Gold moved slightly higher on Friday, adding to sharp prior-session increases that helped drive prices to a 3.3% weekly gain and to the best close in nine weeks.
Gold for August delivery climbed $2.50, or 0.2%, to settle at $1,316.60 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gains on the week were attributed to safe-haven demand, short covering, and earlier weakness in the U.S. dollar.
"We suspect that gold should enjoy a degree of underlying support from geopolitical headlines, which still remain concerning and have the ability to seriously destabilize the markets, especially if they result in a further spike in oil prices," MarketWatch quoted Edward Meir of INTL FCStone.
Ironically, gold retreated earlier in the week even as the Labor Department reported higher inflation. Historically, gold is seen as a hedge against inflation.
Gold’s settlement price on Friday was the highest since April 14. The precious metal has surged $114.30, or 9.5%, since ending 2013 at $1,202.30 an ounce.
For the second straight week, most participants in the latest Kitco News survey are bullish for gold. Eighteen of them expect prices to rise, 6 see prices lower and 2 see prices trading sideways or are neutral. Kitco News reports that:
"A strong majority of participants in the Kitco News Gold Survey forecast higher prices next week, as many expect the yellow metal to build on momentum uncovered this week… Those participants who call for weaker prices next week said considering the rally came so swiftly, a pullback might be in order. Additionally, they noted little physical demand on the move higher, which has been a problem plaguing gold for a few months now… A few participants who are neutral on prices said they believe gold needs to consolidate the current gains before it can make its next move."
Kitco News survey results from last week had 16 up, 3 down and 5 sideways or are neutral.
Silver, Platinum and Palladium Futures
Other precious metals were mixed on Friday but higher on the week. In the daily and weekly breakdowns:
Silver for July delivery tacked on 30 cents, or 1.5%, to close at $20.95 an ounce. Silver prices have advanced in 14 of the last 15 sessions and have soared this week by 6.6%.
July platinum lost $17.20, or 1.2%, to $1,457.30 an ounce, but still logged a 1.6% weekly gain.
- Palladium for September delivery declined $16.40, or 2%, to $822.20 an ounce, yet finished 1.2% higher than a week ago.
Advances on the year so far total 8.2% for silver, 6.1% for platinum and 14.5% for palladium.
London Fix Precious Metals
London precious metals fixings split on Friday yet gained on the week. When comparing London bullion fix prices from Thursday PM to Friday PM:
- Gold added $19.50, or 1.5%, to $1,312.50 an ounce,
- Silver jumped 68 cents, or 3.4%, to $20.62 an ounce,
- Platinum declined $3, or 0.2%, to $1,456 an ounce, and
- Palladium fell $1, or 0.1%, to $829 an ounce
Weekly gains tallied to 3.1% for gold, 5.3% for silver, 1.3% for platinum and 1.6% for palladium.
US Mint Bullion Sales in June
U.S. Mint bullion sales surged for gold coins and slowed for silver coins. In the latest week-over-week comparisons across all U.S. Mint bullion products:
Gold coin sales advanced 19,000 ounces after rising 9,500 ounces last week. Splits were 12,500 ounces in American Gold Eagles compared to 7,500 ounces previously and 6,500 ounces in American Gold Buffalos after 2,000 ounces previously.
American Silver Eagles added 580,000 following the past four weekly gains of 675,000; 670,000; 300,000; and 426,500. Silver Eagle sales have slowed sharply in the last five weeks. The coins did top 23 million on Tuesday and are now at 23,361,500. Last year when the annual Silver Eagle sales record was set at above 42.6 million, the coins had reached 24,136,500 by June 20, 2013. Until a few weeks ago, sales this year were moving faster than last.
America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins gained 2,800, or 14,000 ounces, after jumping 14,000 or 70,000 ounces last week when Arches silver coins debuted.
In the 14th full week of release following a five-year hiatus, sales of American Platinum Eagles were flat after gaining 200 previously.
Below is a sales breakdown of U.S. Mint bullion products with columns listing the number of bullion coins sold on Friday, last week, this week, last month, the month-to-date, last month, and the year-to-date.
|American Eagle and Buffalo Bullion Sales (# of coins)|
|Friday Sales||Sales Last Week||Weekly Sales||May Sales||June Sales||YTD Sales|
|$100 American Platinum Eagle Bullion Coins||0||200||0||1,000||700||12,900|
|$50 American Gold Eagle Bullion Coins||3,000||7,000||11,500||29,000||29,000||184,500|
|$25 American Gold Eagle Bullion Coins||0||0||0||3,000||0||25,000|
|$10 American Gold Eagle Bullion Coins||2,000||0||2,000||6,000||2,000||70,000|
|$5 American Gold Eagle Bullion Coins||5,000||5,000||5,000||35,000||20,000||345,000|
|$50 American Buffalo Gold Bullion Coins||3,000||2,000||6,500||12,500||12,000||107,500|
|$1 American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins||0||675,000||580,000||3,988,500||1,925,000||23,361,500|
|Great Smoky Mountains National Park 5 Oz Silver Bullion Coins||0||500||0||4,000||1,000||28,000|
|Shenandoah National Park 5 Oz Silver Bullion Coins||0||0||0||19,100||500||19,600|
|Arches National Park 5 Oz Silver Bullion Coins||0||13,500||2,800||N/A||16,300||16,300|