Silver futures rose to the highest in a month after the U.S. Mint said it sold out of 2013 American Eagle coins and purchases by the biggest exchange-traded fund for the metal reached the highest in five years.
Sales of the coins are suspended and will resume on or about the week of Jan. 28 when inventory is replenished, the mint said yesterday in an e-mailed statement. Holdings in the iShares Silver Trust on Jan. 16 jumped 572 metric tons, or 5.9 percent, the biggest increase since December 2007, according to data on the fund’s website.
“There’s been some significant buying in silver, especially from the ETFs,” Frank McGhee, the head dealer at Integrated Brokerage Services LLC in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. The mint announcement “is an indication of how much demand has been out there the past few weeks.”
Silver futures for March delivery gained 0.4 percent to settle at $31.932 an ounce at 1:35 p.m. on the Comex in New York, after touching $32.14, the highest since Dec. 18. Prices were up for a fifth straight day, capping the longest rally since August. The metal climbed 5 percent this week, the most since Nov. 23.
Global holdings in exchange-traded products backed by the metal have jumped 10 percent since the end of June, reaching a record 19,686.55 metric tons yesterday, data tracked by Bloomberg show. Futures climbed 8.3 percent last year as central banks in Europe, the U.S. and China pledge more steps to boost growth, boosting the appeal of precious metals as hedges against inflation.
The U.S. Mint sold 6.01 million ounces of American Eagle silver coins so far this month. That’s the most since the 6.11 million ounces sold in January last year, its website shows. December’s total was 1.64 million ounces.
Gold futures for February delivery declined 0.2 percent to $1,687 an ounce on the Comex. Bullion increased 1.6 percent this week.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, platinum futures for April delivery slipped 1.6 percent to settle at $1,674 an ounce, the biggest drop since Dec. 20. The metal gained 2.6 percent for the week and has rallied 8.5 percent this month amid concern supplies will tighten.
Palladium futures for March delivery fell 0.5 percent to $722.75 an ounce on the Nymex, a second straight drop.