Gold futures notched four daily gains this week, saving the best for Friday though each was modest. Still, the precious metal ended up 1.2% for the week and scored its highest close in a month.
Gold for August delivery on Friday rose by $8.70, or 0.7%, to settle at $1,292.90 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was the best finish since June 19 when gold hit $1,374 an ounce. The metal gained support as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reassured investors that the Fed’s stimulus measures would stay in place for as long as necessary.
"Bernanke is very mindful of the fact that the recovery can falter quite easily," Bloomberg News quoted Dan Smith, a commodities analyst at Standard Chartered in London. "Things are going to remain quite volatile. As long as rates don’t go up too much and quantitative easing is eased back slowly, then I don’t see any reason why gold can’t go higher."
Bloomberg News also noted that gold traders are "bullish for a fourth week, the longest run since the bear market began in April." In its latest weekly gold survey, 15 participants expect prices to advance next week compared to 9 who were bearish and 5 who were neutral.
Gold has also enjoyed support from improved physical demand, according to some analysts.
"Physical supply is down in Comex, bullion bank vaults (and) ETFs (exchange-traded funds). Demand is very strong in China, including Hong Kong and emerging-nation central banks," Kitco News quoted Bill Goldman of 3GF Corp. "Indian private physical demand is circumventing RBI (Reserve Bank of India) restrictions through organized smuggling channels. The GOFO (gold forward) rate has been negative for eight straight days."
Kitco News notes that its most recent weekly gold survey turned more bullish as well.
"In the Kitco News Gold Survey, out of 36 participants, 19 responded this week. Of those 19 participants, 11 see prices up, while six see prices down and two see prices moving sideways or are neutral," Kitco News said.
"Participants who see higher prices said fundamental factors remain supportive for gold… Those who see lower values cited how gold prices haven’t moved above $1,300 in the August Comex futures as a bearish sign for price direction…"
For a second consecutive week, gold trimmed a bit more from its year-to-date loss. The yellow metal is now down $382.90, or 22.8%, since the end of 2012.
Silver, Platinum and Palladium Futures
Platinum and palladium outscored gold with respective weekly increases of 1.7% and 3.7%. Silver, however, was an outlier in precious metals. It declined 1.7% for the week. In the breakdowns on Friday:
Snapping a two-session losing streak, silver for September delivery climbed 7.1 cents, or 0.4%, to end at $19.46 an ounce.
October platinum settled up for a second straight day, gaining $16.40, or 1.2%, to finish at $1,431.20 an ounce.
- Up in nine of the last ten sessions, palladium for September delivery rose $2.25, or 0.3%, to close at $749.75 an ounce.
As for the year so far, palladium is alone with its gain of 6.6% while platinum pared its loss to 7.2% and silver sank further to 35.6%.
London Fix Precious Metals
In London fixings, silver ended down Friday and for the week but other precious metals advanced. When comparing the Thursday PM to Friday PM London Fix prices:
- Gold gained $12.50, or 1%, to $1,295.75 an ounce,
- Silver shed 7 cents, or 0.4%, to $19.42 an ounce,
- Platinum tacked on $9, or 0.6%, to $1,422 an ounce, and
- Palladium added $6, or 0.8%, to $743 an ounce
As for the week, silver slipped 1.2%. Rising from a week ago was gold by 1.3%, platinum by 1.4% and palladium by 3.8%.
US Bullion Coin Sales in July
U.S. Mint bullion sales this week were similar to last week — robust for silver coins and weakened for gold coins. In the weekly bullion breakdowns:
Gold coins rose 10,000 ounces, down from the prior week’s modest gain of 11,500 ounces. Splits were 8,000 ounces in 22-karat American Gold Eagles and 2,000 ounces in 24-karat American Gold Buffalo coins.
Silver coins advanced 898,500 ounces compared to an also very strong showing of 856,500 ounces in the prior week. Splits were 875,000 ounces in American Silver Eagles and 23,500 ounces in America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins.
The following table offers daily, July and year-to-date bullion coin totals as published by the U.S. Mint on its website.
|American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Coin Sales|
|Friday Sales||Last Week||Weekly Sales||July Sales||YTD Sales|
|$50 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins||0||5,000||6,500||26,500||571,000|
|$25 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins||0||0||0||4,000||47,000|
|$10 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins||0||2,000||2,000||6,000||92,000|
|$5 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins||0||0||10,000||25,000||440,000|
|$50 American Buffalo Gold Bullion Coins||0||6,000||2,000||13,500||175,000|
|White Mountain 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins||0||800||1,100||2,900||29,900|
|Perry’s Victory 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins||0||2,400||2,400||5,800||20,000|
|Great Basin 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins||0||2,000||1,200||7,500||17,400|
|American Silver Eagle Bullion Coins||0||830,500||875,000||2,531,500||27,575,000|
Figures above are in the number of coins sold, not in ounces.
US Silver Coin Melt Values in July and 2013
Melt values of silver coins have plunged this year along with silver, though they are up slightly in July thanks to earlier gains in the month. The following table offers melt values of older circulating United States coins that contained 90% silver. These silver coins, at least those that have little to no numismatic worth because they are common in dates or too worn, are the ones often sought for their silver values.
|US Silver Coins||Silver Coin Melt Values (12/31/2012)||Silver Coin Melt Values (6/28/2013)||Silver Coin Melt Values (7/19/2013)||Net Change in July||Net Change Year-To-Date|
|1942-1945 Jefferson Nickels||$1.68||$1.06||$1.09||$0.03||-$0.59|
|1892-1916 Barber Dimes||$2.17||$1.36||$1.40||$0.04||-$0.76|
|1916-1945 Mercury Dimes||$2.17||$1.36||$1.40||$0.04||-$0.76|
|1946-1964 Roosevelt Dimes||$2.17||$1.36||$1.40||$0.04||-$0.76|
|1892-1916 Barber Quarters||$5.42||$3.41||$3.51||$0.10||-$1.90|
|1916-1930 Standing Liberty 25c||$5.42||$3.41||$3.51||$0.10||-$1.90|
|1932-1964 Washington Quarters||$5.42||$3.41||$3.51||$0.10||-$1.90|
|1892-1915 Barber Half Dollars||$10.83||$6.82||$7.02||$0.20||-$3.81|
|1916-1947 Walking Liberty 50c||$10.83||$6.82||$7.02||$0.20||-$3.81|
|1948-1963 Franklin 50c||$10.83||$6.82||$7.02||$0.20||-$3.81|
|1964 Kennedy Half Dollars||$10.83||$6.82||$7.02||$0.20||-$3.81|
|1965-1970 Kennedy Half Dollars||$4.43||$2.79||$2.87||$0.08||-$1.56|
|1878-1921 Morgan Dollars||$23.16||$14.59||$15.02||$0.43||-$8.14|
|1921-1935 Peace Dollars||$23.16||$14.59||$15.02||$0.43||-$8.14|
|1971-1976 Silver Eisenhower $1s||$9.47||$5.96||$6.14||$0.18||-$3.33|
|1986-2013 American Eagles||$29.95||$18.86||$19.42||$0.56||-$10.53|
|2010-2013 ATB Silver Coins||$149.75||$94.30||$97.10||$2.80||-$52.65|
All coin melt values above are based on the London silver Fix prices at the end of 2012, June 28 and July 19. For reference, melt values of newer bullion silver coins are also provided.