U.S. precious metals were on fire Friday. A weaker dollar and inflation were common catchwords attributed to advances.
The metals soared with weekly gains ranging between 2.0 and 7.6 percent. Gold marked its fourth straight day of record highs and silver registered its fifth consecutive day of fresh 31-year highs.
June gold prices advanced $14.80, or 1.0 percent, to end at $1,474.10 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Gold traded between $1,457.70 and $1,476.20.
"The Federal Reserve isn’t anywhere near an inflation fight as the ECB," Frank Lesh, a trader at FuturePath Trading LLC in Chicago, was cited on Bloomberg. "Gold’s move is about the weakness in the dollar. Inflation is the buzzword, and it’s the impetus behind the trade."
"With the expected future inflation being higher in this low interest rate environment, investors are more inclined to have some contributions to commodities as an inflation hedge," Hakan Kaya, commodities portfolio manager at Neuberger Berman, said and was quoted on Reuters.
Gold prices surged 3.2 percent this week after rising 0.2 percent last week. The yellow metal has gained 3.7 percent in 2011.
Silver prices for May delivery jumped $1.056, or 2.7 percent, to settle at $40.608 an ounce — its best level since 1980. The metal ranged between $39.515 and $40.635. Silver prices soared 7.6 percent this week after advancing 1.8 percent last week. Prices are 31.3 percent higher in 2011.
Platinum prices for July delivery added $21.50, or 1.2 percent, to $1,812.10 an ounce. Prices ranged between $1,778.40 and $1,822.10. Platinum rose 2.0 percent this week. It is up 1.9 percent for the year.
Palladium prices for June delivery rose $13.95, or 1.8 percent, to end at $794.20 an ounce. They hit an intraday low of $767.50 and a high of $804.00. Palladium rallied 2.5 percent this week but the metal remains down 1.2 percent in 2011.
"At least as far as the noble metals’ group is concerned, there was concrete cause for optimism; markets learned today that Japanese automakers plan to resume car production at all domestic factories on Monday — albeit at 50% of their former output levels," noted Jon Nadler, Senior Analyst at Kitco Metals Inc. "At least, there is some certainty as to that situation and the PGM niche directly benefited from the announcement."
Nadler added that "there is also some uncertainty feeding itself into the platinum-group metals’ market; namely, stories of power supply disruptions courtesy of South Africa’s Eskom utility have surfaced once again and contributed to the metals being bid higher."
London PM fix bullion prices were higher on Friday when compared to their PM fixings on Thursday. They were marked weekly gains as well.
The PM gold fix rose $10.00 at $1,469.50 an ounce on Friday. The fixing surged 3.6 percent this week.
Silver advanced 71.0 cents for the day and 6.9 percent on the week. Its fixing on Friday was at $40.220 an ounce.
The platinum fix climbed $23.00 at $1,803.00 an ounce on Friday. It added 1.7 percent this week.
Palladium gained $20.00 for the day and 3.4 percent on the week. Its fixing on Friday was at $798.00 an ounce.
In U.S. Mint bullion coin sales, one-ounce Gold and Silver Eagles rose Friday by 7,000 and 47,000, respectively. Weekly gains were the same for four of the Mint’s bullion coins, as shown in the sales figures below. The two changers were the one-ounce Gold Eagle (19,500 versus 29,500) and the one-half ounce Gold Eagle (0 versus 4,000).
In other U.S. Mint news, the bureau on Thursday said it will release the five ounce Gettysburg and Glacier America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins on April 25, 2011.
|U.S. Mint 2011 Bullion Coin Sales|
|Prior Weekly Gains||Weekly Gains||April||YTD 2011|
|American Eagle Gold Coin (1 oz)||29,500||19,500||38,500||302,000|
|American Eagle Gold Coin (1/2 oz)||4,000||0||0||21,000|
|American Eagle Gold Coin (1/4 oz)||0||0||0||38,000|
|American Eagle Gold Coin (1/10 oz)||5,000||5,000||5,000||165,000|
|American Buffalo Gold Coin (1 oz)||3,000||3,000||3,000||41,000|
|American Eagle Silver (1 oz)||700,000||700,000||750,000||13,179,000|