Gold futures fell for a fourth straight session Friday, dragging prices down 5.6% for the week and to their lowest level in more than five weeks.
Gold for December delivery declined $22, or 1.7%, to settle at $1,308.60 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The closing price was the lowest since August 7 and marks a year-to-date loss to 21.9%
"Gold’s drop at the beginning of the week was mostly due to the waning safe-haven buying after the diplomatic action in Syria," MKS SA Senior Vice President Bernard Sin said according to Reuters. "But now it’s all about the Fed tapering talks and expectations that the central bank will start, albeit slowly, as soon as this month."
Investors are focusing on the Fed’s upcoming two-day monetary policy meeting that ends on Wednesday. Many expect some QE3-tapering, and that has pressured gold.
Too many traders and analysts missed the call when they showed a thumbs up for gold prices this week. Many turned cautious since, based on the latest weekly gold surveys.
In the Kitco News Gold Survey, "21 participants, 10 see prices up, while 11 see prices down and one is neutral," reports Kitco News.
"Survey participants with contrarian viewpoints, or who think the Fed might not taper as much as expected, said gold could see a knee-jerk reaction higher as the sell-off going into the meeting has been swift… Those who see weaker prices said they expect gold to continue its weaker trend as they foresee the Fed starting to unwind its stimulus program…"
More gloomy, the latest survey from Bloomberg News is the most bearish since June. Fifteen analysts surveyed by the news company expect lower gold prices next week compared to 7 who were bullish and 3 who were neutral.
Silver, Platinum and Palladium Futures
In other precious metals this week, silver sank 9.1% and platinum lost 3.4%. Palladium was the outlier in the group, gaining 0.3% from a week ago. In their closings on Friday:
Silver for December delivery dropped 42.9 cents, or 1.9%, to finish at $21.72 an ounce. The settlement was the lowest since August 13.
October platinum added $1.80, or 0.1%, to close at $1,444.50 an ounce.
- Palladium climbed for a second straight session with palladium for December delivery up $6.30, or 0.9%, to $699.10 an ounce.
All remain lower for the year-to-date with losses of 28.1% for silver, 6.3% for platinum and 0.6% for palladium.
London Fix Precious Metals
London precious fixings split Friday and for the week with palladium gaining alone for both periods. When comparing the Thursday PM to Friday PM London fix prices:
- Gold slid $9.50, or 0.7%, to $1,318.50 an ounce,
- Silver plummeted 95 cents, or 4.2%, to $21.72 an ounce,
- Platinum lost $3, or 0.2%, to $1,441 an ounce, and
- Palladium advanced $10, or 1.4%, to $700 an ounce
Like bullion futures in New York, the precious metals with losses this week fell hard. Those included drops of 4.9% for gold, 5.8% for silver and 3.8% for platinum. Palladium climbed modestly from a week ago, up 0.1%.
U.S. Mint Bullion Sales in September
Overall, U.S. Mint bullion sales improved this week for gold coins but fell for silver coins. Individually, five ounce silver coins from the Mint sprinted. In weekly bullion sales breakdowns:
Silver coins gained 612,000 ounces compared to last week’s 677,500 ounces. Splits were 500,000 ounces in American Silver Eagles, a modest total for them, and a robust 112,000 ounces in America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins.
Gold coins rose 8,000 ounces after slumping to just 2,000 ounces in the prior week. Sales were divided with 4,000 ounces in 22-karat American Gold Eagles and 4,000 ounces in 24-karat American Gold Buffalo coins.
In further details for silver coins, ATB coin sales were mixed between all four versions, led by the newest five ounce release honoring Fort McHenry. In Silver Eagles, their record annual pace is maintained but slowing. The Silver Eagle annual sales record of 39,868,500 occurred in 2011. That year, it took until October 5, 2011 for sales to reach where they are now. Sales this year have already passed the annual total of 33,742,500 from 2012.
In coin totals (not ounces) are the latest weekly, September and year-to-date U.S. Mint bullion sales:
|American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Sales|
|Friday Sales||Last Week||Weekly Sales||September Sales||YTD Sales|
|$50 American Gold Eagle Bullion Coins||0||1,000||2,500||3,500||600,000|
|$25 American Gold Eagle Bullion Coins||0||1,000||0||1,000||49,000|
|$10 American Gold Eagle Bullion Coins||0||0||2,000||2,000||102,000|
|$5 American Gold Eagle Bullion Coins||0||0||10,000||10,000||465,000|
|$50 American Buffalo Gold Bullion Coins||0||500||4,000||4,500||194,500|
|White Mountain 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins||0||0||3,800||3,800||35,000|
|Perry’s Victory 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins||0||0||1,400||1,400||25,000|
|Great Basin 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins||0||0||3,000||3,000||25,000|
|Fort McHenry 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins||0||500||14,200||14,700||25,000|
|American Silver Eagle Bullion Coins||32,000||675,000||500,000||1,175,000||34,250,000|
Current US Silver Coin Melt Values
Heavy declines in silver this month have obviously weighed on silver coin melt values after a rallying pick ups in August. The grid below contains melt values of older circulating U.S. coins that were produced with 90% silver. These coins, at least those that have little to no numismatic worth because they are too common 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 (8/30/2013)||Silver Coin Melt Values (9/13/2013)||Net Change in September||Net Change Year-To-Date|
|1942-1945 Jefferson Nickels||$1.68||$1.33||$1.22||-$0.11||-$0.46|
|1892-1916 Barber Dimes||$2.17||$1.71||$1.57||-$0.14||-$0.60|
|1916-1945 Mercury Dimes||$2.17||$1.71||$1.57||-$0.14||-$0.60|
|1946-1964 Roosevelt Dimes||$2.17||$1.71||$1.57||-$0.14||-$0.60|
|1892-1916 Barber Quarters||$5.42||$4.28||$3.93||-$0.35||-$1.49|
|1916-1930 Standing Liberty 25c||$5.42||$4.28||$3.93||-$0.35||-$1.49|
|1932-1964 Washington Quarters||$5.42||$4.28||$3.93||-$0.35||-$1.49|
|1892-1915 Barber Half Dollars||$10.83||$8.55||$7.86||-$0.69||-$2.98|
|1916-1947 Walking Liberty 50c||$10.83||$8.55||$7.86||-$0.69||-$2.98|
|1948-1963 Franklin 50c||$10.83||$8.55||$7.86||-$0.69||-$2.98|
|1964 Kennedy Half Dollars||$10.83||$8.55||$7.86||-$0.69||-$2.98|
|1965-1970 Kennedy Half Dollars||$4.43||$3.50||$3.21||-$0.28||-$1.22|
|1878-1921 Morgan Dollars||$23.16||$18.28||$16.80||-$1.49||-$6.37|
|1921-1935 Peace Dollars||$23.16||$18.28||$16.80||-$1.49||-$6.37|
|1971-1976 Silver Eisenhower $1s||$9.47||$7.47||$6.87||-$0.61||-$2.60|
|1986-2013 American Eagles||$29.95||$23.64||$21.72||-$1.92||-$8.23|
|2010-2013 ATB Silver Coins||$149.75||$118.20||$108.60||-$9.60||-$41.15|
The coin melt values above are based on London Fix silver prices at the end of 2012 and August and on September 13.