Market Recap 5/27/11

The European Union’s debilitating plague of a debt crisis continues to dominate news headlines this week. Italy was downgraded from an A+ to an A-, and while seemingly insignificant, this goes to show even further decay of Europe’s financial situation. As well as the fact that analysts at UniCredit downgraded the insurance sector and the basic-resources sector in Europe to neutral from overweight today, and the industrial goods and services to underweight from neutral. Last weekend, local elections in Spain rejected any move towards austerity measures. This week, the Greek public did the same. This week’s election result in upstate New York are an indication the U.S. may not be ready to experience the pain of cut-backs either.

China is rapidly closing in on India, as the world’s largest consumer of Gold. Although China is one of the leading producers of Gold, they cannot produce near enough to satisfy their appetite. Gold production should reach 400 tonnes by 2014 with a gain of 19%, but still the demand will be for 700 tonnes. In the first quarter of 2011, China bought more Gold than the combined totals of the developed Western Nations. Demand in France, Germany and Switzerland increased triple-digits, yet China outpaced them all put together. Despite this strong rise in per capita consumption, an analyst from Standard Chartered Bank said that there is still much room to grow, “In terms of Gold consumption per capita, there is no doubt that [China and India] have a lot of catch-up potential and the impact on Gold prices could be dramatic.”

The financial instability in the euro zone gave some stabilizing strength to the U.S. Dollar this week but the end result did little to curb people’s appetite for Gold. Adam Klopfenstein, a senior market strategist at Lind-Waldock in Chicago, says, “People see the whipsaw in the currencies market and they want to buy Gold and call it a day.” Most analysts would attribute this to Gold being historically less volatile. Gold is viewed as a means to protect wealth through portfolio diversification and asset allocation.

The U.S. GNP report was released this week and the U.S. economy grew less than expected in the 1st quarter…up only 1.8%. The weekly jobs report again indicated a surprising move upward.

As the week ends, international markets are focused on Greece while our thoughts are on the demise of the QE2 program. The U.S. Dollar Index was down almost 0.9% at mid-day today. Some analysts question if we will be heading toward a double dip recession. “…[W]e continue to expect a disappointing bounce back to just 3% growth in the second half of the year. The slow-down feels very similar to last year’s soft patch,” according to economist Ethan Harris. Will the fragile U.S. economy be able to make a significant move upward in the next 3-5 years?

GOLD PRICES:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,515.10. The high during the week was on Friday, May 27th, at $1,539.50, while the low for the week occurred on Monday, May 23rd, at $1,503.70. Gold ended the week up $23.00 at $1,538.10. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2011 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, and 2011 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

SILVER PRICES:
Spot Silver prices opened this week at $35.17. Silver reached a high of $38.85 on Thursday, May 26th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Monday, May 23rd, at $34.34. Silver ended the week up up $2.95 at $38.12. The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2011 Silver American Eagles, 2011 Silver Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 10 oz. APMEX Silver Bars.

PLATINUM PRICES:
Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,774.90 and ended the week up $31.20 at $1,806.10. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

PALLADIUM PRICES:
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $739.60 and ended the week up $24.90 at $764.50. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

APMEX Product of the Week: 40% Silver Coin Bags

Today, a popular and convenient way of investing in precious metals is purchasing bags of U.S. Silver coins containing 40% Silver. As the price of Silver began to increase in the 1960s, the U.S. Government began seeking a more cost-effective alternative to the minting of 90% Silver content coins. In honor of the assassinated President Kennedy, the U.S. Mint began minting half-dollars depicting Kennedy that were 40% Silver instead of 90%. The Kennedy half-dollars consisted of an inner layer containing 79% copper and 21% Silver. This inner layer was clad by an outer layer of 20% copper and 80% Silver. Thus, rather than containing 90% Silver, the Kennedy halves contained a total of 40% Silver and 60% copper.

These 40% Silver Kennedy half-dollars were the last regularly-circulated coins from the U.S. Mint that still contained Silver. Extremely popular among Americans interested in collecting a memento of President Kennedy, the coins quickly disappeared from circulation after their release. Even after the U.S. Mint increased the production of the coins, the Kennedy half-dollar still remained more of a collector’s item than a widely-circulated coin. While the Kennedy halves are still available from the U.S. Mint, the coins continue to have a limited circulation and primarily meet the demands of collectors.

