October 2, 2022

Silver Remains in a Tug of War Between Supply and Demand

proof-silver-eagleAfter a fierce correction from the highs of 2011 have  the market forces of supply and demand resulted in a stabilized silver price?

On the demand side the industrial use of silver is at a nine year high with fabrication usage expected to rise to over 890 million ounces.   A wide variety of businesses use huge amounts of silver in the production of such items as jewelry, solar panels, electronics, cars, tableware, and photography.

Although silver is most commonly associated by many people as a precious metal investment the industrial demand for silver far exceeds investment demand.  For example, sales by the U.S. Mint of the ever popular American Eagle silver bullion coins hit a record last year of almost 42 million ounces (see Silver Bullion Coin Sales Soar) but this amount is a fraction of industrial usage. Since 2000 to date the U.S. Mint has sold over 292 million one ounce American Eagle silver bullion coins which amounts to only 32% of  estimated industrial demand for just one year.

Even as industrial demand for silver booms, Bloomberg News reports that investment demand for silver has diminished due to tapering of quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve, reduction of the safe haven appeal of silver, reduced demand by China, and the correlation coefficient between gold and silver.

Silver is being undermined by its association with gold.

gold-bullion

While makers of everything from jewelry to solar panels are buying the most silver in nine years, prices are languishing. Investors are dismissing industrial demand and instead focusing on the waning appeal of precious metals as a haven, with the Federal Reserve paring economic stimulus measures, inflation muted and equities rallying.

Silver has been dragged down by a yearlong slump in gold, the commodity most widely held by investors in exchange-traded funds, following a decade-long rally that saw prices for both surge more than sixfold. The five most-accurate precious-metals analysts tracked by Bloomberg over the past two years predict silver will average $18.80 an ounce in the third quarter, the lowest since 2010, and gold will drop 7.3 percent.

“The industrial driver can help, but I don’t think it’s as influential as the investor,” said Robin Bhar, head of metals research at Societe Generale SA in London and the most-accurate forecaster tracked by Bloomberg. “Investors were bullish silver because gold was in a bull market. Now that we have gold in a bear market, there’s less enthusiasm coming from investors.”

The correlation has been strong. From December 2008 to June 2011, silver tripled and gold surged 70 percent, with both touching all-time highs, as the Fed pumped more than $2 trillion into the financial system and cut interest rates to a record in a bid to boost the economy. Last year, when signs of economic growth sent gold down 28 percent, silver plunged 36 percent. The declines were the most for both metals since 1981.

Goldman said in an April 13 report that in the long term, silver tends to track gold, and its forecast reflects the historical ratio to gold. An ounce of gold bought 67.21 ounces of silver in London on April 30, the highest since July. The average over the past 30 years is 64.8.

The link with gold is stronger than that with industrial metals. The mean of silver’s 30-week correlation coefficient to gold was 0.86 over the past five years, compared with 0.51 with the London Metal Exchange Index of industrial metals, data compiled by Bloomberg show. A figure of 1 means two assets always move in the same direction.

“The precious-metal characteristic is likely to dominate,” said Barnabas Gan, an analyst at Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. in Singapore, and the second-most accurate precious metals forecaster over the past two years. “The risk of higher real interest rates may likely magnify in the middle-long run, and thus raises the opportunity cost for holding silver. The improving global economic picture is also likely to pale safe-haven demand.”

Concern over the value of haven assets is trumping signs that industrial demand is improving. Half of silver supply is used to make things, more than the 10 percent for gold, and demand is picking up as economic growth fuels sales of electronics and cars from China to the U.S.

Since precious metals generally earn returns only through price gains, silver investors were “disillusioned” by the slump over the past year and put their money elsewhere, New York-based researcher CPM said in an April 29 report. Investment demand tumbled 42 percent last year to 105.3 million ounces, the lowest since 2008, according to CPM, which forecast average prices in 2014 will be lower for a third straight year.

SILVER DOLLARS

At the same time, fabrication usage including by makers of cars, jewelry and tableware will rise 2.9 percent this year to 890.7 million ounces, the most since 2005, CPM said. Silver content is increasing in vehicles with more electronics, according to Metals Focus Ltd., a London-based research company. After dropping last year, demand from electronics and battery makers will rebound in 2014, CPM forecasts.

Most industrial metals will get a boost from growth. The world economy expanded 2.1 percent in 2013 and will increase 2.8 percent this year and 3.1 percent in 2015, according to economists surveyed by Bloomberg. While that will help spur a 2.1 percent gain in industrial and photographic demand for silver, investors will sell 250 metric tons from funds backed by the metal, Barclays Plc estimates.

