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INTERVIEW: Perth Mint Prepares For New Product Launch

By Debbie Carlson Kitco News
Thursday August 15, 2013 2:28 PM

(Kitco News) - The Perth Mint will launch new products in September, including a new edition in its Lunar bullion coin series, a director there said on Thursday.

Ron Currie, Perth Mint sales and marketing director, said the mint is gearing up for the Sept. 1 launch of the Lunar horse, which is a limited edition bullion coin in both gold and silver. Last year’s Lunar snake sold out “in a matter of days,” he said.

Additionally, a new silver Australian Kookaburra silver coin will be released, he said, in a limited run of 500,000, and those have sold out for the past six or seven years.

The Perth Mint ends its fiscal year in July, and gold bullion sales for the month were nearly 10,000 ounces over June’s sales, at 56,488.25. July’s silver bullion sales were also above June’s figures, at 697,247.39 ounces. Sales were up 66% and 54% over July 2012 for gold and silver, respectively. Although he did not have full-year sales on hand, he said this year’s sales likely matched last year’s volume.

The Perth Mint saw a surge in April sales after the $200-an-ounce price fall, with gold bullion sales reaching 111,505.06 ounces and silver sales of 1.1 million ounces. Volumes tapered from those lofty levels, but remained elevated. Currie said the sales volume was surprising.

“I thought when the price fell that sales would slow down. But they held up. Our products have a numismatic value as well because of limited mintages. But we’re very pleased with sales,” he said.

On the bullion side, the one-ounce kangaroo remains the most popular coin. They’ve also seen a rise in demand for 50-ounce and 100-ounce silver coins and one-kilo silver bars, he said.

The Perth Mint continues to operate at full capacity and the activity at the mint has been exacerbated by the minting of the new limited edition bullion coins for the September launch, he said. “We’re trying to stock up,” he said.

The Perth Mint has its own refinery, so it hasn’t been affected by any supply shortages. Currie wondered how much of an issue that is, anyway.

“We feel there are a lot of people who talk about short supplies to boost up sales, but frankly we have plenty of supply,” he said.

Currie said demand on the both the bullion and numismatic side is firm, rather than favoring one type or another. “Luckily we have the flexibility in different markets to” respond to changes in trends, he said, noting they do a great deal of business in the U.S. and Europe.

Australian interest rates have fallen recently as the Reserve Bank of Australia has lowered key lending rates. Demand from Australian citizens may have increased, he said, but while interest rates may be lower, prices for other goods and services are higher, offsetting the rate reduction.

The U.S. Federal Reserve, on the other hand, may soon start to wind down its stimulus program, and there are concerns that this might start to pinch gold demand. Currie said that’s more of a short-term issue with gold.

“I don’t think short-term issues are really what people are worried about. It’s the longer term issues people are worried about,” he said.

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By Debbie Carlson of Kitco News; dcarlson@kitco.com,

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and may not reflect those of Kitco Metals Inc. The author has made every effort to ensure accuracy of information provided; however, neither Kitco Metals Inc. nor the author can guarantee such accuracy. This article is strictly for informational purposes only. It is not a solicitation to make any exchange in precious metal products, commodities, securities or other financial instruments. Kitco Metals Inc. and the author of this article do not accept culpability for losses and/ or damages arising from the use of this publication.
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