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Gold Breaks Losing Streak, Silver Advances, U.S. Eagle Coins Gain

The price of gold advanced on Tuesday, registering gains it held in a retracement on Wednesday after a three-session streak of losses.

U.S. gold futures for February delivery gained 1 percent, closing at $1,662.20 per troy ounce, before retracing to $1,657.60 on Wednesday. The spot price of gold was steadier, closing under $1,660 and trading at $1,657.77 per troy ounce in early Wednesday trade.

Bargain hunting has been cited by reports for the price increase, as well as increased seasonal demand as the Chinese New Year celebrations are just over a month away. Official government data showed imports by China from Hong Kong climbed to a seven-month high in November, data from Bloomberg indicates. Additionally, the Shanghai Gold Exchange reported a sharp increase in physical gold trading on Monday.

Authorized distributors of the U.S. Mint continue to order bullion coins in strong numbers. On Tuesday, American Eagle Gold Coins and American Buffalo Gold Coins advanced 1,500 and 2,000 respectively. Sales for the American Silver Eagle also gained, with 350,000 ounces of the new 2013-dated Silver Eagle coins ordered following the coin’s launch on Monday.

January sales for the American Silver Eagle currently stand at 4,287,000 ounces, which now makes January 2013 the fourth all-time highest sales month in the Eagle’s 27-year history.

Volatility in precious metals combined with the wait-and-see sentiment of the gold market ahead of additional budget deadlines over the next months may be contributing to the record interest in silver bullion at the U.S. Mint. Recent losses in silver have not been as pronounced and there is a great deal of speculation available that silver stands to gain far more than gold.

Last year, the U.S. Mint filled order for 33,742,500 ounces of American Eagle Silver Coins, the third highest yearly total in the coin’s history. The other two highest monthly totals are also from recent years.

Opening day sales for the U.S. Silver Eagle Coin reached 3,937,000 coins, the highest total for a single day since the American Silver Eagle debuted in 1986.

Newly dated American bullion coins are always popular in the month of January, but the sales excitement was particularly strong this week as the 2012-dated Silver Eagles sold out in mid-December, leaving a three week window investors had to wait.

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