American Gold and Silver Eagle Sales Continue at Torrid Pace
The demand for gold and silver bullion coins surged in the last half of 2015, and it has not abated so far this year, despite a rally in the price of both metals.
Last year, demand was so strong the US Mint sold out of American Silver Eagles in July. Inventory was replenished in August, but the coins were on weekly allocations of roughly 1 million ounces for the rest of the year. The mint set a record for Silver Eagle sales in 2015, with the final total coming in at 47 million ounces.
The demand for American Gold Eagles was equally brisk in the last half of 2015. The US Mint announced it had sold out of one-ounce coins in late November and halted production for the year. It sold out of smaller sized Gold Eagles earlier that month.
As we head into March, the pace of bullion coin sales has not slowed at the US Mint. After buying more than 5.95 million American Silver Eagles in January, investors have already snatched up more than 4 million ounces this month to date. In comparison, the US Mint sold just over 5.53 million ounces in January last year, and 3 million ounces in February 2015. The mint has carried over weekly allocations into 2016 because production still can’t keep pace with demand.
The year-over-year increase in American Gold Eagle sales looks even more impressive. Last month, the US Mint sold 124,000 ounces of Gold Eagles compared with just 81,000 ounces in the first month of 2015. It was the highest January sales level since 2013. So far in February, the mint has sold 71,500 ounces of Gold Eagles compared with 18,000 ounces last year.
US News and World Report recently published an article highlighting the demand for gold and silver bullion coins, pointing out that some investors prefer to own physical coins as an insurance policy against worst case scenarios like currency devaluation, war, and other civil strife. US News quoted a precious metal trader who put it this way:
If I’m holding it in my hand, someone else can’t pledge away what I own. It won’t disappear. It’s the rock-bottom security that what’s in my hand has a value and has had a value since the time of Tutankhamen. Thirty-five hundred years is a pretty good track record for me.”
The demand isn’t limited to American Gold and Silver Eagles. Worldwide demand for physical gold was robust in the final quarter of 2015. According to the Thompson-Reuters Gold Survey, purchases of gold bars and coins rose a healthy 5%, to an estimated 299 tons. A strong rebound in Chinese and Indian demand helped push global demand.
It seems likely that demand for physical gold and silver will continue and even grow in the months ahead due to the economic storm clouds gathering on the horizon. Data seems to indicate we may well be heading into recession – if we haven’t entered one already. Now is the time to buy gold and silver, before the crash.
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