May 28, 2022

Why I Will Always Own Gold and Silver

What I Know for Certain –  By:  GE Christenson

gold-dollar

      • Death and taxes!
      • Fear and greed are powerful motivators.
      • Individuals, businesses, and governments do what they think is beneficial for them.
      • Businesses and governments protect their products and territory and resist competition and enemies.
      • Concentrated wealth creates power and corruption. The greater the concentration of wealth, the larger and more pervasive the power and corruption.
      • Gold and silver have been money for over 3,000 years.
      • Unbacked paper money systems have always failed.

What I Think is True

      • The basic product of a central bank is the unbacked paper currency it prints in ever-increasing quantities.
      • Central banks will fight all competitors to their currencies. The oldest competitor to unbacked paper currencies is gold, ancient money.
      • Politicians want to spend money and increase their power.
      • Bankers want to create money, lend it to governments, and thereby secure a permanent and increasing revenue stream.

What I Think the Consequences Are

      • Bankers use their wealth to “influence” politicians. Politicians respond with favorable legislation. It has worked for centuries.
      • Central banks want an expanding money supply and ever-increasing debt. The consequence is that consumer prices inevitably increase.
      • A currency collapse is like a bank run – everyone scrambles to remove his/her wealth from the currency (or the bank) due to a loss of confidence. In fractional reserve banking systems, bank runs are inevitable. Even though they may last for many decades, unbacked paper currencies inevitably devalue and eventually collapse.
      • Bank runs and currency collapses are feared by bankers and politicians; they do what they can to support confidence in their products and to squash their competitors.

In the United States

      • Debt and government spending seem likely to increase until a crash-reset occurs.
      • The crash-reset will involve a dollar collapse.
      • Gold and silver will eventually reach much higher prices due to the loss of value and confidence in the dollar, the banking system, and the sustainability of the current financial system.
      • “Paper gold” will be seen for what it is – a promise that might not be paid.
      • Physical gold will be seen for what it is – real wealth.
      • The USA and Europe are sending their real wealth – gold – to China, India, Russia, and the Middle East. China, India, and Russia are buying aggressively and know that exchanging paper dollars and euros for gold will strengthen their economies and governments tomorrow.
      • It is openly speculated that much of the sovereign government and central bank gold supposedly owned by the USA and Europe is either gone, leased, or otherwise committed.

Read: The Crash Before the Climb

Accept what you cannot change and act based on facts, not our current financial and economic fictions. Protect your financial well-being with physical gold and silver safely stored in a secure location.

GE Christenson
aka Deviant Investor

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.

 

Worldwide Buying Frenzy of Gold and Silver Continues

Liberty EagleDon’t precious metal investors read newspapers?  Despite proclamations from the mainstream press that the bull market in gold and silver is over, a buying frenzy in precious metals is occurring worldwide.  The gold rush mentality to buy gold and silver at bargain prices has resulted in stock out conditions for many retail sellers of precious metals, including the U.S. Mint.

Intense gold demand in India has lead to shortages as Gold Buyers Throng Indian Stores for Second Week on Rally.

Gold consumers in India, the world’s biggest importer, thronged jewelry stores across the country for a second week on speculation that bullion may extend a rally after the biggest plunge in three decades.

“We waited for sometime to see if prices will fall more but when we saw them moving up again, we decided it’s time,” said Sripal Jain, a 77-year-old silver dealer who came with his younger brother, daughter and daughter-in-law to buy gold necklaces at Mumbai’s Zaveri Bazaar. “We don’t have any wedding or occasion coming up. The rates fell, so we decided to buy.”

Bullion slumped 14 percent in two days, reaching the lowest price in two years on April 16, triggering a frenzy among coin and jewelry buyers from the U.S. to India, China and Australia. The surge in demand has helped prices rally 11 percent since April 16, and jewelers in India are paying premiums of as much as $10 an ounce to secure supplies, according to the Bombay Bullion Association.

Gold will rally to $1,800 an ounce by December as skepticism over the global recovery increases demand, billionaire Indian jeweler T.S. Kalyanaraman said on April 19.

The rush to buy has led to a shortage in India and jewelers are paying premium of as much as $10 an ounce compared with $2 just 10 days earlier, said Bipin Jain, owner of Vimalson Jewellers and a vice president of the bullion association.

The Perth Mint reports that while the media is talking about the bear market in gold, bullion buying has soared as bargain hunters move in.  As gold and silver prices corrected, Perth Mint buyers viewed the situation as a perfect buying opportunity and stepped up their purchases of gold and silver.  Activity on the Perth Mint website was so intense, that some buyers experienced long delays.

