Gold gained 6.7% and Silver 16.18% on a quarter

Gold futures ended a three-day losing streak on Friday, rallying 1% as the dollar slipped and traders went back to the yellow metal after recent losses. Gold for June delivery rose $17, up 0.42% on the week. It settled at $1,671.90 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange. On the year’s first quarter  gold gained 6.7%.

May silver settled at $32.484 an ounce, up 0.66% on the week.

Gold prices ended the month of March down 2.46%, but ended the quarter up 6.38%.

Silver fell 6.23% on the month, but is up 16.18% on the quarter.

The week ahead will be important, because it is the start of a new quarter. Gold’s ability to hold $1,660 is critical and it will indicate the near term direction of the yellow metal’s price. If it stays above $1,660, that may entice second-quarter asset allocation into gold, if investors feel the metal is trying to put in a short-term floor. If it cannot, then these investors might hold back, hoping to buy gold at a discount to current values.

The weakness in gold prices in the last few weeks has caused some investment banks to curtail their average price outlook for the yellow metal for 2012. UBS, TD Securities and Deutsche Bank reduced their average gold price for the year to reflect the lackluster activity in March.

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