(Kitco News) - Demand for the Royal Canadian Mint's gold and silver bullion products remains "very strong," said an official from the mint on Wednesday.
"Year-to-date, after the second quarter, we've had record volume for silver Maple Leafs, the greatest we've had in the over 25 years that we've produced them. We've seen near-record volume, only second to 2009, year-to-date, for our gold Maple Leafs," said Chris Carkner, managing director, sales, for bullion, refinery and exchange-traded products at the Royal Canadian Mint.
When the mint released its annual report in May, it also made a special mention of sales volumes for the first four months of 2013, calling demand "aggressive" at the time.
The mint will release its second-quarter data at the end of the month.
Volatility in the precious metals markets helped demand, he added.
"When prices drop in the market, then people see it as a buying opportunity," Carkner told Kitco News on the sidelines of the American Numismatic Association's World's Fair of Money.
Volumes come primarily from North America, with solid demand also from Europe and Asia, he added.
The heightened demand for bullion products has left many mints struggling to find supply to produce coins. That's not been an issue for the Royal Canadian Mint as it refines its own gold for coins. "It's an advantage to being vertically integrated," Carkner said.
Bullions sales for the year are still strong, but Carkner declined to forecast trends for the rest of the year, saying the mint does not speculate on price or volume. He only would say that they are "optimistic" about volume.
The Northern Hemisphere summer is traditionally a slow time for coin and metal sales, but that's not the case this year, he said. That's following a trend established over the past five to six years where demand holds up. "That's because of the extended bull market," he said.
By Debbie Carlson of Kitco News; email@example.com,