Market Recap 6/3/2011

Another week, another disappointing jobs report. The ADP private sector jobs report showed just 38,000 new private sector jobs in May whereas it was fully expected to be up by 175,000 new private sector jobs. The futures market opened low today as investors and analysts awaited this report. After the report was released, the futures market fell even further. When will economists stop being caught off-guard by low numbers? Some suggest they are in denial that the economic recovery is slowing down.  Fears of a double-dip recession seemed to hang on today’s nonfarm payrolls report. To put the report in perspective, April numbers showed an increase of 244,000 jobs. Analysts predicted May numbers would be approximately 125,000 jobs. The increase was actually just 54,000 (a nine-month low.) The unemployment rate sits at 9.1%. Stock futures tumbled along with the U.S. dollar index and gold recovered from early-morning losses.

Earlier in the week, there were hopes that Greece would finally be getting the economic help it needs to sustain itself. However, Moody’s has cut Greece’s credit rating by three notches, which drops the score into an extremely speculative phase. This news infers that the payoff of Greek debt is no longer based on funds and paybacks of loans, but speculation. The outlook is quite negative. Greece’s Finance Ministry disputes the credit rating cut and claims the government’s attempts to gain traction has not been taken into consideration, “[The downgrade] is influenced by intense rumour in the media and overlooks the Greek government’s pledges to achieve its fiscal targets for 2011 and to accelerate privatizations.”

News has circulated about a crisis in Yemen but most people have ignored the signs since the small country seems irrelevant to the bigger picture. Is this an accurate opinion? The Yemen situation is so dire that it may take years to recover. How is this relevant? The small country is in financial trauma and it needs restructuring as well as stronger leadership. The domestic oil supply and electricity was cut off by hostile tribes because of the crisis and resulting chaos. Food and water are becoming scarce. At times like these when food and water have become scarce, people are desperate for someone to take control and bring peace. Who desires to assist an oil-rich company?

A  Marketwatch financial analyst announced that, at the moment, gold is the choice that makes the most sense for investors. He explained,”Polls show that while most Americans see the need for the federal budget deficit to be cut, the majority of citizens are not prepared for cuts in Medicare and other entitlements that are necessary to materially reduce it. …And then there is the historical side of it: No fiat currency has ever survived.”

WEEKLY GOLD PRICES
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,538.10. The high during the week was onWednesday,June 1st, at $1,551.60, while the low for the week occurred on Thursday, June 2nd, at $1,520.40. Gold ended the week up $6.00 at $1,544.10. 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.

WEEKLY SILVER PRICES
Spot Silver prices opened this week at $38.12. Silver reached a high of $38.77 on Tuesday, May 31st, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Friday, June 3rd, at $35.07. Silver ended the week down $1.74 at $36.38. 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.

WEEKLY PLATINUM PRICES
Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,806.10 and ended the week up $11.30 at $1,817.40. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

WEEKLY PALLADIUM PRICES
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $764.50 and ended the week up $20.80 at $785.30. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

Featured Product of the Week:  2011 1 oz. Silver American Eagle

 2011 brought with it a newly designed Silver American Eagle. This current date of the Silver Eagle will only add to the coin’s legacy as the most popular Silver bullion coin in the world. Another interesting tidbit about the 2011 Silver American Eagle is the minting location. 2011 is the first year Silver Eagles have been minted at the San Francisco Mint since 1998. 

The U.S. Mint began minting the Silver American Eagle (SAE) in 1986.  The 26 years of mintage have produced over 225 million SAEs.  Since 2000, demand for these coins has exploded.  These 2011 coins trade at premiums close to common-date Silver American Eagles, which makes their current date a bonus of sorts.  The 2011 SAE is a brilliant uncirculated coin that can be bought in bulk at APMEX.com and used in Precious Metals IRAs while potentially adding numismatic value to your investment.

 

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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 5/20/11

News that IMF director Strauss-Kahn was arrested early in the week on attempted sexual assault charges came as a shock to the international finance community. As of Friday, he had resigned as the IMF Director, effective immediately. However, serious questions remain as to the full ramifications and impact this may have on the different negotiations he was involved with in abating the European financial crises facing Portugal and Greece.

Precious metals moved up and down this week to finally end on a generally more positive note. Gold and Silver both saw modest gains as Euro-zone debt fears resurfaced lead by the news that Greece is still headed for restructuring. Spain also is in the spotlight as Spanish citizens go the polls this weekend with the ruling party expected to suffer. Spain has a larger economy than the other embattled Euro-zone economies of Ireland, Portugal, and Greece combined.

Compared the basket of global currencies it is normally compared with, the dollar strengthened this week. Typically, a stronger dollar means lower prices for Gold as it becomes more expensive for holders of foreign currency to own. Gold’s historic safe haven has bolstered its strength giving it the stamina to gain alongside the dollar as the European Union addresses the debt fears of its member nations.

The stock market has ended the week on a sour note as poor retail data from companies like GAP Inc and Aeropostale each lost more than 14 percent after cutting profit forecasts for the year. They cited higher costs for raw materials and sluggish sales for the change in forecast.

