Precious metals plummeted Wednesday as the euro fell to a 15-month low and the U.S. dollar resultantly turned higher. Gold, in turn, declined for a fifth straight day and silver fell to a 3-month low.
"When you get so many people who bought gold thinking it was a safe haven and now under water, that’s the reason why it can come off more, perhaps on dollar strength," Reuters quoted Rick Bensignor, chief market strategist of Merlin Securities. "The dollar becomes the safe place, not the gold market," said Bensignor.
Gold prices declined $31.40, or 2.0%, to $1,564.10 an ounce in the February futures contract on the Comex in New York. Prices ranged from an intraday low of $1,557.60 to a high of $1,595.00. Gold was the only precious metal to rise last week, albeit modestly at 0.5%.
"Gold prices drifted even lower overnight and this morning as year-end sellers once again cashed still-profitable chips in and opted to park proceeds in cash at least until the first week of 2012 draws to a close," noted Jon Nadler, Senior Analyst at Kitco Metals Inc.
"Portfolio reallocations will then come into play and the market might get a better sense of direction but as things stand right now, the yellow metal did not appear to have too much support at the psychological $1,600 mark, nor did it appear to have too much of the same as it broke under the $1,570 area around the 10 o’clock hour in New York this morning."
Silver prices for March delivery plunged $1.506, or 5.2%, to settle at $27.234 an ounce. Prices bottomed at $27.060 — the lowest since September 26, and reached up to $28.79.
"Today’s silver action is way oversold," said Precious Metals Investing for Dummies author Paul Mladjenovic, according to MarketWatch.
Platinum prices for April delivery fell $45.50, or 3.2%, to $1,392.40 an ounce, trading between $1,388.00 and $1,436.40.
Palladium prices for March delivery declined $19.45, or 2.9%, to $647.15 an ounce, ranging between $637.00 and $666.70.
London Precious Metals
Until Friday, London markets have been closed since the 23rd due to Christmas and Boxing Day breaks. When comparing each of the London fixings on Friday (AM) from those on Wednesday (PM), gold prices dropped $36.50 to $1,571.00 an ounce, silver advanced 43.0 cents to $29.65 an ounce, platinum declined $28.00 to $1,408.00 an ounce and palladium rose $2.00 to $655.00 an ounce.
U.S. Mint Bullion Coins
The single U.S. Mint bullion coin gainer on the day was the 24-karat Gold Buffalo. The bullion coin rose 1,000 which lifted its December total to 21,000, the highest level since August 2011.
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.)||0||65,500||910,000|
|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||21,000||174,500|
|American Silver Eagle||0||2,009,000||39,868,500|
|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||84,100|
|Vicksburg National Military Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||33,800|
|Chickasaw Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||26,400|
*The United States Mint does not always provide daily sales figures for its 5-ounce silver coins. The sales are current as of Monday, December 19, 2011.