“Silver is not benefiting even though it has so much industrial use as people still call it a precious metal,” James Paulsen, the Minneapolis-based chief investment strategist at Wells Capital Management, which oversees about $357 billion in assets, said. “Its a tug of war between its safe-haven appeal and its use as industrial metal.”

Hedge funds have cut their bets on higher silver prices by 90 percent in the past two months on the Comex in New York, holding a net-long position of 2,620 futures and options in the week to April 22, U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show. The five-year average is about 20,510 contracts.

Despite a huge appetite for silver by industrial users, the reduction of investment demand and a production oversupply may continue to pressure silver prices. During 2014 HSBC is projecting an increase in silver supply to 1.09 billion ounces with demand remaining flat at 938 million ounces.

Until the financial system blows up again, the tug of war between supply and demand in the silver market is likely to restrain silver prices for the immediate future.

Sales of Platinum American Eagle Coins Slow Down After Fast Start

2013 Platinum ProofUS Mint Resumes Production of American Eagle Platinum Bullion Coin

The United States Mint first began minting the American Eagle platinum bullion coin in 1997 but suspended production in late 2008 when demand for gold and silver bullion coins skyrocketed in the wake of the financial crisis.  With its production capacity strained by huge investor demand for gold and silver coins, the US Mint decided to suspend the production of platinum coins.

In 2007, the year before suspending production, annual sales of the platinum bullion coin totaled only 9,050 ounces.  During 2008, the platinum bullion coin was sold up until November and a total of 33,700 ounces of coins were sold.  The coin had been available in one ounce, one-half ounce, one-quarter ounce, and one-tenth ounce sizes with legal tender values of $100, $50, $25, and $10, respectively.

In addition to the bullion version of the American Eagle platinum coin a numismatic proof version of the coin was also available from 1997 to 2008 in all four sizes.  Despite suspending production of the bullion platinum coins in 2008 the Mint continued to annually produce one numismatic version of the platinum coin for collectors.  The numismatic proof version of the platinum coin undergoes a specialized minting process at the Mint where they are struck multiple times with special dies that result in the coin having a softly frosted finish with detailed images that seem to float above the mirror like surface of the coin.

AE Platinum Proof Reverse

AE Platinum Proof Reverse

The 2014 American Eagle Platinum bullion coins are produced by the West Point Mint and only come in a one ounce size.  In March, the first month that the coins were available, the Mint sold 10,000 coins as authorized purchasers built up inventories for sale to the public.  Just as with the American Eagle gold and silver bullion coins, the public cannot buy them directly from the Mint but must purchase them through US Mint authorized purchasers or coin dealers.  April sales of the platinum bullion coins totaled only 1,200 ounces.

Platinum is one of the rarest of precious metals with annual production through mining and recycling of only about 7 million ounces.  The vast majority of all platinum mined comes from South Africa and Russia both of which have unstable political situations which has resulted in frequently curtailed production.  Platinum consumption is expected to exceed supply during 2014 with the deficit coming out of platinum stocks.

Resumption of the production of platinum coins by the US Mint now allows investors the opportunity to diversify their precious metal holdings

U.S. Mint Silver Bullion Coin Sales Hit Record High

proof-silver-eagleAs discussed in a previous post, sales of the American Eagle silver bullion coins were on track to post record sales volume in 2013.  It’s now official – sales of U.S. Mint silver bullion coins surged past the old record set in 2011 and are track to hit a record high of 45 million ounces in 2013.

According to the U.S. Mint year to date sales of the American Eagle silver bullion coins total 40,175,000.  The previous record was set in 2011 when sales of the silver bullion coins came in at 39,868,500.  Based on monthly sales volume, the U.S. Mint might sell an additional 5 million coins by year end.

The American public loves the American Eagle silver bullion coins and can’t seem to get enough of them.  After an exuberant rise to almost $50 per ounce during 2011 silver has corrected in price to the low $20’s.  Although the decline in silver has elicited numerous bearish commentary in the mainstream press, long term investors seem to be doubling down as the price of silver price has become irresistibly cheap.  Yearly sales of the silver bullion coins have increased by almost 500% since 2008.

Total yearly sales of the American Eagle silver bullion coins are shown in the chart below with the 2013 total as of November 12, 2013.

