It is the first day of May. For the second time this year, I have to write that the price of gold is in danger of sinking below where it began 2018.
When I checked the Kitco website, gold was valued at $1,308.30 an ounce, a measly $2 higher than where it was at the start of the year.
While gold has not traded as strongly at the beginning of 2018 as it has in previous years, it is still doing much better than silver.
This morning, Kitco puts silver at $16.30 an ounce.
That is down 4.5 percent since it ended 2017 at $17.06.
Good news for silver is that demand for silver American Eagles stopped falling in the month of April.
Sales results tied March results at 915,000 Eagles.
This is nothing to write home about, but it is a sign that the downtrend could be ending.
Gold American Eagles, on the other hand, actually improved upon their performance in March.
The Mint sold 4,000 one-ounce coins, up from 2,500 in March.
It also sold 5,000 tenth-ounce pieces.
Adding the two together shows the Mint sold 4,500 ounces of gold in April, compared to 3,500 ounces in March.
No half-ounce or quarter-ounce gold Eagles have been sold since January.
When I last raised the possibility of gold sinking below the 2017 year-end close on Feb. 28, the price soon bounced higher. Gold Eagle sales did not.
Weak February results were followed by weak March results and then weak April results.
Bullion websites report that only Russia seems to be buying gold in recent weeks. Even China has backed off.
But we need to remember Russia has good reason to keep buying.
It fears being cut off from the electronic funds transfer network that all banks use, so its gold holdings are its Plan B to survive in a hostile world.
Most gold buyers are acting to defend themselves against a more theoretical threat.
If they don’t feel like buying today, it is just another day for them.
Russia is staring at a very real threat to its economy.
No one really knows how far economic sanctions will be taken.
Coin collectors simply need to continue to think long term and take advantage of low prices to buy what they need.
For precious metals, market sentiment can turn on a dime – in this case, a 90 percent silver dime.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
• Like this blog? Read more by subscribing to Numismatic News.