Gold Prices Close Higher on Week, Silver Drops 4.4%


Fine Gold BarsU.S. gold prices settled modestly higher this week, boosted by safe-haven buying on the back of poor U.S. economic data. Gold registered a 0.3 percent weekly gain, ending above $1,542 an ounce.

Other precious metals to advance since last Friday included platinum at 1.3 percent and palladium at 3.1 percent. Silver continued is slide of the last three days and closed with a weekly loss of 4.4 percent.

August gold prices rose $9.70, or 0.6 percent, to $1,542.40 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Gold ranged between $1,524.90 and $1,548.40. Gold prices have risen 8.5 percent this year.

"Gold received a late-week boost Friday following another round of bearish economic data. The May unemployment report from the U.S. Department of Labor was weaker than expected, even as market watchers braced themselves for smaller job growth after a poor report from payroll firm ADP earlier this week," noted Debbie Carlson over at Kitco Metals Inc.

"The Labor Department said only 54,000 non-farm jobs were created in May and the unemployment rate ticked up to 9.1%. That caused equities to sell off sharply again this week and gave a boost to gold in a safe-haven bid."

"We’ve seen the data stream take a turn for the worst," Matt Zeman, a strategist at Kingsview Financial in Chicago, said according to Bloomberg. "Traders are not convinced there won’t be further measures taken to keep borrowing costs low. In an uncertain economic environment, gold is a good choice."

Silver prices for July delivery edged down 1.1 cents to $36.191 an ounce, trading between $35.065 and $36.435. Silver surged 7.9 percent last week. Its latest loss brought the metal’s 2011 pick-up down to 17 percent.

Platinum prices for July delivery rose $5.90, or 0.3 percent, to settle at $1,823.70 an ounce. Prices reached a low of $1,806.00 and touched a high of $1,826.50.

Palladium prices for September delivery advanced $15.00, or 1.9 percent, to close at $785.40 an ounce. The metal traded between $761.50 and $787.75.

London precious metals were mixed yet again, with gold the only metal to rise for a second straight day. When comparing their fixing prices on Friday (PM) from those on Thursday (PM), gold prices rose 50 cents to $1,540.00 an ounce, silver plunged $2.03 at $35.19 an ounce, platinum lost $16.00 at $1,807.00 and palladium declined $5.00 to $770.00.

For the week, silver was the only metal to decline, falling 6.6 percent. Weekly advances include 0.5 percent for gold, 1.2 percent for platinum, and 1.7 percent for palladium.

American Gold Eagle bullion sales were higher this week as compared to the previous one. The one-tenth ounce size rose 15,000 Friday after more than three weeks of silence. Unit-wise, the American Silver Eagles continue their dominance. On Tuesday the coins closed out May, making it the 4th best month in their history (the series started in November 1986). The following are the latest bullion coin sales figures as published by the United States Mint.

US Mint 2011 Bullion Coin Sales
Gold Eagle Coin (1 oz.) 3,000 11,000 19,000 18,000 469,500
Gold Eagle Coin (1/2 oz.) 0 0 0 0 55,000
Gold Eagle Coin (1/4 oz.) 0 0 0 0 56,000
Gold Eagle Coin (1/10 oz.) 15,000 0 15,000 15,000 230,000
Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.) 0 2,500 0 0 74,000
Silver Eagle (1 oz.) 22,000 743,000 701,500 47,000 18.9485 M
ATB Silver Bullion (5 oz.)* 0 60,700 0 0 326,800

*ATB Silver bullion coin sales figures are not published by the Mint daily. The current figure has an "as of date" of Thursday, May 27.

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