Gold Coin Sales From Mints Ease in Q1

June 28, 2012 – Gold coin demand fell in key markets during the early part of this year as strong demand for small investment products eased from record highs in 2011, according to data from three major Mints.

The United States, Canadian, and Austrian Mints, which produce three of the world’s top five bullion investment coins, reported lower sales during the first quarter of 2012 compared with a year ago.

Combined, the sales of U.S. American Eagles, Canadian Maple Leafs, and Vienna Philharmonic gold coins dropped more than a third to 451,113 ounces in the first three months of the year.

The Royal Canadian Mint saw the largest decrease in gold Maple Leaf coin sales, down 46 percent to 160,000 ounces from 296,000.

In an annual report, the Royal Canadian Mint said, “The Mint cannot predict the precious metals market. Performance of the Bullion and Refinery business should remain competitive although, overall, markets are expected to remain considerably weaker than in 2011.”

Gold American Eagle coins saw a decrease in sales of nearly 30 percent to 210,500 ounces as Austrian Philharmonics decreased by 39 percent to 80,613 ounces during the first quarter.

The purchase of gold investment products, mainly gold bars, but including coins, helped generate a rally in gold prices to the all time nominal high of $1,923.30 per troy ounce last year. They have since fallen around $350 in the most significant correction the gold market has seen in eleven years.

After a very strong January with record sales, the volatile prices in the gold market have already given up the bulk of their gains year to date. Risk-averse buyers are likely to wait until a definite and stable floor is in the market before reentering.

“Last year was a tremendous boom year,” said Miguel Perez-Santalla, vice president of purchasing for APMEX, one of the US Mint’s national authorized dealers.

“But I do expect that we are going to see a much better performance in the second half of the year, predominantly as European economic scenarios continue to decline, which will drive more people to investing in gold bullion coins.”

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