Gold Ends Week with 4th Session Gain, Silver Soars 8.4%


Fine Gold BarsU.S. gold and silver prices continued their streak of four session gains on Friday, supported by dismal U.S. employment data which elicited safe-haven buying. Gold registered a weekly increase of 4.0 percent while silver surged 8.4 percent.

Although platinum and palladium declined Friday, they rose on the week with respective gains of 1.0 percent and 2.8 percent.

August gold prices ended up $11.00, or 0.7 percent, to $1,541.60 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Gold prices traded between $1,525.00 and $1,546.00.

"It is the public-sector employment which was the disappointing factor," Peter Fertig, a metals consultant at Quantitative Commodity Research, said according to Reuters. "The market overreacted after yesterday’s ADP report showed a strong increase in the private-sector payrolls. "You have some safe-haven flows (into gold)."

Nonfarm payrolls rose by a scant 18,000 in June, according to U.S. Labor Department data released on Friday. Forecasts had ranged from around 90,000 to as much as 125,000. The unemployment rate was also pushed up from 9.1 percent to 9.2 percent. Further, job gains in May were revised down to 25,000 from the initial estimate of 54,000.

"The outlook for gold prices next week is moderately bullish as gold analysts say ongoing political wrangling regarding an increase in the U.S. debt ceiling will likely prove supportive to the yellow metal," noted Kitco News in its weekly metals outlook article.

"While the short-term bias for gold is bullish, overall analysts don’t expect the market to break out of the recent two-month plus trading range… In the weekly Kitco News Gold Survey, out of 34 participants, 23 responded this week. Of those, 16 see prices up, while four see prices down and three see prices sideways or unchanged. Market participants include bullion dealers, investment banks, futures traders and technical chart analysts."

Silver prices for September delivery remained nearly unchanged. The metal advanced seven-tenths of a cent to $36.543 an ounce. Silver prices ranged between $36.010 and $36.895.

Myra P. Saefong and Deborah Levine of MarketWatch reported the following Friday:

Looking ahead, gold is still in for a "high degree of volatility" over the next two to three weeks, according to Brien Lundin, editor of Gold Newsletter. "Without getting too aggressive, I’m recommending the selective accumulation of bargain-priced junior resource stocks," he said. "Whether the seasonal bottom is just behind us or sometime over the next few weeks, current price levels for the metals and the mining shares are likely far lower than they’ll be over the months ahead."

Platinum prices for October delivery declined $9.60, or 0.6 percent, to close at $1,733.40 an ounce. Prices touched a low of $1,731.50 and reached a high of $1,755.00.

Palladium prices for September delivery closed to $778.95 an ounce, falling $7.60 or 1.0 percent. The metal ranged from $772.00 to $787.95.

London bullion prices were mixed for another day. When comparing London Fix prices on Friday (PM) from those on Thursday (PM), gold advanced $14.00 to $1,541.50 an ounce, silver climbed 42.0 cents at $36.280 an ounce, platinum rose $6.00 to $1,740.00 an ounce, and palladium fell $3.00 at $776.00 an ounce.

London precious metals paralleled New York futures prices with strong weekly gains, including 3.9 percent for gold, 7.2 percent for silver, 1.9 percent for platinum and 3.5 percent for palladium.

Although the United States Mint reported solid gains on Friday for its bullion American Eagle coins, weekly levels were mostly lower as compared to the previous week. American Silver Eagles led sales, rising 750,000 for the week which brought their year-to-date total to above 23 million. The latest available bullion coin sales figures are provided in the table below:

US Mint 2011 Bullion Coin Sales
Gold Eagle Coin (1 oz.) 8,000 14,500 11,000 11,000 518,500
Gold Eagle Coin (1/2 oz.) 0 0 1,000 1,000 56,000
Gold Eagle Coin (1/4 oz.) 0 4,000 0 0 64,000
Gold Eagle Coin (1/10 oz.) 5,000 10,000 5,000 5,000 255,000
Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.) 1,500 2,000 2,000 2,000 81,500
Silver Eagle (1 oz.) 294K 806.5K 750K 750K 23.0535M
ATB Silver Bullion (5 oz.)* 0 19,000 0 0 326,800

*America the Beautiful (ATB) Silver bullion coin sales figures are not published by the United States Mint daily. The current year-to-date figure has an "as of date" of July 5.

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