Gold Prices Advance, Palladium Extends Rally to Eight Days


Fine Gold BarsGold prices advanced Wednesday after two straight days of losses that were driven by S&P’s review and possible credit downgrades of euro zone members. Trading was thin, however, as investors were said to be on the sidelines waiting for Friday’s meeting of European leaders and their actions to address the region’s debt-woes.

"The S&P credit watch is a reflection of stresses in the euro zone, which argue for lower gold prices," HSBC Securities analyst James Steel said in a note to clients cited on MarketWatch. However, "on balance, we believe that the [European Union] summit will boost gold prices, unless ratings agencies further downgrade euro-zone nations’ credit ratings."

Gold prices gained $13.00, or 0.8 percent, to $1,744.80 an ounce in the February futures contract on the Comex in New York. Gold ranged from $1,723.60 to $1,747.00.

"Market participants are in the midst of the traditional year-end book-squaring/window-dressing/portfolio reshuffling frenzy and some will thus take some profitable gold chips off the table. Thus, apart from news headlines-induced counterintuitive rallies or sell-offs, the volatility that such year-end preparations bring about will be amply on display for a couple more weeks," noted Jon Nadler, Senior Analyst at Kitco Metals Inc.

"Still, the current behavior of gold appears to have even the pros publicly declaring that they are a tad baffled. Others are reluctant to unwind positions before the EU summit draws to a close and have been pinning gold rally hopes on a positive outcome from that gathering."

Silver prices for March delivery edged down 11.7 cents, or 0.4 percent, to $32.627 an ounce. Silver on the day moved between a low of $32.265 and a high of $32.860.

Platinum prices for January delivery dipped $2.00, or 0.1 percent, to $1,522.00 an ounce, ranging between $1,510.00 and $1,538.40.

Marking eight straight session increases, palladium prices for March delivery advanced $14.55, or 2.2 percent, to $685.45 an ounce, trading from $671.25 to $690.00. Palladium has gained $115.35, or 20.2 percent, since November 25.

London Precious Metals

After falling across the board Tuesday, London precious metals advanced together Wednesday. When comparing London fixings on Wednesday (PM) from those on Tuesday (PM), gold prices climbed $27.00 to $1,735.00 an ounce, silver gained 60.0 cents to $32.45 an ounce, platinum added $13.00 to $1,518.00 an ounce and palladium surged $43.00 to $681.00 an ounce.

U.S. Mint Bullion Coin Weekly Sales

Gains in U.S. Mint bullion coins were limited to gold products for a second straight day. The Gold Buffalo added 500 and the one ounce Gold Eagle advanced 1,500. The latest daily, 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 December Gains YTD 2011
American Gold Eagle Coin (1 oz.) 1,500 14,000 858,500
American Gold Eagle Coin (1/2 oz.) 0 0 65,000
American Gold Eagle Coin (1/4 oz.) 0 0 82,000
American Gold Eagle Coin (1/10 oz.) 0 0 370,000
American Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.) 500 7,500 161,000
American Silver Eagle (1 oz.) 0 806,000 38,665,500


Sales of America the Beautiful 5 Oz. Silver Bullion Coins*
Gains Over Last Week 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 0 83,300
Vicksburg National Military Park 5 oz. Silver Coin 300 32,500
Chickasaw Park 5 oz. Silver Coin 300 24,700
TOTAL 600 393,900


*The United States Mint does not provide daily sales figures for its 5-ounce silver coins. The sales are current as of Monday, December 5, 2011.

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