April 10, 2024

LBMA Precious Metals Market Report: Q1 2024

‘Plus Ultra’, or ‘Further Beyond’ – two words that could equally apply to the LBMA gold price in the first quarter of this year.

On the reverse of the Spanish ‘Pieces of Eight’, the closest thing the seventeenth and eighteenth century world came to a global currency, was an image of two ribbons wrapped around two pillars (which latterly became the $ symbol of today’s global currency). The ribbon carried the motto of the Hapsburg rulers of Spain and Austro-Hungary: ‘Plus Ultra’, or ‘Further Beyond’ – two words that could equally apply to the LBMA gold price in the first quarter of this year.

Coming off a record high on the penultimate trading day of 2023 (28 Dec pm auction - $2078.40), gold established a new level through the quarter, consistently pricing above $2000 (with the exception of three days in mid-February) and indeed above $2100 from 5th March onwards.

As the table shows, March proved to be exceptional in gold price terms with new highs achieved in 12 of the 48 trading sessions – an upward momentum that carried forward into April and resulted in a Jan-Mar gain of 6.72%.

LBMA Gold Price Auction - March 2024. The Month of Record Highs

A.M. auction P.M. auction
4 March 2024 $2083.15* $2098.05*
5 March 2024 $2126.25* $2134.40*
6 March 2024 $2127.35 $2142.85*
7 March 2024 $2156.85* $2153.45
8 March 2024 $2168.65* $2171.20*
11 March 2024 $2178.45* $2180.45*
21 March 2024 $2210.65* $2170.50
28 March 2024 $2207.00 $2214.35*

* Denotes new record high

With few exceptions, the media attempted to explain this rapid rise with reference to vacillations in market opinion on when the US Federal Reserve would begin to reduce interest rates, and also how often. In January, optimists were pricing in four cuts starting as early as May, but hotter than expected US inflation statistics in January coupled with the continuing strength of the US economy characterised in part by a tight labour market began to erode those hopes.

As the quarter drew to a close, the consensus was down to two cuts beginning in June with some suspecting that Fed Chair Jerome Powell might wait until 2025 before making a decisive move.

This US monetary policy uncertainty undoubtedly was one of the key drivers of the gold price. But given the strength of recent moves, and the fact there have been many occasions in the recent past when the Fed’s plans were unclear/unpredictable yet gold’s response was muted, professional analysts tended to cite a cocktail of factors combining to propel the price upwards.

Geopolitical disruptions: the ongoing and currently irresolvable Israel/Palestine conflict; Houthi attacks on Suez Canal shipping, the 22 March Russian nightclub bombing, apparently by ISIS, were one set of issues.

Strong institutional (and significant retail) investment was another, as central banks’ near-record net purchases of 1,077 tonnes in 2023 carried on into the new year. This buying spree was led by the People’s Bank of China, which by the end of January 2024 had increased its officially declared reserves to 2,245 tonnes, but was supported by a range of others including the central banks of Turkey, India, Kazakhstan, Jordan, Czech Republic and others, who between them (according to World Gold Council figures) accounted for a further 32 tonnes in the first month of the year.

A key question is, will the gold price fade or gain from these record levels? To quote Ross Norman, writing in Metals Daily: “Quite possibly it [the upward price move] is a combination of Chinese and official sector buying from other routes, coupled in some sectors with mounting uncertainty over US debt and its manageability. If so, then this could be regarded as extremely "high quality" buying in that it is unlikely to be reversed... and this rally is strong and has legs to run…”


At least 50% of annual consumption of silver is for industrial purposes and it is thus unsurprising that the Q1 2024 price has shown less upward momentum than gold given predictions (beyond the US) of slow economic growth in the developed world and a slowdown in growth in China.

Nonetheless, the silver price did reflect some of gold’s glamour, finally rising past the $23.945 level, which opened the year, on 5 March, to top out at $25.440 on 21 March and finish the quarter at $24.540, a 2.5% gain.

2 Jan 2024 $23.945
7 Mar 2024 $24.155 First rise above 2 Jan price
15 Mar 2024 $25.220 First time in 2024, above $25.0
21 Mar 2024 $25.440 Q1 2024 high
28 Mar 2024 $24.540
28 Mar 2024 $26.025 Highest price, past 12 months

Gold and Silver Held in London Vaults

As at end March 2024, the amount of gold held in London vaults was 8,562 tonnes (a 0.01% increase on previous month), valued at $609.6 billion, which equates to approximately 684,991 gold bars.

There were also 25,612 tonnes of silver (a 1.2% increase on previous month), valued at $20.2 billion, which equates to approximately 823,451 silver bars.

Gold - Q1 2024 2023 Full Year
Performance 2 Jan - 28 Mar +6.72% 3 Jan - 29 Dec +12.39%
Price High – 28 Mar pm $2214.35 Price High – 28 Dec pm $2078.40
Price Low – 14 Feb pm $1985.10 Price Low – 27 Feb am $1809.05
Low/High Range 11.55% Low/High Range 14.89%
Volume High - 20 Mar 43.7m oz Volume High - 4 Dec 57.2m oz
Value High - 20 Mar $94.4bn Value High - 4 Dec $117.2bn
Average Daily Volume 37.7m oz Average Daily Volume 34.0m oz
Average Daily Value $71.7bn Average Daily Value $66.0bn
Silver - Q1 2024 2023 Full Year
Performance 2 Jan - 28 Mar +2.50% 3 Jan - 29 Dec -2.08%
Price High – 21 Mar $25.440 Price High – 14 Apr $26.025
Price Low – 14 Feb $22.085 Price Low – 10 Mar $20.090
Low/High Range 15.19% Low/High Range 29.54%
Average Daily Volume 345.2m oz Average Daily Volume 350.0m oz
Average Daily Value $8.1bn Average Daily Value $8.2bn