2013-W Proof Silver Eagle

proof-silver-eagle

In addition to the silver bullion coins the U.S. Mint produces a proof silver eagle coin.  According to the Mint News Blog the 2013-W Proof silver Eagle has already sold out and 2013 is the third year in a row that this popular product has sold out well before year end.

Sales for the 2013 Proof Silver Eagle originally began at the US Mint on January 24, 3013. Opening orders were slower compared to the prior two years, however the pace of orders remained brisk throughout the year. The coin typically represented one of the US Mint’s top sellers on the weekly sales reports.

Recently, weekly sales had spiked, with 29,613 units orders in the previous reporting period and an indication of 29,025 units ordered in the week just ahead of the sell out. Sales data shows total orders at 880,030 units. This is a bit higher than recent prior years.

In 2011, the individual proof Silver Eagle had sold out on November 22 after reaching sales of 850,000. In 2012, the sell out had occurred on November 13 when sales had reached 819,217.

The American Eagle silver bullion coins cannot be purchased by individuals directly from the U.S Mint.  The coins are sold only to the Mint’s network of authorized purchasers who buy the coins in bulk based on the market value of silver and a markup by the U.S. Mint.  The authorized purchasers sell the silver coins to coin dealers, other bullion dealers and the public.  The Mint’s rationale for using authorized purchasers is that this method makes the coins widely available to the public with reasonable transaction costs.

1881-CC-Morgan-Dollar

The U.S. Mint American Eagle silver bullion coins remain a popular method of building wealth with periodic purchases.  The American public can’t seem to get enough of the bullion coins and the desperate actions of global central banks to keep the financial system afloat with a deluge of paper money can only cause more financial anxiety and more silver purchases going forward.

American Silver Eagle Coin Sales On Verge of Record Shattering Year

american-silver-eagleThe American public’s love affair with the U.S. Mint American Eagle silver bullion coin continues unabated.   Ever since the financial meltdown of 2008 there has been an explosion in demand for the silver coins.  Average yearly sales of the silver bullion coins have increased by almost 500% since 2008 and sales for 2013 are on the verge of shattering all previous yearly sales records.

According to the U.S. Mint, sales of the American Eagle silver bullion coins totaled 3,087,000 ounces for October up slightly from September monthly sales.   Demand for the silver coins has remained robust throughout the year and total annual sales at the end of October reached 39,175,000 million ounces.

The all time yearly sales record for American silver bullion coins was 2011 when sales hit 39,868,500 ounces.  Based on current monthly sales the total number of silver coins sold in 2013 should be in the neighborhood of 45,000,000 ounces or almost 13% higher than the record hit in 2011.

Total yearly sales of the American Eagle silver bullion coins are shown in the chart below with the 2013 total through the end of October.

The market value of all silver bullion coins purchased since 2000 is $5.9 billion.  We know that silver prices will fluctuate over the years.  We also know that the “all mighty government” cannot produce silver coins by the trillions like they do with the U.S. dollar.  Based on the irresponsible financial conduct of both the Federal Reserve and the Federal government, is it any wonder that citizens are voting with their pocketbooks and moving into real stores of value such as silver?

SILVER DOLLARSThe American Eagle silver bullion coins cannot be purchased by individuals directly from the U.S Mint.  The coins are sold only to the Mint’s network of authorized purchasers who buy the coins in bulk based on the market value of silver and a markup by the U.S. Mint.  The authorized purchasers sell the silver coins to coin dealers, other bullion dealers and the public.  The Mint’s rationale for using authorized purchasers is that this method makes the coins widely available to the public with reasonable transaction costs.

The U.S. Mint American Eagle silver bullion coins remain a popular method of building wealth with periodic purchases.  The American public can’t seem to get enough of the bullion coins and the desperate actions of global central banks to keep the financial system afloat with a deluge of paper money can only cause more financial anxiety and more silver purchases going forward.

Silver Soars On Strong Physical Demand and Bargain Prices

proof-silver-eagle3There is no denying that it has been a really tough year for silver investors with silver dropping from $32.23 in January to a yearly low of $18.61 in June.  Is the silver price correction finally over?  The ridiculously low price of silver has resulted in a strong surge of demand worldwide and the price of silver has soared by 23% since the June low.

No one knows if the three year bear market in silver is finally over but investors seem to have made up their minds that the current price of silver is at give away levels.  The World Gold Council reported last week that bar and coin purchases rose to record levels last quarter.  Silver demand in India and China remains very strong and U.S. investors have been buying American Eagle silver bullion coins at a record pace.

