Gold futures logged a fifth straight day of losses on Friday as a rallying U.S. dollar drove prices to their lowest close of the year.
Gold for April delivery on Friday tumbled $31.90, or 2.7%, to end at $1,164.30 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
The settlement marks a near four-month low, the weakest price since Nov. 13.
"The market is definitely bringing forward expectations of a June rate cut," Kitco quoted Chris Vecchio, currency strategist at DailyFX. "Gold’s fall [on Friday] shows that there is faith in the interest rate underpinning the dollar right now. Gold is a really good investment when you see yield erosion or you see a lack of faith in sovereigns, and that certainly isn’t the case right now in the U.S."
A better-than-expected U.S. payrolls report boosted the greenback, opined analysts. The U.S. economy added 295,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said Friday. That topped estimates for a gain of 240,000, after a downwardly revised 239,000 increase in January.
"The market may be reading too much into one data release," Reuters quoted Frances Hudson, global thematic strategist at Standard Life Investments in Edinburgh. "When the central bank tells you the move is going to be data dependent, I’m pretty sure they’re not going to say that particular data release will be the tipping point because payroll figures are quite often subject to pretty substantial revisions."
Gold prices plunged 4% from a week ago and fled 1.7% into the red for the year.
Silver prices fared worse on the week, plummeting 4.5%, but they held gains for the year which tally to 1.3%. On Friday, silver for May delivery declined 35 cents, or 2.2%, to settle at $15.81 an ounce. The precious metal has ended flat or lower for six straight sessions.
In PGM futures on Friday and for the week:
April platinum lost $21.30, or 1.8%, to close at $1,158.80 an ounce, and declined 2.3% from a week ago.
- Palladium fell $6.90, or 0.8%, to settle at $818.50 an ounce, and slipped 0.2% on the week. Until Wednesday, palladium had advanced for seven straight sessions.
In year to date totals, platinum has dropped 4.2% while palladium has gained 2.5%.
London Fix Precious Metals
London precious metals also slid on Friday. In comparing London bullion Fix prices from Thursday PM to Friday PM:
- Gold lost $26.25, or 2.2%, to $1,175.75 an ounce,
- Silver dropped 20 cents, or 1.2%, to $15.99 an ounce,
- Platinum fell $20, or 1.7%, to $1,166 an ounce, and
- Palladium dipped $5, or 0.6%, to $823 an ounce.
On the week, palladium gained 1.9% while other London precious metals prices declined by amounts of 3.2% for gold, 3.3% for silver and 0.9% for platinum.
US Mint Bullion Coin Sales in March
Compared to a week ago, United States Mint bullions sales ended lower for silver coins but a tad higher for gold coins.
Silver coins added 587,000 ounces after advancing by 805,000 ounces last week. All sales this week came from American Silver Eagles as the Homestead America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coin temporarily sold out on Feb. 25. Its sales will resume on Monday.
Year-to-date Silver Eagles sales topped the 9 million mark on Tuesday, but they also slipped from their record pace. In year 2014 when Silver Eagle sales ended at a record 44,006,000, the coins had a tad lower total of 9,484,500 by March 6, 2014.
Gold coins rose by 8,000 ounces after gaining 7,500 ounces in the prior week. Splits were 6,500 ounces in American Gold Eagles compared to 4,500 ounces previously, and 1,500 ounces in American Gold Buffalo coins compared to 3,000 ounces previously.
Below are U.S. Mint bullion products with columns listing the number of bullion coins sold during varying time periods.
|US Mint Bullion Sales (# of coins)|
|Friday Sales||Last Week||New Week / Month||February Sales||YTD Sales|
|$50 American Eagle 1 Oz Gold Coins||0||3,500||2,500||12,500||66,500|
|$25 American Eagle 1/2 Oz Gold Coins||0||0||3,000||2,000||23,000|
|$10 American Eagle 1/4 Oz Gold Coins||0||0||2,000||0||38,000|
|$5 American Eagle 1/10 Oz Gold Coins||0||10,000||20,000||50,000||185,000|
|$50 American Buffalo 1 Oz Gold Coins||0||3,000||1,500||12,000||48,000|
|$1 American Eagle 1 Oz Silver Coins||0||777,500||587,000||3,022,000||9,139,000|
|2015 Homestead 5 Oz Silver Coins||0||5,500||0||20,000||20,000|