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,499.70. The high during the week was on Friday, May 20th, at $1,515.80, while the low for the week occurred on Tuesday, May 17th, at $1,471.10. Gold ended the week up $15.40 at $1,515.10. 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 $35.59. Silver reached a high of $35.75 on Thursday, May 19th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Tuesday, May 17th, at $32.96. Silver ended the week down $0.42 at $35.17. 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 $6.40 at $1,774.90. 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 $711.90 and ended the week up $27.70 at $739.60. 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 Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins.

Because of the history behind them, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins are some of the most interesting coins in the world. For example, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins were among some of the first Gold bullion coins available upon the enactment of an executive order on December 31, 1974, that re-entitled Americans to own Gold bullion. In addition to their availability at the time of the 1974 order, the Austrian Corona Gold Coins are also fascinating because they are restrikes, which are official reproductions of coins that were originally minted for circulation. Issued from 1908 to 1914, the Austrian 100 Gold Coins first featured their date of issue. However, after the death of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph, the Gold coins were produced as commemorative pieces and were dated 1915.

Minted in Vienna Austria, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coin is .900 fine Gold (21.6-karat Gold) and contains 0.9802 troy ounces of Gold. Designed by Stephan Schwartz, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coin pays tribute to Austrian nationalism and pride. The obverse of the Austrian Corona Gold Coin displays a portrait of the Austrian Emperor Franz Joseph I, who ruled from 1848 to 1916. The reverse features the Austrian Coat of Arms, depicting a double eagle and a crown. Moreover, the edges of the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins include the lettering Vnitus Viribvs, which means “the unified strength,” a well-known motto attributed to Franz Joseph I. No longer minted, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins are some of the lowest-premium Gold bullion coins available on the world coin market. Appealing to both collectors and investors alike, the Austrian 100 Corona Gold Coins have begun to attract attention for both their unique history and low premium Gold status.

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Market Recap 5/13/11

Precious metals had another topsy-turvy week, with gains and losses every day this week following last week’s sell offs. The U.S. Dollar was down Monday after a 3% rally last week with rumors that Greece might leave the European Union. These factors contributed to the lower metal prices last week; however, David Morgan, founder of Silver-investor.com, is still bullish for the metals. “The fundamental fact remains that you cannot print wealth. As long as Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and other central bankers in the world try to print wealth you’re going to have more and more upside for the metals,” says Morgan.

Paul Mladjenovic, author of “Precious Metals Investing for Dummies,” said Gold looks “very strong” and any pullback will be minor as the market expects some dollar strength and some euro weakness. In fact, the typical reasons for precious metals to be a safe haven for investors – inflation fears, a weak dollar, and geopolitical fears are still prevalent in the marketplace.

Stocks traded lower Friday primarily driven by concerns over inflation and a strengthening dollar. “Core inflation is beginning to accelerate. Bernanke may be on the wrong side of this while some of the regional Fed presidents may be closer to the mark,” said Michael Strauss chief economist and chief investment strategist at Commonfund.

Charles de Vaulux, mutual fund manager, suggests that you should own Gold bullion as a part of your diverse portfolio of assets. “We control risk by owning Gold,” de Vaulx said. “As long as the policymakers are being irresponsible, it’s good to own some Gold, especially if the dollar keeps falling.” U.S. bonds, long thought of as a rock-solid investment, have come under increased scrutiny lately with the potential for high inflation and the debt ceiling looming, raising the possibility of a default on U.S. bonds. De Vaux is currently shorting U.S. government debt.

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,500.70. The high during the week was on Wednesday, May 11th, at $1,526.80, while the low for the week occurred on Thursday, May 12th, at $1,477.60. Gold ended the week down $1.00 at $1,499.70. 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 $35.85. Silver reached a high of $39.47 on Wednesday, May 11th, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Thursday, May 12th, at $32.30. Silver ended the week down $0.26 at $35.59. 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 $1,791.60 and ended the week down $23.10 at $1,768.50. 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 $717.20 and ended the week down $5.30 at $711.90. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

Featured Bullion Product:
Beginning on January 3, 2011, the 2011 Gold American Eagle Coins became available to each of the United States Mint’s authorized purchasers. An official Gold bullion coin of the United States, the Gold American Eagle Coin has become one of the most popular coins on the world market. Since its release by the United States Mint in 1986, the Gold Eagle has featured the same basic design. Displaying a design created by Augustus Saint Gaudens, the obverse of the Gold American Eagle depicts the figure of Lady Liberty, who holds a torch in her right hand and an olive branch in her left hand. In the background is a rendition of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. The reverse of the Gold Eagle illustrates a nest of American Bald Eagles, a symbol of American nationalism and pride.

Available in 1 oz., 1/2 oz., 1/4 oz., and 1/10 oz. denominations, the 2011 Gold American Eagle appeals to both collectors and investors alike. In addition to its beautiful design, the Gold Eagle is also a Gold gem for its value. Containing 91.67% pure Gold, the 22-karat Gold American Eagle Coins have a market value that usually equals the market value of their Gold content. Moreover, the 2011 Gold American Eagles are eligible for precious metals IRA accounts and can potentially enhance any coin collection or investment portfolio.

Having gained international popularity since its debut, the Gold American Eagle is a coin that will most likely continue to attract attention from coin collectors all over the world.

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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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