Bullion Prices Mixed in First Quarter 2011

by Bullion Prices Staff on March 31, 2011

U.S. bullion prices advanced as a group on Thursday, but finished mixed for the first quarter 2011. Gold and silver were the standouts. Gold marked its 10th straight quarterly gain by rising 1.3%. Silver broke out with a more than 22% increase in first quarter 2011.

On Thursday, June gold prices rose $15, or 1.1%, to $1,439.90 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold hit an intraday low of $1,421.70 an ounce and a high of $1,441 an ounce. Gold reached its best price ever on March 24 at $1,448.60 an ounce.

"The precious metals were supported Thursday by a weaker U.S. dollar index, higher crude oil prices and ongoing major world events that are prompting safe-haven buying interest," wrote Jim Wyckoff of Kitco News.

Wyckoff noted that a "weaker greenback has historically been a bullish portent for the precious metals markets" and that the "overall technical posture of the U.S. dollar index remains fully bearish." As for oil prices, Wyckoff said that on a near-term basis "precious metals traders will continue to look to the crude oil futures market as a gauge of the present world geopolitical tension."

May silver futures prices rose 37.7 cents, or 1%, to $37.89 an ounce. Silver prices soared 22.5% in the first quarter of 2011, with most of the gains coming in March.

"Given the unrest in the Middle East and North Africa region, increasing debt issues in the euro zone and the environment of historically low interest rates, gold and silver should continue to remain underpinned and test toward recent highs," James Moore, an analyst at TheBullionDesk.com in London, said in a report cited on Bloomberg.

In PGM metals prices, June palladium advanced $9.80, or 1.3%, to $767.90 an ounce and July platinum ended up $9.10, or 0.5%, to $1,783.20 an ounce. Platinum rose 0.3% for the quarter while palladium lost 4.4% during the same period.

In comparing London bullion PM fixing prices on Thursday to those on Wednesday, all metals were higher.

  • Gold climbed $13.50, or 0.9%, to $1,439 an ounce
  • Silver rose 34 cents, or 0.9%, to $37.87 an ounce
  • Palladium added $9, or 1.2%, to $766 an ounce
  • Platinum advanced $13, or 0.7%, to $1,773 an ounce

Three of the metals registered first quarter 2011 gains — the same three as in New York. Those with pick-ups for the quarter included gold at 2%, silver at 23.6% and platinum at 2.4%. Palladium dropped 3.2% for the quarter.

U.S. Mint Authorized Purchasers did not scoop up more bullion coins on Thursday, according to Mint figures. However, the Mint did not close out the month either, indicating there could be upcoming changes for the month and quarter. The latest published daily, March and 2011 bullion sales figures follow:

2011 U.S. Mint Bullion Coin Sales
  March
2011
Daily
Gain
2011
Totals
1 oz American Gold Buffalo 38,000 0 38,000
1 oz American Gold Eagle 60,500 0 263,500
1/2 oz American Gold Eagle 8,000 0 21,000
1/4 oz American Gold Eagle 20,000 0 38,000
1/10 oz American Gold Eagle 40,000 0 160,000
American Silver Eagle 2,767,000 0 12,429,000

Figures above are in coins, not ounces sold.

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