U.S. gold prices edged higher Friday, extending gains for a second straight session. But earlier losses after the three-day weekend guided gold 0.9 percent lower this week in volatile trading in which prices pitched from an all-time high of $1,923.70 an ounce on Tuesday to a weekly low of $1,793.80 an ounce on Wednesday.
"The weakness in stocks and the drop in bond yields to new lows have helped gold come back today, but I doubt people are building new long positions ahead of the weekend," Reuters quoted James Steel, metals analyst at HSBC in New York. "Everyone’s cautious after this wild week."
On Friday, gold prices rose $2.00, or 0.1 percent, to settle at $1,859.50 an ounce in the December futures contract on the Comex in New York. Prices ranged between $1,825.50 and $1,889.10.
Forecasts are mixed for gold prices next week, according to the weekly gold survey conducted by Kitco News.
"Survey participants in Kitco News’ Gold Survey are split over the direction for gold prices for next week, but there is a slight bias for higher prices as the worries about Europe and general concerns about the U.S. economy and political uncertainty there give investors reasons to buy the metal.
Still, not everyone is convinced, given the big volatility in the market and gold’s difficulty in sustaining moves over $1,900 an ounce.
In the Kitco News Gold Survey, out of 34 participants, 21 responded this week. Of those 21 participants, nine see prices up, while six see prices down, and six see prices sideways or unchanged."
The yellow metal has gained $438.10, or 30.8 percent, in 2011.
Weekly Gains in other Precious Metals Futures
Palladium led previous metals in percent losses this week as prices dropped 5.7 percent. Other weekly losses include 3.4 percent for silver and 2.5 percent for platinum.
In New York futures closings Friday and in precious metals advances for 2011:
Silver prices for December delivery declined 90.6 cents, or 2.1 percent, to close at $41.624 an ounce, trading between $41.330 and $42.785. Despite the weekly fall, silver prices lead precious metals with a gain this year of $10.69, or 34.5 percent.
Platinum prices for October delivery ended down $16.60, or 0.9 percent, to $1,837.90 an ounce. Platinum ranged from $1,828.00 to $1,867.70. Platinum has advanced $59.70, or 3.4 percent, in 2011.
Palladium prices for December delivery plummeted $26.70, or 3.5 percent, to settle at $738.60 an ounce, trading from $736.00 to $765.80. Palladium remains the worst performing precious metal with a loss this year of $64.90, or 8.1 percent.
London Precious Metals Prices
Precious metals declined in London on Friday and for the week. In London Fix price comparisons between Friday (PM) and Thursday (PM):
- Gold declined $3.50 to $1,851.50 an ounce,
- Silver prices fell 74.0 cents at $41.40 an ounce,
- Platinum lost $6.00, or 0.3 percent, to $1,842.00 an ounce, and
- Palladium dropped $14.00, or 1.8 percent, at $748.00 an ounce.
The metals suffered heavier damages on the week. Weekly losses included 1.3 percent for gold, 2.6 percent for silver, 1.7 percent for platinum, and 4.7 percent for palladium.
U.S. Mint Bullion Coin Weekly Sales
Several gains in bullion coins were published by the U.S. Mint Friday after zero advances were reported for two straight days. Silver Eagles jumped 476,000 but their weekly pace was slower at 577,000 versus the previous 844,000. Half of the Mint’s American Gold Eagle bullion coins climbed. The half-ounce and quarter-ounce sizes were the exceptions. For a review on how the coins performed last month, read:
- Gold Eagle Bullion Coin Sales in August 2011 Best Since January
- August 2011 Sales of American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins Shatter Record
The latest daily, 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.)||14,500||14,000||14,500||17,500||690,000|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1/2 oz.)||0||0||0||0||61,000|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1/4 oz.)||0||0||0||0||70,000|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1/10 oz.)||5,000||0||5,000||5,000||325,000|
|Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.)||4,000||3,500||4,000||4,000||123,500|
|Silver Eagles (1 oz.)||476,000||844K||557K||651K||29.602M|
|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 Friday, September 2.