For investors, $1,000 and $500 face value bags of 40% Silver Kennedy halves minted between 1965 and 1969 are convenient and easy ways to own Silver. Not only are 40% Silver coins legal tender that will never lose their face value, but they are also Silver coins that do not have the high premiums associated with one-ounce Silver bullion coins, such as the Silver American Eagle coins. Unlike many other methods of investing in precious metals, buying 40% Silver bags is extremely versatile. Investors who buy Silver bags can trade the bags in units or sell and trade the coins individually.

If you are looking to purchase Silver in the most cost-efficient way, the 40% Silver coins from APMEX are a great option. APMEX makes it easy to buy Silver by offering competitive Silver prices on all Silver products.

Market Recap 5/6/11

The month of May began excitedly with the global headline of the week. Late Sunday evening, President Obama announced to the world that Osama bin Laden was found and killed. American stock futures and the U.S. Dollar immediately began to rise as the price of Gold fell $16.00. Silver which already had a tumultuous. weekend, took a sharp dive . By mid-day, it was apparent that the bin Laden bounce was short lived.

The ADP Private Sector jobs report was released Wednesday. Private sector jobs increased by 179,000 jobs in April which was lower than analysts’ expectation of 200,000 jobs. The good news is that layoffs level in 2011 reached a marked low. Stock futures had dropped in anticipation of this report and declined further after this announcement. Precious. metal prices continued their retreat in overnight trading but Gold and Silver began recovering with the release of this news.

Later that day, reports came out that Mexico’s central bank had been quietly stocking up on Gold. They boosted their foreign reserves by trading $4 Billion worth of U.S. Dollars for $4 Billion in Gold. “They’re probably thinking that getting out of Dollars and into Gold makes sense because we know that the Dollar has some trend to depreciate in the near future at least,” said Sergio Martin, Chief Economist at HSBC in Mexico City. “I don’t think they’re going to lose money with this.”

Thursday was streamed with bad news and extreme market volatility. The number of U.S. unemployment claims was expected to drop 19,000 this week but instead rose by 43,000 to 474,000. This is the highest level in eight months. The four-week moving average for jobless claims, considered the better trend measurement, rose 22,250 and is now over 400,000 to 431,250.

Also on Thursday, a new report by Clear Capital stated that home prices have double dipped nationwide. Nationwide prices are now lower than their low point of 2009. Prices have fallen 11.5% in the past nine months. Over one third of the national home sales are coming from bank owned properties (REO) and banks want to get these properties off their books, thus driving prices down.

By the end of the day, oil fell below $100 per barrel on the concerns that a slumping economic climate will lower demand. The stock market was down triple digits and precious metals went through a major correction. It all started with the precious metals earlier,” said James Cordier, a portfolio manager at Optionsellers.com in Florida. “Oil is down because everyone is heading for the doors,” he added. A weak jobs report added fuel to the fire with investors again worrying about a double-dip recession, Cordier said. “Here we are supposedly at the height of the recovery and not only we can’t create jobs, we are losing jobs.”

Friday began with what looked like good news but turned out to be conflicting reports. Non-Farm payrolls were unexpectedly up, but unemployment unexpected climbed to 9%. Stock, oil and precious metal prices all bounced up on this report.

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,567.30. The high during the week was on Monday, May 2nd, at $1,577.40, while the low for the week occurred on Friday, May 6th, at $1,471.10. Gold ended the week down $66.60 at $1,500.70. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2011 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, and 2011 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver:
Spot Silver prices opened this week at $48.04. Silver reached a high of $48.19 on Monday, May 2nd, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Friday, May 6th, at $33.04. Silver ended the week down $12.19 at $35.85. The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2011 Silver American Eagles, 2011 Silver Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 10 oz. APMEX Silver Bars.

