Precious metals futures moved in the same direction on Friday as they ended for the week — higher for palladium and lower for gold, silver and platinum. Gold posted its biggest weekly decline this year.
Gold for April delivery shed $2.40, or nearly 0.2%, to settle at $1,330.30 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
"Despite the hawkish stance by the Fed, which drove this move in the gold price, we are still above the $1,300 mark," Reuters quoted Think Markets’ chief market analyst Naeem Aslam, flagging a key support level.
Fed minutes released this week noted an increased likelihood for more interest rate hikes this year to combat an expectation of rising inflation and to support sustained economic expansion.
Gold futures dropped 1.9% this week after they surged 3.1% last week. The precious metal is 1.6% higher so far this year.
"We think some participants were surprised and unprepared, which created the largest weekly loss for this year," Aslam added.
In looking ahead to next week, Kitco News offers the following forecasts via their Wall Street vs. Main Street survey:
"Nineteen market professionals took part in the Wall Street survey. There were seven votes each, or 37%, for either higher or sideways. Another five voters, or 26%, looked for the metal to fall in the week ahead.
Exactly 900 voters took part in an online Main Street poll. A total of 423 voters, or 47%, said bullish. Another 366, or 41%, said lower, while 111, or 12%, were neutral."
Elsewhere, silver for March delivery lost 10.3 cents, or 0.6%, to finish at $16.484 an ounce. Silver futures declined about 1.4% this week after rallying 3.6% last week. They are 3.9% lower on the year to date.
In PGM futures on Friday and for the week:
April platinum dipped 60 cents, or less than 0.1%, to $998.80 an ounce, for a 1.3% weekly loss.
- Palladium for March delivery gained $7.65, or 0.7%, to $1,041.15 an ounce, for a 0.5% weekly increase.
The two metals remain divided on the year with platinum 6.5% higher and palladium 1.9% lower.
London Precious Metals Prices
London precious metals prices ended mixed on Friday and from a week ago. In comparing their levels from Thursday PM to Friday PM:
- Gold declined 40 cents, or less than 0.1%, to $1,327.95 an ounce.
- Silver added 14.5 cents, or 0.9%, to $16.61 an ounce.
- Platinum was unchanged at $990 an ounce.
- Palladium added $8, or 0.8%, to $1,041 an ounce.
As for the week in LBMA metal prices, palladium gained 0.4% while the others registered losses reaching 1.8% for gold, 1.3% for silver, and 1.5% for platinum.
US Mint Bullion Sales in 2018
U.S. Mint bullion sales also ended mixed this week with gold coins moving slightly quicker and silver coins moving a lot slower. In week-over-week comparisons:
Gold coins advanced by 2,500 ounces after turning up 2,000 ounces last week. All sales this week resulted from American Gold Eagles. Last week, splits included 1,500 ounces in American Gold Eagles and 500 ounces in American Gold Buffalos.
American Silver Eagles advanced by only 70,000 coins after they climbed by 410,000 coins last week.
In their debut last week, American Platinum Eagles recorded sales of 20,000 — matching the final mintages in years 2016 and 2017. The U.S. Mint has not indicated how many of the coins they will make available this year. No sales were registered this week.
On Monday, the U.S. Mint will release its first 2018-dated 5-ounce bullion silver coin. The piece depicts Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan.
Below is a sales breakdown of U.S. bullion products with columns listing the number of coins sold during varying periods.
|US Mint Bullion Sales (# of coins)|
|Friday||Last Week||This Week||December||January||February||2018 Sales|
|$100 American Eagle 1 Oz Platinum Coin||0||20,000||0||N/A||N/A||20,000||20,000|
|$50 American Eagle 1 Oz Gold Coin||0||1,500||2,000||38,000||36,000||5,000||41,000|
|$25 American Eagle 1/2 Oz Gold Coin||0||0||0||3,000||16,000||0||16,000|
|$10 American Eagle 1/4 Oz Gold Coin||0||0||0||4,000||26,000||0||26,000|
|$5 American Eagle 1/10 Oz Gold Coin||0||0||5,000||25,000||80,000||5,000||85,000|
|$50 American Buffalo 1 Oz Gold Coin||0||500||0||14,000||24,000||2,000||26,000|
|$1 American Eagle 1 Oz Silver Coin||0||410,000||70,000||742,000||3,235,000||705,000||3,940,000|