Gold Dips in January, Silver Surges; US Bullion Coins Soar

Gold Bars and Coins
Gold was the only precious metal to fall in January. Sales of U.S. Mint bullion coins surged for the month.

Precious metals futures declined Thursday but only gold posted a loss in January, falling 0.8%. Advancing for the month were silver at 3.7%, palladium at 6.0% and platinum at 8.6%.

On the U.S. physical side of the equation, demand for American bullion coins soared with U.S. Mint January bullion sales at either multi-month or all-time record highs.

On Thursday and after rallying $18.90 in the previous session, gold futures for April delivery declined $19.60, or 1.2%, to settle at $1,662.00 an ounce on the Comex in New York. The loss knocked the yellow metal into the red for the month, though prices are on pace for a modest weekly gain.

"Gold prices ended the U.S. day session sharply lower and gave back all of Thursday’s solid gains. The selling pressure Thursday could not be attributed to any major, single fundamental factor," Jim Wyckoff wrote in the PM Kitco Metals Roundup.

"However, it’s likely some end-of-the-month position squaring, profit taking from short-term traders, and pre-jobs-report positioning were responsible for the losses in the gold and silver markets Thursday."

Silver gave back a large chunk of the 99.3 cent gain from the previous session. Silver for March delivery fell 82.6 cents, or 2.6%, to $31.351 an ounce, ranging from $31.12 to $32.13.

Percentage losses were tamer for PGM’s on Thursday:

  • April Platinum declined $13.90, or 0.8%, to $1,675.40 an ounce, trading between $1,666.20 and $1,689.20.

  • Palladium for March delivery fell $5.70, or 0.8%, to $745.70 an ounce, ranging from $735.45 to $752.35.

London Bullion Prices

In London, precious metals prices split. When contrasting the Wednesday PM to Thursday PM Fix prices:

  • Gold shed $12.75, or 0.8%, to $1,664.75 an ounce,
  • Silver climbed 68.0 cents, or 2.2%, to $32.03 an ounce,
  • Platinum edged up $4.00, or 0.2, to $1,672.00 an ounce, and
  • Palladium lost $17.00, or 2.2%, to $739.00 an ounce

London precious metals advanced across the board for January. Gains were 9.8% for platinum, 6.9% for silver, 5.7% for palladium and a modest 75.0 cents, or less than 0.1%, for gold.

US Bullion Coin Sales

January turned into a monster sales month for new 2013-dated bullion coins. January bullion product sales have not been officially closed by the U.S. Mint, though the totals are not likely to change. As they stand now:

  • Released on January 7, 2013 and despite a more than one-week sales suspension when initial U.S. Mint inventories ran dry, 2013 American Eagle silver coins reached an all-time monthly sales record of 7,498,000. The bullion coins returned from suspension this week with limitations on sales.

  • American Eagle gold coins for January hit 150,000 ounces across all sizes for the highest sales month since 152,000 ounces sold in July 2010.

  • American Buffalo gold coin sales surged to 72,500 ounces in January for the best monthly total since sales of 116,500 ounces in October 2009.

  • January sales of American the Beautiful 5 Ounce Silver Bullion Coins totaled 28,960 coins, or 144,800 ounces. The amount surpasses every 2012 month.

The latest daily, week-to-date and January bullion coin sales figures follow.

American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Coin Sales
  Thursday Sales Last Week Week-To-Date Sales January Sales
$50 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins 0 3,000 17,500 124,500
$25 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins 0 2,000 0 17,000
$10 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins 0 2,000 0 24,000
$5 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins 0 5,000 5,000 110,000
$50 American Buffalo Gold Bullion Coins 500 27,500 5,500 72,500
American Eagle Silver Coin* 78,000 0 1,491,000 7,498,000


America the Beautiful 5 Oz. Silver Bullion Coin Sales
  Thursday Dales Last Week Week-To-Date Sales All-Time Sales
2012 El Yunque National Forest 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins 0 0 0 21,900
2012 Chaco Culture National Historical Park 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins 0 0 0 20,000
2012 Acadia National Park 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins 0 0 0 25,400
2012 Hawai’i Volcanoes 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins 0 0 0 20,000
2012 Denali National Park 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins 0 0 0 20,000
2011 Olympic National Park 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins 0 0 9,300 104,900
2011 Vicksburg National Military Park 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins 2,300 0 2,300 43,500
2011 Chickasaw Park 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins* (-40) 0 4,260 35,660
TOTAL 2,260 0 15,860 291,360


*The negative adjustment appears to be a U.S. Mint accounting correction.

Coin sales above are in the number of coins sold. Calculate total ounces by using the bullion coin’s weight.

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