Precious metals futures ended ahead Friday but they remained in negative territory for the month. In the longer stretch, all but silver posted an increase in the first quarter of 2019.
Gold for June delivery on Friday rose $3.20, or 0.3%, to settle at $1,298.50 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.
"Lots of positive factors like Brexit, central bank buying were there this quarter," MarketWatch quoted Chintan Karnani, chief market analyst at Insignia Consultants. "I see gold consolidating in $1,260-$1,360 wider trading range in April."
Gold futures declined 1.1% this week following three straight weekly increases that had lifted prices by a combined 1%. Gold fell 1.3% in March but it moved exactly opposite in the first quarter, rising 1.3%.
In looking ahead to next week, Kitco News offers the following forecasts via their Wall Street & Main Street surveys:
"Fourteen market professionals took part in the Wall Street survey. Nine participants, or 64%, described themselves as bullish for the week ahead. There were two voters, or 14%, who see lower prices, while three respondents, or 21%, called for a sideways market or were neutral.
Meanwhile, 589 respondents took part in an online Main Street poll. A total of 301 voters, or 51%, called for gold to rise. Another 190, or 32%, predicted gold would fall. The remaining 98 voters, or 17%, saw a sideways market."
Elsewhere, silver for May delivery added 13.7 cents, or 0.9%, to settle at $15.11 an ounce. Silver futures registered weekly, monthly and quarterly losses of 1.9%; 3.4%; and 2.8%. On Thursday, prices settled at their worst level since Dec. 24.
In PGM futures on Friday and for the week:
July platinum added $10.30, or 1.2%, to $854.10 an ounce, for a 0.7% weekly increase.
- Palladium for June delivery jumped $32.10, or 2.5%, to $1,341.80 an ounce, but still plunged 11.5% on the week. The metal scored a record settlement of $1,560.40 an ounce on March 20.
In March, platinum lost 2.4% and palladium sank 10.6%. Both metals gained in the first quarter, however, logging respective increases of 6.7% and 12.1%.
London Precious Metals Prices
London precious metals prices ended mostly higher on Friday and declined together for the week and month. In comparing their levels from Thursday PM to Friday PM:
- Gold edged up 25 cents, or less than 0.1%, to $1,295.40 an ounce.
- Silver declined 9.5 cents, or 0.6%, to $15.10 an ounce.
- Platinum rose $9, or 1.1%, to $850 an ounce.
- Palladium jumped $38, or 2.8%, to $1,390 an ounce.
In LBMA results for the week, losses reached 1.2% for gold, 2.3% for silver, 0.4% for platinum, and 10.6% for palladium.
As for March, losses totaled 1.8% for gold, 4.5% for silver, 2.4% for platinum, and 10% for palladium.
In LBMA results for the first quarter 2019, silver fell 2.4% while the others registered increases of 1.1% for gold, 7.1% for platinum, and 10.1% for palladium.
US Mint 2019 Bullion Sales
United States Mint sales of American Eagle and Buffalo bullion coins slowed in March from February but quickened in the first quarter compared to last year. In headline comparisons:
American Eagle gold coins reached 11,500 ounces, dipping 8% from the 12,500 ounces sold in February while jumping 228.6% from the 3,500 ounces moved in March 2018. First quarter 2019 American Gold Eagle sales at 90,000 ounces are 33.3% higher than the 67,500 ounces delivered during the first three months of last year.
American Eagle silver coins climbed to 850,000 ounces, marking declines of 60.6% from February’s 2,157,500 ounces and 7.1% from the March 2018 total of 915,000 ounces. (Note: sales in February were stunted after Silver Eagles temporarily sold out Feb. 22, 2019.) First quarter 2019 American Silver Eagle sales at 7,025,000 coins are 38% higher than the 5,092,500 coins sold through the same time in 2018.
American Buffalo gold coins reached 5,500, down 8.3% from February’s 6,000 coins but up 450% from the 1,000 coins sold in March 2018. Quarterly sales at 35,000 ounces are 27.3% higher than the 27,500 ounces sold during the same three months last year.
American Platinum Eagles advanced by 4,000 coins, down 66.7% from the 2,400 ounces sold in February. Their sales were muted in March 2018. Quarterly sales at 35,500 ounces are 77.5% higher than the 20,000 ounces moved in the first quarter 2018.
America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins rose for the month by 80,000 coins or 400,000 ounces. All sales came from Massachusetts’ Lowell National Historical Park silver coin, which launched on March 11 as the first 5 ounce release this year. Last year’s first 5 ounce coin, depicting Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan, debuted in February and reached final sales of 30,000 coins or 150,000 ounces.
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||January||February||March||2019 Sales|
|$100 American Eagle 1 Oz Platinum Coin||500||1,000||1,000||27,100||2,400||4,000||33,500|
|$50 American Eagle 1 Oz Gold Coin||500||500||1,000||44,500||11,000||8,500||64,000|
|$25 American Eagle 1/2 Oz Gold Coin||0||1,000||0||15,000||1,000||1,000||17,000|
|$10 American Eagle 1/4 Oz Gold Coin||0||0||0||20,000||0||4,000||24,000|
|$5 American Eagle 1/10 Oz Gold Coin||5,000||5,000||5,000||90,000||10,000||15,000||115,000|
|$50 American Buffalo 1 Oz Gold Coin||0||1,500||0||23,500||6,000||5,500||35,000|
|$1 American Eagle 1 Oz Silver Coin||0||0||0||4,017,500||2,157,500||850,000||7,025,000|
|Lowell 5 Oz Silver Coin||0||0||0||N/A||80,000||80,000|