As the central bank of Japan continues its unprecedented experiment in massive monetary expansion, the Japanese Seek Refuge in Bullion as Yen Slumps, Inflation Looms.

Japanese consumers are poised to become net buyers of gold for the first time in eight years as the yen’s decline and looming inflation drive them to seek refuge in bullion, according to Standard Bank Plc.

Net sales of gold bars and coins by Japanese individuals shrank to 10.1 metric tons in 2012, the smallest amount since 2005, data from the World Gold Council show. A surge in purchases this month and the chance to buy after bullion slumped into a bear market foreshadow a turnaround in 2013, said Bruce Ikemizu, Standard Bank’s head of commodities trading in Tokyo.

The currency has depreciated 13 percent against the dollar this year and is trading near a four-year low after the central bank’s pursuit of unprecedented monetary easing to end deflation was unopposed by Group of 20 nations. Inflation may rise above 1 percent in the 12 months starting April 2014 and approach a 2 percent target as early as that year, Bank of Japan (8301) policy board member Ryuzo Miyao said April 18.

“The time has come for Japanese to buy gold with the government trying to engineer inflation,” Ikemizu, who has traded commodities for almost three decades, said in an interview in Tokyo yesterday. “Retail investors are turning from sellers to buyers of bullion.”

In India and China, the biggest gold-consuming nations, shoppers last week lined up in bazaars from Mumbai to Shanghai to buy the metal for brides, babies and strongboxes after prices fell. Indian consumers bought a net 312.2 tons of gold bars and coins in 2012, while purchases by individuals in China reached 265.5 tons, according to the World Gold Council.

The long term rationale for owning gold and silver remains intact.  The reasons for the recent smash-down in gold and silver may never be known but it has provided a gift opportunity to increase positions in gold and silver.

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.

 

How To Buy, Store and Sell Gold and Silver

By: GE Christenson

You want to buy silver and gold. There is much to consider!

safe

  • Physical metal or paper promises?
  • From which supplier will you buy it? Price is not the only consideration.
  • Where do you store it? Your sock drawer, a safe, insured and secure vault, or in another country?
  • How do you sell it and when?
  • IRS Rules

 

Physical, ETF, or Paper?

Do you want actual physical silver and gold that you can hold in your hand? If you do, then buy coins or bars and skip ahead.

If you want to buy and sell easily without taking delivery of actual metal, then perhaps you should invest in an ETF (Exchange Traded Fund) for gold and silver. The fees are minimal; ETFs are convenient and good for frequent trading. The two most popular are GLD and SLV. They are also criticized by many analysts, so I encourage you to also consider PHYS, PSLV, GTU, and others.

If you want paper, then buy options or futures contracts and be careful. When elephants fight, the grass gets trampled – and most of us are merely grass in the world of futures trading.

You Want to Buy Physical Gold and Silver Coins and Bars. Good! Where?

There are many dealers who will sell over the internet and ship to your home or to a secure storage vault. Their prices will vary slightly and so will their terms for payment and delivery. See the partial list and brief comments at the end of this article to get started. There are many other fine dealers in addition to the few examples I have listed.

Storage

More important than where you buy is whether you will buy for delivery to your home, delivery to a secure domestic storage facility, or for delivery to a vault outside of the United States.

Your home – Convenient and close but vulnerable to fire and theft. Your sock drawer is not recommended – buy a safe, hide it, and tell very few.

Safe deposit box at local bank – Secure, less convenient, probably not insured, and vulnerable to a search warrant, court order, and banking shutdown. Use a local bank, not a branch of a huge mega-bank.

Secure storage in the USA – Very secure and safe but may not be close or convenient. Are you comfortable with such storage? If so, then this is an excellent choice. Choose a vault OUTSIDE the banking system.

International Storage – You can store in commercial vaults in London, Canada, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, and other locations. The IRS MAY want to be told what you are storing and its value if you are an American citizen and storing internationally. See IRS Rules.

How Do you Sell Your Gold and Silver?

If you are buying for insurance against devaluing paper currencies, perhaps you intend to hold it for a long time or expect to will it to your family. In either case, don’t sell it.

If your gold and silver coins are in your possession, then you can sell via the internet or take them to a local coin store. Most companies that will sell to you via the Internet or a phone call will also buy back at a slight discount to sales price (they have to sell at a mark-up to stay in business). You can also sell on eBay or to private individuals. There probably will be tax implications, so consult with your tax advisor.

