Gold Prices Settle Lower, Silver Touches 30-Year High


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Gold prices closed lower Thursday for the first time this week after better-than-expected U.S. jobs data triggered a round of profit-taking. The yellow metal edged down 0.5 percent for the day, but it is easily on track to mark ten years of straight gains.

Gold prices for February delivery fell $7.60 to $1,405.90 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Prices ranged from $1,403.50 to $1,415.40. Gold prices are up 28 percent this year.

"Short-term traders have been active, and you’re seeing some end-of-the-year profit-taking," Frank Lesh, a trader at FuturePath Trading in Chicago, said and was quoted on Bloomberg. "What has really driven the price this year is that gold has emerged as an alternative to foreign currencies and government paper."

Other New York precious metals futures prices fell modestly as well.

  • March silver prices lost 19.1 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $30.513 an ounce. They ranged from $30.360 to $30.930 — the highest level in 30 years. Silver prices are 81 percent higher in 2010.
  • Platinum prices for April delivery declined $10.90, or 0.6 percent, to $1,749.30 an ounce. Platinum ranged between $1,742.00 and $1,776.00. Platinum is 19 percent higher this year.
  • Palladium prices for March delivery ended down $7.20, or 0.9 percent, to $786.20 an ounce. Palladium ranged from $786.00 to $799.00. Palladium has rallied 92 percent in 2010.

In PM London bullion prices, the benchmark gold fixing was $1,405.50 an ounce for a loss of $7.00 from the previous PM Fix. Silver advanced 26.0 cents to $30.700. Platinum was $1,755.00 an ounce, up $10.00. Palladium was $797.00 for an increase of $6.00.

The only United States Mint bullion coin to show an increase in sales since last week Wednesday has been the one-ounce American Gold Eagle. And those have only increased by 3,000.

The following are the latest United States Mint sales figures:

U.S. Mint 2010 Bullion Coin Sales
December* 2010 Totals
American Eagle Gold Coin (1 oz) 58,500 1,143,000
American Eagle Gold Coin (1/2 oz) 1,000 46,000
American Eagle Gold Coin (1/4 oz) 2,000 62,000
American Eagle Gold Coin (1/10 oz) 5,000 390,000
American Buffalo Coin (1 oz) Sold Out 209,000
American Eagle Silver (1 oz) 1,772,000 34,662,500

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