Gold And Silver Coin Sales At 11-Year Low In 2018 - U.S. Mint
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(Kitco News) - The U.S. saw very weak coin sales for the second year in a row in 2018 despite lower gold and silver prices, according to the latest data released by the U.S. Mint.
The sales of American Eagle gold and silver coins were the lowest since 2007, while American Buffalo coins saw a modest recovery from the worst year on record.
According to the latest data, a total of 245,500 ounces of the gold American Eagle coins were sold in 2018, which is 18% less than in 2017, when a total of 302,500 ounces was sold. This marked the worst year since 2007, when only 198,500 gold ounces were sold.
Sales of Buffalo gold coins on the other hand recovered from the worst year on record posted in 2017, with 121,500 ounces sold in 2018 in comparison to last year’s results of 99,500.
Sales of silver American Eagle coins were the worst since 2007, with only 15,700,000 ounces sold, down from the already weak figure in 2017 of 18,065,500. In 2007, sales were only at 9,887,000 ounces.
Weak results were partly due to lack of interest in the market, Metals Focus said while noting that the price drops in gold and silver were not big enough to spur demand.
Gold prices kicked off 2018 on a positive note, with futures nearing $1,400 an ounce back in January and hitting a yearly high of around $1,385. But, a few months later, the yellow metal began a prolonged decline, dropping around 14% from its peak.
Metals Focus also pointed out that the election of U.S. President Donald Trump has tampered with demand as well.
“Prior to this, [former President] Obama had targeted greater gun control. The threat that firearms would be confiscated encouraged a sense of siege mentality among some sections of the U.S. public, to the benefit of gun and coin sales. In contrast, Trump’s more favorable stance towards U.S. gun ownership has resulted in weaker firearm sales and, with it, falling precious metals demand from these consumers,” Metals Focus said.
The global bar and coin demand, however, is not looking as gloomy as the U.S. sales, according to the World Gold Council (WGC).
Bar and coin demand surged 28% on an annual basis in Q3, rising to 298.1 tonnes, with growth reported in most markets, WGC said in its Gold Demand Trends report.
“China – the world’s largest bar and coin market – saw demand rise 25% y-o-y. Iranian demand hit a five-and-a-half year high,” the report highlighted.
February Comex gold futures were last trading near six-month highs at $1,289.30, up 0.62% on the day.
Just like last year, the $1,300-an-ounce price target will remain the metal’s key psychological level to breach in the short-term, according to analysts.
For the yellow metal to surge much further beyond the $1,300 level next year, the market will have to see a “holy trinity” of catalysts come together — weaker U.S. dollar, lower U.S. inflation-adjusted real yields, and volatility in the equity space, Pepperston head of research Chris Weston told Kitco News in December.
“If we get that, gold is going to have a very nice place to be in 2019,” he said, describing gold is “the-best-of-the-rest” type of investment. “There’s nothing that really stands out as your go-to safe-haven place. And that suggests that gold could do well.”