Bullion Prices: Gold, Silver and Platinum in March and First Quarter 2010

by Bullion Prices Staff on March 31, 2010

US gold prices advanced on the final day in March, capping the sixth straight quarterly gain. Increased physical demand, higher oil prices, and a weakened dollar were the most common catalysts cited for the yellow metal’s rise.

Gold "prices closed nearer the session high and hit a fresh two-week high on the last trading day of the month and of the quarter," wrote Jim Wyckoff of Kitco News. "A lower U.S. dollar index and higher crude oil prices supported buying interest in the precious metals Wednesday."

Gold, considered a hedge during times of high inflation and economic uncertainty, tends to follow oil and move opposite to the U.S. dollar. (Crude oil ended the day at a 17-month high and topped $83 a barrel.) A rising greenback makes dollar-denominated commodities, like gold, more expensive for holders of other world currencies.

In New York precious metal prices, June gold advanced $8.80, or 0.8%, to $1,114.50 an ounce. May silver gained rose 19.6 cents, or 1.1%, to $17.526 an ounce. July platinum advanced $20.80, or 1.3%, to $1,646.90 an ounce.

Jobs data helped drive the dollar lower on Wednesday.

"The ADP employment data indicated that US firms eliminated 23,000 positions this month as against analysts’ expectation of 40,000 jobs being created. If this is a precursor to Friday’s Labor Department data, well, the dollar certainly did not like it. Gold, however, did — it added a couple of additional dollars to its opening gains on the news," wrote Jon Nadler, senior analyst at Kitco Metals, Inc.

Although the yellow metal gained 1.7% during the first quarter in 2010, it fell 0.4% for the month. Silver performed better, rising 6.1% in March and 4.0% for the quarter. Platinum shined the brightest, surging 6.9% for the month and 12.8% during the first three months of this year.

In London bullion prices, the afternoon gold fix was $1,115.50 an ounce, which was an increase of $8.50 from Tuesday. Silver was set 9 cents higher to $17.500 an ounce. Platinum settled at $1,645.00 an ounce for a gain of $23.00.

"The dollar is pretty weak," Dan Faretta, a senior market strategist at LaSalle Futures Group in Chicago, said on Bloomberg. "We’re looking for a rebound in the economy, but the jobs numbers aren’t getting any better. We’re going to see the dollar pull back and continue to fall. It’s going to be bullish for gold and commodities across the board."

For the month, London gold advanced 0.7%, silver soared 8.6% and platinum surged 7.3%. For the quarter, gold rose 1.0%, silver climbed 3.0% and platinum jumped 12.2%.

In related bullion news, United States Mint bullion American Silver Eagle coins advanced 3,381,000 in March, capping one of the best months ever dating back to the series start in 1986. More impressive, the coins registered their best starting quarter in history with 9,023,500 sold.

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