Platinum:
Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,879.00 and ended the week down $87.40 at $1,791.60. Popular Platinum products this week included 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium:
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $796.60 and ended the week down $79.40 at $717.20. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

Featured Bullion Product:
The Canadian Silver Maple Leaf, the official Silver bullion coin of Canada, has become one of the most popular Silver coins sought after by investors and collectors worldwide. Since first being minted by the Royal Canadian Mint in 1988, the design of the Silver Maple Leaf has undergone annual changes that include proof releases, various privy marks, holographic enhancements, and commemorative variations. However, the basic features of the Silver coin have remained the same since its inception. The obverse of the coin depicts an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II, and the reverse of the coin showcases the signature Maple Leaf so closely associated with Canadian nationalism and reflective of Canadian pride.

What sets this Silver gem apart from its Gold and Platinum counterparts is the fact that the consumer demand for the Silver Maple Leaf has caused the prices for the coin to skyrocket past the actual bullion value of the coin. For example, while the face value of the Silver Maple Leaf is five Canadian Dollars, the highest face value among international Silver bullion coins, the coin has generated prices that far outweigh its actual face value. In addition to its high value, the Silver Maple Leaf is unique in that it is one of the purest Silver bullion coins on the market. With a 99.99 percent purity, the Silver coin ranks among the purest Silver bullion coins ever produced.

For its numerous positive qualities, the Canadian Silver Maple Leaf is a treasure that could potentially enhance any coin collection or investment portfolio. Because of the high value, purity level, and clear symbolism of Canadian culture, the Silver Maple Leaf is a coin that has developed a high international profile and will most likely continue to play a major role in the world coin markets.

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Market Recap 4/29/11

Gold and Silver started the week on the upside and remained upbeat all week. On Monday, Silver nearly broke the $50 barrier before backing off profit-taking. It turned out to be preparation for another move upwards. On Monday the IMF (International Monetary Fund) dropped bombshell news. The Age of America will end and then China will take over as the world’s largest economy in 2016. If you forgot your calculator, that is less than five years away.

The University of Texas made an extraordinary investment decision on April 15th. Not only did they move 5% of their assets into gold, they bought physical Gold instead of an ETF. This second-largest academic endowment in the U.S. decided they needed insurance against inflation as a result of current fiscal and monetary policies. “The role Gold plays in our portfolio is as a hedge against currencies. The concern is that we have excess monetary and fiscal stimulus,” Bruce Zimmerman, CEO of The University of Texas Investment Management Company told CNBC television. Mr. Zimmerman also described Gold as an anti-currency since it is in limited supply. He described, “You can’t turn on the printing presses and make more Gold.”  Gold will not only protect you against inflation and currency risk but market failure as well. This story created big news and was commentated on for three to four days.

The buzz began on Monday as the investment world awaited Wednesday’s Federal Reserve Board announcement. Federal Chairman Bernanke was the first Federal Chairman to ever hold a press conference which immediately followed the announcement on interest rates. The precious metals market was unusually jittery preceding the event.

During the Fed announcement, Gold and Silver began to go up. Platinum and Palladium, which had declined on Monday and Tuesday, also began to rise. Once Mr. Bernanke’s press conference concluded, they rose more and continued this path through Friday.

The Fed is continuing down the same path. Mr. Bernanke acknowledges there were inflationary pressures in the first quarter, but the Fed feels they are transitory. He acknowledges the economic growth was less than expected in the first quarter, but this is also transitory. Gold and Silver went up as a bet against their wisdom and the stock market climbed on the news of more easy money. The U.S. dollar began its descent down to 3-year lows.

On Friday, Gold soared to all-time record highs. Silver was up marginally, while Platinum and Palladium both showed significant gains. The decline of the U.S. dollar has begun to signal more Central Banks to exchange their U.S. dollars for Gold.

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,513.50. The high during the week was on Friday, April 29th, at $1,558.00, while the low for the week occurred on Tuesday, April 26th, at $1,492.00. Gold ended the week up $53.80 at $1,567.30. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2011 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, and 2011 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver:
Spot Silver prices opened this week at $46.86. Silver reached a high of $49.82 on Monday, April 25th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Tuesday, April 26th, at $44.61. Silver ended the week up $1.18 at $48.04. The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2011 Silver American Eagles, 2011 Silver Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 10 oz. APMEX Silver Bars.

