Bullion Prices Retreat in May 2011, Silver Falls 21%

by Bullion Prices Staff on May 31, 2011

U.S. bullion prices ended mixed Tuesday but declined across the board in May 2011. Gold dipped slightly on the day, the only precious metal to fall, but it slipped the least of the metals during May. In monthly losses, the yellow metal ended down 1.3%. Palladium and platinum followed immediately behind with May losses of 1.4% and 1.7%, respectively. Silver was pounding during the month, plunging 21.2%.

On the final trading day in May 2011, August gold futures prices fell 50 cents to settle at $1,536.80 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold hit an intraday low of $1,533.10 an ounce and reach as high as $1,541.90 an ounce.

"Comex gold futures ended slightly lower Monday, while silver futures finished on the upside. Both metals saw buying support coming from a lower U.S. dollar index and sharply higher crude oil prices. Some mild profit-taking pressure did back both metals down from their daily highs as the session wore on," said Jim Wyckoff over at Kitco Metals Inc.

"The U.S. dollar index bulls have faded badly to end the month of May as bears have regained downside near-term technical momentum. The dollar index is now in a posture where it could head back down and retest the recent 2.5-year low in the near term. Such would be bullish for the precious metals markets," added Wyckoff.

In other bullion prices, July silver futures rose 44.2 cents, or 1.2%, to $38.31 an ounce, September palladium prices advanced $19.10, or 2.5%, to $781.00 an ounce, and July platinum prices rose $34.00, or 1.9%, to $1,834.00 an ounce.

1 oz American Silver Eagle bullion coins rose the most Tuesday, advancing 654,500 to top 3.6 million in May. That ranks as the 4th best month ever for the Silver Eagles since their release in 1986. The enormous demand is a major reason the United States Mint has started producing the Silver Eagles in San Francisco, in addition to West Point.

Daily, May 2011 and YTD 2011 bullion sales are shown in the table below:

United States Mint 2011 Bullion Coin Sales
1 oz American Gold Buffalo 0 15,500 74,000
1 oz American Gold Eagle 1,000 93,500 451,500
1/2 oz American Gold Eagle 0 22,000 55,000
1/4 oz American Gold Eagle 0 4,000 56,000
1/10 oz American Gold Eagle 0 15,000 215,000
5 oz America the Beautiful Silver 0 101,400 326,800
1 oz American Silver Eagle 654,500 3.6535M 18.9015M

Figures above are in coins, not ounces sold.

London Bullion Prices

London bullion prices rose sharply Tuesday, with the exception of a modest increase in gold. When comparing the PM fixing prices on Tuesday from those on Friday:

  • Gold rose $3.50, or 0.2%, at $1,536.50 an ounce
  • Silver added 96 cents, or 2.5%, at $38.65 an ounce
  • Palladium rose $20, or 2.6%, at $777 an ounce
  • Platinum added $42, or 2.4%, at $1,828 an ounce

In terms of London bullion losses for May, silver fell 20.6% and platinum declined 0.4%. Gold rose a modest 0.1%. Palladium ended May where it left in the end of April, at $777 an ounce.

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