Gold edged higher on the final trading day of 2015 but sank for a third straight annual decline, diving nearly 37% since the end of 2012 when it last logged a yearly gain.
Gold for February delivery inched up 40 cents to settle at $1,060.20 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices fell 1.5% on the week and dipped 0.5% in December.
"Gold is suffering from the general exodus out of commodity investments," Bloomberg News quoted Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S in Copenhagen. "Being one of the most-traded commodities through ETFs, the selling pressure from paper investors has been felt particularly hard and gold’s safe-haven status has suffered."
The yellow metal lost 10.5% on the year after slipping 1.5% in 2014 and plunging 28.3% in 2013. In 2012, gold scored a 12th consecutive annual increase.
"The key factor for gold remains the strong dollar and that ultimately trumps all other issues including the economy and the geopolitics," Reuters quoted Ross Norman, chief executive of bullion broker Sharps Pixley.
Elsewhere, silver for March delivery shed 3.9 cents, or 0.3%, to settle at $13.803 an ounce. Silver prices dropped 4% on the week, posted a December loss of 2% and registered an annual decline of 11.5%. Like gold, silver has fallen for three straight years. Prices fell 19.5% in 2014 and they tumbled 35.9% in 2013.
In rounding out the precious metals futures complex:
April platinum tacked on $20.60, or 2.4%, to $893.20 an ounce, advancing 1% on the week and 7.2% on the month.
- Palladium for March delivery rose $13.05, or 2.4%, to $562 an ounce, gaining 0.5% on the week and 3.5% in December.
Even with those gains, for the year platinum fell 26.2% while palladium dropped 29.6%. Palladium’s annual loss is the first in four years. Platinum followed gold and silver for a third straight yearly loss.
London Precious Metals Prices
Earlier fixed London precious metals were mixed in a shortened day as UK markets closed early New Year’s Eve. When comparing London bullion prices from Wednesday PM to Thursday AM:
- Gold added $2.50, or 0.2%, to $1,062.50 an ounce,
- Silver was unchanged $13.82 an ounce,
- Platinum added $4, or 0.5%, to $872 an ounce, and
- Palladium declined $8, or 1.4%, to $547 an ounce.
London precious metals prices tumbled on the year — 11.4% for gold, 13.5% for silver, 27.9% for platinum and 31.5% for palladium.
US Mint Bullion Coin Sales in 2015
Demand for United States Mint bullion coins surged in 2015 with most selling out and product series notching multi-year highs and an annual record. Here is summary of 2015 bullion sales by product:
American Eagle silver coins hit 47 million ounces in 2015, an annual sales record and 6.8% higher than the previous record of 44,006,000 ounces in 2014. The coins have been produced annually since 1986, adding significance to the milestone. 2015-dated American Silver Eagles sold out on Dec. 15. Last year’s issue sold out on Dec. 24.
American Eagle gold coins reached annual sales of 801,500 ounces compared to 524,500 ounces in 2014, marking a 52.8% increase. The U.S. Mint strikes the coins in four sizes. The three most popular sizes sold out in November.
American Buffalo gold coins posted 2015 sales of 220,500 ounces, their third best annual total and 24.2% higher than 2014 sales of 177,500 ounces. The two higher years were in 2013 at 239,000 ounces and the coin’s debut year in 2006 with sales of 323,000 ounces.
America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins reached 212,600, their second highest annual total and 57% stronger than 2014 sales of 135,400. The highest year happened in 2011 at 465,100 coins.
The U.S. Mint will begin taking orders for 2016-dated American Eagle and American Buffalo bullion coins on Jan. 11, 2016. The first of the five 2016-dated America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins is expected to launch in the first week of February.
Below is a sales breakdown of U.S. Mint bullion products with columns listing the number of bullion coins sold during varying periods. Products with an asterisk (*) have sold out.
|US Mint Bullion Sales (# of coins)|
|Thursday / This Week||Last Week||Nov Sales||Dec Sales||Annual Sales|
|$50 American Eagle 1 Oz Gold Coins*||N/A||N/A||80,500||N/A||626,500|
|$25 American Eagle 1/2 Oz Gold Coins||0||0||7,000||1,000||75,000|
|$10 American Eagle 1/4 Oz Gold Coins*||N/A||N/A||12,000||N/A||158,000|
|$5 American Eagle 1/10 Oz Gold Coins*||N/A||N/A||100,000||N/A||980,000|
|$50 American Buffalo 1 Oz Gold Coins||0||0||38,000||1,500||220,500|
|$1 American Eagle 1 Oz Silver Coins*||N/A||N/A||4,824,000||2,333,500||47,000,000|
|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||35,800||9,200||45,000|