Gold Tops $1,400, Silver Reaches Fresh 31-Year High, Palladium Plunges


U.S. gold topped $1,400 an ounce and silver prices reached a fresh 31-year high Tuesday as uprisings in the Mideast and North Africa elicited safe-haven buying, opined analysts.

Fine Gold BarsGains were deeper around the world during the previous day, however, when the key New York market was closed in celebration of President’s Day.

April gold prices advanced $12.50, or 0.9 percent, to $1,401.10 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Prices ranged from a low of $1,390.10 an ounce to a high of $1,411.50 an ounce. Gold is still down for the year, however. It has declined 1.4 percent since the $1,421.40 closing price at the end of 2010.

"Bullion prices continue to draw support from ongoing unrest in the Middle East/North Africa region, also (from) a small dollar pullback this afternoon," Andrey Kryuchenkov, an analyst at VTB Capital, was quoted on Reuters. "Safe-haven buying remains the key driver behind the recent rally as players seek to offset currency and sovereign risk."

Silver prices for March delivery jumped 56.6 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $32.862 an ounce. Silver ranged from $32.390 to $34.330 — its highest level since March 1980. While silver had been in the red for most the year until last week, it is now up 6.2 percent in 2011.

"Silver is still relatively attractive compared to gold," James Dailey, who manages about $200 million at TEAM Financial Asset Management LLC in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, was cited on Bloomberg. "The more volatile the metal, the better it’s going to perform."

Industrial metals were pounded Tuesday. Platinum and palladium are barely holding on to their gains this year which are now at 0.5 and 0.3 percent, respectively.

Platinum prices for April delivery fell $57, or 3.1 percent, to $1,786.30 an ounce. Prices ranged between $1,785.60 and $1,858.00.

Palladium prices for March delivery plunged $52, or 6.1 percent, to $805.70 an ounce. It ranged from $799.30 to $862.00.

PM London precious metals prices fell across the board. The PM gold fixing was $1,401.00 an ounce, which was $2 lower than the previous PM fix. The London silver fix was $32.890 an ounce for a loss of 54 cents. Platinum declined $26.00 to $1,821.00. The palladium fixing lost $22.00 at $836.00 an ounce.

United States Mint American Silver Eagle bullion coins rallied 777,000 since Friday. They have just topped the 9 million mark in year-to-date sales. No other bullion coins advanced. The latest United States Mint bullion sales figures follow.

U.S. Mint 2011 Bullion Coin Sales
February 2011 Totals
American Eagle Gold Coin (1 oz) 58,500 189,000
American Eagle Gold Coin (1/2 oz) 8,000 9,000
American Eagle Gold Coin (1/4 oz) 16,000 18,000
American Eagle Gold Coin (1/10 oz) 100,000 120,000
American Eagle Silver (1 oz) 2,599,500 9,021,500


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