Gold Closes Near $1,730; Silver Advances 3.7%


Fine Gold BarsGold futures rose toward $1,730 an ounce Wednesday, advancing for the first time in four days as a weaker U.S. dollar, safe-haven buying and bargain-hunting led investors’ buying motivations.

"A weak dollar is supporting commodities and risk assets ahead of the FOMC. Any surprise comments will likely be on the side of liquidity and easing, which certainly will be beneficial to gold." Reuters quoted David Meger, director of metals trading at futures broker Vision Financial Markets.

The FOMC, in fact, ended its two-day policy meeting mid-afternoon Wednesday. The committee offered a lightly improved outlook for the U.S. economy but also cut its forecasts on growth.

"While we still expect that economic activity and labor market conditions will improve gradually over time, the pace of progress is likely to be frustratingly slow," Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said in a press conference following the meeting. "Moreover, there are significant downside risks to the economic outlook, most notably concerns about European fiscal and banking issues have contributed to strains in global financial markets, which have likely had adverse effects on confidence and growth," Bernanke added.

With the official FOMC statement essentially unchanged from the previous one, precious metals were little impacted following its immediate release.

Gold prices advanced $17.80, or 1.0 percent, to $1,729.60 an ounce in the December futures contract on the Comex in New York. Gold ranged from an intraday low of $1,715.50 to a high of $1,745.60.

"When we look at gold five years from now, we will say gold was wildly cheap," Bloomberg quoted Jason Schenker, the president of Prestige Economics LLC in Austin, Texas. "What happens to gold is going to hinge on what happens to the dollar, and that is going to be influenced by what happens in Europe and monetary policy …"

Silver prices for December delivery surged $1.212, or 3.7 percent, to settle at $33.943 an ounce. Silver traded from $33.100 to $34.435. The white metal tumbled 4.7 percent on Tuesday.

Platinum prices for January delivery closed at $1,601.30 an ounce, climbing $19.30, or 1.2 percent. Prices ranged between $1,581.10 and $1,617.50.

Palladium prices for December delivery rose $13.65, or 2.1 percent, to $648.65 an ounce. Palladium moved from $631.30 to $652.85.

London Precious Metals

Precious metals prices gained in London. When comparing London fixings on Wednesday (PM) from those on Tuesday (PM), gold advanced $44.00 to $1,743.00 an ounce, silver added 86.0 cents to $33.83 an ounce, platinum rose $37.00 to $1,609.00 an ounce, and palladium advanced $15.00 to $646.00 an ounce.

U.S. Mint Bullion Coin Sales

Sales levels for U.S. Mint bullion coins remained unchanged as of 4:47 p.m. ET. The latest daily, monthly, 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 November Gains YTD 2011
Gold Eagle Coin (1 oz.) 0 4,000 810,000
Gold Eagle Coin (1/2 oz.) 0 0 65,000
Gold Eagle Coin (1/4 oz.) 0 2,000 80,000
Gold Eagle Coin (1/10 oz.) 0 0 355,000
Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.) 0 500 145,500
American Silver Eagle (1 oz.) 0 25,000 36,500,500


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 82,700
Vicksburg National Military Park 5 oz. Silver Coin 31,600
Chickasaw Park 5 oz. Silver Coin 22,300
TOTAL 390,000


*The as of date for sales of U.S. Mint America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins is Monday, October 31, 2011. The Mint does not typically publish daily sales for its 5-ounce coins.

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