Gold advanced for the first time in three days Friday, recouping a small portion of a weekly loss that totaled $63, or 3.5 percent — the biggest five-day drop since September 23. Gold prices edged up $4.90, or 0.3 percent, to $1,725.10 an ounce in the December futures contract on the Comex in New York, trading between $1,711.40 and $1,738.50.
Most market-watchers had exhibited a bullish outlook for the yellow metal when closing up shop last week. Reality missed expectations, as the safe-haven this week turned out to be not golden in color, but green — as in the U.S. dollar.
"The vast majority of participants in various weekly price surveys were bullish on bullion’s prospects for this week last Friday," noted Jon Nadler, Senior Analyst at Kitco Metals Inc.
"However, this week’s near total eurozone meltdown and erosion in the common currency derailed the bullish track for precious metals and ended up bolstering the dollar instead. The greenback traded at a five-week high against an assorted basket of currencies mainly on the back of ‘lesser of all evils’ perceptions and a continuing string of fairly positive US economic statistics coming into the news pipelines."
Still, with uncertainly abound in Europe, gold remains a choice haven, states Tao Jinfeng, chief investment consultant at Haitong Futures Co.
"Gold is still an attractive haven investment." Businessweek quotes Jinfeng. Its "recent performance has been hampered by the stronger U.S. dollar … Should there be a deterioration in the situation in Europe, such as a cut in Italy’s or France’s credit rating, gold will very quickly re-assert itself as one of the choice havens."
Gold prices should rise next week according to the majority of participants in the latest gold survey conducted by Kitco News. But the margin spread between market-watchers seeing prices higher versus lower is much tighter than it has been in recent surveys.
"The outlook for gold prices next week appears cloudy as participants in Kitco News’ weekly Gold Survey shows a sharp divide, with a slight bias for higher prices.
In the Kitco News Gold Survey, out of 34 participants, 24 responded this week. Of those 24 participants, 13 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.
Of the participants who see higher prices next week, several said this week’s sharp sell-off has taken the metal to areas which might entice bargain hunters to pick up gold cheaper. Also, many point out that the underlying fundamentals for gold …"
Last Friday’s survey had participants, by a margin of 18 to 2, looking for higher gold prices. It was the first directional miss by the majority in four weeks.
Another supporting factor for gold is its 50-day moving average, opines Mark Arbeter, chief technical strategist at S&P Capital IQ.
"Gold has pulled back to strong chart support around $1,700 and its 50-day exponential moving average. A lot of times when gold breaks out, it does pull back to its 50-day before resuming its uptrend," Reuters quoted Arbeter.
Gold’s losses brought down its year-to-date gain to $303.70, or 21.4 percent.
Weekly Losses in other Precious Metals Futures
In percentage, platinum matched the weekly loss of gold at 3.5 percent. Silver and palladium fared worse, plunging 6.5 and 8.7 percent, respectively.
On Friday, silver prices for December delivery rebounded 92.0 cents, or 2.9 percent, to $32.417 an ounce, trading from $30.925 to $32.500. The white metal gave back a large portion of its 2011 gains (+$1.48, +4.8 percent) with this week’s $2.27 loss.
Platinum prices for January delivery advanced $7.60, or 0.5 percent, to $1,588.70 an ounce. Prices ranged from $1,569.70 to $1,605.00. Platinum has declined $189.50, or 10.7 percent, this year.
Palladium prices for December delivery closed to $605.15 an ounce for a slight $1.45, or 0.2 percent, gain. The PGM metal touched an intraday low of $597.00 and reached a high at $615.65. Palladium has plummeted $198.35, or 24.7 percent, in 2011.
London Precious Metals
Earlier fixed London precious metals declined Friday and for the week. In comparing London fixings on Friday (PM) from those on Thursday (PM):
- Gold prices fell $23.50 to $1,719.00 an ounce,
- Silver lost $1.05 to $32.25 an ounce,
- Platinum dipped $13.00 to $1,594.00 an ounce, and
- Palladium declined $27.00 to $608.00 an ounce
Weekly losses included 3.0 percent for gold, 4.5 percent for silver, 2.1 percent for platinum and 6.6 percent for palladium.
U.S. Mint Bullion Coin Weekly Sales
In bullion coins, all but two of the U.S. Mint’s American Eagle coin products advanced Friday. The 22-karat half ounce and quarter ounce Gold Eagles were the non-movers.
The Silver Eagles rose 25,000 on the day, lifting their sales this week to 278,000. That is a modest increase for the .999 fine silver coins, and telling that it still comes in as their best weekly increase in what has been a very lackluster month.
There are less than two weeks left before December begins. Yet, if November’s American Eagle sales — gold and silver — were doubled, this month would still easily rank as their worst in 2011. That would be a surprising twist since November is traditionally one of the better seasonal months for American Eagle coins.
The newest daily, weekly, monthly, and year-to-date U.S. Mint bullion coin sales follow:
|Sales of U.S. Mint American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Coins|
|Daily Gains||Prior Weekly||Weekly Gains||November Gains||YTD 2011|
|American Gold Eagle Coin (1 oz.)||3,500||3,000||7,500||16,000||822,000|
|American Gold Eagle Coin (1/2 oz.)||0||0||0||0||65,000|
|American Gold Eagle Coin (1/4 oz.)||0||0||0||2,000||80,000|
|American Gold Eagle Coin (1/10 oz.)||5,000||0||10,000||10,000||365,000|
|American Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.)||2,500||1,000||2,500||4,000||149,000|
|American Silver Eagle (1 oz.)||25,000||190,000||278,000||844,000||37,319,500|
|Sales of America the Beautiful 5 Oz. Silver Bullion Coins*|
|Weekly Gains||YTD 2011|
|Gettysburg National Military Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||n/a – sold out||126,700|
|Glacier National Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||n/a – sold out||126,700|
|Olympic National Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||600||83,300|
|Vicksburg National Military Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||600||32,200|
|Chickasaw Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||600||24,400|
*The United State Mint does not provide daily sales figures for its 5-ounce silver coins. The sales are current as of Monday, November 14, 2011.