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December Gold Demand Strong in Rural India; Perth Mint Sees Surge in Gold and Silver Sales

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There are signs that December was a strong month for global gold demand.

Demand for the yellow metal in rural India surged thanks in large part to higher crop prices. According to the Economic Times, gold demand in rural areas of India grew 15% in December over the previous month. Analysts say the trend will likely continue into January. A rise in the price of the rise in soybeans, guar and cotton have boosted the purchasing power of Indian farmers. A good season of monsoon rains also helped boost farmers’ income.

“Recovery in crop prices is the main reason for gold purchases. Gold is an important asset class for rural people,” Pratap Sharma, an Indore-based jeweler to the Times.

Indians value gold as a store of wealth, especially in poor rural regions. Two-thirds of India’s gold demand comes from these areas, where the vast majority of people live outside the official tax system. This explains why even the poor buy gold in India.

December’s strong demand was part of a broader trend in India. Gold imports into the country grew around 67% in 2017, according to preliminary data released by GFMS.

Last month, World Gold Council chief market strategist John Reade said he expects gold to shine in 2018, and one of the primary reasons will be rising income growth in India. According to the 2018 World Economic League Table, India will leapfrog France and England in 2018 to become the world’s fifth largest economy in dollar terms.

In another sign of strong gold demand in the East, the Perth Mint reported a surge in both gold and silver sales last month. According to data released by the mint, the sale of gold coins and gold bars rose 13% to 27,009 ounces in December. Silver fared even better, with sales surging 61% to 874,437 ounces, up from 544,436 ounces in November.

Australia ranks as the second largest gold producer in the world behind China. The Perth Mint refines more than 90% of the country’s gold.

The Perth Mint has been an important supplier of the surging German demand for gold, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Germans purchased gold and silver coins worth almost $487 million from the mint last financial year and the trade has boomed on the back of events such as Brexit and the global financial crisis. The 2016-17 sales represent more than 158 tons of gold and silver turned into more than 4 million commemorative and special edition coins by the mint.”

Germany has a budding love affair with gold. Over the last 10 years, gold investment has boomed in Deutschland.

Demand for gold in the US has lagged behind the East over the last year. Peter Schiff talked about sagging precious metals sales in the US during an interview at International Metal Writers Conference last summer. Peter said many Americans who typically invest in gold have been lulled into a false sense of security with the election of Donald Trump.

US stocks have continued to surge higher since the election. Some analysts have called this rise in stock prices the “Trump bump.”  During the campaign, Trump called the stock market a “big, fat, ugly bubble.” Now that he owns the bubble, it’s just a bull market. But as Peter pointed out, it’s the same bubble, only bigger.  Peter went on say that Trump’s election has had the opposite effect on gold, creating a sort of anti-bubble.

You have the opposite of a bubble in gold. Certainly, if you look at the United States, Americans are buying less gold now than they’ve done since the bull market began in 1999 – 2000.  Sales from the US Mint have collapsed. At SchiffGold, we just had our weakest quarter since the company has been in existence. And it’s not just my firm. It’s industry-wide. Americans are not buying gold, even though gold prices year-to-date are up more than the S&P 500. But the people who typically buy gold in America voted for Trump, and they’re no longer worried about the economy. So they’re not buying gold. They’re buying stocks instead, and I think they’re making a big mistake. They should be selling their stocks and buying even more gold.”

This might be a good time to consider diversifying your IRA or 401K with precious metals.

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