Gold surged to a more than two-month high on Thursday, closing up for the first time in three days to position for a fifth straight weekly advance.
In bullion coin news, the U.S. Mint’s Silver Eagles topped 4 million in sales in less than two weeks. January will minimally be the strongest sales month for the bullion coins since July.
Returning to precious metals futures, gold for February delivery jumped $23.70 or 1.9%, to finish at $1,262.30 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The settlement price was gold’s highest since hitting $1,273.50 an ounce on Nov. 10.
Gains came on the day as stocks tumbled, the dollar fell, fresh signs emerged of a manufacturing slowdown in China, and following reports that India may relax its gold import duties.
"The rally was fueled by short covering and technical buying, including pre-placed buy stop orders being triggered. The U.S. dollar index traded solidly lower Thursday, and that was also a bullish daily ‘outside market’ force working in the gold and silver bulls’ favor," Jim Wyckoff, a senior analyst at Kitco Inc., said in a daily note.
"There were also unconfirmed news reports India’s government is considering lifting at least part of its gold import duties on its citizens. Indian citizens are major gold consumers, but they have been squelched on their gold buying the past year due to the higher duties imposed by the Indian government," Wyckoff added.
Gold’s rally has it poised for a weekly gain. Prices are now 0.8% higher than Friday.
Also up for the first time in three sessions, silver for March delivery rose 17 cents, or 0.9%, to finish at $20.01 an ounce. Silver prices traded from $19.65 to $20.31.
PGM futures divided. In their breakdowns for Thursday:
April platinum edged up 80 cents to $1,463.20 an ounce, ranging from $1,442.20 to $1,470.70.
- Palladium for March delivery declined $2.95, or 0.4%, to $745.90 an ounce, trading between $742 and $748.75.
London Fix Precious Metals
London precious metals fixings also split. In contrasting the London fix prices from Wednesday PM to Thursday PM:
- Gold added $22, or 1.8%, to $1,263 an ounce,
- Silver gained 24 cents, or 1.2%, to $20.11 an ounce,
- Platinum fell $4, or 0.3%, to $1,454 an ounce, and
- Palladium shed $1, or 0.1%, to $746 an ounce
US Mint Bullion Sales in January
Posting a modest gain on the day but adding to an already strong monthly performance, Silver Eagle sales on Thursday climbed 34,500 for a total of 4,003,500 since their release on Jan. 13. That places their week-to-date sales at 539,500. The U.S. Mint is rationing the bullion coins, saying that about 500,000 to 600,000 would be available this week. There were also 111,000 remaining from last week’s allocation.
In related coin news, the U.S. Mint on Thursday released the collector version of the coin. Sales kicked off at noon ET for the proof American Silver Eagle. Its regular issue price is $52.95.
The following table lists bullion sales for the day, for the week so far and for the month/year through Jan. 23.
|American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Sales (# of coins)|
|Thursday Sales||Week-To-Date Sales||YTD Sales|
|$50 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins||0||5,000||61,500|
|$25 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins||0||2,000||12,000|
|$10 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins||0||0||28,000|
|$5 American Eagle Gold Bullion Coins||0||0||150,000|
|$50 American Buffalo Gold Bullion Coins||0||0||39,500|
|American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins||34,500||539,500||4,003,500|