October 2, 2022

Why Gold Stocks Are Not a Substitute for Gold

gold & barAn investor who was correctly bullish on gold in late 2004 had three basic investment options to capitalize on an increase in the price of gold:

  1. Invest in physical gold
  2. Invest in a proxy for physical gold such as the SPDR Gold Shares (GLD)
  3. Invest in gold mining companies

The investor who picked option three does not have a lot to be cheerful about even after gold’s historic increase in value since 2004.  Why did gold stocks do so poorly in spite of a 500% increase in the price of gold bullion?  Merk Investment takes a look at gold versus gold stocks and explains why Gold Stocks Ain’t Gold.

A frequent mistake made by investors
is to invest in gold mining companies
(both juniors and majors) as a substitute
for gold. There are a couple of reasons
why this may be a mistake. Firstly, gold
mining company’s stock price does not
precisely track the price of gold. That’s
because lots of other factors influence the
share price of a company: management,
cost pressures, mining diversification,
stage of the mining process, to name just
a few.

This problem is generally more
acute for juniors than majors, because
juniors often have yet to “strike gold,”
therefore the stock price often trades more
like an option. Moreover, many mining
companies don’t only mine gold, many
also mine silver, palladium, diamonds
etc.

This dynamic also holds for baskets
of mining companies – baskets of miners
have significantly underperformed the
price of gold over recent years.  Some investors believe gold mining stocks may provide more attractive
investment exposure to gold than gold
itself. The investment thesis is as follows:
gold mining companies are able to take
advantage of an increase in the price
of gold through enhanced operational
leverage; as the gold price goes up, mining companies’ margins widen, ultimately increasing the bottom line.

However, this theory is predicated on fixed costs staying
relatively constant. Unfortunately, recent
performance does not support this
investment idea. Indeed, gold mining
stocks, on aggregate, have significantly
underperformed the price of gold.

The reality is that mining is a highly energy-
intensive undertaking, and therefore
many of the costs are closely linked to
energy prices, such as oil, which has also
experienced significant increases in price.
As a result, many mining companies
have not produced the anticipated
high level of profits. Additionally,
governments may demand higher taxes
and employees higher wages from mining
companies should profitability increase,
further limiting the upside potential for
shareholders.

The results for each investment option are shown below for physical gold, the GLD and the Vanguard Precious Metal and Mining Fund (VGPMX) used as a stock proxy.  Note that despite the horrible long term performance, a nimble investor in the VGPMX could have reaped  considerable gains by selling in early 2008 and then getting back into gold stocks after the crash of 2008.

PHYSICAL GOLD

PHYSICAL GOLD

SPDR GOLD SHARES TRUST (GLD)

GLD

VANGUARD PRECIOUS METALS FUND (VGPMX)

VGPMX

Gold Demand Drops By 13% In First Quarter Due to ETF Outflows

tenth oz gold-eaglesLarge scale liquidation of gold backed exchange-traded products (ETP) sent gold prices into a tailspin during April.  Billionaire investor George Soros, who had sold 55% of his holdings in the SPDR Gold Shares (GLD) during the last quarter of 2012, further reduced his gold positions during the first quarter.  Soros is a legendary trader and investor who has made billions moving ahead of the crowd.

In an interview published by the South China Morning Post on April 8, Soros said that gold was no longer a safe haven after the metal failed to rally last year despite fears of a euro collapse.  Shortly after Soros made his comments, other investors  began to sell and within days gold had tumbled by $200 per ounce.  Northern Trust Corp and BlackRock Inc also made large cuts in their holdings of ETPs, while John Paulson lost about $165 million by maintaining his stake in the GLD.

According to Bloomberg, assets held by ETPs declined in value by $42 billion as gold prices tumbled.

Global ETP holdings have tumbled 16 percent in 2013 after rising every year since the first product was listed in 2003, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Assets in SPDR have plunged 22 percent, and they will probably drop by an additional 2 million to 4 million ounces after slumping 9.7 million ounces since mid-December, Deutsche Bank AG said in a report on May 14.

