Gold Ends Week at Best Price Since May 3, Silver Surges 7.9%


Fine Gold BarsU.S. precious metals rose Friday and posted sizable weekly gains. The metals were supported by a weaker U.S. dollar and ongoing concerns over euro-zone sovereign debt which prompted safe-haven buying.

In weekly gains, silver led the precious metals at 7.9 percent, followed by palladium at 3.6 percent, gold at 1.9 percent and platinum at 1.7 percent. The increases were markedly higher than last week, with the exception of palladium which had shot up 4.1 percent.

August gold prices closed to a more than three-week high, rising $13.60, or 0.9 percent, to $1,537.30 an ounce on the Comex in New York — its best closing price since landing at $1,540.40 on May 3. The yellow metal hit an intraday low of $1,520.00 and a high of $1,539.50. Gold has gained 8.2 percent his year.

"Risk assets are back in vogue, and the camp that buys commodities when the dollar is weak is jumping on that," said Adam Klopfenstein, a senior strategist at Lind-Waldock, a broker in Chicago, according to Bloomberg. "There’s still a place to own gold in a portfolio."

"A strong rally on Friday and persistent worries about the Eurozone sovereign debt issues are likely to keep gold prices supported into next week, with a chance to possibly test new highs," wrote Debbie Carlson over at Kitco Metals Inc.

Silver prices for July delivery advanced 53.3 cents, or 1.4 percent, to close at $37.863 an ounce. Prices ranged between $37.200 and $38.195. Silver has registered a sharp 22.4 percent increase in 2011.

Platinum prices for July delivery added $21.90, or 1.2 percent, to settle at $1,800.00 an ounce. The metal traded from a low of $1,771.10 to a high of $1,801.70.

Palladium prices for September delivery advanced $2.75, or 0.4 percent, to $761.90 an ounce. Palladium ranged between $752.75 and $763.45.

The two PGM metals are mixed on the year. Platinum has gained 1.2 percent while palladium has fallen 5.2 percent.

"We believe that the cash cost of the marginal producer is still the relevant benchmark to judge whether platinum and palladium provide value or not," Standard Bank said in a note, according to Reuters.

"Therefore, the market could trade lower, fundamentally growing value in platinum and palladium on approach of $1,700 and $700 respectively."

London precious metals advanced Friday and for the week. When comparing their fixing prices on Friday (PM) from those on Thursday (PM), gold gained $14.50 at $1,533.00 an ounce, silver added 74.0 cents to $37.690 an ounce, platinum rose $7.00 at $1,786.00 an ounce and palladium advanced $2.00 to $757.00 an ounce.

London metal weekly gains were 2.8 percent for gold, 8.3 percent for silver, 1.1 percent for platinum, and 3.1 percent for palladium.

United States Mint bullion coin sales levels remained unchanged from Thursday. And weekly gains were lower across the board as compared to the previous week, with the exception of the America the Beautiful 5 Oz. Silver Bullion Coins. The Mint released the Olympic National Park 5 Oz Silver Bullion Coin on Monday, and their debut sales were at 60,700 on the first day.

Bullion American Silver Eagles are notably 1,000 away from reaching 3 million for May. The United States Mint on Thursday said it will also start producing the silver coins (effective May 31) at its San Francisco facility due to the unprecedented demand for them. Currently, the bullion issues are struck only at the Mint’s West Point facility.

US Mint 2011 Bullion Coin Sales
Gold Eagle Coin (1 oz.) 0 9,000 11,000 92,500 450,500
Gold Eagle Coin (1/2 oz.) 0 2,000 0 22,000 55,000
Gold Eagle Coin (1/4 oz.) 0 0 0 4,000 56,000
Gold Eagle Coin (1/10 oz.) 0 0 0 15,000 215,000
Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.) 0 6,500 2,500 15,500 74,000
Silver Eagle (1 oz.) 0 750,000 743,000 2.999M 18.247 M
ATB Silver Bullion (5 oz.)* 0 3,000 60,700 88,700 314,100

*ATB Silver bullion coin sales figures are generally released once a week, and have an "as of date" of Monday.

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