Gold, Silver Suffer Weekly Losses; Bullion American Silver Eagle Tops 36M


Fine Gold BarsGold surged Friday, snapping a string of four straight daily losses.

Gold prices rose $23.20, or 1.4 percent, to settle at $1,636.10 an ounce in the December futures contract on the Comex in New York. The yellow metal traded between $1,612.80 and $1,649.80.

Although prices moved within a somewhat narrow range Friday, they swung with a touch of volatility during the week. The five days of trading saw an intraday low price of $1,604.70 an ounce on Thursday and a high of $1,696.80 an ounce on Monday — more than a $92 difference.

"As the moves are getting larger again, that is definitely a sign that volatility will be coming back in the market as investors are interested in participating into gold again," Reuters quoted Mihir Dange, COMEX gold options floor trader for Arbitrage LLC.

Gold this week fell $46.90, or 2.8 percent. Forecasts slightly tilt toward higher gold prices next week, according to the weekly gold survey conducted by Kitco News.

"Gold prices could be higher next week if there is a positive outcome from European summits, a very slim majority of participants in Kitco News’ weekly gold survey said, but survey members were fairly divided on the outlook.

In the Kitco News Gold Survey, out of 34 participants, 24 responded this week. Of those 24 participants, 11 see prices up, while 10 see prices down and three see prices sideways or unchanged. Market participants include bullion dealers, investment banks, futures traders and technical chart analysts.

Participants who see higher prices next week said they expect that policy-makers at the European Union have their back against a wall…"

Gold prices this week did not move in the direction most analysts had expected. Last week’s Kitco survey reported that 21 participants had forecasted higher prices while 3 correctly predicted that they would move lower.

Still, gold remains the go-to precious metal of the year as it has rallied $214.70, or 15.1 percent.

Weekly Losses in other Precious Metals Futures

In percentage, silver was the second best performing precious metal Friday but it scored the worst on the week as it fell 3.0 percent (98.0 cents).

On Friday, silver prices for December delivery jumped 91.2 cents, or 3.0 percent, to close at $31.193 an ounce. The white metal ranged from $30.280 to $31.515. Silver’s weekly loss cut into its gain on the year, which is now at 25.6 cents, or 0.8 percent.

Like gold, platinum fell for four consecutive days until the streak was broke on Friday. Platinum prices for January delivery closed at $1,509.20 an ounce, advancing $18.80, or 1.3 percent. Prices traded between an intraday low of $1,487.00 and a high of $1,516.90. For the week, platinum declined $45.70, or 2.9 percent.

Palladium marked a modest weekly loss of $2.30, or 0.4 percent. The amount was poised to be more severe until Friday’s rally which brought prices sharply higher. Palladium prices for December delivery surged $33.85, or 5.8 percent, to $618.25 an ounce, ranging from $582.00 to $624.40.

For the year, platinum has lost $269.00, or 15.1 percent, and palladium has dived $185.25, or 23.1 percent.

London Precious Metals

Directionally — for Friday and for the week, London fixings for precious metals moved mostly in line with futures in New York. When comparing London Fix prices on Friday (PM) from those on Thursday (PM):

  • Gold rose $22.50 to $1,642.50 an ounce
  • Silver was nearly unchanged, rising a penny to $30.80 an ounce
  • Platinum rose $20.00 to $1,510.00 an ounce
  • Palladium advanced $21.00 to $616.00 an ounce

On the week, palladium was the exception between the two markets. While palladium futures fell in New York (-0.4 percent), the metal rose 0.3 percent in London. Other precious metals in London fell with weekly losses of 2.1 percent for gold, 3.2 percent for silver and 2.8 percent for platinum.

U.S. Mint Bullion Coin Weekly Sales

Buying activity for American Silver Eagle bullion coins picked up this week with sales of 702,000 versus the previous week’s 268,000, but the level is significantly below the fiery pace set in late September and early October. The .999 fine American Silver Eagle advanced to over 2.6 million for the month. Extending their record year sales total, the bullion coins are now over 36 million in 2011.

In related coin news, one bullion American Silver Eagle along with two collector proof and two collector uncirculated Silver Eagles will be packaged together in a five-coin set and sold by the United States Mint beginning at noon ET on Thursday, October 27. The bureau this week announced that the set, which celebrates the 25th anniversary of the American Silver Eagle, will be priced at $299.95. For more information, read the pricing article about the Silver Eagle anniversary set.

Bullion Gold Eagle coins performed better on the week as well. The one-ounce size climbed 11,500 and is notably 1,000 away from 800,000 for the year. The smallest one-tenth ounce size added 5,000 to reach 350,000 in 2011.

The latest daily, weekly and year-to-date U.S. Mint bullion coin sales figures follow:

Sales of U.S. Mint American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Coins
  Daily Gains Prior Weekly Weekly Gains October Gains YTD 2011
Gold Eagle Coin (1 oz.) 0 6,000 11,500 39,000 799,000
Gold Eagle Coin (1/2 oz.) 0 0 0 2,000 64,000
Gold Eagle Coin (1/4 oz.) 0 0 0 4,000 76,000
Gold Eagle Coin (1/10 oz.) 0 0 5,000 5,000 350,000
Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.) 0 4,500 2,500 12,000 144,500
American Silver Eagle (1 oz.) 0 268,000 702,000 2,632,000 36,043,500


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 82,200
Vicksburg National Military Park 5 oz. Silver Coin 31,500
Chickasaw Park 5 oz. Silver Coin 21,600
TOTAL 389,000


*The as of date for sales of U.S. Mint America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins is Wednesday, October 19, 2011. The Mint does not publish daily sales for its 5-ounce coins.

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