Gold dropped Friday but gained $14 on the week as a result of the prior three-day winning streak. Standard & Poor’s on Friday downgraded the credit ratings of nine euro zone governments, including France and Austria. That news bolstered the dollar which pressured stocks, gold and other commodities.
"The dollar seems to be the main go-to safe-haven play at the moment. Market talk of downgrade has taken away some of the recent support from gold," said David Meger, director of metals trading at futures brokerage Vision Financial Markets, according to Reuters.
"Given the size of its recent rally, it’s certainly not surprising to see profit taking on the back news like this," Meger added.
Gold prices declined $16.9, or 1.0%, to $1,630.80 an ounce in the February futures contract on the Comex in New York. Gold traded from an intraday low of $1,625.70 to a high of $1,650.70.
With gold’s advance last week and 0.9% increase this week, the yellow metal has rallied $64, or 4.1%, in 2012. Forecasts for gold prices next week are mixed. In weekly queries, the majority of participants in a Kitco News survey expect lower prices while most in a Bloomberg survey believe prices are heading higher.
"In the Kitco News Gold Survey, out of 32 participants, 24 responded this week. Of those 24 participants, 6 see prices up, while 11 see prices down, and 7 are neutral on prices," Kitco News reports.
"Those participants who look for weaker prices said after the recent run up in prices, gold is vulnerable to a retracement… Those who see higher prices said momentum may carry the market higher, to about $1,675, noting that the underlying fundamental story for gold remains supportive for prices."
The Bloomberg survey had 18 of 23 participants forecasting higher gold prices, the most bullish sentiment in two months. 3 were bearish and 2 neutral.
Silver, Platinum, and Palladium
In other precious metals, silver prices for March delivery fell 60.2 cents, or 2.0%, to $29.522 an ounce. Prices ranged from a low of $29.420 to a high of $30.245. The white metal advanced 2.8% on the week and it is up 5.8% in 2012.
Platinum prices for April delivery ended down $11.30, or 0.8%, to $1,488.80 an ounce, trading between $1,471.80 and $1,501.00. Platinum surged 5.7% this week, making it the best performing precious metal of the year with its 6.0% advance.
Palladium prices for March delivery lost $6.20, or 1.0%, to $635.05 an ounce, ranging from $623.50 to $639.20. The PGM metal rallied 3.4% for the week but plunged 6.4% last week. Palladium has fallen 3.2% in 2012, the only precious metal in the red this year.
U.S. markets are closed Monday for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.
London Precious Metals
Earlier fixed London precious metals declined Friday. Losses were more severe than later metals futures closings in New York. When comparing the London fixings on Friday (PM) from those on Thursday (PM):
- Gold fell $25.50 to $1,635.50 an ounce,
- Silver declined 94.0 cents to $29.64 an ounce,
- Platinum lost $19.00 to $1,479.00 an ounce, and
- Palladium fell $18.00 to $627.00 an ounce
For a second straight week, palladium was the only precious metal to decline on the week. It dipped 0.8%. Weekly increases included gold at 1.2%, silver at 0.8% and platinum at 4.9%.
U.S. Mint Bullion Coins
After registering soaring gains during the first week in the year, American Eagle bullion coins were tamer this second week — especially gold bullion. The one ounce American Gold Eagle moved ahead with an 8,500 weekly increase, bringing its January total to 61,500 — the highest amount for a month since September. The one-half ounce size rose 5,000 to 18,000 for January, the best level since May. The quarter and tenth ounce sizes remained unchanged for the week.
Weekly sales for American Silver Eagle bullion coins were strong, up over 1 million. The Eagle’s January total reached nearly 4.6 million. That amount is already the second best monthly total since the series launched in 1986. The all-time Silver Eagle monthly record occurred in January 2011 at 6.422 million.
American Gold Buffalo bullion coins rose 4,500 for the week, outdoing the previous 3,500, but the pace is too slow to break any notable records.
The latest daily, weekly, 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||January/YTD 2012|
|American Gold Eagle Coin (1 oz.)||0||53,000||8,500||61,500|
|American Gold Eagle Coin (1/2 oz.)||0||13,000||5,000||18,000|
|American Gold Eagle Coin (1/4 oz.)||0||30,000||0||30,000|
|American Gold Eagle Coin (1/10 oz.)||0||75,000||0||75,000|
|American Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.)||0||3,500||4,500||8,000|
|American Silver Eagle||0||3,547,000||1,050,000||4,597,000|
|Sales of America the Beautiful 5 Oz. Silver Bullion Coins|
|Prior Weekly||Weekly Gains||All-Time Total|
|Olympic National Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||0||500||84,600|
|Vicksburg National Military Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||0||0||34,300|
|Chickasaw Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||0||0||26,900|
All bullion coin totals in the above tables are in the number of coins sold, not the amount of ounces. The United States Mint does not provide daily sales for its 5-ounce silver coins — the latest 5-ounce figures are current as of Monday, January 9, 2012.