Not all precious metals moved ahead on the final trading day of 2020 but they all tallied impressive gains in December and they all booked massive annual advances.
Gold for February delivery rose $1.70, or 0.09%, to settle at $1,895.10 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The settlement was the highest since Nov. 6 when the yellow metal ended at $1,951.70 an ounce.
"The U.S. dollar has been slumping badly and can’t manage any rally, which is bullish gold," Reuters quoted Tai Wong, head of base and precious metals derivatives trading at BMO. "However, if the vaccine really is effective and we have the pandemic beat by summer, that may limit gold gains."
Gold futures posted increases of 0.6% for the week, 6.4% for December, and 24.4% for 2020. They finished basically flat for the fourth quarter, however, down by 40 cents.
Meanwhile, silver for March delivery declined 16.1 cents, or 0.6%, to settle at $26.412 an ounce. On Wednesday, the precious metal ended at its best price since Sept. 18. Despite the loss on Thursday, silver prices registered pick ups of 2% for the week, 16.9% for the month, 12.4% for the quarter, and 47.4% for the year.
April platinum climbed 70 cents, or 0.06%, to $1,079.20 an ounce, driving advances to 4.9% for the week, 11.7% for December, 18.7% for the fourth quarter, and 10.4% for 2020.
Palladium for March delivery surged $75.40, or 3.2%, to $2,453.80 an ounce, boosting prices by 4.6% for the week, 2% for the month, 5.3% for the quarter, and 28.5% for the year.
London Precious Metals Prices (LBMA)
London precious metals prices increased in a shortened day as UK markets closed early Thursday to break for the New Year. When comparing London bullion prices from Wednesday PM to Thursday AM:
- Gold added $3.50, or 0.2%, to $1,891.10 an ounce.
- Silver rose 18 cents, or 0.7%, to $26.485 an ounce.
- Platinum added $7, or 0.7%, to $1,075 an ounce.
- Palladium rose $28, or 1.2%, to $2,370 an ounce.
In LBMA weekly results, they all recorded increases — 1% for gold, 2.7% for silver, 5.3% for platinum and 1.8% for palladium.
For December, prices for palladium fell 1.3% while they soared 7.3% for gold, 19.6% for silver and 9.8% for platinum.
In LBMA annual results, gains included 24.2% for gold, 46.8% for silver, 10.7% for platinum, and 23.4% for palladium.
US Mint Bullion Sales in 2020
Demand for United States Mint bullion products surged in 2020 to the highest points in several years — for both gold and silver coins. Here is a summary of the U.S. Mint’s 2020 bullion sales by product:
2020 American Eagle silver coins jumped to 30,089,500 ounces this year, more than doubling the amount of a year ago. Silver Eagles sales logged in at 14,863,500 ounces in 2019 for their lowest sales year since 2007. They totaled 15.7 million ounces in 2018, hit nearly 18.1 million ounces in 2017, came in above 37.7 million ounces in 2016, and surged to an annual record of 47 million ounces in 2015. The 1 oz. silver coins have been produced annually since 1986.
Sales of American Eagle gold coins combined to 844,000 ounce this year. They ended at 152,000 ounces last year for their lowest annual total since the series was introduced in 1986. That level also marked a third straight annual slowdown following totals of 245,500 ounces in 2018; 302,500 ounces in 2017; and 985,000 ounces in 2016. The U.S. Mint strikes American Gold Eagles in four formats — 1 oz. coin; 1/2 oz. coin; 1/4 oz. coin; and 1/10 oz. coin.
American Buffalo gold coins posted 2020 sales of 242,000 ounces for their best year since the series introduction in 2006 when sales totaled 323,000 ounces. In contrast, they reached 61,500 ounces in 2019 for their weakest sales year on record.
The Mint limited sales of the five different 2020-dated America the Beautiful 5-ounce silver bullion coins to 45,000 apiece, for a total of 225,000 sold. Last year’s five releases were not limited to the same amounts. They logged combined sales of 312,700 coins.
- The final allotment of 2020 American Platinum Eagles sold in April with their total for the year ending at 56,500 coins. Last year’s edition topped out at 40,000 coins, with sales also ending in April.
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)|
|Thursday||Last Week||This Week||October||November||December||2020 Sales|
|$50 American Eagle 1 Oz Gold Coin||0||4,000||2,000||64,500||77,000||48,500||747,500|
|$25 American Eagle 1/2 Oz Gold Coin||0||2,000||0||6,000||4,000||2,000||70,000|
|$10 American Eagle 1/4 Oz Gold Coin||0||0||0||8,000||10,000||0||106,000|
|$5 American Eagle 1/10 Oz Gold Coin||0||0||0||25,000||35,000||0||350,000|
|$50 American Buffalo 1 Oz Gold Coin||0||2,000||0||19,500||23,500||10,500||242,000|
|$1 American Eagle 1 Oz Silver Coin||0||0||0||3,397,000||4,805,000||751,000||30,089,500|
|America Samoa 5 oz Silver Coin*||0||0||0||0||0||0||45,000|
|Weir Farm 5 oz Silver Coin*||0||0||0||0||0||0||45,000|
|Salt River Bay 5 oz Silver Coin*||0||0||0||0||0||0||45,000|
|Marsh Billings 5 oz Silver Coin*||0||0||0||0||0||0||45,000|
|Tallgrass Prairie 5 oz Silver Coin*||0||0||0||0||0||0||45,000|
|$1 American Eagle 1 Oz Platinum Coin*||0||0||0||0||0||0||56,500|