Platinum:
Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,816.60 and ended the week up $62.40 at $1,879.00. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium:
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $771.80 and ended the week up $24.80 at $796.60. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

Featured Bullion Product:

Each week, APMEX will review a different bullion product for the benefit of our readers. This week, we will review the 2011 Gettysburg & Glacier Silver Two Coin America The Beautiful Set.

Minted in the same design as the popular America The Beautiful quarter series, these extremely popular “large format” five ounce .999 fine Silver bullion coins are the first two America The Beautiful coins to be released in 2011. One side features a prominent national park design and the opposite side features founding father George Washington. The parks featured in this set are The Gettysburg National Military Park and The Glacier National Park.

The Gettysburg National Military Park coin shows the Soldiers National Monument, which stands in the center of the Soldiers National Cemetery. This monument was constructed to honor the soldiers who fell at the Battle of Gettysburg in July of 1863. The statue now stands guard over the 6,000 American soldiers laid to rest at Gettysburg.

The Glacier National Park coin depicts the majestic glacier-carved Mount Reynolds. The mountain goat in the foreground reminds us of the diverse wildlife fostered within Glacier National Park. Glacier National Park obtained federal protected status on February 22, 1897 and consists of 1,000,000 acres.

The Gettysburg & Glacier Silver Two Coin America The Beautiful Set will only be sold as a set and will not be available individually. APMEX makes it easy to buy Silver by offering competitive Silver prices on all Silver products and a satisfaction guarantee.

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Market Recap 4/22/11

The week began with striking news that the University of Texas traded out of their Gold ETF and into the actual physical bullion. The University of Texas took delivery of 6,643  100 ounce Gold bars worth $987 million on Friday, April 15. The UT Investment Management Company did not buy Gold, they chose to convert their “paper” Gold investments into the actual bullion bars. “If you own a paper contract where they can only deliver you 10 cents on the dollar or less, you should probably convert it to physical,” said Bass. The bars will be stored at HSBC Bank in New York. This news created additional stories and repercussions all through the week.

Gold and Silver prices were on the rise Monday, but when Standard & Poor’s came out with a negative outlook on US credit, they began to soar. “We believe there is a material risk that US policy makers might not reach an agreement on how to address medium-and long-term budgetary challenges by 2013,” New York-based S&P said in a report. This statement does not lower the current AAA rating, but it still brought the White House to the defensive, as they claim this is all about politics. Gold briefly crossed $1,500 on Tuesday and Silver crossed $44 oz.

More news on Wednesday was bullish for Gold and Silver. The US dollar slipped against six major currencies and is trading at a 16-month low. This, along with continued concerns with inflationary pressures and the US and European debt problems, have propelled both Gold and Silver upwards. Gold cemented gains above the $1,500 threshold. Silver crossed $45.

Wednesday and Thursday were equally as good for the stock market, as the precious metals markets. Platinum and Palladium, which more often move in conjunction with stock prices, reversed downward trends and burst forward with large gains.

Friday is Good Friday. The stock and precious metal markets are closed. Happy Holidays!

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,488.10. The high during the week was on Thursday, April 21st, at $1,513.50, while the low for the week occurred on Monday, April 18th, at $1,477.80. Gold ended the week up $25.40 at $1,513.50. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2011 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, and 2011 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver:
Spot Silver prices opened this week at $43.12. Silver reached a high of $46.86 on Thursday, April 21st, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Monday, April 18th, at $42.20. Silver ended the week up $3.74 at $46.86. The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2011 Silver American Eagles, 2011 Silver Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 10 oz. APMEX Silver Bars.

Platinum:
Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,794.00 and ended the week up $22.60 at $1,816.60. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium:
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $771.00 and ended the week up $0.80 at $771.80. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

Featured Bullion Product:
Each week, APMEX will review a different bullion product for the benefit of our readers. This week, we will review the British Gold Britannia coins.

