U.S. bullion prices tumbled Wednesday as silver fell 7.4% and gold tumbled 5.6% — its biggest drop since March 2008. Other precious metals declined with smaller losses, but still came down hard. Palladium fell 2.8% and platinum lost 2.9%.
In returning to gold, December futures slid $104 to $1,757.30 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. The intraday high was nearly $100 more at $1,856.80 an ounce.
"This is liquidation from a crowded trade," Adam Klopfenstein, a senior market strategist at MF Global Holdings Ltd. in Chicago, said in a telephone interview that was cited on Bloomberg. "In the short run, there’s more optimism and that doesn’t bode well for gold. Investors have been using gold more as a fear barometer than a proxy for inflation."
September silver prices declined $3.13 to $39.16 an ounce, also a great distance from its earlier high of $42.49 an ounce.
In PGM prices, September palladium ended down $21.25 to $743.15 an ounce while October platinum declined $53.80 to $1,826.30 an ounce
London Bullion Prices
Bullion prices in London were also lower. PM fixing prices included the following daily changes:
- Gold declined $106, or 5.7%, at $1,770 an ounce
- Silver prices declined 80 cents, or 1.9%, at $42.08 an ounce
- Palladium declined $3, or 0.4%, at $759 an ounce
- Platinum declined $21, or 1.1%, at $1,865 an ounce
U.S. Mint Bullion Coins
The United States Mint reported gains across nearly all of its bullion coins. The .999 fine American Silver Eagle bullion coin climbed the most with its increase of 100,000. The gain brought Silver Eagle sales to over 28 million on the year.
Advances occurred across all but one American Gold Eagle. The 1/2 oz. size remained unchanged. In news relating to the numismatic versions of the Gold Eagle, the Mint returned to selling gold coins on Wednesday at noon ET. The bureau had suspended their sales when gold prices were nearing the $1,900 an ounce level on Monday.
The latest available bullion coin totals are provided below in the daily, August 2011 and YTD 2011 columns.
|United States Mint 2011 Bullion Coin Sales|
|1 oz American Gold Buffalo||2,000||23,500||115,000|
|1 oz American Gold Eagle||6,000||90,000||659,000|
|1/2 oz American Gold Eagle||0||3,000||61,000|
|1/4 oz American Gold Eagle||2,000||6,000||70,000|
|1/10 oz American Gold Eagle||10,000||55,000||320,000|
|5 oz America the Beautiful Silver||-||10,300||380,400|
|1 oz American Silver Eagle||100,000||2,799,500||28,071,000|
Notes. Figures above are in coins, not ounces sold. The United States Mint last updated 5 oz. America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coin sales on Monday, August 22, 2011. All other figures have an "as of date" of Wednesday, August 24, 2011.