Gold Prices Gain for Second Day, Buffalo Bullion Unchanged

by Bullion Prices Staff on March 17, 2011

U.S. bullion prices were mixed Thursday as gold — for a second straight day, palladium and platinum rose while silver retreated. In U.S. Mint news, sales of the newly released 2011 Gold Buffalo bullion coin remained unchanged from the previous day.

April gold prices advanced $8.10, or 0.6%, to close at $1,404.20 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold prices had not settled above the $1,400 an ounce level since Monday. The yellow metal reached an intraday low of $1,386.80 an ounce and a high of $1,405.40 an ounce.

"Comex gold futures prices ended modestly higher Thursday, drawing buying support from a lower U.S. dollar index and higher crude oil and other commodity market prices. Precious metals market traders and investors are still nervous amid the nuclear crisis playing out in Japan," noted Jim Wyckoff of Kitco News.

"All eyes are still on Japan at present. News reports are saying the damaged nuclear reactors in Japan are still in danger of melting down, or melting down further. Adding to the anxiety in the market place are notions Japanese officials are being evasive on the actual events occurring, regarding the damaged nuclear reactors. Look for precious metals markets and other markets to react quickly to any fresh news headlines on Japan. That means higher market volatility for the near term."

While gold prices advanced 0.6%, silver prices fell 0.6%. It closed the day at $34.26 an ounce, marking a loss of 21.4 cents. The metal this week has fallen three out of four days. Wednesday’s 35.5 cent pick-up was the exception.

In PGM futures prices, June palladium jumped $11.75, or 1.7%, to $716.80 an ounce and April platinum gained $6.40, or 0.4%, to $1,706.90 an ounce.

Earlier PM fixed London precious metals were mixed as compared to their prior PM prices. The gold fix rose $1.75, or 0.1%, to $1,403.75 an ounce. Silver was $34.47 an ounce, down 26 cents, or 0.7%. The PGM metals were hit hardest, with platinum leading precious metals losses. Its fixing was down $29, or 1.7%, to $1,697 an ounce. The PM fix for palladium was $712 an ounce for a loss of $7, or 1%.

As mentioned, the U.S. sales total for the 2011 Gold Buffalo bullion coin remained unchanged from Wednesday. The 24-karat gold bullion coin was released through the Mint’s network of Authorized Purchasers on Monday. U.S. Mint published sales figures indicated 21,500 were purchased between Monday and Wednesday. The start was slower than last year’s offering which opened with one-day sales of 48,500.

The Buffalo bullion piece was not the only coin to show no gains. All American Eagle — gold and silver — bullion coin sales numbers remained flat on Thursday as well. Daily, March and 2011 bullion coin sales figures follow (they are the same as Wednesday):

2011 U.S. Mint Bullion Coin Sales
1 oz American Gold Buffalo 21,500 21,500 21,500
1 oz American Gold Eagle 35,500 3,500 238,500
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 0 145,000
American Silver Eagle 1,417,000 0 11,079,000

Figures above are in coins, not ounces sold.

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