Precious metals plunged Friday, logging losses ranging from 2.6% for gold to 4.5% for silver. They posted heavy declines on the week. Gold and silver also dropped sharply in February, while platinum and palladium registered robust monthly gains.
Gold for April delivery fell $46.60 to settle at $1,728.80 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The settlement was the lowest since gold ended at $1,727.20 an ounce on June 15.
"Rising bond yields have been the number one obstacle for gold, since they increase the opportunity cost of holding assets that pay no interest or dividends," Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst at ThinkMarkets, told MarketWatch.
"Gold has also been undermined by the recent reflationary trade, with investors opting for more racier assets and those likely to perform better during better economic times, such as copper and crude oil," he said.
Gold futures traded 2.7% lower this week after falling 2.5% last week. They gave back 6.6% in February, bringing their year-to-date loss to 8.8%.
In looking ahead to next week, Kitco News offers the following forecasts via their Wall Street & Main Street surveys:
"A total of 13 market professionals took part in this week’s Wall Street survey. Eight analysts, or 61.5%, said they were bearish on gold next week. Another three analysts, or 23%, said they were bullish. And the final two, or 15.5%, said they were neutral on the precious metal.
On the retail side, 669 respondents took part in an online Main Street poll. A total of 351 voters, or 52.5%, called for gold to rise. Another 223, or 33.3%, predicted gold would fall. While the remaining 95 voters, or 14.2%, saw a sideways market. This week marked the lowest Main Street survey participation rate in nearly a year."
Elsewhere, silver for May delivery tumbled $1.25 to $26.44 an ounce. The close was silver’s weakest since it closed at $26.234 an ounce on Feb. 4.
Silver futures traded 3% lower this week after dipping 0.3% last week. Before then, the metal had posted five straight weekly increases that had lifted prices by a combined 10.9%.
Silver prices lost 1.8% in February, reducing their gain on the year to a modest 0.1%. As recently as Monday, silver ended at $28.085 an ounce for its highest finish since Feb. 1.
In PGM futures on Friday and for the week:
April platinum fell $46.20, or 3.8%, to $1,185.30 an ounce, for a 8.3% weekly loss. Last Friday at $1,293.10 an ounce, the metal scored its best close since Sept. 30, 2014.
- Palladium for June delivery sank $101.30, or 4.2%, to $2,313.50 an ounce, for a drop on the week of 2.4%.
For the month, platinum soared 9.8% and palladium surged 4.8%. The two are split on the year so far with platinum 9.8% higher and palladium 5.7% lower.
London Precious Metals Prices (LBMA)
London precious metals prices moved in the same direction as futures — for Friday, the week and month. In comparing their levels from Thursday PM to Friday PM:
- Gold declined $36.80, or 2.1%, to $1,742.85 an ounce.
- Silver fell $1.24, or 4.4%, at $26.685 an ounce.
- Platinum declined $44, or 3.5%, to $1,204 an ounce.
- Palladium fell $103, or 4.2%, to $2,362 an ounce.
In LBMA weekly results, prices declined 2.4% for gold, 1%, for silver, 7% for platinum and 0.04% for palladium.
In monthly results, prices fell 6.5% for gold, they shed 2.7% for silver, they rallied 8.5% for platinum and they rose 1.5% for palladium.
US Mint Bullion Sales in 2021
United States Mint sales of American Eagle and Buffalo bullion coins slowed in February, taking an expected break from their quickened pace in January when the newly 2021-dated editions launched. They are sharply higher than a year ago. In headline comparisons:
American Eagle gold coins increased by 125,500 ounces in February, down 43.1% from sales of 220,500 ounces in January and 1,692.9% higher than sales of 7,000 ounces in February 2020. For the year so far, American Gold Eagle sales at 346,000 ounces are 416.2% higher than the 67,000 ounces delivered during the first two months of last year.
American Eagle silver coins rose this month by 3,191,500 ounces, down 33.2% from sales of 4,775,000 ounces in January and 391.0% higher than sales of 650,000 ounces in February of last year. American Silver Eagle sales for the year at 7,966,500 are 77.2% higher than the 4,496,000 coins sold through the same time in 2020.
American Buffalo gold coins advanced 16,000 ounces in February, down 74.0% from sales of 61,500 ounces in January and 1,500% higher than sales of 1,000 ounces in February 2020. American Gold Buffalo sales for the year so far at 77,500 ounces are 252.3% higher than the 22,000 ounces delivered during the first two months of last year.
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||December||January Sales||February Sales||2021 Sales|
|$50 American Eagle 1 Oz Gold Coin||2,000||17,000||2,500||48,500||191,000||121,000||312,000|
|$25 American Eagle 1/2 Oz Gold Coin||0||0||9,000||2,000||22,000||9,000||31,000|
|$10 American Eagle 1/4 Oz Gold Coin||0||0||0||0||36,000||0||36,000|
|$5 American Eagle 1/10 Oz Gold Coin||0||0||0||0||95,000||0||95,000|
|$50 American Buffalo 1 Oz Gold Coin||0||4,500||0||10,500||61,500||16,000||77,500|
|$1 American Eagle 1 Oz Silver Coin||0||680,000||390,500||751,000||4,775,000||3,191,500||7,966,500|
|America Samoa 5 oz Silver Coin*||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Weir Farm 5 oz Silver Coin*||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Salt River Bay 5 oz Silver Coin*||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Marsh Billings 5 oz Silver Coin*||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Tallgrass Prairie 5 oz Silver Coin*||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|$1 American Eagle 1 Oz Platinum Coin*||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|