Bullion Prices Plunge, US Mint Eagle Coins Rise

by Bullion Prices Staff on March 15, 2011

U.S. bullion prices were in a free fall Tuesday as commodities were sold off due to ongoing concerns over the consequences of Japan’s earthquake and its nuclear crisis.

April gold prices fell $32.10, or 2.3%, to $1,392.80 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was gold’s biggest percentage fall since Jan. 4. Gold hit an intraday low of $1,380.70 and a high of $1,429.00.

"We have a risk-off trade going on as a result of the issues in Japan. There has been institutional liquidation and other liquidation globally as people are choosing to raise cash at this moment," James Steel, chief commodity analyst at HSBC bank, was cited on Reuters.

May silver prices fell sharply. Futures closed at $34.12 an ounce for a loss of $1.72, or 4.8% — also its biggest loss since Jan. 4.

Palladium and platinum continue harsh declines, pressured over demand concerns since the metals are used by carmakers and plants in Japan have closed down. Palladium plunged the most in percentage terms, declining 5.8%. April palladium ended down $43.30 to $704.90 an ounce. June platinum lost $46.70, or 2.7%, to $1,705.60 an ounce.

Although the U.S. Mint did not publish new bullion coin sales numbers Tuesday, it did provide updated figures through to Monday. American Silver Eagles enjoyed a gain of 700,000. That lifted their annual sales total to over 11 million.

Daily, March and 2011 bullion coin sales figures follow:

2011 U.S. Mint Bullion Coin Sales
1 oz American Gold Eagle 32,000 1,500 235,000
1/2 oz American Gold Eagle 4,000 0 17,000
1/4 oz American Gold Eagle 10,000 0 28,000
1/10 oz American Gold Eagle 25,000 20,000 145,000
American Silver Eagle 1,417,000 700,000 11,079,000

Figures above are in coins, not ounces sold.

Three of the four metals declined more in London than in New York. Gold was the exception. The London PM gold fix dropped $21.75, or 1.5%, at $1400.50 an ounce as compared to its previous PM fixing. Silver lost $2.30, or 6.4%, at $33.88 an ounce. In PGM metals, the palladium PM fixing declined $52, or 6.9%, at $700 and the platinum PM fixing lost $51, or 2.9%, at $1,711 an ounce.

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