U.S. gold futures ended 1.3 percent higher on the week but retreated for a second straight session Friday as investors continued to sell bullion profits to cover equity losses.
"It’s a volatile period for gold," Adam Klopfenstein, a senior strategist at MF Global Holdings Ltd. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview that was cited on Bloomberg. "You would think that people would buy gold as a haven now, but they’re selling it because they need to raise cash."
December gold prices retreated $7.20, or 0.4 percent, to $1,651.80 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Gold traded between $1,644.20 and $1,673.30. Gains this week have pushed gold up 16.2 percent in 2011.
Forecasts are "tilted bullish" on gold prices for next week, according to Kitco Metals Inc’s weekly gold survey.
"There is a slightly bullish tilt in sentiment toward gold for the next week among participants in Kitco News’ weekly survey. The largest block is looking for prices to keep trending higher as traders and investors continue to seek a safe haven amid worries about the global economy and debt levels in the U.S. and Europe.
However, there were also plenty of participants who feel some sort of retracement is likely, particularly after prices ran up to record highs this week.
In the Kitco News Gold Survey, out of 34 participants, 21 responded this week. Of those 21 participants, 10 see prices up over the next week, while seven see prices down and four see prices sideways or unchanged. Market participants include bullion dealers, fund managers, investment banks, futures traders and technical-chart analysts."
Other precious metals fell both for the day and the week. Weekly losses were deepest for palladium at 10.4 percent. Silver followed at 4.7 percent. Platinum dropped the least at 3.7 percent.
September silver prices declined $1.220, or 3.1 percent, to $38.211 an ounce. Silver ranged from an intraday low of $37.555 to a high of $39.870. The metal’s hefty $1.90 weekly loss cuts its 2011 gain down to 23.5 percent.
"Given current market anxieties regarding debt and growth, silver prices are likely to revisit their recent highs as all of the drivers for the September 2010 to April 2011 price surge remain intact," said Morgan Stanley. The company lifted its 2011 price forecast for silver on Thursday to $36.21 an ounce versus the previous $31.39.
Last week silver was nearly unchanged with a loss of 2 cents, but previous weekly gains lifted silver prices 15.1 percent higher in July.
Platinum prices for October delivery fell $10.30, or 0.6 percent, to close at $1,719.10 an ounce. Platinum traded between $1,682.00 and $1,727.50.
"The PGMs (platinum group metals) continue to succumb to selling pressure … amid concern of slowing economic activity and the threat slowing economic activity will reduce auto-catalyst and jewelry related demand," James Moore, an analyst at thebulliondesk.com wrote in a note, according to Reuters.
Palladium prices for September delivery declined $11.20, or 1.5 percent, to settle at $741.75 an ounce, ranging from $722.15 to $754.00.
London Precious Metals Prices
London precious metals were lower on Friday and mixed on the week as gold moved higher and the other metals fell. London Fix price comparisons between Friday (PM) and Thursday (PM) show that:
- Gold declined $20.75 to $1,658.75 an ounce,
- Silver fell $2.38 at $39.24 an ounce,
- Platinum declined $44.00 to $1,709.00 an ounce, and
- Palladium fell $40.50 at $742.00 an ounce.
London gold gained 1.9 percent on the week. Weekly losses included 1.0 percent for silver, 3.9 percent for platinum and 10.0 percent for palladium.
U.S. Mint Bullion Coin Weekly Sales
The United States Mint sold fewer ounces of bullion gold this week. The one-ounce American Gold Eagles fell to a more normalized weekly level of 9,000 versus the previous and atypical jump of 24,500. Advancing also were each of the fractional Gold Eagles — the half-ounce, quarter-ounce and tenth-ounce coins were flat during the previous week.
Sales of Silver Eagles were higher, although still lower than their usual weekly advance seen throughout most of 2011. United States Mint authorized distributors ordered 428,000 since last Friday, bringing the Silver Eagles a mere 500 shy of reaching 26 million in year-to-date sales. The latest United States Mint bullion product sales figures follow:
|US Mint American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Coin Sales|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1 oz.)||0||24,500||9,000||578,000|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1/2 oz.)||0||0||2,000||60,000|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1/4 oz.)||0||0||2,000||66,000|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1/10 oz.)||0||0||10,000||275,000|
|Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.)||0||1,500||2,500||94,000|
|Silver Eagles (1 oz.)||0||399K||428K||25.6995M|
|America the Beautiful 5 Oz. Silver Bullion Coin Sales*|
|Gettysburg National Military Park 5 oz.||126,700|
|Glacier National Park 5 oz.||126,700|
|Olympic National Park 5 oz.||80,700|
|Vicksburg National Military Park 5 oz.||27,500|
|Chickasaw Park 5 oz.||15,200|
*The Gettysburg and Glacier America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins are sold out. Unlike other investment-grade products, the United States Mint does not provide daily per coin sales totals for the Olympic, Vicksburg, and Chickasaw America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins. The five ounce coin totals above are as of Tuesday, August 2.