Gold reached a two-month high and advanced for a third straight session Thursday. Earlier in the day, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke reminded investors of the Fed’s intentions to keep interest rates near zero until late 2014. Bernanke also noted that there were some signs of an improving U.S. economy but that there are difficult times ahead. His comments were taken as bullish for commodities.
Gold prices added $9.80, or 0.6%, to $1,759.30 an ounce in the April futures contract on the Comex in New York. Gold moved from an intraday low of $1,743.30 to a high of $1,763.80 — the highest level for gold since December 2.
Market-watchers will be waiting for the U.S. jobs report on Friday which could set the tone for precious metals in the short-term.
"If you get a disappointing nonfarms tomorrow, you may see a flight into short-term market U.S. dollar securities. That tends to create a corrective action in stocks and in precious metals," Reuters quoted Richard Hastings, macro strategist at investment bank Global Hunter Securities.
Silver prices for March delivery advanced 36.80 cents, or 1.1%, to $34.175 an ounce, ranging from $33.455 to $34.350. Jim Wyckoff of Kitco News writes in the Thursday Kitco Roundup about the near-term technical factors for silver prices.
"March silver futures prices closed nearer the session high Thursday and hit a fresh 2.5-month high. Silver also scored gains despite bearish ‘outside markets’ that saw a firmer U.S. dollar index and sharply lower crude oil prices — showing its near-term technical strength.
Silver bulls have the solid overall near-term technical advantage. A five-week-old uptrend is in place on the daily bar chart. Bulls’ next upside price breakout objective is closing prices above solid technical resistance at the October high of $35.68 an ounce.
The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at this week’s low of $32.93. First resistance is seen at Thursday’s high of $34.35 and then at $35.00. Next support is seen at $34.00 and then at Thursday’s low of $33.455. Wyckoff’s Market Rating: 7.0."
Platinum prices for April delivery edged up $6.70, or 0.4%, to $1,629.90 an ounce, trading between $1,617.50 and $1,635.90. Palladium prices for March delivery rallied $10.95, or 1.6%, to $707.65 an ounce, ranging from $692.95 to $710.00.
London Precious Metals
Aside from a modest loss in silver, London precious metals rose slightly for the day. In comparing London PM fixings between Wednesday and Thursday, gold climbed $11.00 to $1,751.00 an ounce, silver prices declined 13.0 cents to $33.67 an ounce, platinum tacked on $9.00 to $1,620.00 an ounce and palladium gained $3.00 for a second straight day to $698.00 an ounce.
U.S. Mint Bullion Coins
Two U.S. Mint bullion Eagles advanced Thursday to make a first appearance on the sales chart for February. The one ounce American Gold Eagle stepped up 1,000 while the American Silver Eagle rose 45,000.
The following are the latest daily, monthly and year-to-date bullion coin sales as reported by the U.S. Mint:
|Sales of U.S. Mint American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Coins|
|Daily Gains||February Gains||YTD 2012|
|$50 American Gold Eagles (1 oz.)||1,000||1,000||85,500|
|$25 American Gold Eagles (1/2 oz.)||0||0||49,000|
|$10 American Gold Eagles (1/4 oz.)||0||0||38,000|
|$5 American Gold Eagles (1/10 oz.)||0||0||85,000|
|$50 American Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.)||0||0||13,500|
|American Silver Eagles||45,000||45,000||6,152,000|
|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||0||84,600|
|Vicksburg National Military Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||1,000||0||37,300|
|Chickasaw Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||700||0||28,100|
All bullion coin totals in the above tables are in the number of coins sold, not the amount of ounces. The U.S. Mint does not publish daily sales figures for its five-ounce silver coins. The latest five-ounce sales were provided on Friday, January 27, 2012.