Gold prices dipped 0.6 percent Thursday, extending losses for a fourth day during which the yellow metal gave up $139.60, or 8.1 percent, of its value. The deepest hit came Wednesday when gold plummeted below $1,600 an ounce for the first time since September 29.
On Thursday, gold prices retreated $9.70 to $1,577.20 an ounce in the February futures contract on the Comex in New York. Gold prices moved from a low of $1,562.50 to a high of $1,596.50. The U.S. dollar’s dominance and its stealing of gold’s safe-haven mantle continued to lead discussions.
"We are sitting on quite a lot of cash, I think a lot of people are," Reuters quoted Rupert Caldecott, chief investment officer of the asset allocation team at Dalton Strategic Partnership, which has a total of around $2.4 billion under management.
"The bond markets are offering no help. The problem with safe havens is that they have proven not to be safe at all and the list is getting shorter. It may only be cash very shortly," said Caldecott.
Silver prices for March delivery added 33.9 cents, or 1.2 percent, to close at $29.274 an ounce. Silver swung from $28.120 to $29.300. Jim Wyckoff of Kitco Metals Inc. writes in the Thursday Kitco Roundup about silver’s near-term technicals:
"March silver futures prices closed nearer the session high Thursday but did hit a fresh 2.5-month low early on. Short covering in a bear market was featured. Serious near-term technical damage was inflicted Wednesday. Silver prices have been trending lower in a choppy fashion for six weeks.
Bulls’ next upside price breakout objective is closing prices above solid technical resistance at $31.00 an ounce. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below major technical support at the September low of $26.185.
First resistance is seen at $29.50 and then at $30.00. Next support is seen at $29.00 and then at Thursday’s low of $28.12 and then at $28.00. Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 3.5."
Platinum prices for January delivery shed $19.30, or 1.4 percent, to $1,407.00 an ounce, ranging from $1,376.00 to $1,428.00.
Palladium prices for March delivery rose $1.05, or 0.2 percent, to $620.65 an ounce, trading between $606.85 and $629.00.
London Precious Metals
London precious metals were also mixed, with palladium rising and other major metals falling. When comparing London fixings on Thursday (PM) from those on Wednesday (PM), gold prices declined $29.00 to $1,574.00 an ounce, silver trimmed $1.12 to $28.80 an ounce, platinum lost $39.00 to $1,415.00 an ounce and palladium advanced $6.50 to $623.50 an ounce.
U.S. Mint Bullion Coins
There appears to be little in the way of stopping U.S. Mint gold bullion coins as their sales stride higher as gold prices move lower. Buyers continue to step in and get the coins at relative "bargain prices" compared to just a few weeks ago. Each rising for the eighth time in the last nine days, the American Gold Buffalo added 1,000 and the one ounce American Gold Eagle added 6,000. Also appearing on the sales charts was the American Gold Eagle with a 50,000 increase. With less than half of December gone, the monthly levels for these three coins have already surpassed each of their sales totals from November.
The latest daily, monthly, and year-to-date U.S. Mint bullion sales figures follow:
|Sales of U.S. Mint American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Coins|
|Daily Gains||December Gains||YTD 2011|
|American Gold Eagle Coin (1 oz.)||6,000||47,500||892,000|
|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.)||1,000||11,500||165,000|
|American Silver Eagle (1 oz.)||50,000||1,456,000||39,315,500|
|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||0||32,500|
|Chickasaw Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||400||25,100|
*The United States Mint does not provide daily sales figures for its 5-ounce silver coins. The sales are current as of Monday, December 12, 2011.