Gold futures moved higher on Friday but they still posted their seventh weekly loss in eight weeks. Silver, meanwhile, dropped to a near 6.3-year low.
Gold for February delivery rose $3.70, or 0.3%, to settle at $1,075.70 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
"The euro/U.S. dollar bounce and 10-year U.S. Treasuries easing today have helped lift gold prices, and trump the weakness in oil and expectations for a rate hike next week," Reuters quoted Suki Cooper, precious metals analyst for Standard Chartered Bank in New York.
Gold prices lost 0.8% on the week after rallying last week by 2.6%. They are down 9.2% from their final 2014 settlement price of $1,184.10 an ounce.
In looking ahead to next week, Kitco News offers the following forecasts via their Wall Street vs. Main Street survey:
"Kitco’s online survey showed a dramatic shift in sentiment among retail investors as most now expect to see lower prices in the near-term. This week, 450 people participated in Kitco’s online survey. Of those respondents, 116 people, or 26%, are bullish on gold next week. At the same time, 299 people, or 66%, are bearish and 35, or 8%, are neutral on gold prices…
Although sentiment among market professionals has also fallen compared to the last survey, a majority still see higher prices in the short term. Out of 36 market experts contacted, 18 responded, of which nine, or 50%, said they expect to see higher prices next week. At the same time, five analysts, or 33%, expect to see lower prices, and three people, or 17%, are neutral."
Elsewhere, silver for March delivery fell 22.6 cents, or 1.6%, to close at $13.884 an ounce. The settlement was the lowest since Aug. 20, 2009 when the precious metal ended at $13.876 an ounce. Silver prices tumbled 4.4% on the week and they are down 11% on the year.
In PGM futures on Friday and for the week:
January platinum declined $12.20, or 1.4%, to $843.70 an ounce, falling 4.2% from a week ago.
- Palladium for March delivery added $2.55, or 0.5%, to $544.80 an ounce, but lost 3.9% on the week.
For the year to date, platinum has plummeted 30.2% and palladium has plunged 31.8%.
London Precious Metals Prices
London precious metals were mixed on Friday and on the week. In comparing their levels from Thursday PM to Friday PM:
- Gold added $1.50, or 0.1%, to $1,072.50 an ounce.
- Silver fell 25 cents, or 1.8%, to $13.92 an ounce.
- Platinum declined $21, or 2.5%, to $836 an ounce.
- Palladium fell $13, or 2.3%, to $543 an ounce.
Compared to a week earlier, palladium edged up 0.2% while the other metal prices registered declines of 0.6% for gold, 1.5% for silver and 2.7% for platinum.
US Mint Bullion Coin Sales
The United States Mint limited American Silver Eagle sales this week to 1,075,000 coins. Distributors ordered 95% of them, the first week in five that some remained. Sales of the silver coins have been rationed for most of 2015 because of planchet shortages. Still, they hit a new record for a year which now stands at 45,870,000 coins. The record cannot climb too much higher. This was the Mint’s last week of producing 2015-dated Silver Eagles and the year’s final allocation amount will be announced on Monday. The Mint will begin selling 2016-dated Silver Eagles on Jan. 11.
U.S. Mint gold sales also have limited room for advancement with three of four American Gold Eagle products sold out and replacements not available until Jan. 11. The least popular one-half ounce Gold Eagle is still available and 1,000 of them sold this week. None moved last week. In American Gold Buffalo coins, 500 sold this week compared to 3,000 last week.
Below is a listing of U.S. Mint bullion products with the number of coins sold during varying periods. Products with an asterisk (*) are no longer available.
|US Mint Bullion Sales (# of coins)|
|Friday Sales||Last Week||This Week||Nov Sales||Dec Sales||YTD Sales|
|$50 American Eagle 1 Oz Gold Coins*||N/A||N/A||N/A||80,500||N/A||626,500|
|$25 American Eagle 1/2 Oz Gold Coins||0||0||1,000||7,000||1,000||75,000|
|$10 American Eagle 1/4 Oz Gold Coins*||N/A||N/A||N/A||12,000||N/A||158,000|
|$5 American Eagle 1/10 Oz Gold Coins*||N/A||N/A||N/A||100,000||N/A||980,000|
|$50 American Buffalo 1 Oz Gold Coins||0||3,000||500||38,000||500||219,500|
|$1 American Eagle 1 Oz Silver Coins||84,000||920,500||1,020,000||4,824,000||1,203,500||45,870,000|
|2015 Homestead 5 Oz Silver Coins*||N/A||35,000|
|2015 Kisatchie 5 Oz Silver Coins*||42,000|
|2015 Blue Ridge Parkway 5 Oz Silver Coins*||45,000|
|2015 Bombay Hook 5 Oz Silver Coins*||45,000|
|2015 Saratoga 5 Oz Silver Coins*||N/A||45,000||N/A||35,800||9,200||45,000|