U.S. gold prices plummeted nearly $102 toward $1,600 an ounce on Friday, capping the biggest weekly loss since February 1983. The daily drop was the largest since January 22, 1980.
"The bull case for gold is on pause for the near term," Reuters quoted Adam Klopfenstein, senior market strategist for precious metals at MF Global in Chicago.
"In the near-term, the flight-to-quality interest in owning gold is also out of the window as people are not interested in buying it even in the face of fears in the economy. Until it stabilizes, I’m staying out of this market."
Gold prices plunged $101.90, or 5.9 percent, to close at $1,639.80 an ounce in the December futures contract on the Comex in New York. Gold ranged from an intraday low of $1,631.70 to a high of $1,757.90. The settlement price marks a stark $284 contrast to gold’s all-time record of $1,923.70 an ounce which was hit on September 6.
"Gold has become the source of liquidity for global margin calls," Bloomberg quoted said Michael A. Gayed, the chief investment strategist at Pension Partners LLC. "Also, deflationary pressures are acting on gold."
For the week, gold prices lost $174.90, or 9.6 percent. Forecasts are for higher gold prices next week, according to the weekly gold survey conducted by Kitco News.
"Gold prices are expected to rise next week, according to participants in Kitco News’ Gold Survey, but the tally was far from unanimous.
In the Kitco News Gold Survey, out of 34 participants, 23 responded this week. Of those 23 participants, 12 see prices up, while 10 see prices down, and one sees prices sideways or unchanged. Market participants include bullion dealers, investment banks, futures traders and technical chart analysts.
Survey participants who see higher prices said gold was caught up in the mass move to sell all assets and that the cheaper prices will be a lure to bargain hunters. The break in price from last week’s futures settlement of $1,814.70 was too heavy…"
In the previous weekly Kitco Metals survey, most participants correctly predicted the fall in gold prices.
Despite losses, gold prices are still 15.4 percent higher in 2011.
Weekly Losses in other Precious Metals Futures
In New York futures closings Friday and in precious metals advances for 2011:
Silver prices for December delivery tumbled $6.477, or 17.7 percent, to close at $30.101 an ounce. Prices ranged between $29.845 and $36.680. Until this week, silver had held the top spot as the best performing precious metal. Last Friday, it had finished up 32.0 percent higher on the year. With this week’s sharp losses, the white metal is now down 2.7 percent in 2011.
Platinum prices for October delivery fell $97.40, or 5.7 percent, to $1,613.20 an ounce, moving between $1,602.10 and $1,710.00. Platinum has fallen 9.3 percent in 2011.
- Palladium prices for December delivery declined $21.55, or 3.2 percent, to settle at $642.50 an ounce, trading from $629.50 to $667.10. Palladium has sunk 20.0 percent this year.
Silver easily led the precious metals in weekly losses, tumbling 26.3 percent. PGM’s were pressured less severely, but still heavily. Platinum declined 5.7 percent and palladium fell 9.4 percent.
London Precious Metals Prices
On Friday, precious metals in London were lower as well, with the exception of palladium. It remained unchanged at $659.00 an ounce. In other London Fix price comparisons between Friday (PM) and Thursday (PM):
- Gold prices retreated $33.00, or 1.9 percent, to $1,689.00 an ounce,
- Silver declined $4.95, or 13.1 percent, at $32.90 an ounce, and
- Platinum lost $74.00, or 4.3 percent, to $1,651.00 an ounce
The weekly losses were 5.9 percent for gold, 17.7 percent for silver, 8.2 percent for platinum and 10.0 percent for palladium.
U.S. Mint Bullion Coin Weekly Sales
One-ounce of U.S. bullion coins enjoyed healthy gains Friday, as buyers took advantage of less expensive coin prices with two straight days of sharp bullion losses.
American Silver Eagle bullion coins soared 850,000 for the day, which was more than twice the amount of the total from the previous entire week. Their weekly level came in at over 1.2 million.
The one-ounce American Gold Eagle bullion coin jumped 10,500 which lifted its weekly sales total to 23,500, or more than four time the amount of last week’s total.
The latest daily, weekly, 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.)||10,500||5,500||23,500||46,500||719,000|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1/2 oz.)||0||0||1,000||1,000||62,000|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1/4 oz.)||0||0||2,000||2,000||72,000|
|Gold Eagle Coin (1/10 oz.)||0||10,000||5,000||20,000||340,000|
|Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.)||2,000||1,000||2,500||7,500||127,000|
|Silver Eagles (1 oz.)||850,000||392K||1.2575M||2.3005M||31.2515M|
|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).