Unveiled by the Royal Mint in 1987, the Gold Britannia coins are British Gold bullion coins that have begun to play a major role on the coin market. Every year since 1987, the Gold Britannia has been issued in both proof and bullion versions. Gold Britannias are issued in 1, 1/2, 1/4, and 1/10 oz sizes with face values in British pounds (£) of £100, £50, £25, and £10, respectively. Gold Britannias are .917 Gold (22-karat Gold) and are legal tender in Great Britain. Until 1990, the Gold Britannia was alloyed with copper. However, beginning in 1990, the Gold Britannia has been alloyed with Silver, which gives the Gold Britannias issued since 1990 a lighter yellow color than the earlier Britannias.

The Gold Britannia’s attractive design was created to appeal to both collectors and investors alike. The obverse of the Gold Britannia bears a depiction of Queen Elizabeth II. The Gold Britannias issued from 1987 to 1997 feature the “Third Portrait” of Queen Elizabeth II, while the “Fourth Portrait,” a more mature likeness of Queen Elizabeth II, graces the Gold Britannias issued from 1998 and on to the Gold Britannias being produced today.

The reverse pays tribute to the Britannia image that first appeared on coins produced under the rule of the Roman Emperor Hadrian. An ancient term for Great Britain, Britannia began to personify the island of Great Britain in the first-century Roman world. Illustrated as a goddess, Britannia resembles the Roman figure Boudica. Britannia first appeared on British coins in 1672, when she graced the farthings and halfpennies of Charles II. However, the Gold Britannia is the first Gold coin since the days of the Romans to feature the Britannia image.

Since its first appearance on British coins, the image of Britannia has evolved over the years. Though usually portrayed seated, Britannia appeared standing on British Trade Dollars from 1901 to 1935 and on the florins of Edward VII from 1902 to 1910. The Gold Britannia coins feature different variations of the Britannia design, including a Standing Britannia, a Seated Britannia, and others. Designed by Philip Nathan, the Standing Britannia image commonly seen on Gold Britannias brings the story and Roman tradition of Britannia to life in the modern world. For their illustration of the majestic Britannia, the Gold Britannias are some of the most beautiful Gold coins in the world.

Gold prices fluctuate, but the popularity of the Gold Britannia bullion coins only increases. APMEX sells Gold Britannia coins in brilliant uncirculated and proof condition. APMEX makes it easy to buy Gold by offering competitive Gold prices on all Gold bullion coins. British Gold Britannia bullion coins belong in every investor’s portfolio.

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Market recap 4/15/11

This week was one of significant gains for both Gold and Silver prices. However, on Monday it was only Silver going up as Gold retreated on the news that a budget deal had been struck and that Libyan President Gaddafi was going to accept a peace plan brokered by the African Union. Of course, President Gaddafi made it clear he would not step down, which killed this proposal by the next day.

On Tuesday, Japan raised its nuclear crisis to the highest possible level, which is level seven. This puts this radioactive disaster on par with what occurred in Chernobyl back in 1986. The Japanese government, already under scrutiny for what appears to be a campaign of miscommunication tried to make the world feel better by letting us know, that there has been no real change, it has been level 7 the whole time. The government further states that although there is radioactive contamination in the air, water, soil, fish and vegetables, there are no immediate health risks. Comforting indeed!

Wednesday, Gold and Silver began to drift up as President Obama came out with his budget-cutting plan that chops $4 trillion off in the next 12 years. Apparently, many investors felt the need for a safe haven after seeing the details (or lack thereof). An interesting article written by Julian Phillips gave his view on why Silver has been rising faster than Gold. In a nutshell, Gold has been seen as an investment metal by high net worth individuals, central banks and institutions for a very long time. Silver did not take on this aspect until 2009. As Silver becomes the poor man’s Gold and as Silver gets the attention of high net worth individuals and institutions, it is starting to catch up in appeal.

