Gold Rises Slightly, Silver Prices Advance 2.2%


Fine Gold BarsU.S. gold and silver prices rebounded Thursday, supported by higher oil prices and inflationary concerns in Europe.

"People are looking at the fact that the ECB has said there will be rate hikes maybe next month, rather than today’s announcement," Societe Generale analyst David Wilson, was quoted on Reuters. "You’d expect higher rates to strengthen the euro versus the dollar, and a weaker dollar is a support for gold."

August gold prices rose $4.00, or 0.3 percent, to settle at $1,542.70 an ounce on the Comex in New York. The metal ranged from a low of $1,534.00 to a high of $1,550.80. Gold prices have advanced 8.5 percent in 2011.

"Thursday morning’s highly anticipated European Central Bank (ECB) meeting did not produce an immediate rate hike by the ECB, but the press conference that followed saw ECB head Trichet suggest EU rates will be hiked in July," noted Jim Wyckoff of Kitco Metals Inc.

"Recent European Union economic data has been stronger and the U.S. data has been weaker. If such continues to be the case, it would be a bearish development for the U.S. dollar and bullish for the Euro currency–which would also be bullish for the precious metals. The key question mark for the Euro currency is whether the bullish higher EU interest rates can offset the bearish sovereign debt problem of the European Union. It’s likely the EU debt problem will trump any near-term rate hikes by the ECB."

Silver prices for July delivery surged 80.4 cents, or 2.2 percent, to close at $37.424 an ounce. Levels moved between $36.565 and $37.620. Silver prices have rallied 21.0 percent this year.

Platinum prices for July delivery rose $13.50, or 0.7 percent, to $1,844.70 an ounce. The PGM metal traded between $1,820.00 and $1,849.30.

Palladium prices for September delivery added $12.40, or 1.5 percent, to stand at $818.10 an ounce. Palladium prices ranged between $803.85 and $819.75.

London bullion prices stepped higher, with the exception of gold which remained unchanged at $1,537.75 an ounce. In comparing other London fix precious metals prices on Thursday (PM) from those on Wednesday (PM), silver rose 81.0 cents at $37.030 an ounce, platinum added $13.00 at $1,831.00 an ounce and palladium rose $11.00 to $810.00 an ounce.

United States Mint bullion coin sales levels remained unchanged, with the exception of the American Silver Eagle. The bullion coin rose 25,000 on the day, making its way closer to the 20 million mark for the year. The following are the latest bullion coin totals for June and 2011.

US Mint 2011 Bullion Coin Sales
Gold Eagle Coin (1 oz.) 0 24,500 476,000
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 15,000 230,000
Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.) 0 0 74,000
Silver Eagle (1 oz.) 25,000 842,000 19.7435 M
ATB Silver Bullion (5 oz.)* 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 26.

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