When to Sell Gold and Silver?

Again, there is no right answer for everyone. Some will argue that gold and silver are essential insurance against unbacked paper currencies and so should never be sold. Investors may want to hold until they see some large price, say $150 silver and $4,000 gold. Others wish to trade in and out, buying low and selling high. Your choice will help determine if you want paper silver, an ETF, coins, or bars, stored domestically or offshore. It is easy to sell paper or an ETF. It may be less convenient to sell coins and bars that you have stored in a safe deposit box. It probably will be easy to sell gold stored in Switzerland.

Jim Sinclair, legendary gold trader and investor, says buy “fish lines” and sell “rhino horns.” What he means is that markets, especially gold and silver markets, often move too far, too fast, both up and down. The down moves – the fish lines – scare out leveraged speculators and “weak hands” and usually indicate good buy points for long-term investors. When leveraged speculators, hot money, and the public drive the market higher in a parabolic spike upward, the chart looks like a rhino horn, and that often indicates a good time to sell. There will be many more signals, but most of us are overwhelmed by greed and fear, especially panic, and we often miss the signals. In 1929 the “signal” was to sell when shoeshine boys were giving stock tips. Something similar will happen at the next panic high in gold and silver, but that may be years away.

IRS Rules

The IRS has instituted new rules for United States taxpayers. We are now required to report holdings of foreign assets on form 8938 (Statement of Specified Foreign Financial Assets) and form TD F 90-22.1. Consult with your tax attorney and financial advisor, but the simple interpretation is this:

If you own financial assets in another country worth more than certain amounts, usually you must report these assets on form 8938 with your federal tax return and on form TD F 90-22.1 due June 30 of each year. It is wise to comply with IRS requirements as the penalties can be severe. There may be exceptions that your professional advisor can discuss, but these relatively new requirements may influence your choice of investments and their storage locations.

Alphabetical (partial) list of gold and silver vendors with brief comments on each.

Please do your own research before making a purchase.

APMEX – Large gold and silver bullion and coins dealer operating out of Oklahoma. They maintain a sizeable inventory and will buy and sell online in several currencies with reasonable commissions. Apmex will “lock-in” a purchase price online and accept a personal check in payment (with delayed delivery). If you wish, they will also arrange for secure storage with a subsidiary company and ship directly to that insured storage facility. Apmex will assist with the purchase of silver and gold for investment in your qualified IRA.

Bullion Vault – Secure insured vault storage in London, Zurich, and New York for both gold and silver. Purchases can be arranged quickly and online in different currencies with low costs for storage and insurance. It is easy to sell or take delivery of your metals.

Global Gold – Secure insured vault storage in Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Singapore for both gold, silver, platinum, and palladium. Purchases can be arranged quickly and online with low costs for storage and insurance. It is easy to sell or take delivery of your metals. Ownership is physical and fully allocated.

GoldMoney – Secure insured storage in the UK, Switzerland, Hong Kong, Canada, and Singapore for both gold and silver. Purchases can be arranged quickly and online in different currencies with low costs for storage and insurance. It is easy to sell or take delivery of your metals.

GoldSilver.com – Large gold and silver coin and bullion dealer operating out of California. They maintain a sizeable inventory and will buy and sell online with reasonable commissions. GoldSilver.com will arrange storage in Singapore, Hong Kong, Canada, or the USA. You can easily sell your gold and silver holdings or take delivery. They also will assist with purchasing gold and silver coins and bullion for your retirement accounts. If you have time, watch their instructional videos.

Hard Assets Alliance – This is a relatively new company that attempts to meet many needs including convenient gold and silver purchases with secure insured and allocated storage for gold and silver. Silver can be stored in the US but currently only gold can be stored offshore in several countries. Their downloadable information booklet states:

Exempt from US reporting requirements. As a domestic institution, GBI’s US customers are exempt from both the FBAR and Form 8938 filing requirements if offshore metal storage is elected.”

In some circumstances, this exemption from US reporting requirements may be important in your decision-making process.

Lear Capital – Large gold and silver coin and bullion dealer operating out of California. They maintain a sizeable inventory and will buy and sell online with reasonable commissions. Lear Capital will assist with purchasing gold and silver coins and bullion for IRA and 401k retirement accounts.

