Gold Jumps $53 to 1-Year High; US Mint Gold Coins Rise

One Gold Bar
On Thursday, gold futures surged 4.5% and silver futures soared 3.4%

Gold and silver rallied Thursday with investors running to safety as oil crashed below $27 a barrel and global stocks tumbled. Gold futures closed at their best price in a year and scored their biggest gain in about 2.3 years.

Gold for April delivery surged $53.20, or 4.5%, to end at $1,247.80 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The settlement was the highest since Feb. 5, 2015 when the yellow metal ended at $1,262.70 an ounce.

"Another big sell off in world stock markets sent investors and traders scrambling into the gold market," Jim Wyckoff, a senior analyst at Kitco Metals Inc., said in a report. "Falling crude oil prices, worries about the European financial system and weak overall world economic growth prospects are combining to spook the world marketplace."

According to MarketWatch, the daily increase was the biggest since Sept. 19, 2013. Gold prices traded from a low of $1,196.30 to a high of $1,263.90. They dipped 0.3% on Wednesday, their first decline in six sessions. Gold has gained 7.8% on the week so far.

"Investors are returning to gold as a core diversifier and safe haven investment," Reuters quoted James Butterfill, head of research at ETF Securities, said in a note. "Given the increasingly challenging investment and economic environment, we expect this trend to continue."

Silver for March delivery jumped 51.2 cents, or 3.4%, to settle at $15.794 an ounce. The close was the highest since Oct. 28 when silver finished at $16.29 an ounce. Silver prices traded between $15.28 and $15.99. The precious metal is 6.9% higher on the week.

In PGM futures on Thursday:

  • April platinum advanced $29, or 3.1%, to $963.20 an ounce, ranging from $934.50 to $970.80.

  • Palladium for March delivery dipped 25 cents to $524.45 an ounce, trading between $520.25 and $531.40.

London Precious Metals Prices

Earlier fixed London gold and silver prices also advanced. In comparing their levels from Wednesday PM to Thursday PM:

  • Gold rose $51, or 4.3%, to $1,241 an ounce.
  • Silver rose 53 cents, or 3.5%, to $15.65 an ounce.

LBMA platinum and palladium prices are available on the LBMA’s website with a delay of midnight.

US Mint Bullion Sales in 2016

United States Mint gold bullion coins rose by 6,500 ounces with splits of 6,000 ounces in American Gold Eagles and 500 ounces in American Golf Buffalo coins.

The U.S. Mint this week limited sales of American Silver Eagles to 1 million coins. The last of those were claimed on Wednesday with no more available until next Monday. Their cumulative total stands at 8 million coins since going on sale Jan. 11. Last year’s 2015-dated Silver Eagle ended at a record 47 million coins, with sales through Feb. 11, 2015 reaching 6,919,000 coins.

In an update on five ounce silver bullion sales, the Mint said the Shawnee piece advanced 2,000 to 75,000 coins on Wednesday. The total is the highest since the 2011 Olympic National Park release logged sales of 104,900 coins. Earlier Shawnee gains this week included 4,600 coins on Tuesday and 13,400 coins on Monday.

Below is a sales breakdown of United States Mint bullion products with columns listing the number of bullion coins sold during varying periods of time.

US Mint Bullion Sales (# of coins)
Thursday Sales Last Week This Week Jan Sales Feb Sales 2016 Sales
$50 American Eagle 1 Oz Gold Coins 4,500 9,500 25,500 89,000 35,000 124,000
$25 American Eagle 1/2 Oz Gold Coins 0 3,000 0 23,000 3,000 26,000
$10 American Eagle 1/4 Oz Gold Coins 2,000 0 2,000 36,000 2,000 38,000
$5 American Eagle 1/10 Oz Gold Coins 10,000 15,000 15,000 145,000 30,000 175,000
$50 American Buffalo 1 Oz Gold Coins 500 2,000 4,000 34,000 6,000 40,000
$1 American Eagle 1 Oz Silver Coins 0 1,045,500 1,000,000 5,954,500 2,045,500 8,000,000
2016 Shawnee 5 Oz Silver Coins 0 55,000 20,000 N/A 75,000 75,000
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