The U.S. economy shed an additional 36,000 jobs in February. Although fewer jobs were lost than expected, the unemployment rate remained at 9.7%, according to The Wall Street Journal. An industry report said the U.S. manufacturing sector grew in February but at a slower rate than was expected.
The Commerce Department said on Monday that spending rose 0.5%, increasing for the fourth straight month, reported Reuters. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected consumer spending, which normally accounts for over two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, to increase 0.4% in January. “The message is continuing progress for the economy, if not as fast as hoped,” said Pierre Ellis, a senior economist at Decision Economics in New York.
MSN Money warned this week that the Federal Reserve’s recent increase in the discount rate may mean that higher interest rates are coming. Although the move came sooner than many had expected, it was a step toward more-normal conditions. The Fed stressed that the move doesn’t mean an imminent rise in the more-important federal funds rate. But despite those words, it’s a clear warning from the Fed that near-zero interest rates won’t last forever. This action has led some to speculate that U.S. consumers may begin to feel the pinch of inflation very soon, making precious metals all the more attractive as a hard asset.
Spot gold prices opened this week at $1,119.00. The high during the week was on Wednesday, March 3rd, at $1,145.80, while the low for the week occurred on Monday, March 1st, at $1,112.10. Gold ended the week up $17.20 at $1,136.20. This week, Gold American Eagles, Canadian Gold Maple Leafs, and 1 oz. .9999 Pamp Suisse Gold Bars remained popular with investors.
Spot silver prices opened this week at $16.62. Silver reached a high of $17.52 on Friday, March 5th, while the low for silver occurred on Tuesday, March 2nd, at $16.42. Silver ended the week up $0.80 at $17.42. This week, the most popular silver items included 1 oz. APMEX .999 Fine Silver Rounds, Silver American Eagles, and 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds.
Spot platinum prices opened this week at $1,540.00 and ended the week up $41.90 at $1,581.90. 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Platinum Bars, Platinum American Eagles, and 1 gram Credit Suisse Platinum Bars were popular with platinum investors this week.
Spot palladium prices opened this week at $433.90 and ended the week up $48.50 at $482.40. Popular palladium products this week included 2009 Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs MS-69 NGC and 1 oz. .999 Fine Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars.
Featured Bullion Product:
Each week, APMEX features a different bullion product for the benefit of our readers. This week’s featured product is the Australian Gold Kangaroo from the Perth Mint.
Founded in 1899, the Perth Mint is a world leader in the innovative design and minting of precious metal products. The Perth Mint introduced the Australian Gold Kangaroo/Nugget series of bullion coins in 1987. From its beginning, this issue of coins had two unique features: these coins featured a ‘two-tone’ frosted design effect, and each coin was sealed in an individual hard plastic case. Issued as Australian legal tender, gold Kangaroos are a favorite with investors worldwide.
At first, the reverse of these coins displayed an Australian gold nugget. Then in 1989, the design was changed to feature a more world-recognized symbol of Australia — the kangaroo. The Australian Kangaroo designs vary every year, making these bullion coins highly sought after as collectibles. Struck from .9999 pure gold, Australian Kangaroos make a great addition to anyone’s bullion position.
APMEX offers Australian Gold Kangaroo/Nugget coins in a variety of sizes, including 1 ounce gold coins and fractional gold coins in 1/2, 1/4, 1/10 and 1/20 ounce weights.