U.S. gold and silver futures rallied to highs Tuesday as a weaker dollar, inflation concerns and continued unease in the Middle East and North Africa awakened demand for precious metals. Gold prices closed to a new record above $1,450 an ounce and silver marked a second day at 31-year highs as it topped $39 an ounce.
June gold prices surged $19.50, or 1.4 percent, to settle at $1,452.50 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Gold prices traded between $1,431.00 and $1,455.50.
"There’s still turmoil in the Middle East, uncertainty in Japan and possible sovereign-debt defaults," Adam Klopfenstein, a senior strategist at Lind-Waldock, said and was quoted on Bloomberg. "There’s still demand for gold and silver as a hedge against chaos."
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said late Monday that inflation needs to be watched "extremely closely."
"Bernanke’s comment makes inflation a more real event in the United States. He at least acknowledged the fact that the Fed needs to monitor inflation very closely, and that spooked investors into gold," Mark Luschini, chief investment strategist at broker-dealer Janney Montgomery Scott with $53 billion in assets under management, was cited on Reuters.
Silver prices for May delivery soared 68.9 cents, or 1.8 percent, to $39.183 an ounce. Silver ranged between $38.070 and $39.245 — its best intraday level since 1980.
Platinum prices for July delivery added $9.80, or 0.5 percent, to $1,796.80 an ounce. Prices ranged between $1,784.00 and $1,800.70.
Palladium prices for June delivery rose $8.70, or 1.1 percent, to $793.10 an ounce. They hit an intraday low of $775.75 and a high of $794.30.
Earlier London PM fix bullion prices were mixed when compared to their PM fixings on Monday. Gold prices retreated, by the least percentage, while platinum was the single metal to rise.
The PM gold fixing declined $2.00 at $1,435.50, the silver fix dipped 38.0 cents at $38.080 an ounce, the platinum fixing added $6.00 at $1,787.00 an ounce, and the palladium fix fell $5.00 at $780.00 an ounce.
The one-ounce American Eagle Gold was the single bullion coin to advance Tuesday after solid gains for most bullion pieces on Monday, according to published United States Mint sales figures. The U.S. Mint has finalized sales for last month. For details on March performances, read:
United States Mint bullion sales figures follow.
|U.S. Mint 2011 Bullion Coin Sales|
|April 2011||YTD 2011|
|American Eagle Gold Coin (1 oz)||25,500||289,000|
|American Eagle Gold Coin (1/2 oz)||0||21,000|
|American Eagle Gold Coin (1/4 oz)||0||38,000|
|American Eagle Gold Coin (1/10 oz)||5,000||165,000|
|American Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz)||3,000||41,000|
|American Eagle Silver (1 oz)||658,500||13,087,500|