Sales by the U.S. Mint of the American Eagle silver bullion coin may hit an all time record this year based on year to date sales data.  The all time record year for sales of the silver bullion coins was in 2011 when the Mint sold almost 40 million one ounce coins.

Sales of the silver bullion coins since 2000 are shown below with sales for 2013 as of July 31st.

American Silver Eagle Bullion Coins
YEAR OUNCES SOLD
2000    9,133,000
2001    8,827,500
2002   10,475,500
2003    9,153,500
2004    9,617,000
2005   8,405,000
2006   10,021,000
2007    9,887,000
2008   19,583,500
2009   28,766,500
2010   34,662,500
2011   39,868,500
2012   33,742,500
2013   29,450,000

TOTAL 261,593,000

With sales of almost 30 million coins through July, annualized sales based on monthly sales to date would result in a record smashing year with investors purchasing over 50 million American Eagle silver bullion coins.  With governments worldwide printing money to prop up a financial system overwhelmed by debt it’s probably a very safe bet that the price of silver will continue to increase in price.

Since 2000 investors have bought over a quarter of a billion silver eagle bullion coins with a current estimated value of over $5.7 billion.  The U.S. Mint American Eagle bullion coin program has been one of the most successful mint products ever produced.

US Mint Gold and Silver Bullion Sales Soar In April

geThe exploding demand for physical gold and silver has become a worldwide phenomenon.  Shortly after the price plunge of early April buyers rushed in to take advantage of bargain prices.  Dealers and mints worldwide have reported off the charts demand for physical gold and silver.

Intense demand across Asia has resulted in shortages of gold and silver in both India and China as dealers struggle to keep up.  Singapore’s largest supplier of coins and bars reports depleted stocks of silver and long delivery delays.

The surge in physical demand is also rapidly depleting U.S. gold inventories according to Reuters.

Physical gold held at CME Group’s Comex warehouses in New York have dropped to a near-five year low in a further sign that gold’s price crash unleashed a frenzy of demand as investors scramble to buy bars and coins.

U.S. gold stocks, comprised of 100-troy ounce COMEX gold bars, have fallen almost 30 percent since February, as dealers have switched to selling into the burgeoning Asian market, where prices and demand are higher than in New York.

But the pace of the outflows from vaults has accelerated since bullion’s historic sell-off, falling more than 7 percent last week for its biggest weekly drop since 2005.

The latest sales figures from the U.S. Mint for April are further confirmation of  the voracious demand for physical gold and silver.  Sales of both the America Eagle gold and silver bullion coins skyrocketed in April.

According to the US Mint, sales of the American Eagle gold bullion coin totaled 209,500 ounces in April, up a stunning 948% from the previous year and up 22% from the previous month.  The gold bullion coins had the largest amount of sales since December 2009 when 231,500 ounces were sold.

Gold and silver bullion coin sales have soared since the financial crash of 2008 and the subsequent repetitive use of the print button by the world’s central banks.  In order to get a perspective on the flight to precious metals, consider that over the entire year of 2007, the US Mint sold a total of only 198,500 ounces of gold bullion coins – less than montly sales during April 2013.

Sales of the American Eagle silver bullion coins were also very strong.  During April 2013, the US Mint sold 4,087,000 silver bullion coins, up 169% over April of last year and up 22% from the previous month’s sales.  The US Mint has struggled to keep up with demand even before the April surge.  Sales of the American silver eagles was recently suspended twice and in late April the US Mint suspended sales of the one-tenth ounce American eagle gold bullion coin due to inventory depletion.

Based on sales to date, it would not be surprising to see an all time record high amount of the American Eagle silver bullion coins sold in 2013.

 

Physical Demand For Gold and Silver Skyrockets – Gold Bullion Coin Sales Highest Since December 2009

1881-CC-Morgan-DollarWe have probably all heard enough already from the mainstream nitwits who are forecasting the end of the gold bull market and further price declines.  Funny thing though, most precious metal investors don’t need advice from self proclaimed experts on how to invest their money.  The explicitly stated goal of central banks to increase the rate of inflation through currency debasement is blatantly obvious.  Investors are acting accordingly by taking advantage of the recent decline in precious metal prices.

A look at product availability and pricing at some major coin and bullion dealers shows spot shortages of gold and silver as well as large premiums as investor demand overwhelms supply.

