In a setback for the U.S. economy, retail sales fell in May as consumers curtailed their spending on everything from cars to clothing, the Commerce Department reported. The drop in sales reported by the Commerce Department on Friday reflected weak gasoline prices and the end of a home buyer tax credit which had previously boosted sales of building materials, according to Reuters.
The Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. trade deficit with China expanded from $16.90 billion in March to $19.31 billion in April, adding to a trend that some economists worry could revive the international trade imbalances that many see as a major contributor to the recent financial crisis. U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said China was taking some steps to address U.S. concerns about its currency and trade policy, but also vowed to press for more fundamental change. “We are seeing some progress, but we still face many challenges,” he said.
With the onset of the World Cup in South Africa, Rand Refinery Ltd., of Johannesburg, South Africa, raised production of Krugerrand coins to a 25-year high as Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis boosted investor demand for bullion, according to a story from Bloomberg. Output last week jumped 50 percent to 30,000 ounces of blank coins for minting by SA Mint, said Debra Thomson, the refinery’s treasurer. “We’re seeing higher demand for gold because of the sovereign-debt crisis in Europe and the depreciation of the euro,” said Thomson. “People are looking for gold as a safe haven.” Increased demand for gold caused a brief new high for the yellow metal. Gold set a new record early on Tuesday at $1,254.50 before settling again under the $1,250.00 mark where it remained for the rest of the week.
Spot gold prices opened this week at $1,220.90. The high during the week was on Tuesday, June 8th, at $1,254.50, while the low for the week occurred on Thursday, June 10th, at $1,216.20. Gold ended the week up $7.50 at $1,228.40. The most popular products with gold investors this week were Gold American Eagles, 1 gram APMEX Gold Bars and Gold Canadian Maple Leafs.
Spot silver prices opened this week at $17.45. Silver reached a high of $18.54 on Friday, June 11th, while this week’s low for silver occurred on Monday, June 7th, at $17.20. Silver ended the week up $0.82 at $18.27. The most popular silver items on APMEX.com this week were Silver American Eagles, 1 oz. APMEX Silver Rounds and Silver Canadian Maple Leafs.
Spot platinum prices opened this week at $1,517.00 and ended the week up $23.20 at $1,540.20. Platinum investors showed the most interest in 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Platinum Bars, Platinum American Eagles and 5 gram Credit Suisse Platinum Bars this week.
Spot palladium prices opened this week at $428.00 and ended the week up $22.10 at $450.10. Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs and Lewis & Clark design 1 oz. Palladium Bars were the most popular palladium products on APMEX.com this week.
Featured Bullion Product:
Each week, APMEX features a different bullion product for the benefit of our readers. This week, in honor of the beginning of the World Cup in South Africa, we will examine the South African Gold Krugerrand.
The Krugerrand was the first modern gold bullion coin ever struck by any nation. These coins were originally minted in 1967 to help South Africa sell some of its vast gold reserves to investors around the world. The Krugerrand was also the world’s first gold coin that weighed exactly 1 Troy ounce and many worldwide investors purchased these coins to add a precious metal investment to their portfolios. These beautiful coins are struck in 22-karat gold and weigh just over one ounce. The additional copper alloy was added to make the coins harder and more resistant to scratches. This alloy gives the Krugerrand its distinctive color. Krugerrands have been continuously minted in South Africa since 1967.
On the obverse, or front, of these coins is a portrait of Paul Kruger, the last President of the Republic of South Africa. The reverse, or back, of this coin depicts a Springbok Antelope, which is one of South Africa’s national symbols. The name “Krugerrand” is a combination of Paul Kruger’s name and the word “rand” which is one of the monetary units of South Africa. These attractive coins are backed by the government of South Africa for their purity, content and fineness. Krugerrands have also been minted in ½ Troy Ounce, ¼ Troy Ounce and 1/10th Troy Ounce sizes as well as having been struck in both Uncirculated and collector’s Proof conditions.
APMEX offers a great selection of South African Krugerrands dated the current year and in several prior years in Brilliant Uncirculated condition. Coins purchased in quantities of 20 or more will be delivered in special mint tubes. Krugerrands make an excellent addition to investment portfolios and are recognized worldwide for their lasting value.