U.S. gold prices closed above $1,500 an ounce for the first time and to a fifth straight record on Thursday, lifting its weekly gains for the holiday-shortened week to 1.2 percent.
Silver was the metal in focus, however, rushing over $46 an ounce, a fresh 31-year high, and capping a weekly gain of 8.2 percent — the best since December. A weaker U.S. dollar, rising crude and debt/credit concerns were noted for prompting investors into buying bullion as a currency/inflation hedge.
June gold prices ended up $4.90, or 0.3 percent, to $1,503.80 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Gold futures traded between $1,500.40 and $1,509.60. Gold has rallied 5.8 percent in 2011.
"The key element determining gold’s near-term direction right now is the U.S. dollar," Edel Tully, an analyst at UBS AG in London, said today in a report to clients that was cited on Bloomberg. "Sovereign-debt concerns in U.S. and Europe along with inflation fears provide a good backdrop for gold."
"Gold will be underpinned by sovereign debt in the euro zone, United States and Japan, as well as the dollar weakness and further reserves diversification by central banks," Robin Bhar, an analyst at Credit Agricole, said according to Reuters.
Silver prices for May delivery soared $1.598, or 3.6 percent, to close at $46.059 an ounce. They ranged from $45.060 to $46.355. Silver has surged 48.9 percent in 2011.
Silver "bulls still have the strong overall near-term and longer-term technical advantage. A nearly three-month-old uptrend is in place on the daily bar chart," noted Jim Wyckoff of Kitco News.
"There are still no early clues to suggest a market top is close at hand. However, the bigger daily price moves of the past two sessions do suggest the market has become short-term overdone on the upside and due for a profit-taking, corrective pullback very soon."
Platinum prices for July delivery rose $17.90, or 1.0 percent, to $1,820.70 an ounce. Platinum traded between $1,802.80 and $1,821.90. The metal gained 1.4 percent this week and it is up 2.4 percent this year.
Palladium prices for June delivery added $10.15, or 1.3 percent, to settle at $769.05 an ounce. It ranged from $757.55 to $772.75. Palladium edged 0.1 percent higher on the week, but it is down 4.3 percent in 2011.
London precious metals PM fixing prices rose against their previous PM fixings. The PM gold fix advanced $3.00 at $1,504.00 an ounce. Silver added $1.47 at $46.260 an ounce. The platinum fix climbed $8.00 at $1,812.00 an ounce. Palladium moved ahead $6.00 at $765.00 an ounce.
Three of the metals marked weekly gains, with gold up 1.8 percent, silver up 8.6 percent and platinum up 1.4 percent. Palladium’s weekly loss came in at 0.9 percent.
In US Mint weekly bullion coin sales, the fractional American Gold Eagles were silent. One ounce bullion coins were the gainers, with the Gold Eagle advancing 18,500, the Gold Buffalo rising 3,500 and the Silver Eagle adding 680,000. The following table of US Mint bullion sales highlights how this week compared to the previous one.
|US Mint 2011 Bullion Coin Sales|
|Prior Weekly Gains||Weekly Gains||April||YTD 2011|
|American Eagle Gold Coin (1 oz)||8,000||18,500||65,000||328,500|
|American Eagle Gold Coin (1/2 oz)||1,000||0||1,000||22,000|
|American Eagle Gold Coin (1/4 oz)||2,000||0||2,000||40,000|
|American Eagle Gold Coin (1/10 oz)||10,000||0||15,000||175,000|
|American Buffalo Gold Coin (1 oz)||7,000||3,500||13,500||51,500|
|American Eagle Silver (1 oz)||671,000||680,000||2,101,000||14,530,000|
In United States Mint news of the day, the bureau released its collector 2011 American Gold Eagle proof coins. They may be purchased directly from the United States Mint website at http://catalog.usmint.gov/, or by calling toll free number 1-800-USA-MINT (872-6468).