The Perth Mint reports that retail customers are increasing purchases at a record rate even as gold slumps to a 21 month low.  As the experts were proclaiming the “Death of Gold”, the Perth Mint website recorded the highest activity of the year and one of the best days of the past year.  Bargain prices on gold and silver have greatly increased the demand for physical gold and silver by the public.  Demand for gold coins have skyrocketed with sales of Australian gold bullion coins increasing by 48% in the first quarter over the comparable prior year period.

2013-Australian-Kangaroo-1oz-Gold-Bullion-Coin-Reverse-S

Buying by U.S. investors of the American Eagle gold and silver bullion coins has also increased dramatically.  Through April 16th, sales by the U.S. Mint of the American Eagle gold bullion coins have already exceeded total monthly sales for the previous two months.  At the current sales pace, sales of the gold bullion coins in April will total over 167,000 ounces, an increase of over 260% from the prior month.  The last time sales of gold bullion coins exceeded 167,000 ounces was in December 2009 when the U.S. Mint sold 231,500 ounces.

Sales of the American Eagle silver bullion coins are also strong in April, continuing a trend that began with the financial crisis in 2008.  Sales of the silver bullion coins through April 16th total 2.2 million ounces.  If the current sales pace continues through the end of April total sales of the Silver Eagle coins will increase by 31% over the previous month.

Short term speculators may be crashing the precious metals markets, but long term investors in gold and silver see this as the ultimate golden opportunity to increase positions.

 

Gold and Silver Bullion Coin Sales Soar In February

Sales of both the American Eagle gold and silver bullion coins soared in February compared to the previous year.

According to the U.S. Mint, sales of the American Eagle gold bullion coin totaled 80,500 ounces in February, up 283% from comparable sales of 21,000 ounces during February 2012.  During January, the Mint sold 150,000 ounces of the gold bullion coins compared to 127,000 ounces during January 2012.  January gold bullion sales were the six largest on record and the most since July 2010 when the Mint sold 151,500 ounces.

Total 2013 sales of the American Eagle gold bullion coin through February are up 56% over the comparable period for last year.  Year to date, the U.S. Mint has sold 230,500 ounces of gold bullion coins compared to a total of 148,000 ounces during the first two months of 2012.

The American Eagle gold bullion coin is available in one ounce, one-half ounce, one quarter ounce and one-tenth ounce versions.   The vast majority of gold bullion coins are purchased as one ounce coins as can be seen from the February sales breakdown listed below.

FEB 2013 GOLD BULLION SALES
OUNCES # COINS
ONE 68,000 68,000
HALF 2,500 5,000
QUARTER 3,000 12,000
TENTH 7,000 70,000
80,500 155,000

Sales of the American Eagle silver bullion coin also remained robust after last month’s record shattering sales total.  During January, the U.S. Mint sold 7,498,000 silver bullion coins as public demand for physical silver coin soared.  The huge demand for the American Eagle silver coins forced the U.S. Mint to suspend sales twice as they sought to ramp up production to meet demand.  Ever since the financial crisis and the subsequent open ended money printing operations by the Federal Reserve, demand for physical silver has continued strong.   Prior to 2008, total annual sales of the silver bullion coins averaged only around 9.5 million coins.  During 2012, the U.S. Mint sold 33,742,500 silver bullion coins.

During February, the U.S. Mint reported that 3,368,500 American Eagle silver bullion coins were sold, an increase of 126% over sales of 1,490,000 ounces during February 2012.  Year to date sales of the silver bullion coins through February total 10,866,500, up by 43% over the comparable two month period during 2012 when 7,597,000 silver bullion coins were sold.

Long term investors are taking advantage of temporary price weakness in precious metals to add to positions (see APMEX Reports Sales Spike).   Virtually every major central bank in the world is now engaged in open ended money printing operations and blatant attempts to competitively devalue their currencies.  The public is not stupid and continued demand for physical gold and silver proves that gold and silver are becoming the default store of value.

Both the American Eagle gold and silver bullion coins are sold to the Mint’s network of authorized purchasers who buy the coins in bulk based on the market value of the precious metals and a markup by the Mint.  The public is not allowed to purchase bullion coins directly from the Mint but are allowed to buy numismatic versions of the coins.  The gold and silver bullion coins are sold by the authorized purchasers to the public, other bullion dealers and coin dealers.  The rationale for the Mint’s use of authorized purchasers is that this method makes the coins widely available to the public with reasonable transaction costs.

