Stocks and commodities sank Thursday as the threat of another recession in the U.S. and Europe spooked investors and gave flight to cash. As the dollar rallied, previous metals dived.
Gold prices dropped $66.40, or 3.7 percent, to settle at $1,741.70 an ounce in the December futures contract on the Comex in New York. Gold ranged from an intraday low of $1,723.20 to a high of $1,789.00. Despite recent losses, the yellow metal remains 22.5 percent higher on the year.
"A sharply higher U.S. dollar index and sharply lower crude oil prices put strong selling pressure on the precious metals markets. Margin-call and ‘when in doubt, get out’ selling pressure hit the precious metals along with many other markets Thursday, noted Jim Wyckoff of Kitco News.
"The world stock markets saw strong selling pressure Thursday, following the unimpressive FOMC statement from the U.S. Fed, and amid more weak economic data coming out of Europe and China. All of the above are feeding notions that the world’s major economies are on the verge of another recession and may even be already there," added Wyckoff.
The Fed said Wednesday that there are "significant downside risks" in the U.S. economic outlook, including "strains in global financial markets."
"We see the stronger dollar weighing on all commodities including gold," Lv Xiaowei, an analyst at First Futures Co., said from Tianjin, China, according to Bloomberg. "If the global economy continues to deteriorate, there will come a point where we’ll see both gold and the dollar going higher together as people look for least risky assets."
Silver prices for December delivery plunged $3.891, or 9.6 percent, to close at $36.578 an ounce — an area silver had not seen since July. Silver prices moved between $36.405 and $39.850. The white metal still retains an 18.2 percent increase on the year.
Platinum and palladium churned with losses as well, falling between gold and silver.
"Given their industrial nature, these precious metals are getting caught up in the downward pull of cyclical commodities," Commerzbank analysts wrote in a note cited on MarketWatch. "As long as the environment does not brighten, the downtrend should continue."
Platinum prices for October delivery ended down $77.60, or 4.3 percent, to settle at $1,710.60 an ounce. The PGM metal traded from $1,678.20 to $1,771.60.
Palladium prices for December delivery declined $48.80, or 6.8 percent, to close at $664.05 an ounce. Palladium ranged from $646.10 to $695.40.
London Precious Metals Fixings
Losses in London precious metals were as severe, or more so, as futures in New York. In comparing PM fixings from Wednesday to Thursday, the gold fix declined $71.00 at $1,722.00, silver lost $2.40 at $37.850, platinum fell $54.00 at $1,725.00 and palladium dived $59.00 at $659.00.
U.S. Mint Bullion Coin Sales
With precious metals lower, U.S. Mint buyers took the opportunity to purchase each of the bureau’s one-ounce bullion products. From largest gains to smallest, Silver Eagles advanced 46,000; Gold Eagles added 7,000; and Gold Buffalo bullion coins advanced 500. The latest U.S. Mint daily, September and year-to-date bullion coin sales figures follow:
|Sales of U.S. Mint American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Coins|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1 oz.)||7,000||36,000||708,500|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1/2 oz.)||0||1,000||62,000|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1/4 oz.)||0||2,000||72,000|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1/10 oz.)||0||20,000||340,000|
|Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.)||500||5,500||125,000|
|Silver Eagles (1 oz.)||46,000||1.4505M||30.4015M|
|Sales of America the Beautiful 5 Oz. Silver Bullion Coins*|
|Gettysburg National Military Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||126,700|
|Glacier National Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||126,700|
|Olympic National Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||81,300|
|Vicksburg National Military Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||28,800|
|Chickasaw Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||17,700|
*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 individual totals are as of Monday, September 12. The overall total is as of Monday, September 19 (900 additional five-ounce bullion coins sold since last week).