Gold and silver prices spiraled south Wednesday on what has been described as fallout from Tuesday’s FOMC statement which eliminated speculation for QE3 any time soon.
"Yesterday’s statement ruined all hopes of seeing any kind of easing in the foreseeable future," Fred Schoenstein, a trader at Heraeus Precious Metals Management in New York, said in a telephone interview cited on Bloomberg. "We are witnessing a washout in gold."
Falling for a third straight day and to a 2-month low, gold prices declined $51.30, or 3.0%, to settle at $1,642.90 an ounce in the April futures contract on the Comex in New York. Gold’s intraday low and high prices were $1,635.80 and $1,682.80.
Silver prices for May delivery sank $1.40, or 4.2%, to close at $32.181 an ounce, moving between $31.625 and $33.470.
"The midweek sessions in precious metals started off at sharply lower price levels in the wake of the sentiment that took hold post the Fed announcement that given current economic conditions it has opted to do nothing more than monitor the situation," wrote Jon Nadler, Senior Analyst at Kitco Metals Inc.
Platinum and palladium declined a bit more modestly as each gave back 1.6%. Platinum prices for April delivery fell $26.50 to $1,675.30 an ounce, ranging from $1,662.40 to $1,706.20. Palladium prices for June delivery settled down $11.40 to $697.45 an ounce, trading between $692.25 and $711.00.
London Precious Metals
London bullion retreated across the board as well, although to a lesser degree than New York futures precious metals. When comparing the latest London PM fixings, gold declined $45.75 to $1,644.25 an ounce, silver prices lost 74.0 cents to $32.84 an ounce, platinum dipped $12.00 to $1,679.00 an ounce, and palladium shed $1.00 to $700.00 an ounce.
U.S. Mint Bullion Coins – Silver Eagles Top 9 Million
Falling precious metal prices have been a boon for U.S. Mint bullion coins. U.S. Mint sales of bullion Silver Eagles surged 352,000 on Wednesday to reach 1.417 million in March. The figure is 73,000 away from matching sales in February. In a milestone, the Silver Eagles topped 9 million in sales this year.
Also rising Wednesday were the Mint’s one ounce gold bullion coins. The Gold Eagle added 2,500 and the Gold Buffalo rose 4,000. Each of the bullion coins’ monthly sales totals has already surpassed those from February.
The following are the most recent daily, 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||March Gains||YTD 2012|
|American Gold Eagles (1 oz.)||2,500||23,000||127,500|
|American Gold Eagles (1/2 oz.)||0||0||49,000|
|American Gold Eagles (1/4 oz.)||0||0||40,000|
|American Gold Eagles (1/10 oz.)||0||5,000||95,000|
|American Gold Buffalo Coin (1 oz.)||4,000||16,000||36,500|
|American Silver Eagles||352,000||1,417,000||9,014,000|
|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||300||84,900|
|Vicksburg National Military Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||500||300||38,100|
|Chickasaw Park 5 oz. Silver Coin||0||300||28,700|
All bullion coin totals in the above tables are in the number of coins sold, not in the amount of ounces. The U.S. Mint has not sold any of its five ounce bullion coins since Monday, March 12.