Gold and Silver Prices Rise Friday, but Retreat on Week

by Bullion Prices Staff on March 18, 2011

U.S. bullion rallied on Friday but gains fell short, significantly for most precious metals, of lifting prices back into the black for the week.

April gold futures prices ended up $11.90, or 0.8%, to $1,416.10 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold rose for three straight days, cutting its weekly loss to $5.70, or 0.4%. A weaker U.S. dollar and safe-haven demand due to the unrest in Middle East were among the cited factors in supporting gold.

"The main driver today is Mideast unrest," Frank Lesh, broker and futures analyst with FuturePath Trading in Chicago, said according to MarketWatch. "In addition, we have a weaker dollar pushing not only gold but a lot of other commodities higher."

"The unrest in the Mideast is flaring again, sharing the news spotlight with the tragedy in Japan, and that is expected to underpin gold prices going into next week," noted Debbie Carlson of Kitco News. "Gold did not act as a safe-haven during the Japanese earthquake, tsunami and nuclear worries. Prices fell during the early part of the week and analysts attributed the break to investors selling gold to raise cash in order to shore up positions in other markets that were falling after the news in Japan. By Friday, gold rebounded with other markets."

March silver prices rallied 80 cents, or 2.3%, to $35.06 an ounce. Silver performed the best on Friday when compared to other metals but its weekly loss was a hefty 88 cents, or 2.4%.

In PGM prices on Friday, June palladium ended up $14.40, or 2%, to $731.20 an ounce and April platinum gained $16.50, or 1%, to $1,723.40 an ounce. The precious metals declined on the week 4.5% and 3.3%, respectively.

The 2011 Buffalo Gold bullion coin joined the U.S. Mint line up of products this week. The 24 karat gold coins were released on Monday. As of Friday, the Mint indicated that it sold 26,000 to its network of distributors.

Three other U.S. Mint bullion coin sales totals rose this week. The largest (one-ounce) and smallest (one-tenth ounce) American Gold Eagles registered respective weekly gains of 9,500 and 20,000. Also advancing were the American Gold Eagles. Their weekly gain came in at 700,000, which was down from the 717,000 increase during the prior week.

In late Friday developing coin news, the U.S. Mint raised prices on several of its silver products. The adjustments were in response to hire silver prices.

Daily, March and 2011 bullion coin sales figures follow:

2011 U.S. Mint Bullion Coin Sales
1 oz American Gold Buffalo 26,000
1 oz American Gold Eagle 40,000 9,500 243,000
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.

In returning to bullion prices, earlier fixed London PM precious metals prices advanced when compared against their PM fixing prices on Thursday. The gold fix added $16.25, or 1.2%, to $1,420 an ounce. It gained 0.6% this week.

The silver fix was $35.15 an ounce, marking a gain on Friday of 68 cents, or 2%. It rose 3.1% this week.

In London PGM prices, palladium added $15, or 2.1%, to $727 an ounce and platinum advanced $23, or 1.4%, to $1,720 an ounce. Both declined on the week, however. Their respective losses were 3.6% and 3.2%.

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