Gold Hits Four-Week High, Silver Prices Dip


Fine Gold BarsU.S. gold futures advanced Wednesday as the dollar dropped after U.S. economic reports revealed dismal growth in private-sector jobs and worrisome manufacturing data.

August gold prices rose $6.40, or 0.4 percent, to settle at $1,543.20 an ounce on the Comex in New York — its highest level since May 3. Prices touched an intraday low of $1,530.40 and a high of $1,551.60. Gold prices dipped 1.3 percent last month, but they have risen 8.6 percent this year.

"The dollar is starting to weaken again," Frank McGhee, the head dealer at Integrated Brokerage Services LLC in Chicago, was quoted on Bloomberg. "Stocks are selling off, and there’s a flight to quality into gold."

"A slew of weaker-than-expected U.S. economic data recently has spooked many investors, which in turn has prompted a move into safe-haven assets such as gold and U.S. Treasuries," noted Jim Wyckoff over at Kitco Metals Inc.

"Wednesday’s much weaker than expected ADP jobs report shook traders, who now are wondering if Friday’s more important employment report from the U.S. Labor Department will also show tepid jobs growth."

The ADP report indicated private-sector employment increased by a scant 38,000 in May, which was down sharply from estimates of 170,000. In other economic news, the ISM index showed manufacturing activity fell to 53.5 percent last month from 60.4 percent in April, its biggest one-month drop since January 1984.

"Weak economic data has started to snowball," Michael Sheldon, chief market strategist at RDM Financial, was quoted on "Initially, we just had bad news from the weekly jobless claims data, but now we’re starting to see a broad-based economic slump."

Silver prices for July delivery declined 61.1 cents, or 1.6 percent, to $37.694 an ounce. Silver prices traded between $37.525 and $38.500.

Platinum prices for July delivery declined $10.10, or 0.6 percent, to settle at $1,823.90 an ounce. The metal moved from a low of $1,820.90 to a high of $1,839.20.

Palladium prices for September delivery edged down $1.90, or 0.2 percent, to $779.10 an ounce, trading between $773.10 and $791.25.

London precious metals were mixed on the day. When comparing their fixing prices on Wednesday (PM) from those on Tuesday (PM), gold declined $2.75 at $1,533.75 an ounce, silver prices fell 70.0 cents to $37.950 an ounce, platinum remained unchanged at $1,828.00 an ounce and palladium rose $3.00 to $780.00 an ounce.

The one-ounce American Gold Eagle was the only coin to advance out of the U.S. Mint’s bullion product line. It rose 15,000 to start the month of June. The following are the latest bullion sales as published by the Mint.

US Mint 2011 Bullion Coin Sales
Gold Eagle Coin (1 oz.) 15,000 15,000 466,500
Gold Eagle Coin (1/2 oz.) 0 0 55,000
Gold Eagle Coin (1/4 oz.) 0 0 56,000
Gold Eagle Coin (1/10 oz.) 0 0 215,000
Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.) 0 0 74,000
Silver Eagle (1 oz.) 0 0 18,901,500
ATB Silver Bullion (5 oz.)* 0 0 326,800

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

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