American Eagle Gold Bullion Coin Sales Soar In January To Multi-Year High

Sales of the American Eagle gold bullion coin soared during the first month of the year.  According to the US Mint, gold bullion coin sales totaled 150,000 ounces, up 97.4% from December 2012 when 76,000 ounces were sold.  Sales for the month were up 18.1% from comparable sales of 127,000 ounces a year ago during January 2012.

There has been a surge in demand for both gold and silver bullion coins during the first month of 2013.  Sales of the American Silver Eagle bullion coins hit an all time record high during January as public demand for physical silver soared.  The U.S. Mint has been forced to suspend sales of the silver bullion coins twice since last December since their entire stock was sold out.  In addition, opening day sales for the 2013 American Silver Eagle bullion coins were the largest on record with total sales of 3,937,000 coins.  To put this huge sales figure into perspective, prior to 2008, total annual sales of the silver bullion coins was only about 9.5 million coins.

January sales of 150,000  ounces of American Eagle gold bullion coins was the sixth largest on record and represents a multi-year high in sales since July 2010 when 152,000 ounces were sold.  The previous record months were June 2010 with 151,500 ounces, December 2009 with 231,500 ounces, April 2009 with 157,500 ounces and December 2008 with 176,000 ounces.

The gold bullion coins are available in one ounce, one-half ounce, one quarter ounce and one-tenth ounce.  The total number of coins sold during January 2013 was 275,500 as shown below.

JAN 2013 GOLD BULLION SALES
OUNCES # COINS
ONE 124,500 124,500
HALF 8,500 17,000
QUARTER 6,000 24,000
TENTH 11,000 110,000
150,000 275,500

The American Eagle gold bullion coins are not sold directly to the public but rather to the Mint’s network of authorized purchasers who buy the coins in bulk based upon the market value of gold and a Mint markup.  The authorized purchasers then resell the coins to the public, coin dealers and other bullion dealers.  The U.S. Mint utilizes this distribution channel in order to make the coins widely available to the public with reasonable transaction costs and premiums in line with other bullion programs.

American Silver Eagle Bullion Coin Sales For 2012 Tops 33 Million Ounces – Mint Runs Out Of Coins

According to the U.S. Mint, total sales of the American Silver Eagle bullion coins for December 2012 totaled only 1,635,000 ounces, down by 18.6% from 2,009,000 coins sold during December 2011.  The lowest monthly sales for the year occurred in February when 1,490,000 Silver Eagle Bullion coins were sold.  The highest monthly sales of the Silver Eagles occurred in January when 6,107,000 coins were sold.

Demand for the Silver Eagle bullion coins has been robust this year and the low sales for December do not reflect reduced demand but rather reduced U.S. Mint production.   As reported by Coin Update, the Mint reported in mid December that all Silver Eagle bullion coins had sold out and no additional coins would be struck during 2012.  The Mint announced that the 2013 Silver Eagle bullion coins should be available to authorized purchasers on January 7, 2013.

As with other bullion programs, the US Mint does not sell Silver Eagle bullion coins directly to the public, but distributes them through a network of authorized purchasers. The primary distributors are able to purchase the coins in bulk quantities at a price based on the market price of silver plus a fixed mark up. The coins are then resold to other bullion dealers, coin dealers, and the public.

The US Mint originally began accepting orders for the 2012 Silver Eagles from authorized purchasers on January 3, 2012. After a strong January, monthly sales trailed the levels of the prior year until October when demand started to move higher. In November, bullion sales continued their renewed strength, with sales of American Gold and Silver Eagles more than doubling the figures from the year ago period.

The strong sales in November caused the United States Mint to adjust their production plans for one ounce and one-tenth ounce American Gold Eagle bullion coins in order to avoid selling out prior to the end of the year. Apparently, the Mint did not adjust production plans for American Silver Eagle bullion coins.

The sales figures for December would likely have exceeded 3 million ounces if the Mint had produced enough silver bullion coins to meet demand.  Nonetheless, total sales of the Silver Eagle bullion coins for 2012 were the third highest on record with a total of 33,742,500 coins sold.  All time record sales of the Silver Eagle coins occurred during 2011 when almost 40 million coins were sold.

 

Demand for the Silver Eagles has soared since the financial crisis began in 2008 and recent announcements by the Federal Reserve and other central banks pledging unlimited money printing is certain to increase investors demand for safe haven precious metals.

Since 2000, investors have purchased an astonishing 232,143,000 American Silver Eagle one ounce coins worth over $7 billion at current market prices.