Gold, Silver Start December Lower; US Gold Bullion Coins Surge

Silver bullion bars, gold bullion bars, scales
Gold fell 1.7% on the week yet sales of U.S. Mint gold bullion coins were the highest since early July

Gold, silver and platinum traded lower in the first week of December but palladium rallied.

On Friday, gold for February delivery declined $2.90, or 0.2%, to settle at $1,229 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Prices sank as low as $1,210.10 after the better-than-expected U.S. jobs report. Some analysts noted the importance of its later firming.

Gold’s rebound from their daily lows in the wake of the jobs data "suggests the bears may be getting exhausted after their recent success in pushing prices lower," MarketWatch quoted Jim Wyckoff, senior analyst at, in a Friday email. "It also suggests the tapering of U.S. monetary policy sooner rather than later is already factored into the market place."

Gold on the week declined $21.40, 1.7%. The largest daily movements happened on Monday when prices tumbled $28.50 to a 21-week low and on Wednesday when they rallied back $26.40 for their biggest gain since Oct. 17.

Gold Forecasts

A majority of participants in last week’s gold surveys had expected lower prices. New surveys are a tad less bearish but still show more participants expect gold prices to decline or move sideways next week.

"In the Kitco News Gold Survey, out of 34 participants, 19 responded this week. Of these, seven see prices up, while seven see prices down and five see prices sideways or are neutral," reports Kitco.

"Those who see prices rising next week said given that gold rallied following a solid November nonfarm payrolls report is a sign that bears’ grip on the market is growing tired… A number of other market participants said they weren’t buying Friday’s rally, saying the overall trend for gold remains lower… The participants who are neutral said they see the market consolidating in the current trend between $1,210 and $1,250."

This week’s gold survey by Bloomberg News marks a third week of bearishness, the longest streak, it says, since February 2010. Sixteen participants in the survey expect lower gold prices next week compared to 11 who were bullish and 2 who were neutral.

Silver, Platinum and Palladium Futures

Silver led precious metals in losses this week, falling 2.6%. On Friday, silver for March delivery shed 4.7 cents, or 0.2%, to close at $19.52 an ounce. Silver prices ranged from $19.17 to $19.79.

In PGM futures settlements on Friday:

  • January platinum retreated $7.20, or 0.5%, to $1,356.30 an ounce, dropping for a second straight session.

  • Palladium for March delivery slipped 70 cents, or less than 0.1%, to $736.15 an ounce, declining for the first time in four sessions.

On the week, platinum declined 0.9% while palladium surged 2.3%.

The following grid shows the net percentage changes in New York precious metals futures for December, the completed quarters in 2013 and the year-to-date.

New York Precious Metals Gains / Losses (%)
December 1st Quarter 2nd Quarter 3rd Quarter YTD 2013
Silver -2.6% -6.3 -23.3 11.5 -35.4
Gold -1.7% -4.8 -31.3 8.4 -26.7
Platinum -0.9% 2.1 -14.9 5.4 -12.1
Palladium 2.3 9.2 -14.0 10.1 4.7


London Fix Precious Metals

London precious metals fixings advanced Friday. In comparing the Thursday PM to Friday PM London fix prices:

  • Gold gained $10.50, or 0.9%, to $1,233 an ounce,
  • Silver rose 3 cents, or 0.2%, to $19.49 an ounce,
  • Platinum added $3, or 0.2%, to $1,367 an ounce, and
  • Palladium climbed $13, or 1.8%, to $741 an ounce

As for the week, palladium surged 2.3% while the other precious metals registered losses of 1.6% for gold, 2.2% for silver and 0.7% for platinum.

The following grid shows the net percentage changes in London precious metals fixings for December, the completed quarters in 2013 and the year-to-date.

London Precious Metals Gains / Losses (%)
December 1st Quarter 2nd Quarter 3rd Quarter YTD 2013
Silver -2.2 -4.0 -34.1 15.0 -34.9
Gold -1.6 -4.4 -25.4 11.3 -25.9
Platinum -0.7 3.5 -16.4 7.1 -10.2
Palladium 2.3 10.2 -16.5 12.9 6.0


US Mint Bullion Sales in December

Rationing is suppressing sales of the Mint’s most popular silver coin but its gold coins scored the highest weekly total since July 5. In breaking down the weekly and starting December numbers:

  • Marking a second week of strength, gold coins advanced 22,000 ounces compared to last week’s 19,000 ounces. Sales splits were 20,500 ounces in 22-karat American Gold Eagles, versus 13,000 previously, and 1,500 ounces in 24-karat American Gold Buffalo coins, versus 6,000 previously.

  • Silver coins climbed by 400,000 ounces versus last week’s 800,000 ounces. For a second week, all sales came from Silver Eagles. The total would be higher but U.S. Mint-imposed sales limits have been stronger since November as the bureau is building up its inventory of one-ounce silver blanks for the new 2014-dated Silver Eagles. Monday, Dec. 9, is the last day the U.S. Mint will offer the 2013-dated coins. It will begin selling the 2014-dated coins on Jan 13. As for America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins, sales have been silent for two weeks. Three of the five 2013-dated coins have sold out.

U.S. Mint bullion sales for the week, for the month through Dec. 6, and the year-to-date are listed below.

American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Sales (# of coins)
Friday Sales Last Week Week/Month To Date YTD Sales
$50 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins 0 13,000 19,000 709,000
$25 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins 0 0 0 58,000
$10 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins 0 0 0 118,000
$5 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins 0 0 15,000 535,000
$50 American Buffalo Gold Bullion Coins 0 6,000 1,500 233,500
White Mountain 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins Sold Out 35,000
Perry’s Victory 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins 0 0 0 27,100
Great Basin 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins 0 0 0 28,600
Fort McHenry 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins Sold Out 30,000
Mount Rushmore 5 oz. Silver Bullion Coins Sold Out 35,000
American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins 25,500 800,000 400,000 41,875,000


In related bullion coin news, the Royal Canadian Mint this week started selling its 2014 Silver Maple Leafs. These coins now have enhanced security features to include a different finish.

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