Gold retreated from a seven-month high Friday but still scored a quarterly 10.6% pick-up, its best quarter in more than two years.
Gold was not the lone commodity to rise during the July-September period. The precious metals complex was rowdy across-the-board with companion quarterly gains of over 25% for silver, nearly 15% for platinum and almost 10% for palladium.
On Friday, gold prices for December delivery shed $6.60 to settle at $1,773.90 an ounce on the Comex in New York. Profit-taking and a stronger U.S. dollar were among reasons analysts cited for the day’s loss.
"The dollar’s strength is keeping gold muted," Frank Lesh, a trader at FuturePath Trading in Chicago, said in a telephone interview that was relayed on Bloomberg. "Also, some investors are locking in gains after the market rallied the last few weeks."
Although down 0.4% on the day and 0.2% for the week, a 5.1% monthly advance helped secure the best quarter for gold prices since the April-June period in 2010. And the yellow metal has notched a 13.2% increase in 2012, with many market-watchers expecting more advances in the coming days.
"Gold prices are finding underlying support from ultra-loose monetary policy and rising European debt problems and this could give the yellow metal further strength next week," reports Kitco News.
"In the Kitco News Gold Survey, out of 33 participants, 24 responded this week. Of those 24 participants, 20 see prices up, while two see prices down, and two are neutral or see prices moving sideways…
Not everyone is forecasting higher prices. After such a strong rally, a few participants said they were looking for gold to retrace these gains, so they expected prices to be down next week…"
Bloomberg’s weekly gold survey was less bullish. Results show that 15 participants expect higher gold prices next week with 13 bearish and 2 neutral.
Silver, Platinum and Palladium Futures
In other New York precious metals futures prices:
Silver for December delivery lost 8.9 cents, or 0.3%, to close at $34.577 an ounce on Friday. That brought it down 0.2% for the week. Silver was the best performing precious metal in September, the third quarter and it remains the 2012 leader. Respective increases came in 10.0%, 25.2% and 23.9%.
Platinum for January delivery advanced $18.20, or 1.1%, to $1,669.30 an ounce, capping weekly and monthly gains of 1.9% and 8.6%. It was the lone precious metal higher this week. Platinum has outperformed all but silver for the quarter and year-to-date, rising 14.9% since June 29 and 18.8% since the end of 2011.
Palladium for December delivery climbed $5.40, or 0.9%, to settle at $640.80 an ounce. The metal fell 4.6% this week but tacked on 1.8% in September and 9.6% during the third quarter. Still, palladium stands by itself this year with its 2.3% loss.
The following grid offers a bird’s-eye view of weekly, monthly, quarterly, and year-to-date changes across all precious metals.
|New York Precious Metals Gains / Losses|
|Weekly||Sept||1st Quarter||2nd Quarter||3rd Quarter||YTD 2012|
London Bullion Prices
London precious metals moved higher on Friday, for the month and for the quarter. When comparing the most recent London PM fixings:
- Gold prices added $13.00, or 0.7%, to $1,776.00 an ounce,
- Silver gained 0.70 cents, or 2.1%, to $34.65 an ounce,
- Platinum advanced $16.00, or 1.0%, to $1,668.00 an ounce, and
- Palladium climbed $8.00, or 1.3%, to $642.00 an ounce
The following grid offers weekly, monthly, quarterly, and year-to-date changes.
|London Precious Metals Gains / Losses|
|Weekly||Sept||1st Quarter||2nd Quarter||3rd Quarter||YTD 2012|
U.S. Mint Bullion Coins
Demand was high again this week for U.S. Mint bullion coins, padding monthly sales that rank only behind January. In breaking down weekly sales:
Gold bullion coins combined to 25,000 ounces, easily surpassing last week’s total of 18,500 ounces. Splits were 23,500 ounces in 22-karat American Eagle gold coins and 1,500 ounces in 24-karat American Buffalo gold coins.
Last week sales of silver bullion coins combined to 1,149,000 ounces for one of the best weekly totals of the year. Demand retreated just a bit this week with U.S. Mint sales of 988,000 ounces. The splits were 980,000 American Eagle silver coins and 8,000 ounces of the America the Beautiful 5 Ounce Silver Bullion Coins.
September sales for U.S. Mint bullion products have not been officially closed, although the totals are not likely to change. As they stand now:
American Eagle silver coins are at 3.255 million, the highest since U.S. Mint distributors ordered 6.107 million in January — the second best monthly amount in the Eagle’s 26-year history.
American Eagle gold coin sales in September are at 68,500 ounces, the best since 127,000 ounces moved in January.
American Buffalo gold coins reached 8,500 ounces, down from August sales of 9,000 ounces.
14,700 America the Beautiful 5 Ounce Silver Coins were sold in September, the third best month this year after the 19,400 in August and the 18,700 in July.
The following grid offers the latest daily, weekly, September and year-to-date bullion sales as published by the U.S. Mint.
|Sales of US Mint American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Coins|
|Daily Sales||Prior Weekly||Weekly Sales||September Sales||YTD 2012|
|$50 American Gold Eagle Bullion Coins||0||14,000||21,000||63,000||410,500|
|$25 American Gold Eagle Bullion Coins||0||0||1,000||2,000||61,000|
|$10 American Gold Eagle Bullion Coins||0||2,000||2,000||4,000||62,000|
|$5 American Gold Eagle Bullion Coins||0||10,000||15,000||35,000||250,000|
|$50 American Gold Buffalo Bullion Coins||0||3,000||1,500||8,500||96,500|
|American Silver Eagle Bullion Coins||0||1,136,000||980,000||3,255,000||25,795,000|
|Sales of America the Beautiful 5 Oz. Silver Bullion Coins|
|Daily Sales||Prior Weekly||Weekly Sales||September Sales||All-Time Total|
|2012 El Yunque National Forest 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins||0||0||1,200||1,200||17,900|
|2012 Chaco Culture National Historical Park 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins||0||0||200||200||17,200|
|2012 Acadia National Park 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins||0||2,700||200||2,900||18,000|
|2012 Hawai’i Volcanoes 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins||0||0||0||10,400||10,400|
|2011 Olympic National Park 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins||0||0||0||0||85,900|
|2011 Vicksburg National Military Park 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins||0||0||0||0||39,500|
|2011 Chickasaw Park 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins||0||0||0||0||29,700|
Sales figures above are in the number of coins sold, not in the amount of ounces sold.
In related five ounce coin news, the U.S. Mint this week released the collectible version of the Hawaii Volcanoes silver coin.