U.S. gold futures fell for a second straight day, but emerged 5.5 percent higher than last Friday and extended its streak of weekly gains to six.
Gold’s two-day loss was attributed to profit-taking, a rebound in equities, CME Group’s decision to hike margins on gold contracts and a correction to gold’s meteoric rise.
"We’ve come a long way with gold, and we are seeing some profit-taking in the market," Frank Lesh, a broker and futures analyst with FuturePath Trading in Chicago, was quoted on MarketWatch. "We braced for the demise of an European bank, and we didn’t have that … we are unwinding that fear trade."
In ending the week, December gold prices declined $8.90, or 0.5 percent, to $1,742.60 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Gold prices traded between $1,725.80 and $1,770.90. The yellow metal has climbed 22.6 percent this year.
Forecasts lean toward declining gold prices for next week, according to Kitco Metals Inc’s weekly gold survey.
"In the Kitco News Gold Survey, out of 34 participants, 23 responded this week. Of those 23 participants, five see prices up, 14 see prices down, and four see prices sideways or unchanged. Market participants include bullion dealers, investment banks, futures traders and technical chart analysts.
A downgrading of the U.S. credit rating by Standard & Poor’s, worries about the stability of some European economies and other general financial malaise pushed gold prices to a high of $1,817.60, only to fall back from that level.
Participants who see weaker prices next week cited the rebound in equities and the CME Group’s move to raise margin levels for gold futures traders as a reason for gold’s weaker trade toward the week’s end. Several of them also expect the weakness to continue as the market continues to correct."
Weekly Gains Across other Precious Metals
Other precious metals rallied on the week as well. Platinum registered a 4.5 percent increase since Friday. Silver followed at 2.4 percent while palladium brought up the rear at 0.9 percent.
On the day, September silver prices rose 44.5 cents, or 1.2 percent, to settle at $39.114 an ounce. Silver ranged from an intraday low of $38.215 to a high of $39.235. Its weekly increase took some of the sting out of last week’s 4.7 percent loss. The white metal’s rebound puts it up 26.4 percent in 2011.
Platinum prices for October delivery advanced $4.30, or 0.2 percent, to close at $1,796.70 an ounce. The precious metal traded between $1,790.00 and $1,808.00. Platinum has climbed 1.0 percent this year.
Palladium prices for September delivery jumped $14.40, or 2.0 percent, to settle at $748.20 an ounce, ranging from $735.00 to $749.35. Platinum is down 6.9 percent in 2011, still reeling from its 10.4 percent loss last week.
London Precious Metals Prices
London precious metals were mixed on the day and on the week. London Fix price comparisons between Friday (PM) and Thursday (PM) show that:
- Gold prices declined $24.00 to $1,736.00 an ounce,
- Silver fell 89.0 cents at $38.290 an ounce,
- Platinum rose $20.00 to $1,800.00 an ounce, and
- Palladium advanced $15.00 at $747.00 an ounce.
On the week, only silver fell back. It lost 2.4 percent. Weekly gains included 4.7 percent for gold, 5.3 percent for platinum and a more modest 0.7 percent for palladium.
U.S. Mint Bullion Coin Weekly Sales
Although the United States Mint reported no gains for bullion products on Friday, weekly sales for both silver and gold bullion coins were among the best of the year. 22-karat American Gold Eagle bullion coins exploded. The one-ounce size jumped 41,000 this week. Since June, that is nearly triple their weekly average. Even the smallest tenth-ounce size jumped 25,000, bringing its August total to 35,000. Only 15,000 were sold during the entire month of July.
24-karat gold bullion coins were hot this week as well with the American Gold Buffalo adding 8,000 to hit 10,500 for August. As a perspective, its July sales total stopped at 12,000 while its June total limped in with 5,500.
Additionally, demand improved sharply for American Silver Eagle bullion coins following two weeks of well below average sales (+428K last week and +399K two weeks ago). The .999 fine silver bullion coins advanced with a more typical weekly gain of 891,000, tilting their August level over 1.3 million and their 2011 sales to nearly 26.6 million.
The latest United States Mint bullion product sales figures follow:
|Sales of US Mint American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Coins|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1 oz.)||0||9,000||41,000||50,000||619,000|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1/2 oz.)||0||2,000||0||2,000||60,000|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1/4 oz.)||0||2,000||2,000||4,000||68,000|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1/10 oz.)||0||10,000||25,000||35,000||300,000|
|Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.)||0||2,500||8,000||10,500||102,000|
|Silver Eagles (1 oz.)||0||428K||891K||1.319M||26.5905M|
|Sales of America the Beautiful 5 Oz. Silver Bullion Coins*|
|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. Their individual totals are as of August 2. The five ounce combined coin totals above (last line) are as of August 8. The figure represents an increase of 1,800 from the previous six days.