Gold Suffers Weekly Loss; US Mint Bullion Coins Rally

Gold bar on top of silver bar
Precious metals fell on the week. U.S. Mint bullion coins logged their best sales since the week after the new 2015-dated editions launched in January.

Gold futures edged higher for a second straight session on Friday yet fell 1% on the week as the U.S. dollar’s extended rally set a negative direction for precious metals markets.

Gold for April delivery on Friday inched up 50 cents, or less than 0.1%, to settle at $1,152.40 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

"The narrative for the gold market hasn’t changed," according to Friday’s 7:00’s Report, which offers daily markets commentary, notes MarketWatch. The "medium-term outlook remains bearish as the dollar remains in a well-defined uptrend but near term, there is a decent chance for a short-covering rally back to the high $1,100s or $1,200."

Gold prices also inched up on Thursday, about 0.1%. On Wednesday, the yellow metal closed at its weakest level since Nov. 6 and marked a seventh decline in eight sessions. It is now off 2.7% on the year to date.

"Gold is holding just above this key area of $1,150, but there is more downside risk as the dollar could continue its ascent ahead of next week’s Fed meeting, especially as it is so close to parity level with the euro," Reuters quoted Saxo Bank head of strategy Ole Hansen.

The greenback on Friday surged to a 12-year high against the euro.

Silver for May delivery dipped 2 cents, or 0.1%, to close at $15.49 an ounce. Until the 15-cent advance on Thursday, silver had ended flat or lower for nine straight sessions. The precious metal fell 2% on the week and fled 0.7% into the red for the year.

In PGM futures on Friday and for the week:

  • April platinum added 30 cents to $1,115.20 an ounce, but plunged 3.8% from a week ago.

  • Palladium gained $1.75, or 0.2%, to $788.70 an ounce, but tumbled 3.6% on the week.

Both metals are also lower for the year so far. Declines total 7.8% for platinum and a more modest 1.2% for palladium.

London Fix Precious Metals

London precious metals ended mixed on Friday and plunged on the week. In comparing London bullion Fix prices from Thursday PM to Friday PM:

  • Gold shed 25 cents to $1,152 an ounce,
  • Silver declined 18 cents, or 1.2%, to $15.50 an ounce,
  • Platinum fell $3, or 0.3%, to $1,115 an ounce, and
  • Palladium added $2, or 0.3%, to $791 an ounce.

Weekly losses accumulated to 2% for gold, 3.1% for silver, 4.4% for platinum and 3.9% for palladium.

US Mint Bullion Coin Sales in March

United States Mint bullions coins rallied this week with gold and silver sales the highest since the week after the 2015-dated versions launched in January. Showing particular strength, gold sales at least doubled each of the weekly totals going back to mid-February. In the latest weekly comparisons:

  • Gold coins surged 18,500 ounces after gaining 8,000 ounces in the prior week. Splits were 16,500 ounces in American Gold Eagles compared to 6,500 ounces previously, and 2,000 ounces in American Gold Buffalo coins compared to 1,500 ounces previously. Gold Eagle sales at 23,000 ounces for the month so far are already 24.3% higher than the 18,500 ounces sold in February.

  • Silver coins advanced 884,000 ounces after rising 587,000 ounces last week. Splits were 844,000 ounces in American Silver Eagles and 40,000 ounces in Homestead America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins. Sales of the Homestead coin resumed on Monday after they temporarily sold out two weeks ago.

U.S. Mint bullion products below show with columns showing the number of coins sold during varying periods.

US Mint Bullion Sales (# of coins)
Friday Sales Last Week Current Week February Sales March Sales YTD Sales
$50 American Eagle 1 Oz Gold Coins 0 2,500 14,000 12,500 16,500 80,500
$25 American Eagle 1/2 Oz Gold Coins 0 3,000 1,000 2,000 4,000 24,000
$10 American Eagle 1/4 Oz Gold Coins 0 2,000 0 0 2,000 38,000
$5 American Eagle 1/10 Oz Gold Coins 0 20,000 20,000 50,000 40,000 205,000
$50 American Buffalo 1 Oz Gold Coins 0 1,500 2,000 12,000 3,500 50,000
$1 American Eagle 1 Oz Silver Coins 27,500 587,000 844,000 3,022,000 1,431,000 9,983,000
2015 Homestead 5 Oz Silver Coins 0 0 8,000 20,000 8,000 28,000
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