Thursday’s jobs report was an unexpected negative surprise. New jobless claims rose last week rising once again above the 400,000 level. Economist polled by Reuters projected claims to fall to 380,000. The four week moving average, which is considered the best measurement, went up 5,500 to 395,750. Inflation fears grow as US core prices rose faster than projected in March, and the increase from one year ago was the largest since August of 2009. By the end of the day, Gold advanced more than 1% as it nears record highs. Fear of inflation, a weakening US dollar and more problems in Europe continue to drive investors to Gold (and perhaps Silver, which established a31-year high today.)

Friday’s news was that in the US, consumer prices rose 0.5% in March, which is 6% annualized. Also, a separate report shows that real average hourly earnings of US workers fell by .6% in March, and have declined 1.0% in the past 12 months. On the European front, Moody’s has again cut Ireland’s debt rating, which puts it on the verge of becoming junk status. Moody’s is keeping their view of this situation negative, thus pushing the Euro lower and putting added pressure on the Euro Zone’s weaker countries.

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,476.40. The high during the week was on Friday, April 15th, at $1,489.80, while the low for the week occurred on Tuesday, April 12th, at $1,445.00. Gold ended the week up $11.70 at $1,488.10. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2011 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, and 2011 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver:
Spot Silver prices opened this week at $41.00. Silver reached a high of $43.12 on Friday, April 15th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Tuesday, April 12th, at $39.71. Silver ended the week up $2.12 at $43.12. The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2011 Silver American Eagles, 2011 Silver Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 10 oz. APMEX Silver Bars.

Platinum:
Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,816.50 and ended the week down $22.50 at $1,794.00. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium:
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $769.50 and ended the week up $1.50 at $771.00. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

Featured Bullion Product:
Each week, APMEX will review a different bullion product for the benefit of our readers. This week, we will review the 2011 1 oz. Platinum Australian Platypus.

On March 1, 2011, the Perth Mint in Australia unveiled a new Platinum investment coin: the Australian Platinum Platypus coin. The Australian Platinum Platypus coin is the latest addition to the Perth Mint’s Australian Bullion Coin Program. Until the release of the Platinum Platypus coin, the Perth Mint had not minted a Platinum investment coin since the Australian Platinum Koala coin. With the discontinuation of the Platinum Koala in 2000, the Platypus coin will pick up where the Koala left off in the Perth Mint’s series of investment coins.

Legal Australian tender under the Australian Currency Act of 1965, the Australian Platinum Platypus is struck from one ounce of 99.95% pure Platinum and has a face value of 100 Australian Dollars. For 2011, the Platinum Platypus coins have a limited mintage of 30,000 and will continue to have the same limited mintage for future years of issue.

Released by the Perth Mint, a world leader in the production of precious metals products, the Platinum Platypus coin features a captivating design. The obverse of the Australian Platinum Platypus coin depicts an effigy of Queen Elizabeth II designed by Ian Rank-Broadley. Additionally, the reverse features one of the most unique creatures inhabiting the Australian Continent: the Platypus. Showcasing this interesting member of the animal kingdom, the Platinum Platypus coin celebrates the wonder of Australian wildlife. Illustrated in its underwater home, this semi-aquatic mammal comes to life on the coin. Created by Perth Mint designer Natasha Muhl, the image of the Platypus gives the newly-released Platinum coin an appeal that is sure to attract collectors and investors all over the world.

The Australian Platinum Platypus coins are a great way to acquire and invest in Platinum. To add these beautiful coins to your coin collection or investment portfolio, shop APMEX’s selection of Australian Platinum Platypus coins. APMEX makes it easy to buy Platinum by offering competitive Platinum prices on all Platinum coins.

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Market Recap 4/8/11

The week started with Silver reaching a fresh 31-year high, over $38/oz. Who knew it would be a sign of things to come? The theme with precious metals this week was new highs. Silver hit first on Monday, thanks in part to the looming U.S. government shutdown, inflation fears (oil rose over $108), a weakening U.S. dollar, and the geopolitical situation in North Africa and the Middle East.

