U.S. gold futures prices surged above $1,800 an ounce and to a third straight record close as jittery investors fled stocks and sought safety against renewed concerns about the U.S. and global economies.
"It’s almost like a worldwide buyers strike," Michael Mullaney, who helps manage $9.5 billion at Fiduciary Trust in Boston, said in a telephone interview cited on Bloomberg. "There’s a general malaise on global economic activity. People continue to downgrade their expectations on growth. There’s concern about funding problems. That’s making us very nervous and we want to take risk out of portfolios at least for the immediate future."
Overnight, Morgan Stanley cut its forecast for global growth this year from 4.2 percent to 3.9 percent, and from 4.5 percent in 2012 to 3.8 percent. It warned that the U.S. and Europe are "dangerously close to recession."
On the day, December gold prices rallied $28.20, or 1.6 percent, to $1,822.00 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Gold traded from an intraday low of $1,786.80 to a high of $1,829.70. The yellow metal has closed higher for four straight days, lifting its 2011 gain to $400.60, or 28.2 percent.
"We hold gold because we believe that inflation will be part of the solution to address the problems of the world," Axel Merk, portfolio manager of Merk Funds, which has $750 million in assets, was quoted on Reuters. "We are potentially entering a stagflationary period," Merk said, referring to persistent inflation combined with stagnant growth and high unemployment.
U.S. inflation jumped 0.5 percent in July, according to a U.S. Labor Department report published Thursday. The monthly increase was the most since March, and was led by higher food and energy prices. Core inflation, however, which strips out volatile food and energy costs, rose 0.2 percent — a level that was less than each of the two previous monthly increases of 0.3 percent.
Silver prices for September delivery rose 33.7 cents, or 0.8 percent, to settle at $40.688 an ounce. It moved from $40.080 to $40.950. Silver has gained $9.75, or 31.5 percent, this year. Jim Wyckoff of Kitco Metals Inc. wrote the following of the metal in the Thursday Kitco Roundup:
"December silver futures prices closed nearer the session high Thursday and scored another fresh two-week high. Silver was supported on spillover buying from the gold market, but gains were limited by fully bearish ‘outside markets’ that included sharply lower crude oil prices and a sharply higher U.S. dollar index. Bulls this week have gained fresh upside near-term technical momentum. The silver bulls have the overall technical advantage.
Bulls’ next upside price objective is producing a close above solid technical resistance at the August high of $42.31 an ounce. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at the August low of $37.055. First resistance is seen at Thursday’s high of $40.98 and then at $41.50. Next support is seen at $40.50 and then at $40.00. Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 6.5."
Platinum prices for October delivery advanced $6.90, or 0.4 percent, to $1,847.70 an ounce. The metal ranged from $1,824.60 to $1,849.00.
Palladium prices for September delivery plunged $18.90, or 2.4 percent, to close at $757.00 an ounce. Palladium traded between $748.30 and $779.70.
London Precious Metals Prices
Earlier London precious metals prices were mixed. When comparing London PM fixing prices from Thursday over Wednesday, gold rose $34.00 to $1,824.00 an ounce and silver advanced 30.0 cents to $40.320 an ounce. Losses included platinum by $5.00 to $1,836.00 an ounce and palladium by $12.00 to $766.00 an ounce.
U.S. Mint Bullion Coin Sales
Sales of United States Mint bullion coins remained unchanged from Wednesday. The latest Mint bullion product sales figures follow:
|Sales of US Mint American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Coins|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1 oz.)||0||76,500||645,500|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1/2 oz.)||0||3,000||61,000|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1/4 oz.)||0||4,000||68,000|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1/10 oz.)||0||40,000||305,000|
|Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.)||0||17,500||109,000|
|Silver Eagles (1 oz.)||0||2.1345M||27.406M|
|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|
*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 15. The figure represents an increase of 1,800 from the previous seven days, which was the same increase as the previous week.