U.S. gold prices edged 50 cents lower Tuesday, adding to its May losses. Silver rallied above $38 an ounce on the day, but gave away more than $10 in value during the month.
In fact, all precious metals declined in May. Silver led, dropping 21.1 percent. Other metals retreated at a slower pace with registered losses of 1.3 percent for gold, 1.7 percent for platinum and 1.4 percent for palladium. The May damages inflicted on bullion prices are in stark contrast to their soaring gains in April.
August gold prices closed out the month of May at $1,536.80 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Prices ranged between $1,533.10 and $1,541.90. Although gold price took a step back for the month, they are up 8.1 percent in 2011.
"At least to some degree, the sovereign debt issues with Greece and the other peripheral EU countries have been pretty well documented, so it’s not necessarily a surprise for the market," HSBC analyst James Steel said according to Reuters. "Gold has been rallying since the middle of May and is actually some 60-odd dollars higher from the recent low, so it hasn’t done too badly."
"The market currently believes that the Fed will end its quantitative-easing program on June 30, but will reinvest the proceeds and maintain the size of its balance sheet," Tom Pawlicki, an analyst at MF Global Holdings Ltd. in Chicago, said according to Bloomberg. "Such a delay in normalizing policy could be seen as positive for precious metals."
Silver prices for July delivery rose 44.2 cents, or 1.2 percent, to settle at $38.305 an ounce. Silver hit a low of $37.760 and a high of $38.765. Despite heavy losses in May, silver has gained 23.8 percent this year.
"The white metal fell by 21 percent on the month, in brick-like freefall on the charts from its $50+ record high; a level that had also not seen since ‘Another Brick In The Wall’ topped the music charts in that certain year," said Jon Nadler, Senior Analyst at Kitco Metals Inc.
"Yesterday, UBS analysts offered the opinion that silver might revisit price territory that lies under the $30 area as its gains cannot be ‘sustained by industrial demand.’ Behind all of this, at the end of the day (make that; month), lies the better than 2.2% gain that the beleaguered US dollar recorded during the past 31 days. It’s almost that simple of a cause-effect explanation."
Platinum prices for July delivery climbed $34.00, or 1.9 percent, to close out May at $1,834.00 an ounce, trading between $1,795.00 and $1,836.80. Platinum has gained 3.1 percent in 2011.
Palladium prices for September delivery surged $19.10, or 2.5 percent, to settle at $781.00 an ounce. It touched a low of $758.65 and reached as high as $787.00. Palladium futures have declined 2.8 percent this year.
London precious metals showed healthy gains Tuesday.When comparing their fixing prices for the day (PM) versus those on Friday (PM), gold added $3.50 at $1,536.50 an ounce, silver advanced 96.0 cents to $38.650 an ounce, platinum rose $42.00 at $1,828.00 an ounce and palladium added $20.00 to $777.00 an ounce.
For the month, London gold prices rose a modest 0.1 percent while palladium remained unchanged. The other metals fell in May, with silver down 20.6 percent and platinum down 0.4 percent.
Gains in bullion coins were limited to the American Eagle gold and silver one-ounce coins, according to the latest sales figures from the United States Mint. In the notable column, bullion American Silver Eagles shot past 3.6 million in May. This month will go down as one of the top five in monthly sales, dating back to the series start in 1986.
The America the Beautiful (ATB) five-ounce tally also increased, but the United States Mint indicated the gains were as of Thursday and due to sales of the Olympic National Park Five-Ounce Silver Bullion Coin. The bullion coin rose 12,700 to 73,400. This year’s first three issued five-ounce National Park Silver Coins have year-to-date sales of 326,800.
|US Mint 2011 Bullion Coin Sales|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1 oz.)||1,000||93,500||451,500|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1/2 oz.)||0||22,000||55,000|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1/4 oz.)||0||4,000||56,000|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1/10 oz.)||0||15,000||215,000|
|Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.)||0||15,500||74,000|
|Silver Eagle (1 oz.)||654,500||3,653,500||18,901,500|
|ATB Silver Bullion (5 oz.)*||0||101,400||326,800|
*ATB Silver bullion coin sales figures are generally released once a week, and have an "as of date" of Thursday.