Gold Prices Retreat, Silver Coin Values Cause Price Reviews

by Bullion Prices Staff on March 8, 2011

U.S. bullion prices edged lower Tuesday as profit-taking commenced when the dollar strengthened and oil prices declined.

April gold futures prices lost $7.30, or 0.5%, to close on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange at $1,427.20 an ounce. Gold prices on Tuesday fell to a low of $1,423.60 and reached as high as $1,437.20.

"A rebound in the U.S. dollar index and weaker crude oil prices … were a bit bearish for the precious metals Tuesday," wrote Jim Wyckoff of Kitco News. "While some mild profit-taking pressure occurred in gold Tuesday, which is not at all unexpected following recent strong gains, the yellow metal is still well supported by Middle East tensions, fresh European Union sovereign debt worries and a fully bullish technical posture."

Wyckoff also noted that the "U.S. dollar index traded firmer Tuesday on short covering after hitting a five-month low Monday" and that the "dollar index bears still have the overall technical advantage, which continues to be a bullish underlying support for the precious metals markets."

May silver futures prices declined 20.7 cents, or 0.6%, to $35.66 an ounce.

In PGM futures prices, June palladium fell $3.40, or 0.4%, to $786.70 an ounce and April platinum fell $17.80, or 1.0%, to $1,802.60 an ounce.

U.S. Mint bullion coins finally saw some action. The Mint reported increases for Silver Eagles and one-half ounce Gold Eagles for the first time in March. Their sales number rose 668,500 and 4,000 respectively. The bullion Silver Eagle coins with their latest advance have topped the 10 million marker for 2011.

Also adding to their tally was the largest one-ounce bullion Gold Eagle. It rose 2,000 and is now at 211,000 for the year.

In related news, the U.S. Mint is reevaluating silver coin prices as a result of the sharp increases in silver prices over recent weeks. It has suspended the sale of at least one numismatic silver product as its silver melt value exceeded its listing price.

"Recently, the market price of silver has risen substantially. As a result, the United States Mint is reviewing the prices of current products containing silver to make sure the market value of the silver contained in them is not now higher than the cost of the products themselves," said US Mint spokesman Michael White.

Daily, March and 2011 bullion coin sales figures follow:

2011 U.S. Mint Bullion Coin Sales
1 oz American Gold Eagle 11,000 2,000 211,000
1/2 oz American Gold Eagle 4,000 4,000 17,000
1/4 oz American Gold Eagle 0 0 18,000
1/10 oz American Gold Eagle 0 0 120,000
American Silver Eagle 668,500 668,500 10,330,500

Figures above are in coins, not ounces sold.

In London, precious metals prices declined across the board when comparing the PM fix prices on Tuesday from Monday. The London gold fix price declined $11.25, or 0.8%, to $1,426.25 an ounce.

The silver fix lost 23 cent, or 0.6%, to $36.37 an ounce.

In PGM London metal prices, palladium fell $29, or 3.6%, to $781 an ounce and platinum dropped $30, or 1.6% to $1,808 an ounce.

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