Precious metals tumbled Thursday, dragging gold lower for October and slicing away a sizable portion of the monthly gains in silver, platinum and palladium.
Much steadier on the month was U.S. Mint sales of gold and silver bullion coins. Demand over the prior month more than tripled for the Mint’s American Gold Eagles and its American Silver Eagles are days away from notching a new annual sales record.
"Despite the lack of price movement over the past few months, gold and silver American Eagle [coin] demand has been steady. Investors can see a dark and stormy cloud on the horizon and are preparing their portfolios accordingly," MarketWatch quoted David Beahm, executive vice president at precious-metals investment firm Blanchard & Co. "The government shutdown and the debt-ceiling debacle have really opened investors’ eyes."
Returning to precious metals, gold for December delivery declined $25.60, or 1.9%, to settle at $1,323.70 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold was pressured from a stronger U.S. dollar, investors booking profits and speculation that the Fed will ease its stimulus sooner than expected.
"Gold prices ended the U.S. day session solidly lower Thursday, in the aftermath of a surprising FOMC statement that the market place deemed somewhat hawkish," said Jim Wyckoff, a senior analyst at Kitco Inc. "Sharp gains in the U.S. dollar index and some end-of-month profit taking were also bearish factors for both gold and silver markets."
Gold is on track for a more than 2% decline this week after notching two straight weekly gains of 2.9% and 3.7%. For October, the precious metal lost $3.30, or 0.3%, and that dug it into a deeper hole for the year. Gold has dropped $352.10, or 21%, from the 2012 closing price of $1,675.80 an ounce.
Rounding out the precious metals complex on Thursday and for the month:
Silver for December delivery dived $1.12, or 4.9%, to $21.87 an ounce, trimming its October gain to 15.9 cents, or 0.7%.
January platinum settled down $31.50, or 2.1%, to $1,448.40 an ounce, reducing its monthly pick-up to $36, or 2.6%.
- Palladium for December delivery fell $12.70, or 1.7%, to $736.80 an ounce, lowering its October gain to $9.65, or 1.3%.
A snapshot on how the metals have performed in other periods, including the year-to-date, are provided in the following grid.
|New York Precious Metals Gains / Losses (%)|
|October||1st Quarter||2nd Quarter||3rd Quarter||YTD 2013|
London Fix Precious Metals
London precious metal fixings declined on the day but were mostly higher in October. In breaking down the Wednesday PM to Thursday PM bullion fix prices:
- Gold slid $30.75, or 2.3%, to $1,324 an ounce,
- Silver dropped 54 cents, or 2.4%, to $22.20 an ounce,
- Platinum declined $27, or 1.8%, to $1,450 an ounce, and
- Palladium fell $7, or 0.9%, to $742 an ounce
As for London bullion fixings in October, gold’s huge daily decline also drove it into the red for an October loss. The other metals gained. The following grid summarizes the monthly, quarterly, and year-to-date changes.
|London Precious Metals Gains / Losses (%)|
|October||1st Quarter||2nd Quarter||3rd Quarter||YTD 2013|
US Mint Bullion Sales in October
For a second day, United States Mint bullion sales were limited to 1,000 ounces in American Gold Eagles. As for October, CoinNews.net will later publish a more detailed analysis, but in summary:
American Silver Eagles climbed 3,087,000, topping September by 74,000. More to the point, the coins for the year are at 39,175,000, which is only 693,501 away from surpassing the annual sales record set in 2011.
American Gold Eagle coins reached 48,500 ounces, the highest monthly total since July’s 50,500 ounces.
American Buffalo gold coins totaled 18,000, also the highest monthly total since July and its sales of 18,500.
America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins added 6,600. In prior months this year, totals include: 22,900 in September 19,000 in August; 17,000 in July; 25,300 in June; 25,800 in May; 19,800 in March; 14,340 in February; and 28,960 in January. The Mint’s supply of the 2012-dated five ounce coins sold out in early March and new ones were not offered until May.
In coin totals, the latest daily, October and year-to-date United States Mint bullion sales figures are listed below.
|American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Sales (# of coins)|
|Thursday Sales||Last Week||Week-To-Date Sales||October Sales||YTD Sales|
|$50 American Gold Eagle Bullion Coins||1,000||11,500||7,500||41,000||646,000|
|$25 American Gold Eagle Bullion Coins||0||2,000||0||3,000||56,000|
|$10 American Gold Eagle Bullion Coins||0||8,000||0||10,000||114,000|
|$5 American Gold Eagle Bullion Coins||0||10,000||5,000||35,000||500,000|
|$50 American Buffalo Gold Bullion Coins||0||2,500||3,000||18,000||218,000|
|White Mountain 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins||Sold Out||35,000|
|Perry’s Victory 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins||0||0||0||1,200||26,200|
|Great Basin 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins||0||0||0||2,200||27,200|
|Fort McHenry 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins||0||0||600||3,200||28,200|
|American Silver Eagle Bullion Coins||0||699,000||701,000||3,087,000||39,175,000|
US Silver Coin Melt Values in October
The melt values of silver coins increased sharply in October to pare a bit from losses on the year so far. The grid below offers current 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 (9/30/2013)||Silver Coin Melt Values (10/31/2013)||Net Change in October||Net Change YTD|
|1942-1945 Jefferson Nickels||$1.68||$1.22||$1.25||$0.03||-$0.44|
|1892-1916 Barber Dimes||$2.17||$1.57||$1.61||$0.04||-$0.56|
|1916-1945 Mercury Dimes||$2.17||$1.57||$1.61||$0.04||-$0.56|
|1946-1964 Roosevelt Dimes||$2.17||$1.57||$1.61||$0.04||-$0.56|
|1892-1916 Barber Quarters||$5.42||$3.92||$4.01||$0.09||-$1.40|
|1916-1930 Standing Liberty 25c||$5.42||$3.92||$4.01||$0.09||-$1.40|
|1932-1964 Washington Quarters||$5.42||$3.92||$4.01||$0.09||-$1.40|
|1892-1915 Barber Half Dollars||$10.83||$7.84||$8.03||$0.19||-$2.80|
|1916-1947 Walking Liberty 50c||$10.83||$7.84||$8.03||$0.19||-$2.80|
|1948-1963 Franklin 50c||$10.83||$7.84||$8.03||$0.19||-$2.80|
|1964 Kennedy Half Dollars||$10.83||$7.84||$8.03||$0.19||-$2.80|
|1965-1970 Kennedy Half Dollars||$4.43||$3.21||$3.28||$0.08||-$1.15|
|1878-1921 Morgan Dollars||$23.16||$16.77||$17.17||$0.40||-$5.99|
|1921-1935 Peace Dollars||$23.16||$16.77||$17.17||$0.40||-$5.99|
|1971-1976 Silver Eisenhower $1s||$9.47||$6.85||$7.02||$0.16||-$2.45|
|1986-2013 American Eagles||$29.95||$21.68||$22.20||$0.52||-$7.75|
|2010-2013 ATB Silver Coins||$149.75||$108.40||$111.00||$2.60||-$38.75|
The above melt values are calculated using London fix silver prices at the end of 2012, September and October.