Precious metals sank in August, their first monthly losses since May, trimming their still robust gains for the year so far.
On the final trading day of the month, gold for December delivery declined $5.10, or 0.4%, to close at $1,311.40 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The settlement is the lowest since June 23 when gold ended at $1,263.10 an ounce.
According to analysts, the yellow metal has been pressured by strength in the U.S. dollar as a result of heightened expectations of a rate increase this year.
"There’s ongoing concern about an upcoming Fed rate hike, even though expectations for September are fairly slim," Bloomberg News quoted David Meger, the director of metals trading at High Ridge Futures in Chicago. "The idea of the Fed rate hikes being on the table for December is bringing concerns across markets affected by higher interest rates, and obviously gold is one of those assets."
Gold futures tumbled 3.4% in August after rising 2.8% in July and jumping 6.9% in June. They are now $251.20, or 23.7%, higher than their last 2015 close at $1,060.20 an ounce.
Elsewhere in bullion trading, silver for December delivery rose 3.4 cents, or 0.2%, to settle at $18.707 an ounce. Silver futures tumbled 8.1% in August after soaring 9.3% in the prior month and rallying 16.4% in June. Still, they are 35.5% higher than their last settlement in 2015 at $13.803 an ounce.
In PGM futures on Wednesday and for August:
October platinum lost $3.10, or 0.3%, to $1,053.50 an ounce, for an 8.4% monthly decline.
- Palladium for December delivery settled down $8.25, or 1.2%, to $669.95 an ounce, shedding 5.6% on the month.
Year to date, platinum is up 18% and palladium is up 19.2%.
London Precious Metals Prices
In comparing earlier fixed London bullion prices from Tuesday PM to Wednesday PM:
- Gold declined $8.90, or 0.7%, to $1,309.25 an ounce.
- Silver lost 4 cents, or 0.2%, to $18.74 an ounce.
- Platinum fell $17, or 1.6%, $1,050 an ounce, and
- Palladium dropped $16, or 2.3%, to $674 an ounce.
In August, they registered declines of 2.4% for gold, 6.5% for silver, 8.1% for platinum and 4.7% for palladium. As for the year to date, they are higher by 23.2% for gold, 35.6% for silver, 20.4% for platinum and 23.2% for palladium.
US Mint Bullion Coin Sales in 2016
U.S. Mint bullion sales improved overall in August from July — solidly for gold coins and modestly for silver coins, although American Silver Eagles moved the slowest for a month in about two-and-a-half years. In headline bullion coin comparisons:
American Eagle gold coins advanced 58,500 ounces for the month, up 52% from the July total of 38,500 ounces but off 42.4% from the 101,500 ounces delivered in August of last year. Year to date sales total 598,000 ounces for a 9.8% increase over the 544,500 ounces sold during the first eight months of 2015.
American Buffalo gold coins climbed 9,000 ounces in August, falling 10% from July sales of 10,000 ounces and dropping 55% from the 20,000 ounces delivered in August 2015. Sales from the January to August period at 131,500 ounces are 11.5% lower than the 148,500 ounces sold during the same time last year.
American Eagle silver coins advanced 1,280,000 ounces for their lowest monthly total since December 2013. The level is down 6.6% from July’s 1,370,000 ounces and off 74.1% from the 4,935,000 ounces delivered in August of last year. Sales of 2016 American Silver Eagles are at 28,900,500 coins for a 10.4% decline from the 32,250,000 coins delivered during the same months in 2015.
America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins were muted in July but advanced in August by 29,400 coins or 147,000 ounces. The bulk of those sales came from Monday’s release of the coin featuring Theodore Roosevelt National Park in North Dakota.
2016 American Eagle platinum coins sold out at 20,000 ounces. This year’s edition launched on July 25 after a 1-year hiatus. The coins notched first-day sales of 17,100 coins — a total that was already 200 more than the amount sold in 2014. By that week’s end, their sales moved up another 1,900 to 19,000 coins. The final 1,000 coins sold last Friday, Aug. 26, which is also the August total.
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 (*) are no longer available.
|US Mint Bullion Sales (# of coins)|
|Wednesday Sales||Last Week||This Week||July Sales||Aug Sales||2016 Sales|
|$100 American Eagle 1 Oz Platinum Coins*||0||1,000||0||19,000||1,000||20,000|
|$50 American Eagle 1 Oz Gold Coins||3,000||6,000||12,500||30,000||50,000||486,000|
|$25 American Eagle 1/2 Oz Gold Coins||0||1,000||0||2,000||3,000||51,000|
|$10 American Eagle 1/4 Oz Gold Coins||0||2,000||0||10,000||4,000||100,000|
|$5 American Eagle 1/10 Oz Gold Coins||0||15,000||10,000||50,000||60,000||615,000|
|$50 American Buffalo 1 Oz Gold Coins||0||2,500||1,500||10,000||9,000||131,500|
|$1 American Eagle 1 Oz Silver Coins||0||430,000||270,000||1,370,000||1,280,000||28,900,500|
|2016 Shawnee 5 Oz Silver Coins*||0||0||0||0||0||105,000|
|2016 Cumberland Gap 5 Oz Silver Coins*||0||0||0||0||0||75,000|
|2016 Harpers Ferry 5 Oz Silver Coins||0||500||1,000||0||1,900||36,100|
|2016 Theodore Roosevelt 5 Oz Silver Coins||0||500||27,500||0||27,500||27,500|