Gold on Friday advanced for a third straight day after prices plunged below $1,700 an ounce and to a six-week low on Tuesday — that occurred closely on the heels of its biggest weekly loss this year when it fell 3.7% last week.
In a modest turnaround during the first full week of March, gold eked out a weekly gain of 0.1%. But other precious metals registered losses, albeit slight, with platinum and palladium each down 0.4% and silver off 0.9%.
"Despite the severity of the early steep losses, we have already seen fairly decent buying coming in, and the firm oil prices were helping," Reuters quoted James Steel, chief commodity analyst at HSBC. "Gold is showing a lot of resiliency and it may rebound as emerging-market demand is gradually reviving," Steel said.
On Friday, gold prices rose $12.80, or 0.8%, to $1,711.50 an ounce in the April futures contract on the Comex in New York. Gold hit an intraday low of $1,677 and reached a high of $1,714.90.
Higher Gold Prices Expected Next Week
Two gold surveys published Friday show a majority of participants expect higher gold prices again next week.
"In the Kitco News Gold Survey, out of 32 participants, 21 responded this week. Of those 21 participants, 11 see prices up, while six see prices down, and four are neutral," reports Kitco.
"Some of those who see higher prices next week think gold is due for a rebound following the recent break…
Technical chart analysts remain short-term bearish on gold, as several said their chart patterns suggest a possible return to the $1,650 an ounce area after the recent break."
Bloomberg gold survey results have 16 of 23 analysts forecasting gains in gold next week. 6 are bearish and 1 is neutral.
Gold prices this year have climbed $144.70, or 9.2%. It is the third best performing precious metal in 2012, with silver ranking first and platinum second.
Silver, Platinum and Palladium Futures
In other major metals, silver prices for May delivery rose 38.1 cents, or 1.1%, to $34.212 an ounce, trading between $33.145 and $34.445. Silver’s weekly loss of 31 cents cut a bit into its gain this year which stands at $6.30, or 22.6%.
"After a period of doodling around the $30 mark after the April 2011 crash, silver has perked up and outrun gold, largely because of fear in the smaller-investor base that makes up the bulk of silver investing interest," MarketWatch quoted Christopher Ecclestone, a mining strategist at Hallgarten & Co. LLC. "This is a very nervy crowd and relatively under-resourced, so this makes silver more vulnerable to wild swings in popular sentiment."
Platinum prices for April delivery advanced $28.20, or 1.7%, to $1,684.90 an ounce, ranging from $1,649.30 to $1,687.00. Platinum has shot up $280.00, or 19.9% in 2012.
Palladium prices for June delivery added $10.50, or 1.5%, to $709.95 an ounce, moving between $689.50 and $711.80. The PGM metal has gained $53.80, or 8.2% this year.
London Precious Metals
London precious metals prices were mixed Friday. When comparing London PM fixings:
- Gold declined $2.50, or 0.1%, to $1,687.50 an ounce,
- Silver lost 22.0 cents, or 0.6%, to $33.87 an ounce,
- Platinum advanced $21.00, or 1.3%, to $1,655.00 an ounce, and
- Palladium fell $6.00, or 0.9%, to $690.00 an ounce
As compared to bullion futures in New York, London metals on the week plummeted across the board and to a higher degree. Weekly losses included 3.8% for gold, 1.1% for silver, 2.9% for platinum and 3.2% for palladium.
U.S. Mint Bullion Coins
Demand remains solid for U.S. bullion coins, especially for those composed of gold. In the beginning nine days of March, U.S. Mint buyers ordered 18,500 Gold Eagles of the one ounce size. That is 1,500 away from matching the coin’s sales total in February. Additionally, one ounce Buffalo gold bullion coins rallied 12,000 this week which is already 5,000 more than the entire total from last month.
On a weekly basis, demand waned just a bit for Silver Eagle bullion coins. But the monthly pace is quicker with sales of 745,000 already at half the amount attained in February.
The following are the most recent daily, weekly, monthly and year-to-date bullion sales figures as published by the U.S. Mint.
|Sales of U.S. Mint American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Coins|
|Daily Gains||Prior Weekly||Weekly Gains||March Gains||YTD 2012|
|American Gold Eagles (1 oz.)||2,500||13,000||10,000||18,500||123,000|
|American Gold Eagles (1/2 oz.)||0||0||0||0||49,000|
|American Gold Eagles (1/4 oz.)||0||0||0||0||40,000|
|American Gold Eagles (1/10 oz.)||0||5,000||5,000||5,000||95,000|
|American Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.)||0||2,500||12,000||12,000||32,500|
|American Silver Eagles||50,000||515,000||470,000||745,000||8,342,000|
|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||0||500||37,800|
|Chickasaw Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||300||0||28,400|
All bullion coin totals in the above tables are in the number of coins sold, not in the amount of ounces.