U.S. gold and silver prices surged Friday after data showing zero jobs in August fueled recession fears and pressed investors toward safe-haven assets.
"I think there was a great deal of disappointment with the employment numbers and that kicked off speculation of further quantitative easing or some sort of monetary response," said HSBC metals analyst and senior vice president James Steel, according to Reuters. "The (gold) market was pretty much all on one-side, largely buying interest after the jobs report," Steel said.
The Labor Department said the U.S. economy added no jobs last month, although the unemployment rate remained at 9.1 percent.
"We’ve got a non-impressive jobs number, to say the least," Matt Zeman, a strategist at Kingsview Financial in Chicago, said in a telephone interview cited on Bloomberg. "You’re going to see the risk-off trade today. Investors are feeling shaky about going into equities. Gold and Treasuries are going to be beneficiaries."
Gold advanced 12.3 percent in August, dipped modestly in its September start on Thursday, and then surged following Friday’s jobs report. In the December futures contract on the Comex in New York, gold prices rose $47.80, or 2.6 percent, to $1,876.90 an ounce. The advance lifted gold’s weekly gain to $79.60, or 4.4 percent.
On the year, the yellow metal has rallied $455.50, or 32.0 percent, as it races for an 11th straight annual gain. Gold is expected to go even higher next week, according to weekly gold survey conducted by Kitco Metals Inc.
"In the Kitco News Gold Survey, out of 34 participants, 25 responded this week. Of those 25 participants, 20 see prices up, while two see prices down, and three see prices sideways or unchanged. Market participants include bullion dealers, investment banks, futures traders and technical chart analysts.
Worries in Europe and a dismal monthly U.S. jobs report have helped to spur prices back to the upper $1,800s level on Friday and most participants expect these concerns to continue to underpin gold prices."
Weekly Gains in other Precious Metals Futures
In percent terms, silver led precious metals this week. Across the spectrum, weekly gains included 5.2 percent for silver, 3.2 percent for platinum and 3.5 percent for palladium.
In New York futures closings Friday and in precious metals advances for 2011:
Silver prices for December delivery jumped $1.537, or 3.7 percent, to $43.069 an ounce, trading between $41.535 and $43.240. Silver prices have rallied this year by $12.132, or 39.2 percent.
Platinum prices for October delivery advanced $31.90, or 1.7 percent, to close at $1,884.80 an ounce. Platinum ranged from $1,847.00 to $1,888.20. The metal has climbed $106.60, or 6.0 percent, in 2011.
Palladium prices for December delivery declined $7.20, or 0.9 percent, to settle at $783.20 an ounce, trading from $776.20 to $794.80. Although down on the day, the healthy gain in palladium this week help cut its losses for the year to $20.30, or 2.5 percent.
London Precious Metals Prices
All precious metals advanced in London on Friday, including palladium which dropped in New York. Gold and silver prices stood out with respective increases of 3.0 and 2.5 percent. In specifics, London Fix price comparisons between Friday (PM) and Thursday (PM) show that:
- Gold advanced $54.25 to $1,875.25 an ounce,
- Silver prices added $1.03 at $42.50 an ounce,
- Platinum advanced $30.00, or 1.6 percent, to $1,873.00 an ounce, and
- Palladium added $8.00, or 1.0 percent, at $785.00 an ounce.
The metals rallied stronger over the last several days. Weekly gains included 4.9 percent for gold, 3.5 percent for silver, 3.4 percent for platinum, and 5.1 percent for palladium.
U.S. Mint Bullion Coin Weekly Sales
The United States Mint on Friday published gains of 3,000 for its one-ounce American Gold Eagle bullion coin and a heftier 52,000 increase for its American Silver Eagle bullion coin. The news of the day was Mint’s suspension of gold and silver products. Due to volatile gold and silver prices, the Mint stopped selling more than a dozen of its collector offerings — all of its numismatic gold coins and two of its silver sets. Unless precious metals fall, the coins and sets will be re-priced higher. That process will take at least until Wednesday for the gold coins, and likely longer for the affected silver sets.
In returning to United States Mint bullion coins, weekly sales dipped a bit for the gold coins but rose for the Silver Eagle. Weekly, September and year-to-date bullion coin sales figures follow:
|Sales of US Mint American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Coins|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1 oz.)||3,000||16,000||14,000||3,000||675,500|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1/2 oz.)||0||0||0||0||61,000|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1/4 oz.)||0||2,000||0||0||70,000|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1/10 oz.)||0||15,000||0||0||320,000|
|Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.)||0||7,000||3,500||0||119,500|
|Silver Eagles (1 oz.)||52,000||795K||844K||94K||29.045M|
|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.||81,200|
|Vicksburg National Military Park 5 oz.||28,800|
|Chickasaw Park 5 oz.||17,500|
*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 provided totals are as of Tuesday, August 30.