Gold, Silver End Week at Multi-Month Highs; US Bullion Sales Up

Five gold bars
Gold and silver prices advanced this week. U.S. Mint bullion coin sales were also stronger.

Gold and silver futures rallied Friday, lifting weekly gains to 1.8% for each and driving closing prices to an 11-week high for gold and a 15-week high for silver. The metals have been on fire in August with weekly winning streaks up to three for gold and five for silver.

On Friday, gold for December delivery surged $25, or 1.8%, to settle at $1,395.80 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The intraday high was $1.30 shy of hitting $1,400 an ounce and the settlement price the highest since June 6.

Weakness in new home sales bolstered speculation that the Fed would continue its stimulus program, adding to gold’s appeal.

Minutes of the Fed’s July 30-31 meeting released Wednesday and recent data had "clearly made traders feel warm and cosy that a U.S. recovery was on its way," MarketWatch quoted Jan Skoyles, head of research at The Real Asset Co., a precious-metals investment platform provider. "But then came the harsh cold housing data [on Friday] and everyone panicked that tapering may not happen after all."

New home sales in July plunged 13.4% from June to an annual rate of 394,000 units, according to the US Commerce Department. The reading was the weakest since October and well below expectations.

With its latest weekly increase, gold trimmed some of its loss for the year. The precious metal has declined $280, or 16.7%, since the end of 2012.

Gold Forecasts

Signals are mixed for gold prices next week, based on two major surveys. A survey from Bloomberg News weighs bearish while one from Kitco News is bullish.

"In the Kitco News Gold Survey, out of 36 participants, 23 responded this week. Of those 23 participants, 15 see prices up, while seven see prices down and one sees prices moving sideways or are neutral," reports Kitco News.

"Gold prices perked up on Friday after an overall lackluster trading week, and a strong close on a Friday is a positive technical chart-based signal, several said… "Those who see weaker prices next week said they haven’t been pleased with gold’s near-term price action."

Last week’s gold survey by Bloomberg News was the most bullish since March. Flipping, its latest survey is the most bearish in nine weeks. Twelve participants cast their vote for lower gold prices next week compared to eight who were bullish and two who were neutral.

Silver, Platinum and Palladium Futures

Silver futures soared Friday, marking a second day of gains after having dropped for three straight sessions. Silver for September delivery jumped 70.3 cents, or 3.1%, to $23.74 an ounce. The settlement price was the highest since May 9. Still, the white metal is down 21.5% for the year to date.

PGMs split on Friday and for the week. In their closings:

  • October platinum edged up $1.50, or 0.1%, to finish at $1,541.60 an ounce.

  • Palladium for September fell $4.20, or 0.6%, to end at $750.85 an ounce.

Palladium was also lower on the week, off 1.6%, though it has gained 6.8% for the year so far. Platinum climbed 0.9% this week and is down 80 cents from where it ended in 2012.

London Fix Precious Metals

Platinum moved solidly higher Friday while other London precious metals fixings logged modest changes. When comparing the Thursday PM to Friday PM London Fix prices:

  • Gold added $2.50, or 0.2%, to $1,377.50 an ounce,
  • Silver dipped a penny to $23.06 an ounce,
  • Platinum gained $15, or 1%, to $1,538 an ounce, and
  • Palladium added $2, or 0.3%, to $752 an ounce

Palladium ended down 1.3% on the week. The other metals turned higher with gains stacking to 0.6% for gold, 1% for silver and 0.9% for platinum.

U.S. Mint Bullion Sales

United States Mint bullion sales grew for gold and silver coins. In weekly breakdowns:

  • Silver coins advanced 865,500 ounces compared to last week’s total of 747,500 ounces. Splits were 850,000 ounces in American Silver Eagles and 15,500 ounces in America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins.

  • Gold coins rose 8,500 ounces, more than doubling the previous weekly total of 3,000 ounces. Splits were 4,500 ounces in 22-karat American Gold Eagles and 4,000 ounces in 24-karat American Gold Buffalo coins.

American Silver Eagles remain on a record annual sales pace. Demand for American Gold Eagles, however, has fallen sharply with just 7,000 ounces sold so far this month. The gold coins are on track for their weakest sales month since July 2007.

Sales on the day, the week, the month and year-to-date follow.

American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Sales
  Friday Sales Last Week Weekly Sales August Sales YTD Sales
$50 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins 0 1,000 3,500 5,000 592,500
$25 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins 0 0 0 1,000 48,000
$10 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins 0 0 4,000 4,000 98,000
$5 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins 0 5,000 0 5,000 455,000
$50 American Buffalo Gold Bullion Coins 0 1,500 4,000 8,500 188,500
White Mountain 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins 0 0 100 100 30,000
Perry’s Victory 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins 0 300 1,300 1,600 22,400
Great Basin 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins 0 0 1,700 1,700 19,100
American Silver Eagle Bullion Coins 0 746,000 850,000 2,446,000 31,896,000


Figures above are in the number of coins sold, not in ounces.

Current US Silver Coin Melt Values

Coin melt values are sharply higher through the first three weeks of August. The gains are taking a bite from some of the earlier losses this year. The following grid offers current and past melt values of older circulating U.S. coins that were composed of 90% silver.

US Silver Coins Silver Coin Melt Values (12/31/2012) Silver Coin Melt Values (7/31/2013) Silver Coin Melt Values (8/23/2013) Net Change in Aug Net Change Year-To-Date
1942-1945 Jefferson Nickels $1.68 $1.12 $1.30 $0.18 -$0.39
1892-1916 Barber Dimes $2.17 $1.44 $1.67 $0.23 -$0.50
1916-1945 Mercury Dimes $2.17 $1.44 $1.67 $0.23 -$0.50
1946-1964 Roosevelt Dimes $2.17 $1.44 $1.67 $0.23 -$0.50
1892-1916 Barber Quarters $5.42 $3.61 $4.17 $0.56 -$1.25
1916-1930 Standing Liberty 25c $5.42 $3.61 $4.17 $0.56 -$1.25
1932-1964 Washington Quarters $5.42 $3.61 $4.17 $0.56 -$1.25
1892-1915 Barber Half Dollars $10.83 $7.21 $8.34 $1.13 -$2.49
1916-1947 Walking Liberty 50c $10.83 $7.21 $8.34 $1.13 -$2.49
1948-1963 Franklin 50c $10.83 $7.21 $8.34 $1.13 -$2.49
1964 Kennedy Half Dollars $10.83 $7.21 $8.34 $1.13 -$2.49
1965-1970 Kennedy Half Dollars $4.43 $2.95 $3.41 $0.46 -$1.02
1878-1921 Morgan Dollars $23.16 $15.42 $17.84 $2.41 -$5.33
1921-1935 Peace Dollars $23.16 $15.42 $17.84 $2.41 -$5.33
1971-1976 Silver Eisenhower $1s $9.47 $6.30 $7.29 $0.99 -$2.18
1986-2013 American Eagles $29.95 $19.94 $23.06 $3.12 -$6.89
2010-2013 ATB Silver Coins $149.75 $99.70 $115.30 $15.60 -$34.45


Silver coin melt values are based on the final or latest available London silver fixings in 2012, July and August.

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