Further Drop

While the selloff has been faster than expected, a further drop in ETP holdings will probably mean more price declines, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. analysts including Jeffrey Currie wrote in a report dated May 14.

Northern Trust cut its SPDR stake by 57 percent to 6.9 million shares, according to a filing dated May 1. The asset-management company, as a custodian, holds assets without discretion over how they are invested, Doug Holt, the head of global corporate communications, said yesterday in an e-mail.

“We made one change to our global tactical asset allocation policy this month: eliminating our tactical position in gold,” Jim McDonald, chief investment strategist in Chicago at Northern Trust, which oversees about $810 billion, said in a report on March 13.

BlackRock, the world’s biggest money manager, trimmed its holdings by half to 4.1 million shares, a filing dated April 12 showed. On May 9, Robert Kapito, president of the New York-based company, said that he would still buy the metal.

The large scale liquidation of gold exchange traded funds was confirmed today in the latest quarterly demand and supply statistics published by the World Gold Council.  Overall gold demand for the first quarter declined by a considerable 13% with outflows from gold ETFs accounting for the bulk of the decline.  During the first quarter there were outflows of 177 tonnes from global gold ETF holdings.

The sale by large speculators of the gold ETPs seem to be the trigger that set off last month’s decline in gold prices.  The drop in gold could turn out to be a temporary factor as other buyers eagerly absorb supply by adding to their gold holdings at lower prices.

Aside from the sale of gold by holders of exchange traded products, demand for gold in the first quarter remained robust.  The World Gold Council noted that almost every other category of gold demand increased even as supplies are being constrained by lower mine output.

  • Mine production of 1,052 tonnes during the first quarter showed no growth and supply from scrap gold declined due to the drop in gold prices.
  • Jewelry demand surpassed the previous quarter and hit a new record with sales of $28.9 billion.
  • Demand from India and China, who collectively consume 62% of global gold jewelry sales, increased by 15% and 19% respectively.
  • Physical bar and coin demand during the first quarter increased by 8% and 18% respectively.  Demand for gold bar and coins in China exploded to 110 tonnes, double the average of the last five year quarterly sales.
  • Central banks added 109 tonnes of gold to their reserves in the first quarter, accounting for 11% of total gold demand.  Central banks have increased their purchases of gold for nine consecutive quarters.

Wholesale liquidation of gold positions by very large and wealthy speculators adversely impacted gold prices this year.  As gold demand from virtually every other sector continues to grow, the increased gold outflows from ETFs will eventually be absorbed.  In addition, as central banks continue to print money on an unprecedented scale, it would not be surprising to see large investors once again pour money into the gold ETFs.

Explosive Gold Rally Is Imminent Based On Bearish Sentiment and Fundamentals

You know the world is changing when the head of the world’s biggest bond fund recommends gold as his first asset choice.

In this week’s Barron’s Roundtable, Bond King Bill Gross affirms his bullish view on gold due to his assessment that central banks will continue to suppress interest rates by purchasing vast amounts of government debt with printed money.  Gross notes that the financial system is now longer operating under free-market capitalism when the Fed is buying a “remarkable” 80% of debt issued by the U.S. Treasury.  Massive deficits are being funded with printed currency on a global scale never attempted in the past and sooner or later, according to Bill Gross, inflation will blow past the central bank’s targeted rate of 2.5%.

The really big risk comes when huge holders of U.S. debt such as China and Japan become disgusted with U.S. fiscal and monetary policies and decide to dump their treasuries as inflation decimates the value of their holdings.  Bill Gross tells Barron’s exactly what could go wrong and which gold investment he likes the best.

The big risk is that the Chinese would rather own something else. Investors can choose between artificially priced financial assets or real assets like oil and gold or, to be really safe, cash. The real risk to the financial markets is the marginal proclivity of investors to put their money in real assets, or under the mattress. Thus, my first recommendation is GLD — the SPDR Gold Trust exchange-traded fund. It has a fee, but it is an easy way for investors to buy a real asset.