Liberty Gold and Silver – A smaller gold, silver, and platinum coin and bullion dealer operating out of Oregon. Liberty Gold and Silver will assist with purchasing gold and silver coins and bullion for IRA accounts and can arrange secure allocated storage in the USA, Canada, Germany, Switzerland, and Singapore.

Perth Mint – Located in Australia, the Perth Mint has been in business for over 100 years and is owned by the Government of Western Australia. The mint refines and produces a variety of products, special coins, and commemoratives in gold, silver, and platinum. The Mint receives over 70,000 visitors each year. You can purchase coins and bullion for delivery and arrange for allocated or pooled storage of your metals.

SilverSaver – Secure insured storage in the USA for gold and silver. You can make convenient periodic purchases by direct withdrawal from your checking account. This allows for a signup and forget “dollar-cost averaging” purchase plan. You can also take delivery of your gold and silver or easily sell it back to SilverSaver.

The Ultimate Gold Trust – Gold can be purchased and held in Switzerland. This storage solution is recommended by Julian D. W. Phillips, a frequent commentator on gold and gold storage options. Read his latest article on the safety of offshore storage.

GE Christenson
aka Deviant Investor

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 Soar To All Time Record High

With two days remaining in the month of January, U.S. Mint sales of the American Silver Eagle bullion coins have already established an all time record high.   The latest numbers from the Mint show total sales of 7,420,000 silver bullion coins as January 29, 2013.  Total sales during January 2012 amounted to 6,107,000 coins.  During January 2011 (the previous monthly record high for silver bullion coin sales) the Mint sold 6,422,000 coins.

The public demand for silver seems insatiable.  To put the unprecedented demand for silver into perspective, prior to the financial crisis of  2008, total yearly sales of the silver bullion coin averaged only about 9.5 million coins per year.  With the Federal Reserve furiously printing money to keep the financial system glued together, investor demand for both physical silver and gold bullion is likely to increase dramatically.

The US Mint has been unable to keep up with the demand for American Silver Eagles for the past two months (see U.S. Mint Sold Out).  During December, unexpectedly strong demand resulted in the suspension of silver bullion coin sales during mid December after the entire stock of 2012 coins was sold out.  At the time the Mint announced that the 2013 American Silver Eagles would be available on January 7, 2013.

Opening day sales on January 7th for the 2013 American Silver Eagle bullion coins turned out to be the largest on record with sales of 3,937,000 coins.  Demand for silver bullion continued to climb and by January 17th, the Mint once again announced that sales of the silver bullion coins would be suspended until the last week of January.  When sales resumed this week, demand was again much higher than anticipated.  Due to record demand, the Mint previously announced that they may have to institute rationing of the coins.  Since the US Mint’s production schedule has been blown right out the window for two months running, it would not be surprising if rationing of the coins was implemented.

Sales of the American Eagle Gold bullion coins has also soared during the first month of the year.  January sales to date of 140,000 ounces of gold bullion coins is the highest monthly sales since June 2010 when the Mint sold 151,500 ounces.

Gold Bullion Coin Sales Drop For Fourth Straight Year, 2013 Sales Off To Strong Start

According to the latest U.S. Mint report, sales of the American Eagle Gold bullion coins for December 2012 totaled 76,000 ounces, up 16% from December 2011 when 65,500 ounces were sold.  Sales for the month were down 44.3% from November sales which totaled 136,500 ounces.

Sales of the gold bullion coins can vary dramatically from month to month.  The highest sales month was November with sales of 136,500 ounces and the lowest sales month was April when only 20,000 ounces were sold.  Average monthly sales of the gold bullion coins for 2012 was 62,750 ounces with total sales for the year coming in at 753,000.   The gold bullion coins are available in one ounce, one-half ounce, one quarter ounce and one-tenth ounce.

Sales of the American Eagle Gold bullion coins have now declined for four straight years in a row.  The all time record sales year was 2009 when the U.S. Mint sold 1,435,000 ounces.   The value of the gold bullion coins purchased since 2000 totals almost $13.5 billion.

The U.S. Mint only sells the gold bullion coins to a network of authorized purchasers who buy the coins in bulk based on a markup and the market gold value.  The primary distributors who buy the coins then resell them to other bullion dealers, coin dealers and the public.  By using this type of distribution channel, the U.S. Mint believes that the coins can be made widely available to the public with reasonable transaction costs and at premiums in line with other bullion programs.

The 2013 American Gold Eagle bullion coins were first available to authorized purchasers on January 2, 2013.  Demand for the newest gold bullion coins was very strong with 50,000 ounces sold on the first day.  For the entire month of January 2012, a total of 127,000 ounces of the coins were sold.