APMEX CEO Michael Haynes appeared on CNBC to talk about the importance of precious metals in your portfolio. He was also introducing our new mobile platform, mobile.apmex.com, which is available on your Android-powered smartphone, Blackberry, or iPhone. China raised their interest rates Tuesday in another effort to combat inflation, something the European Central Bank echoed later in the week. Ben Bernanke continued to downplay inflation, which seemed to increase inflation fears. Radioactive fish were discovered near the Japanese nuclear power plant that continues to have issues, creating fears of radioactive food imports in other countries. These issues drove Gold to a record high (over $1,450/oz.) and Silver to a new 31-year high (over $39/oz.) early in the week.

Matthew West of CNBC pieced together a great article on Gold, explaining the bullish sentiment towards precious metals, as well as why Gold as a hedge is here to stay. The radioactive water leak in Japan was plugged Wednesday, but many tons of contaminated water was being pumped back into the ocean due to a lack of storage space at the facility. The conflict in Libya hit a bump as the Libyan rebels were unhappy with NATO support. There were also possible mistakes made by NATO strikes that hit rebels instead of Moammar Gaddafi’s forces. Gold and Silver closed at new highs yet again, with Gold crossing the $1,460/oz. mark and Silver inching closer to $40/oz. by midweek.

After Moody’s downgraded Portugal’s debt rating Wednesday, reports surfaced that against their best efforts, they will end up requesting a bailout before June. This didn’t come as much of a surprise to investors, as seen by precious metals hardly reacting to the news. The ECB officially raised interest rates by 25 basis points, acting as fresh fuel to the fire of inflation fears. A 7.4-magnitude aftershock rocked Japan, hampering production across the country thanks to power outages. On Thursday, Gold closed lower than Wednesday, however it did hit an intraday record high at $1,466.50. Silver closed at a fresh 31-year high as well.

Friday started with news that Euro-zone finance ministers will hold Portugal to a harder reform to receive a bailout. The U.S. government shutdown deadline is here, and there seems to be no hope in sight to avoid it. Some 800,000 federal workers will be furloughed. The impending shutdown seems to have investors flocking to the safe haven appeal of precious metals, as Gold and Silver were already at new highs in early morning trading. Gold topped $1,470/oz., while Silver strongly broke through the $40/oz. ceiling.

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,429.20. The high during the week was on Friday, April 8th, at $1,476.40, while the low for the week occurred on Monday, April 4th, at $1,429.10. Gold ended the week up $47.20 at $1,476.40. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2011 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, and 2011 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver:
Spot Silver prices opened this week at $37.91. Silver reached a high of $41.03 on Friday, April 8th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Monday, April 4th, at $37.81. Silver ended the week up $3.09 at $41.00. The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2011 Silver American Eagles, 2011 Silver Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 10 oz. APMEX Silver Bars.

Platinum:
Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,768.50 and ended the week up $48.00 at $1,816.50. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium:
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $775.50 and ended the week up $21.00 at $769.50. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

Featured Bullion Product:
Each week, APMEX will review a different bullion product for the benefit of our readers. This week, we will review the Austrian Silver Philharmonic bullion coins.

One of the most beautiful Silver coins on the market, the Austrian Silver Philharmonic has begun to attract attention from collectors and investors all over the world. Minted by the Austrian Mint in Vienna, the Austrian Silver Philharmonic coins are .999 pure Silver and are the first Silver bullion coins denominated in Euros. While the Austrian Silver Philharmonics are Silver bullion coins that can serve as investment opportunities, they are also striking additions to any coin collection.

The Silver Austrian Philharmonic coin features the same design as the Gold Vienna Philharmonic, Europe’s leading Gold bullion coin. Like the Gold Philharmonic, the Silver Philharmonic pays tribute to one of Vienna’s most iconic symbols: the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. Housed in Vienna’s Golden Hall, the Philharmonic Orchestra is considered one of the finest orchestras in the world. In honor of this prestigious orchestra, the Philharmonic coin’s design features a theme based on Vienna’s musical heritage. The obverse of the Silver Philharmonic coin displays the Great Pipe Organ in Vienna’s Golden Hall. The reverse depicts a medley of selected instruments from the world-famous orchestra. Through these designs, the Silver Philharmonic allows you to commemorate the mastery of classical music in Vienna.

