U.S. gold extended its record high for a second straight day on Wednesday. Silver prices reached a fresh 31-year high with its best point just 2.5 cents shy of $35 an ounce.
Investors edgy over inflation and unrest in the Middle East and North Africa sunk their money into safer bets, like gold and silver.
April gold prices advanced $6.50, or 0.5 percent, to close at $1,437.70 an ounce on the Comex in New York. It traded from a low of $1,428.20 to a high of $1,441.00. Gold is up 1.1 percent in 2011.
"The bullish breakout to a fresh all-time high has put gold in an outstanding technical position to extend its advance into record territory," Richard Ross, global technical strategist at Auerbach Grayson said, according to MarketWatch. "The triple top breakout reinforces an already bullish picture and has opened the door to a test of $1,461 an ounce in the short term and $1,634 an ounce by year end."
"You have political problems all over the world, a Federal Reserve bank that still erred on the side of easing rather than tightening, rising commodities prices in general, and growing disdain for fiat currencies generally," Dennis Gartman, author of the Gartman Letter, an daily investment newsletter, said and was quoted on Reuters. "It will be illogical for gold not to be going higher," he said.
Silver prices for May delivery surged 40.8 cents, or 1.2 percent, to settle at $34.835 an ounce — its best closing level since 1980 when prices reached as high as $50.35 an ounce. Silver ranged from $34.35 to $34.975. The metal has risen 12.6 percent this year.
"Tensions in the Middle East, inflation concerns along with the weaker U.S. dollar index are also supporting the silver market. The silver bulls have the strong overall near-term technical advantage," wrote Jim Wyckoff of Kitco News.
"There are no early technical clues to suggest a market top is close at hand. Prices are in a steep five-week-old uptrend on the daily bar chart. The next downside price breakout objective for the bears is closing prices below solid technical support at $33.00. Bulls’ next upside price objective is producing a close above solid technical resistance at $36.00 an ounce," added Wyckoff.
Platinum prices for April delivery added $14.20, or 0.8 percent, to $1,859.30 an ounce. It traded as low as $1,829.20 and as high as $1,865.50. Platinum has climbed 4.6 percent in 2011.
Palladium prices for June delivery ended up $5.95, or 0.7 percent, to $822.65 an ounce. Prices ranged from $809.80 to $826.10. Palladium is up 2.4 percent this year.
Gains in earlier London PM fixing prices ranged from 1 percent for gold and platinum to 1.1 percent for silver and palladium.
The PM gold fix price was $1,435.50 an ounce for an increase of $14.75 over its previous PM fixing. Silver was $34.750 an ounce, up 38 cents. The platinum fixing came in at $1,846 an ounce, registering a gain of $18. Palladium was $9 higher at $821.00 an ounce.
Higher precious metals prices appear to be depressing United States Mint bullion coin sales, at least for now. The only gains published by the Mint during the first two days of March are for the one-ounce American Gold Eagles. They rose 6,000 on Wednesday. The latest bullion sales figures from the United States Mint follow.
|U.S. Mint 2011 Bullion Coin Sales|
|American Eagle Gold Coin (1 oz)||6,000||209,000|
|American Eagle Gold Coin (1/2 oz)||0||13,000|
|American Eagle Gold Coin (1/4 oz)||0||18,000|
|American Eagle Gold Coin (1/10 oz)||0||120,000|
|American Eagle Silver (1 oz)||0||9,662,000|