Gold and Silver Split in September, US Mint Bullion Sales Mixed

Gold Bars Close-up
Gold suffers weekly, monthly and quarterly losses

Gold futures advanced Friday, paring their losses on the week, for the month and in the third quarter. Silver, meanwhile, rallied to erase both weekly and monthly losses. It still plunged for the quarter, however. Palladium was the star during all periods, scoring its highest finish since late January.

Gold for December delivery settled up $8.80, or 0.7%, to $1,196.20 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

"Robust U.S. economic fundamentals despite an escalation in trade tariffs have done little to lift demand for the non-interest bearing asset," Reuters quoted Benjamin Lu, commodities analyst at Phillip Futures.

"The outlook for gold prices in the current term remains dim as such in lieu of rising rates and yields amidst buoyant U.S. economic conditions."

For the week, gold futures lost $5.10, or 0.4%, following two straight weekly increases that had lifted prices by a combined 90 cents, or less than 0.1%.

The yellow metal in September fell 0.9%, marking a sixth straight monthly decline. That drove its loss in the third quarter to 4.7%. Gold prices are 8.6% lower on the year to date.

In looking ahead to next week, Kitco News offers the following forecasts via their Wall Street & Main Street surveys:

"Seventeen market professionals took part in the Wall Street survey. Eleven respondents, or 59%, predicted lower prices by next Friday. There were three votes, or 18%, calling for higher prices, while four respondents, or 24%, were neutral or looked for a sideways market.

Meanwhile, 549 people responded to an online Main Street poll. A total of 233 respondents, or 42%, called for gold to rise. Another 230, also 42%, predicted gold would fall. The remaining 86 voters, or 16%, see a sideways market."

Elsewhere, silver for December delivery rallied 42.2 cents, or 3%, to end at $14.712 an ounce. The settlement is the strongest since Aug. 28.

Silver futures gained 2.5% this week after advancing 1.5% last week. They rose 1.1% on the month but plunged 9.2% for the quarter. Silver prices are now 14.2% lower on the year so far.

In PGM futures on Friday, for the week, in September, and for the third quarter:

  • January platinum tacked on $7.70, or 1%, to $822.40 an ounce, dropping 0.9% on the week but still surging 4.5% for the month. The metal registered a quarterly loss of 4.1%.

  • Palladium for December delivery rose $1.60, or 0.2%, to $1,072.80 an ounce — its best close since Jan. 29. Palladium registered weekly, monthly and third quarter gains of 2.7%; 10.6% and 12.8%.

The pair of metals is divided on the year so far with platinum 12.4% lower and palladium 1.1% higher.

London Precious Metals Prices

London precious metals prices ended mostly higher on Friday. In comparing their levels from Thursday PM to Friday PM:

  • Gold rose $1.85, or 0.2%, to 1,187.25 an ounce.
  • Silver fell 11.5 cents, 0.8%, to $14.305 an ounce.
  • Platinum added $3, or 0.4%, to $815 an ounce.
  • Palladium surged $27, or 2.5%, to $1,094 an ounce.

For the week, palladium rose 4.7% while other LBMA prices declined by 1% for gold, 0.2% for silver, and 1.7% for platinum.

In September, prices for platinum and palladium gained 2.9% and 11.7% while those for gold and silver fell 1.3% and 2.4%.

As for the third quarter, platinum soared 14.8% while others declined by 5.1% for gold, 10.8% for silver, and 4.2% for palladium.

For the year to date, prices for palladium are 3.6% higher while those for gold, silver and platinum are lower by 8.4%; 15.2%; and 12.1%.

US Mint Bullion Sales in 2018

Demand for United States Mint bullion products was mixed in September from August — stronger for silver coins but weaker for gold coins. In headline comparisons:

  • American Eagle gold coins totaled 20,500 ounces in September, dipping 4.7% from the 21,500 ounces sold in August but surging 78.3% from the 11,500 ounces sold in September 2017. Year to date sales at 197,500 ounces are 14.9% lower than the 232,000 ounces delivered during the same time in 2017.

  • American Eagle silver coins reached 2,897,500 ounces — the most for a month since January, registering gains of 89.4% from 1.53 million ounces in August and 805.5% from 320,000 ounces in September of last year. As an aside, sales during the month were limited for over a week because the U.S. Mint’s inventory of the coins was temporarily depleted. 2018 Silver Eagle sales at 12,135,000 ounces are 23.7% lower than the 15,898,500 sold through the first nine months of last year.

  • American Buffalo gold coins increased in September by 11,000 ounces, falling 45% from 20,000 ounces in August yet jumping 633.3% from 1,500 ounces in September 2017. Year to date sales at 109,000 ounces are 42.5% higher than the 76,500 ounces moved during the same months in 2017.

  • America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coin sales surged in September by 262,500 ounces after having been muted in both August and September 2017. All sales for the month came from the Cumberland Island coin that launched on Sept. 10. Sales for the year so far are at 712,500 ounces are 23.9% higher than the 575,000 ounces sold through the period in 2017.

  • American Eagle platinum coins reached 20,000 ounces in their February release month, matching annual sales in years 2016 and 2017. The U.S. Mint sold another 10,000 ounces in May for a total of 30,000 ounces. No platinum coins have sold since May.

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

US Mint Bullion Sales (# of coins)
Friday Last Week This Week August September 2018 Sales
$100 American Eagle 1 Oz Platinum Coin 0 0 0 0 0 30,000
$50 American Eagle 1 Oz Gold Coin 0 1,500 3,500 17,500 14,500 151,000
$25 American Eagle 1/2 Oz Gold Coin 0 0 1,000 4,000 2,000 24,000
$10 American Eagle 1/4 Oz Gold Coin 0 0 0 4,000 4,000 58,000
$5 American Eagle 1/10 Oz Gold Coin 0 0 0 10,000 40,000 200,000
$50 American Buffalo 1 Oz Gold Coin 1,000 0 4,500 20,000 11,000 109,000
$1 American Eagle 1 Oz Silver Coin 465,000 925,000 935,000 1,530,000 2,897,500 12,135,000
Pictured Rocks 5 Oz Silver Coin 0 0 0 0 0 30,000
Apostle Islands 5 Oz Silver Coin 0 0 0 0 0 30,000
Voyageurs 5 Oz Silver Coin 0 0 0 0 0 30,000
Cumberland Island 5 Oz Silver Coin 0 1,500 0 N/A 52,500 52,500


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