Gold Rises as Silver Caps Biggest Weekly Gain Since 2008

NEW YORK (Aug 17)  Gold rose to the highest in almost two months and silver capped the biggest weekly rally since 2008 on signs of higher physical demand for precious metals.

Global bar and coin purchases reached a record last quarter and jewelry usage rose to the most since 2008, World Gold Council figures showed this week. Thirteen analysts surveyed by Bloomberg expect the metal to rise next week, four were bearish and five neutral, the highest proportion of bulls since March 8. Holdings in exchange-traded products backed by silver reached an all-time high yesterday, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Purchases for gold and silver are climbing as lower prices attract consumers after both metals fell into bear markets in April. Gold has rebounded 16 percent since reaching the cheapest in 34 months in June, while silver yesterday entered a bull market, settling 24 percent above its bear-market low. Sales of American Eagle silver coins by the U.S. Mint were 31 million ounces so far this year, compared with 33.7 million ounces sold in all of 2012, data on the website show.

“The rally that we are seeing is being supported by the buoyant physical demand,” Sterling Smith, a Chicago-based commodity futures specialist at Citigroup Inc., said in a telephone interview. “The mood is definitely bullish.”

Silver futures for December delivery climbed 1.7 percent to $23.372 an ounce in New York, capping a gain of 15 percent this week, the most since September 2008. Prices touched $23.445 after the settlement, the highest since May 15.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for October delivery fell 0.3 percent to $1,527.60 an ounce. The price has dropped 1 percent this year.

Palladium futures for September delivery rose 0.8 percent to $763.05 an ounce, extending the year’s gain to 8.5 percent.