Gold, Silver Prices Retreat in Fourth Week of August, Bullion Coins Advance

by Bullion Prices Staff on August 27, 2011

U.S. gold and silver prices marked a second day of gains Friday, but ended the fourth week of August with losses — $54.90, or 3%, for gold and $1.48, or 3.5%, for silver. Palladium and platinum also finished the day higher, and palladium actually registered a 1% increase of the week. Platinum dipped 2.6%.

December gold prices on Friday rose $34.10, or 1.9%, to $1,797.30 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange, concluding a volatile week in which the yellow metal reached as low as $1,705.40 an ounce on Thursday and as high as $1,917.90 an ounce on Tuesday — an intraday record high.

"The outlook for gold prices is a bit hazy next week as the market is reeling from a significant drop from all-time highs this week, so the market may try to stabilize and consolidate, wrote Debbie Carlson of Kitco News.

"This is also coming on the heels of one of the last unofficial weeks of summer, as August wraps up and September begins, meaning last-minute vacations could mean lower volume…

In the Kitco News Gold Survey, out of 34 participants, 23 responded this week. Of those 23 participants, 10 see prices up, while six see prices down, and seven see prices sideways or unchanged."

Silver prices rose modestly Friday. The September futures contract moved up 20.7 cents, or 0.5%, to $40.95 an ounce.

The loss of ground this week in gold and silver prices brought their year-to-date gains down to 26% and 32%, respectively.

In PGM futures prices, September palladium gained $5.20, or 0.7%, to $756.35 an ounce while October platinum rose $4.50, or 0.2%, to $1,826.90 an ounce.

U.S. Mint Bullion Coins and News

Before summarizing American bullion coin sales, in U.S. Mint news of the week, the biggest stories related to the return of gold coins and silver sets and the announcement of a 25th anniversary 5-coin set for American Silver Eagles. More can be read about each at:

U.S. Mint bullion coins were in demand, but levels mostly dipped a bit from last week. The American Silver Eagle made news not just for the aforementioned anniversary set, but also due to it passing the 28 million milestone in sales this year. That occurred earlier in the week. The coins added another 30,000 on Friday, which lifted their August total to a tad under 3 million — short by 69,500. If they reach that marker by the 31st, sales will surpass July’s level.

The American Gold Buffalo bullion coin rose 7,000 this week, copying the amount it gained in the previous week. More impressively, its August sales of 24,500 have now surpassed those from the four previous months. The 2011-dated issues debuted in March and that month remains the sales leader with 38,000.

The latest U.S. bullion figures are provided below in the daily, August 2011 and YTD 2011 columns.

United States Mint 2011 Bullion Coin Sales
1 oz American Gold Buffalo 0 7,000 7,000 24,500 116,000
1 oz American Gold Eagle 0 26,500 16,000 92,500 661,500
1/2 oz American Gold Eagle 0 1,000 0 3,000 61,000
1/4 oz American Gold Eagle 0 0 2,000 6,000 70,000
1/10 oz American Gold Eagle 0 5,000 15,000 55,000 320,000
5 oz America the Beautiful Silver - - - 10,300 380,400
1 oz American Silver Eagle 30,000 815,500 795,000 2,929,500 28,201,000


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 Friday, August 26, 2011.

In other coin news, the Royal Canadian Mint announced the design for its third issue in the popular wildlife bullion series, the Cougar silver bullion coin.

"The Royal Canadian Mint is proud to continue offering the world’s investors an exciting variety of the world’s purest gold and silver bullion coins at a time when bullion demand remains at record levels," Ian E. Bennett, President and CEO of the Royal Canadian Mint, said in a statement.

It has a 1,000,000 mintage, features a .9999 fine purity and has a weight of 31.1 grams. The Cougar bullion coin is expected out in September.

London Bullion Prices

Bullion prices in London were synchronized — they rose across-the-board Friday and finished the week lower than the previous one. PM fixing prices included the following daily changes:

  • Gold added $59, or 3.4%, at $1,788 an ounce
  • Silver added $2.06, or 5.3%, at $41.06 an ounce
  • Palladium added $1, or 0.1%, at $747 an ounce
  • Platinum added $12, or 0.7%, at $1,812 an ounce

On a weekly basis, precious metals retreated at a rate of 3.2% for gold, 2.2% for silver, 0.4% for palladium and 2.3% for platinum.

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