Gold and silver prices traded Thursday between a relatively narrow range and not far from their previous closing prices. The metals did register modest gains, with advances attributed mostly to safe-haven demand driven by the situation in Greece.
"The debt crisis in Greece has widened into a political crisis and Greek insolvency is becoming increasingly likely," wrote analysts at Commerzbank according to MarketWatch. "The current very high level of uncertainty is still causing risk aversion of market players to rise and gold is profiting accordingly."
On the Comex in New York, August gold prices rose $3.70, or 0.2 percent, to $1,529.90 an ounce. The yellow metal touched an intraday low of $1,522.00 and hit a high of $1,534.00. Gold prices are up 7.6 percent this year.
"Greece is facing a number of difficulties and obstacles right now. If it can meet some of these challenges, you will see a flight back to the risk assets and maybe less to safety," Phillip Streible, senior market strategist with Lind Waldock, was quoted on Reuters. "For now, gold gets the benefit of being a safe haven."
Silver prices for July delivery settled up 14.9 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $35.559 an ounce. Silver prices moved between $35.155 and $35.815. Silver is up 14.9 percent in 2011. Jim Wyckoff of Kitco Metals Inc. noted the following on Thursday:
"July Comex silver futures prices closed near mid-range Thursday. Silver bulls have the slight overall near-term technical advantage, but still need to show more power soon to keep that advantage.
The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at the May low of $32.30. Bulls’ next upside price objective is producing a close above solid technical resistance at last week’s high of $37.86 an ounce.
First resistance is seen at $36.00 and then at $36.50. Next support is seen at $35.00 and then at this week’s low of $34.40 Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 5.5."
Platinum prices for July delivery declined $13.50, or 0.8 percent, to close at $1,760.70 an ounce. Platinum ranged from a low of $1,754.00 to a high of $1,785.20. Prices are down 1.0 percent this year.
Palladium prices for September delivery ended down $12.50, or 1.6 percent, to $763.50 an ounce. The metal traded between $748.65 and $779.30. It has fallen 5.0 percent in 2011.
London precious metal prices were again mixed. When comparing London fix prices on Thursday (PM) from those on Wednesday (PM), gold declined $6.50 to $1,523.25 an ounce, silver prices added 29.0 cents at $35.550 an ounce, platinum declined $30.00 to $1,754.00 an ounce, and palladium declined $27.00 at $758.00 an ounce.
All United States Mint one-ounce bullion coins advanced Thursday. Gains were modest for the American Gold Eagle and American Gold Buffalo. Each rose 500. The Buffalo pick-up was the first in several weeks. Also advancing on the day was the American Silver Eagle. It rose 91,500. The bullion coins have been making slightly higher and more frequent upward moves ever since the United States Mint began producing them in San Francisco, in addition to West point.
The latest United States Mint bullion coin sales figures follow:
|US Mint 2011 Bullion Coin Sales|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1 oz.)||500||30,000||481,500|
|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||20,000||235,000|
|Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.)||500||500||74,500|
|Silver Eagle (1 oz.)||91,500||1,773,500||20.675M|
|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 more than two weeks ago (Thursday, May 26).