Bullion Jumps for Week, Silver Surges to Highest Price Since 1980

by Bullion Prices Staff on February 18, 2011

Bullion prices were on fire this week. Silver soared nearly 8% and struck its highest level since 1980. Gold finished at its best price since January 3.

Middle East tensions combined with inflation concerns in the UK, China and even the U.S. were focal points as investors drove up precious metals prices.

"The metals markets are sprinting toward new highs and breaking through key resistance not seen for a very long time, especially in silver," Kevin Kerr, editor of Kerr Commodities Watch, was cited on MarketWatch. "Widespread unrest in the Middle East and elsewhere, as well as growing inflation concerns globally, are pushing more and more investors into the precious metals as a hedge."

April gold futures prices settled to $1,388.60 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. That was a gain of $3.50, or 0.3%, over Thursday’s closing price. For the week, gold rallied 2.1%.

March silver prices ended up 72.6 cents, or 2.3%, to $32.30 an ounce — its best closing level since Hunt Brothers tried to corner the silver market in 1980. Silver soared 7.7% this week. While many analysts are forecasting further gains, one warns investors to be cautious.

"While a core 10% gold holding is very much advisable for most investors with assets worth protecting, perhaps, silver (the single riskiest asset in this group) should be approached with the discipline once manifested by one, Mr. Buffett," noted Jon Nadler, Senior Analyst at Kitco Metals Inc. "Investors who did not exercise such ‘discipline’ and piled into $52.00 per ounce silver, hot on the heels of the Hunt Bros., in early 1980, are still waiting for $138.00 (inflation-adjusted) silver in order to…break even on that ill-timed bet."

In PGM futures prices, March palladium ended up $14.70, or 1.7%, to close at $857.70 an ounce while April platinum dipped 70 cents to $1,843.30 an ounce. Both metals gained on the week. Palladium rose 5.3% and platinum added 1.6%.

Factional American Gold Eagle bullion coins enjoyed the spotlight earlier in the week. One-ounce bullion coins were the bigger gainers toward the end of the week — the American Gold Eagles and, of course, the American Silver Eagles. Those two on Friday climbed 15,000 and 50,000, respectively. The fractionals have been mute since Tuesday.

Daily, February and 2011 bullion coin sales figures follow:

2011 U.S. Mint Bullion Coin Sales
1 oz American Gold Eagle 58,500 20,500 189,000
1/2 oz American Gold Eagle 5,000 5,000 6,000
1/4 oz American Gold Eagle 16,000 14,000 18,000
1/10 oz American Gold Eagle 100,000 95,000 120,000
American Silver Eagle 1,822,500 836,000 8,244,500

Figures above are in coins, not ounces sold.

In London bullion prices, the PM gold fix was $1,383.50 an ounce, marking a gain of $4.50, or 0.3%, above the previous PM fixing. London fixed gold was 1.4% higher this week.

London silver improved the most out of the precious metals — for the day and for the week. The silver fixing was $31.94 an ounce. The daily gain was $1.33, or 4.3%. The price was 6.5% higher than last Friday.

Palladium rose $8, or 1%, to $847 an ounce. The metal advanced 3% this week.

London platinum was fixed at $1,836 an ounce. That was up $2, or 0.1%. Its weekly gain came in at a modest 0.4%.

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