Gold Jumps 2% in May; US Mint Bullion Sales Weaken

Pile of American Eagle gold bullion coins
Gold futures ended Friday at their strongest level since April 10 to pad their monthly increase. Sales of U.S. Mint bullion American Gold Eagles, however, slowed in May.

Most precious metals futures advanced Friday but only gold gained in May, scoring its first monthly increase in four months. The yellow metal also marked its best close in over seven weeks.

Gold for August delivery on Friday surged $18.70, or 1.5%, to settle at $1,311.11 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The settlement was the highest since April 10.

"Over the near term, a strong dollar will weigh down on commodities in general," Reuters quoted Heng Koon How, head of markets strategy, United Overseas Bank. "But our long term view is that gold will recover to $1,450 an ounce by middle of 2020 as safe haven in-flows and portfolio diversification needs increase to gold’s advantage."

Gold futures traded 2.1% higher this week after rising 0.6% last week. They gained 2% for the month and are 2.3% higher on the year to date.

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

"Fifteen market professionals took part in the Wall Street survey. A total of 11 voters, or 73%, called for gold to rise. Nobody cast a vote for lower, while four voters, or 27%, predicted a sideways market or were neutral.

Meanwhile, 448 respondents took part in an online Main Street poll. A total of 242 voters, or 54%, called for gold to rise. Another 123, or 27%, predicted gold would fall. The remaining 83 voters, or 19%, saw a sideways market."

Elsewhere, silver for July delivery added 7.6 cents, or 0.5%, to close at $14.567 an ounce. Silver futures rose almost 0.1% this week after advancing 1.2% last week. They tumbled a combined 4.1% through the three consecutive weekly losses before then. On Monday, the precious metal settled at $14.32 an ounce to log its weakest close since Nov. 30. Silver prices registered losses of 2.8% in May — a fourth straight monthly decline, and 6.3% on the year to date.

In PGM futures on Friday, for the week and in May:

  • July platinum edged up a dime to finish at $794.20 an ounce, but posted losses of 1.1% on the week and 10.9% for the month.

  • Palladium for September delivery dropped $34.20, or 2.5%, to end at $1,331.50 an ounce, yet gained 0.4% on the week. Palladium lost 3.7% in May.

The pair is divided on the year so far with platinum down 0.8% and palladium up 11.2%.

London Precious Metals Prices

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

  • Gold rose $14.60, or 1.1%, to $1,295.55 an ounce.
  • Silver added 8 cents, or 0.6%, to $14.48 an ounce.
  • Platinum was unchanged at $791 an ounce.
  • Palladium jumped $25, or 1.9%, to $1,370 an ounce.

In LBMA results for the week, gold gained 1% and palladium surged 3.1% while silver slipped 0.5% and platinum declined 1.1%.

As for May, gold rose 1% and palladium edged up 0.3% while silver fell 3.4% and platinum dropped 11%.

US Mint 2019 Bullion Sales

Sales of U.S. Mint flagship American Eagle gold and silver bullion coins slowed in May from April but their year-to-date totals stand higher when compared against last year. In headline comparisons:

  • American Eagle gold coins reached 4,000 ounces, logging declines of 60% from April and 83.3% from May of last year. 2019 American Gold Eagle sales at 104,000 ounces are 8.3% higher than the 96,000 ounces delivered during the first five months of 2018.

  • American Eagle silver coins moved up by 866,000 ounces, dropping 27.6% from April but rising 127.9% from May of last year. 2019 American Silver Eagle sales at 8,987,000 coins are 40.7% higher than the 6,387,500 coins sold through the same time in 2018.

  • American Buffalo gold coins reached 3,000 ounces, posting declines of 53.9% from April and 81.8% from May 2018. Year-to-date sales at 44,500 ounces are 3.3% lower than the 46,000 ounces sold during the January to May period of last year.

  • The final allotment of 2019 American Platinum Eagles sold in April with their total for the year ending at 40,000 coins. Last year’s edition topped out at 30,000 coins.

  • America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins rose by 78,000 units with all sales credited to the May release depicting American Memorial Park. Two of the five 2019-dated coins have now been issued and they have combined sales of 158,000 units or 790,000 ounces. Last year’s first two 5-ounce bullion coins registered combined sales through May of 60,000 units or 300,000 ounces.

Below is a sales breakdown of U.S. Mint bullion products with columns listing the number of coins sold during varying periods. Products with an asterisk (*) are no longer available.

US Mint Bullion Sales (# of coins)
Friday Last Week This Week March April May 2019 Sales
$50 American Eagle 1 Oz Gold Coin 0 1,500 1,000 8,500 6,500 3,500 74,000
$25 American Eagle 1/2 Oz Gold Coin 0 0 0 1,000 1,000 0 19,000
$10 American Eagle 1/4 Oz Gold Coin 0 0 0 4,000 2,000 0 26,000
$5 American Eagle 1/10 Oz Gold Coin 0 5,000 0 15,000 25,000 5,000 140,000
$50 American Buffalo 1 Oz Gold Coin 0 2,000 0 5,500 6,500 3,000 44,500
$1 American Eagle 1 Oz Silver Coin 0 566,000 140,000 850,000 1,196,000 866,000 8,987,000
American Memorial Park 5 Oz Silver Coin 0 78,000 0 N/A 78,000 78,000
Lowell 5 Oz Silver Coin* N/A 80,000 N/A 80,000
$100 American Eagle 1 Oz Platinum Coin* N/A 4,000 6,500 N/A 40,000


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