Gold Bullion U.S. Mint Sales By Year
Year Total Sales Oz.
2000 164,500
2001 325,000
2002 315,000
2003 484,500
2004 536,000
2005 449,000
2006 261,000
2007 198,500
2008 860,500
2009 1,435,000
2010 1,220,500
2011 1,000,000
2012 753,000
Total 8,002,500

After a volatile year, gold ended with a strong note for 2012, up by 7.1% and rising for the 12th year in a row as global central banks ramped up the printing presses in an attempt to “stimulate” the world economy.  In his annual “10 Surprises ” list for 2013, Byron Wien, Chairman of Blackstone Group’s advisory unit predicted that gold would reach $1,900 as “central bankers everywhere continue to debase their currencies and the financial markets prove treacherous.”  Based on the way things are going and the speed at which central banks are joining the money printing race, Mr. Wien’s forecast is likely to prove extremely conservative.

Gold Demand In Asia Remains Insatiable

As gold demand in Asia soars, vault companies are racing to keep up with storage demand.  In July, Gold and Silver Blog reported on a massive new gold vault being constructed in Hong Kong by Malca-Amit due to unrelenting physical demand for gold in Asia.  The new vault was designed to hold 1,000 metric tonnes of gold and as of July, had already taken in 2,400 tonnes of gold owned by gold exchange traded funds.

It turns out that Malca-Admit should have built a much larger vault.  As demand for physical gold continues to increase, other companies have joined the race to provide secure depositories for wealthy investors.  The Wall Street Journal reports that demand for high-security vault capacity in Asia is soaring in Singapore, Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Brink’s Co., for example, has increased its storage space for precious metals in Singapore more than threefold over the past year, to 200 square meters, and is building a bonded warehouse in Shanghai to store high-value consumer goods and precious metals.

“We are growing, and driving that growth is the storage of precious metals and also bank notes,” said Jos van Wegen, the company’s senior manager of global services in Singapore.

Comprehensive data on the volume of high-security storage capacity in the region isn’t available. But demand for gold is clearly rising.

China’s gold demand in the third quarter of this year was 176.8 tons—16% of global demand and up 47.1% from the same period three years ago, according to the World Gold Council. Hong Kong’s demand totaled 6.9 tons in the third quarter this year, up 56.8% from the third quarter of 2009.

Singapore imported 36.7 tons of gold in the first 10 months of this year, well down from 62 tons in the full year 2011. The government’s announcement in February that, in a bid to become a gold-trading hub, it would scrap a 7% goods and services tax on gold, silver and platinum hurt imports for much of the year. Fourth-quarter gold-import figures for Singapore are expected to be stronger, World Gold Council executives say.

While physical gold requires storage space, it does offer a lot of value in a relatively small package. At around $1,690 a troy ounce, a metric ton of gold is valued at $54.3 million, but would take up only slightly more space than a standard case of 12 wine bottles—though most gold is stored in ingots.

Malca-Amit, a company that stores and transports diamonds and precious metals, has lockups in Hong Kong and Singapore, and is preparing to open one in Shanghai in the first quarter next year. The Shanghai vault will also hold art and luxury goods such as high-value mobile phones and designer handbags.

Malca-Amit’s Singapore vault, capable of holding 600 tons of gold, is almost full, and the company is seeking more space. The amount of gold stored there has increased 200% from a year ago, it says.

Its recently opened Hong Kong vault can hold 1,000 tons of gold, which would be worth more than $54 billion. It is almost large enough to hold the official reserves of China, which total 1,054 tons, according to World Gold Council data.

Malca-Amit has gold-storage sites in New York and Zurich, but the focus of its expansion is firmly on Asia, executive director Joshua Rotbart said. Some Asian investors who are storing their gold in the U.S. and Europe are keen to move it closer to home as more storage space becomes available, he said.

The recent price weakness in gold is apparently viewed as a buying opportunity by sophisticated Asian investors seeking to protect their wealth from the torrential flood of printed money being produced on a global basis by central banks (see Central Banks Pledge Unlimited Money Printing).

On a recent visit to the Chinatown section of Bangkok, I witnessed first hand large crowds of customers in Chinatown’s numerous retail gold stores.  Gold has never defaulted on its promise as a means of wealth preservation, something clearly understood by the citizens of a country whose history goes back thousands of years.

Customers at Bangkok retail gold store

Chinese Gold

Chinese Gold