If you are looking to purchase the stunning Austrian Silver Philharmonic coins, shop APMEX’s wide selection of Silver Philharmonics. APMEX makes it easy to buy Silver by offering competitive Silver prices on all Silver products and a Satisfaction Guarantee.

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Market Recap 3/18/11

Monday began with unsettling news about a Japanese nuclear reactor rocked by a second hydrogen explosion. Unsettling news became the norm all week long as the situation continued to deteriorate. Reports coming out of Japan came under question when the U.S. requested that its citizens move 50 miles away, while the Japanese government told their citizens that 12 miles was sufficient.

Monday was the day Saudi Arabia began sending troops into Bahrain to help quell protests. Some Muslim factions in Bahrain called this an act of war. In Libya, President Gaddafi began stepping up violent attacks against rebel forces. These attacks were so violent that Western nations began to contemplate what actions they might take.

Tuesday was the day Gold showed the world how it behaves in a time of crisis. Initial losses were attributed to investors selling off their gains in precious metals to offset the losses in the global marketplace.  Most analysts accurately predicted a positive move later in the week as investors returned to the Gold’s insurance against market volatility.

On Wednesday there were reports of radiation leaks reaching Tokyo and fires burning in multiple reactors. Today, the focus was on the number three reactor. However, information coming out of Japan has not been consistent, making it difficult to assess the situation.

In other world news impacting markets, Portugal’s debt rating took another hit from Moody’s credit rating agency as it was downgraded another two notches. It is currently three notches away from “junk bond” status.

Friday’s news saw the G-7 come together to weaken the yen and stabilize its rise since the earthquake. This is the first time since 2000 that the G-7 has intervened in such a way. Western powers also came together with the U.N. to declare a no-fly zone in Libya, effectively forcing Gaddafi to call a ceasefire.  President Obama was quoted saying the U.N. resolution would be enforced. When the U.S. prepares for military action, the world turns to Gold as a safe haven.

This may be one of the most volatile markets we have seen in decades. Global equity markets have taken a hit since last Friday’s earthquake.  The Japanese Yen was expected to go down because of a cash infusion expected from the Bank of Japan, but instead, the Yen has unexpectedly climbed dramatically. One would expect gold to rally in these dire circumstances, but the need for cash largely driven by margin clerks, has kept Gold prices down. We expect that the market will remain volatile and uncertain until the nuclear reactor situation draws to a conclusion. Let’s hope it is a good conclusion.

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,420.60. The high during the week was on Monday, March 14th, at $1,433.50, while the low for the week occurred on Tuesday, March 15th, at $1,380.70. Gold ended the week down $0.30 at $1,420.30. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2011 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, and 2011 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver:
Spot Silver prices opened this week at $35.96. Silver reached a high of $36.51 on Monday, March 14th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Tuesday, March 15th, at $33.57. Silver ended the week down $0.61 at $35.35. The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2011 Silver American Eagles, 2011 Silver Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 10 oz. APMEX Silver Bars.

Platinum:
Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,779.00 and ended the week down $54.50 at $1,724.50. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium:
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $762.40 and ended the week down $30.40 at $732.00. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

Precious Metals IRA Opportunities:

Possibly the single most important financial strategy in today’s economy, an IRA, should be the insurance policy that protects your money from inflation and currency devaluation. In a world where the global economy is constantly changing and is affected by various political and social factors, you can find the insurance policy you need by investing your funds in a precious metals IRA. Rather than investing in stocks, bonds, or other forms of investments backed by paper, you can open an IRA backed by the value of precious metals. A more secure option for investment opportunities in an ever-changing world, a precious metals IRA which can never lose all of its value provides some financial security to investors.

By adding precious metals, such as gold, silver, platinum, and palladium, to your IRA, you can find some stability in saving your assets. To assist you in developing a precious metals IRA, APMEX offers a wide selection of products that are eligible for IRAs that can potentially enhance your investment portfolio. At APMEX, you can choose items to place in your IRA from our extensive variety of IRA-acceptable bars, coins, and rounds. To begin setting up an IRA investment plan that will hold its value for years to come, contact our Precious Metals IRA Department at (800) 418-0235. We can help walk you through the process of adding precious metals to your IRA today.

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