U.S. bullion prices moved in separate directions Wednesday, with gold and silver gaining and platinum and palladium falling. Silver rose the most at 1.3% while palladium fell the furthest at 3.9%.
The factors analysts provided for higher gold and silver prices remained the same — safety buying over the unrest in the Middle East and Libya.
April gold futures prices added $12.90, or 0.9%, to finish at $1,414 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. That closing was a fresh 7-week high, not bested since Jan. 3. The level was toward its high point of the day at $1,417.30 an ounce. It hit an earlier low of $1,396.00 an ounce.
"This move in gold right now is acutely about the Middle East. The trade is about fear but people are viewing it as an extension of the inflation trade," James Dailey, portfolio manager of the TEAM Asset Strategy Fund, was quoted on Reuters.
March silver futures prices settled at $33.30 an ounce. That was 43.6 cents better than the previous day and a fresh 31-year high.
"Look for daily higher volatility in the silver market. Prices are in a steep four-week-old uptrend on the daily bar chart," noted Jim Wyckoff of Kitco News. "The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid trend-line support at $32.00. Bulls’ next upside price breakout objective is producing a close above solid technical resistance at $35.00 an ounce."
Palladium has suffered punishing losses during the last two days. It fell $52 on Tuesday and lost another $31.15 on Wednesday. It closed the day at $774.55 an ounce.
Platinum’s fall was less severe. It ended down $9.60, or 0.5%, to $1,776.70 an ounce.
The U.S. Mint shipped fewer bullion coins on Wednesday versus Tuesday, but the types of coins delivered increased. 1 oz and 1/2 oz Gold Eagles advanced, 5,000 and 4,000, respectively. Silver Eagles improved 39,000 against 777,000 from the previous day.
For a deeper look at recent bullion and numismatic coin performances, check out the latest US Mint sales article.
Daily, February and 2011 bullion coin sales figures follow:
|2011 U.S. Mint Bullion Coin Sales|
|1 oz American Gold Eagle||63,500||5,000||194,000|
|1/2 oz American Gold Eagle||12,000||4,000||13,000|
|1/4 oz American Gold Eagle||16,000||0||18,000|
|1/10 oz American Gold Eagle||100,000||0||120,000|
|American Silver Eagle||2,638,500||39,000||9,060,500|
Figures above are in coins, not ounces sold.
Earlier fixed London bullion prices were mixed as well. The PM gold fix was $1,409.25 an ounce for a daily increase of $8.25, or 0.6%. The London silver fixing also rose. It climbed 40 cents, or 1.2%, to $33.29 an ounce.
Palladium and platinum moved in the other direction, each falling $27 from their previous PM fixings. Palladium lost 3.2% to $809 an ounce. Platinum fell 1.5% to $1,794 an ounce.