since Oct. 23. Gold prices have advanced 1.5% since Friday.
"A downbeat U.S. economic report and a stock market sell-off prompted safe-haven buying interest in gold," Jim Wyckoff, a senior analyst at Kitco Metals Inc., said in a report. "A weaker U.S. dollar index on this day was also friendly for the precious metals bulls."
U.S. retail sales declined sharply in December, falling 0.9% instead of rising by an expected 0.1%. The decline was the biggest in 11 months and follows a 0.4% increase in November.
"Contrary to expectations, shoppers didn’t take advantage of the boost to real incomes from lower gasoline prices to head out in force at the end of the holiday shopping season," said Capital Economics’ Paul Diggle according to CNBC.
Down for the first time since Thursday, silver for March delivery shed 17 cents, or 1%, to settle at $16.99 an ounce. The precious metal traded between $16.56 and $17.10. Silver is still 57 cents, or 3.5%, higher on the week so far.
Platinum and palladium closed lower for the first time in five sessions. In their breakdowns on Wednesday:
April platinum declined $8.80, or 0.7%, to $1,239 an ounce, ranging from $1,226 and $1,248.80.
Palladium for March delivery plunged $35.05, or 4.3%, to $780.65 an ounce, trading between $766.20 and $817.65.
London Fix Precious Metals
Earlier fixed London precious metals fell, except for gold. In comparing London bullion Fix prices from Tuesday PM to Wednesday PM:
- Gold rose $3.50, 0.3%, to $1,235 an ounce,
- Silver fell 36 cents, or 2.1%, to $16.64 an ounce,
- Platinum dipped $2, or 0.2%, to $1,242 an ounce, and
- Palladium declined $22, or 2.7%, to $795 an ounce.
US Mint Bullion Coin Sales in January
United States Mint bullion sales rallied Wednesday with gains of 23,500 ounces in gold coins and 743,500 ounces in silver coins.
The Mint’s 2015-dated gold coins launched on Jan. 5. American Gold Eagle sales at 69,000 ounces for the month so far are now the highest since January 2014 sales of 91,500 ounces. Likewise, American Gold Buffalo sales at 28,000 ounces are the most since January 2014 sales of 41,500 ounces.
2015-dated American Silver Eagles launched two days ago. Their sales of 3,701,500 are the highest for a month since October sales of 5.79 million.
Below is a sales breakdown of U.S. Mint bullion products with columns listing the number of bullion coins sold on Wednesday, last week, this week so far, in December, last year, and the year to date. Coins with an asterisk (*) have sold out for 2014.
|American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Sales (# of coins)|
|Wednesday Sales||Last Week||Current Week||December Sales||2014 Sales||January / 2015 Sales|
|$100 American Platinum Eagle Bullion Coins*||0||0||0||0||16,900||0|
|$50 American Eagle Bullion Gold Coins||15,500||26,000||19,000||13,000||415,500||45,000|
|$25 American Eagle Bullion Gold Coins||1,000||13,000||3,000||0||46,000||16,000|
|$10 American Eagle Bullion Gold Coins||2,000||24,000||6,000||6,000||118,000||30,000|
|$5 American Eagle Bullion Gold Coins||10,000||65,000||20,000||35,000||565,000||85,000|
|$50 American Buffalo Bullion Gold Coins||6,000||18,500||9,500||4,500||177,500||28,000|
|$1 American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins||743,500||0||3,701,500||2.459M||44.006M||3,701,500|
|Great Smoky Mountains National Park 5 Oz Silver Bullion Coins*||0||0||0||0||33,000||0|
|Shenandoah National Park 5 Oz Silver Bullion Coins||0||0||0||1,100||24,400||0|
|Arches National Park 5 Oz Silver Bullion Coins*||0||0||0||0||22,000||0|
|Great Sand Dunes 5 Oz Silver Bullion Coins*||0||0||0||4,000||21,900||0|
|Everglades 5 Oz Silver Bullion Coins*||0||0||0||7,000||34,000||0|