Gold Prices Hit All-Time Record, Silver Surges to 31-Year High


U.S. gold prices captured an all-time high and silver prices soared to a new 31-year high on Tuesday as a weaker dollar, rising oil prices, inflation concerns, and turmoil in the Middle East and North Africa added to the investment appeal of precious metals.

Fine Gold BarsApril gold prices added $21.30, or 1.5 percent, to settle at $1,431.20 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Gold ranged between $1,409.80 an ounce and $1,431.50 an ounce.

"The continued violence in the Middle East is bringing in new buyers and spurring gold to new territory," Frank McGhee, the head dealer at Integrated Brokerage Services LLC in Chicago, said and was cited on Bloomberg. "The rush to economic health is fading. Crude above $100 is an energy tax that will force governments to put more money into the system. Our old fear of stagflation returns."

"What gold needed was a catalyst, and it found it in the form of tensions that are surfacing in the Middle East and rising oil prices, which served as an inflationary threat and also led to political instability," Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist of Janney Montgomery Scott, was quoted on Reuters.

Silver prices for May delivery advanced 60.7 cents, or 1.8 percent, to close at $34.427 an ounce — its best settlement price since 1980 when the Hunt brothers attempted to corner the silver market and prices were driven above $50 an ounce. Silver on Tuesday traded as low as $33.790 an ounce and as high as $34.570 an ounce. The metal is up $1.50, or 4.6 percent, since Friday and has shot up 11.3 percent in 2011.

"Tensions in the Middle East are also supporting the silver market. The silver bulls have the strong overall near-term technical advantage and gained more power Tuesday," noted Jim Wyckoff of Kitco News.

"The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at last week’s low of $31.705. Bulls’ next upside price breakout objective is producing a close above solid technical resistance at $35.00 an ounce," added Wyckoff.

Platinum prices for April delivery ended up $35.90, or 2.0 percent, to $1,845.10 an ounce. It ranged between $1,806.00 and $1,846.70.

Palladium prices for June delivery rallied $17.10, or 2.1 percent, to finish at $816.760 an ounce. Prices ranged from $798.05 to $819.00.

Precious metals prices jumped in earlier London PM fixings as well. The PM gold fix rose the least in percent terms. It was higher than the previous PM fix by $9.75, or 0.7 percent, with a fixing of $1,420.75 an ounce. Silver was up 88 cents, or 2.6 percent, at $34.370. The platinum fixing was $24 higher, or 1.3 percent, at $1,828 an ounce. The palladium PM fix climbed $22, or 2.8 percent, at $812.00 an ounce.

The United States Mint reported no bullion coin sales on Tuesday. The latest bullion sales figures as published on Monday follow.

U.S. Mint 2011 Bullion Coin Sales
February 2011 Totals
American Eagle Gold Coin (1 oz) 72,500 203,000
American Eagle Gold Coin (1/2 oz) 12,000 13,000
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) 3,240,000 9,662,000


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