Gold Prices Plunge on Week but US Mint Silver and Gold Coins Outperform

by Bullion Prices Staff on March 17, 2012

U.S. gold prices fell modestly Friday, adding to a weekly loss which totaled 3.3%. Gold and other precious metals suffered blows this week as another round of quantitative easing by the Fed was seen as unlikely, at least near term. That, based on the monthly FOMC monetary statement released Tuesday.

On the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, April gold futures prices on Friday lost $3.70, or 0.2%, to $1,655.80 an ounce, trading between $1,639.70 an ounce and $1,664.90 an ounce.

"The reduced probability of further quantitative easing in the U.S. [has] weighed upon the precious metals," strategists at Barclays Capital said in a note recounted on MarketWatch. "Gold still faces near-term hurdles such as bouts of dollar strength, broad risk reduction and profit-taking.

The outlook for gold prices next week is a bit murky, with directional movement said to hinge on the direction of the greenback.

"Gold prices have been under pressure this week, and market watchers are torn whether or gold will sink to $1,600 an ounce next week or rise to challenge $1,700, suggesting much will depend on the action in the U.S. dollar," writes Debbie Carlson of Kitco News. "In the Kitco News Gold Survey, out of 32 participants, 21 responded this week. Of those 21 participants, nine see prices up, while seven see prices down, and five are neutral."

Sister metal silver declined Friday and for the week. May silver futures prices ended down 12.2 cents, or 0.4%, to $32.60 an ounce, which added to a weekly loss totaling $1.61, or 4.7%. Silver fell the most of the precious metals.

In other bullion futures prices, June palladium prices ended lower Friday by $8.20, or 1.2%, to $701.70 an ounce while April platinum futures prices fell $8.40, or 0.5%, to $1,675.50 an ounce. Both metals fell on the week as well, although their losses were slimmer than gold and silver. For the week, palladium declined 1.2% while platinum declined 0.6%.

United States Mint Bullion Coin Sales Outperform Strong Previous Week

It turned out to be an exceptional week for United States Mint bullion coins. Sales improved over last week which had been strong in its own right. In terms of comparisons, 11,500 of the 1 oz. Gold Eagles were moved as compared to last week’s 10,000. And for silver bullion, Silver Eagles rallied 902,000 over the prior week’s 470,000. As for monthly performances, gold and silver bullion sales have already more than doubled last month’s totals. That, with still another two full weeks left in the month to pad the numbers.

For the most recent bullion coin sales totals, check out the daily, monthly and 2012 sales columns below.

United States Mint 2012 Bullion Coin Sales
  Mon Tue Wed Thurs Fri Mar 2012 Sales
1 oz American Gold Eagle 2,000 0 2,500 4,000 3,000 30,000 134,500
1/2 oz American Gold Eagle 0 0 0 0 0 0 49,000
1/4 oz American Gold Eagle 0 0 0 0 0 0 40,000
1/10 oz American Gold Eagle 0 0 0 10,000 0 15,000 105,000
1 oz American Gold Buffalo 0 0 4,000 2,500 0 18,500 39,000
5 oz America the Beautiful Silver Coins 900 0 0 0 0 1,400 7,400
1 oz American Silver Eagles 320,000 0 352,000 80,000 150,000 1,647,000 9,244,000


Notes: Figures above are in coins, not ounces sold. The United States Mint last updated sales of its 5 oz. America the Beautiful Silver Coins on Monday, March 12, 2012. All other bullion sales have an “as of date” of Friday, March 16, 2012, as published on the U.S. Mint website.

For interesting world coin news, two articles are of note:

The first article provides information on commemorative coins produced by three major world mints to remember the centennial sinking of the RMS Titanic. These coins are each produced in silver. The mints, include the Royal Canadian Mint, the Perth Mint of Australia and the UK Royal Mint.

The second article discusses the passage of the United States Marshals Service 225th Anniversary Commemorative Coin Act in the U.S. Senate on Thursday, March 15. The legislation had already been improved in the U.S. House of Representatives back in December. If, and it is expected, President Obama signs the final version of the legislation, the United States Mint in year 2015 will strike $5 gold, $1 silver and 50c clad commemorative coins honoring the  225th Anniversary of the U.S. Marshals Service.

London Bullion Prices

London bullion prices were split Friday and for the week, unlike New York precious metals futures which were down for both. The following grid offers this week’s London PM Fix prices as well as the latest daily PM changes.

London Fixings (PM)
  Mon Tue Wed Thurs Fri Daily Gain
Silver Prices $33.77 $33.58 $32.84 $32.36 $32.27 -$0.09
Gold Prices $1,697.50 $1,690.00 $1,644.25 $1,648.00 $1,658.00 $10.00
Palladium Prices $704.00 $701.00 $700.00 $693.00 $703.00 -$10.00
Platinum Prices $1,687.00 $1,691.00 $1,679.00 $1,676.00 $1,677.00 $1.00


Refer to this site’s home page for always updated bullion prices and news.

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