Precious metals futures posted sharp gains in starting the new trading week on Monday and ending the action for February.
Gold for April delivery tacked on $14, or 1.1%, to settle at $1,234.40 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
"If stock markets begin to recover and make gains and risk appetite returns, then gold could come under selling pressure," MarketWatch quoted Mark O’Byrne, research director at GoldCore. "However, we believe the volatility seen in the first two months is likely to continue."
Gold prices advanced 10.6% in February and they have rallied 16.4% for the year to date. The February increase, according to MarketWatch, is the largest since January 2012 when prices jumped 11.1%.
"Gold has been the biggest story of this year," Bloomberg News quoted Dan Denbow, a portfolio manager at the USAA Precious Metals & Minerals Fund in San Antonio. "Last summer, people were calling it a barbaric relic, and nobody could care less about gold. Now, it’s slowly generating more and more buying."
Elsewhere, silver for May delivery rose 20.4 cents, or 1.4%, to settle at $14.918 an ounce. Silver prices surged 4.7% on the month, lifting their gains so far this year to 8.1%.
In PGM futures on Monday and in February:
April platinum gained $19.20, or 2.1%, to $934.30 an ounce, rising 6.9% on the month.
- Palladium for June delivery gained $13.20, or 2.7%, to $495.65 an ounce, but moved down 0.6% from last month.
For the year to date, platinum has climbed 4.6% while palladium has plunged 11.8%.
London Precious Metals Prices
Earlier fixed London gold and silver prices were mixed. In comparing their levels from Friday PM to Monday PM:
- Gold added $8.40, or 0.7%, to $1,234.90 an ounce.
- Silver dropped 42 cents, or 2.8%, to $14.75 an ounce.
- Platinum fell $9, or 1%, to $919 an ounce.
- Palladium added $2, or 0.4%, to $494 an ounce.
For the month, gold soared 11.1%, silver advanced 4.8%, and platinum gained 6.1% while palladium fell 1.4%.
US Mint Bullion Sales in 2016
United States Mint sales of American Eagle and Buffalo bullion coins slowed in February, taking an expected break from their quickened pace in January when newly 2016-dated editions launched. That said, they surged from year-ago levels. In headline comparisons:
American Eagle gold coins reached 83,500 ounces, sliding 32.7% from the January total of 124,000 ounces but surging 351.4% from the 18,500 ounces moved in February of last year. For the year so far, sales total 207,500 ounces for a 108.5% increase from the 99,500 ounces sold during the first two months of last year.
The U.S. Mint is rationing weekly sales of American Eagle silver coins because of silver planchet shortages. Still, they jumped 4,782,000 for the month, the highest for a February and the 11th best month overall since the coins debuted in 1986. Silver Eagle sales fell 19.7% from January’s total of 5,954,500 coins but rallied 58.2% from the February 2015 level of 3,022,000 coins. 2016 Silver Eagle sales are at 10,736,500 for the year to date, which is 25.5% higher than sales through the same time frame in record year 2015.
American Buffalo gold coins moved up by 19,000, falling 44.1% from January sales of 34,000 ounces while advancing 58.3% from the 12,000 delivered in February 2015. Year to date, sales at 53,000 ounces are 14% higher than the 46,500 ounces sold during the same two months last year.
- America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins climbed 105,000 in February. All sales came from the Shawnee National Forest silver coin. It launched on Feb. 1 as the first 5 ounce release of this year. Shawnee bullion sales are the highest since the 2011-dated release commemorating Glacier National Park.
Below is a sales breakdown of United States Mint bullion products with columns listing the number of bullion coins sold during varying periods of time.
|US Mint Bullion Sales (# of coins)|
|Monday Sales||Last Week||Jan Sales||Feb Sales||2016 Sales|
|$50 American Eagle 1 Oz Gold Coins||9,000||6,000||89,000||67,500||156,500|
|$25 American Eagle 1/2 Oz Gold Coins||0||1,000||23,000||6,000||29,000|
|$10 American Eagle 1/4 Oz Gold Coins||2,000||2,000||36,000||12,000||48,000|
|$5 American Eagle 1/10 Oz Gold Coins||25,000||25,000||145,000||100,000||245,000|
|$50 American Buffalo 1 Oz Gold Coins||2,000||4,500||34,000||19,000||53,000|
|$1 American Eagle 1 Oz Silver Coins||736,500||1,073,500||5,954,500||4,782,000||10,736,500|
|2016 Shawnee 5 Oz Silver Coins||0||30,000||N/A||105,000||105,000|