U.S. gold prices on Wednesday advanced to their highest level since early December after Standard & Poor’s downgraded Spain’s debt rating, which boosted the yellow metal’s safe-haven appeal. On Tuesday, Standard & Poor’s cut Greece’s and Portugal’s debt rating, which also ignited buying.
"Reports hit the news wires Wednesday that Standard & Poors downgraded Spain’s sovereign credit rating. Gold almost immediately pushed to a nearly fresh five-month high," wrote Jim Wyckoff of Kitco News.
In New York precious metals prices, June gold closed to $1,171.80 an ounce, gaining $9.60, or 0.8%. It ranged from $1,161.00 to $1,175.30, which was the best price since December 4.
In white metals, May silver fell 1.2 cents, or 0.1%, to $18.107 an ounce. July platinum ended at $1,713.60 an ounce, back-stepping $7.30, or 0.4%. June palladium lost $7.05, or 1.3%, to $541.90 an ounce.
"Gold is riding the coattails of its role as the currency of fear," Richard Ross, a technical analyst with Auerbach Grayson in New York, said on MarketWatch.
In London bullion prices, the afternoon gold fix was $1,161.00 an ounce for a gain of $11.50. Silver was $17.960 an ounce, falling 20 cents. Platinum was $1,714.00 an ounce for a loss of $8.00. Palladium declined $7.00 to $543.00 an ounce.
"You’re seeing a general attraction to gold on a worldwide basis," Stephen Platt, a commodity analyst at Archer Financial Services Inc. in Chicago, said on Bloomberg. "The sovereign-debt panic is spreading and forcing a flight to quality into gold."
In a coin item of the day, the U.S. Mint this year will issues a new series of coins named America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins. Click on the link to visit a sister site and learn about the new bullion coin series.