Lots of things go into pricing gold, but real interest rates [adjusted for inflation] and expected inflation are two dominant considerations. Gold probably won’t move much from current levels unless real rates decline more or inflationary expectations rise from the current 2.5% to 3%, or higher. That’s what gets gold off the dime. It is a decent hedge. It doesn’t earn anything, but not much else earns anything either.

Pounding the table even harder than Gross, Fred Hickey, editor of the High-Tech Strategist, tells Barron’s that an explosive rally in gold seems imminent based on the massive bearish sentiment towards gold.  Long term, Hickey sees gold hitting at least $5,000 per ounce, a target that Gold and Silver Blog also sees as a very reasonable future price target.

Hickey: I am recommending gold, as I have done for many years. I will continue to do so until the gold price hits the blow-off stage, which is nowhere in sight. I am excited about gold because sentiment is so negative. Gold could have a sharp rally at any time. The Hulbert Gold Newsletter Sentiment Index went deeply negative last week, indicating that gold-newsletter writers are recommending net short positions. When that happens, gold almost always rallies. The daily sentiment index for gold is at a 12-year low. Short positions by large speculators have doubled in the past few months. Sales of American Eagle coins hit a five-year low in 2012. Yet, the environment for gold couldn’t be better. We talked today about massive money-printing by all the major central banks. Real interest rates are negative. These are the best possible conditions for a gold rally.

Felix said gold could rally to the $1,800-an-ounce level, and I agree. If it breaks that, it will go to $2,000 or more. As long as we have unlimited quantitative easing, we have the potential for unlimited gains in the gold price. Gold could go to $5,000 or even $10,000. You can buy gold through the GLD or IAU, as we discussed. This year I recommend physical gold. You can buy American Eagle coins, or gold bars. Everyone should have some physical gold, and almost no one in the U.S. does.

Hickey also says that the price of gold is nowhere near a “blow off stage”, despite constant mainstream press reports of gold’s imminent collapse.  For further discussion on this see The Gold Bubble Myth and Why There Is No Upside Limit For Gold and Silver Prices.

Gold As An Investment Will Continue To Shine

Despite the non stop rally in the price of gold for over a decade, every normal pullback has been proclaimed as “the end of the gold bull market” by the mainstream media.  Will gold eventually become an over-owned and overpriced asset?  Yes – but that day will not arrive until gold is many thousands of dollars higher.   Long term gold investors who have stayed with the primary trend have already outperformed every other asset class over the past decade as shown in this neat infographic from the Visual Capitalist.

visualcapitalist.com

It Should Be A Very Merry Christmas For Gold Investors

In an interview with Bloomberg TV, Greg Smith, chairman of Global Commodities, is forecasting $2,000 gold by Christmas.

Long term investors in gold would have a very merry Christmas since a price of $2,000 would equate to a 2012 price gain of over 25% from gold’s opening price on January 3, 2012.

From today’s closing gold price, a $2,000 per ounce price by year end equates to a gain of $241 per ounce or 13.7%.  Aggressive investors have many different ways to leverage gains on a potential run up in gold by year end.  For example, a position in Pro Shares Ultra Gold (UGL) would yield a gain of about 27% if gold hits $2,000 by year end.

The UGL does not hold physical gold but rather invests in futures, forward contracts, options and swap agreements designed to yield gains of 200% of the daily performance of gold bullion.  Last summer when gold soared to an all time high, the UGL returned twice the gains of  the SPDR Gold Shares ETF (GLD).  Keep in mind that leverage works both ways – if gold declines, an investment in the UGL would produce twice the losses compared to holding physical gold or shares in the GLD.

Courtesy: yahoo finance

 

 

How To Avoid Financial Fraud In The Gold Market

By Vin Maru

Financial Alchemy and Fraud In Gold

The gold bull market is alive and well as the summer doldrums come to a close and gold accumulation and trading starts to heat up going into the fall.  As the gold bull market matures and it draws more attention from investors all around the world, it does open up the doors for fraud.  By now we have heard many stories and accusations about manipulations by central planners, bullion banks, short-sellers and futures traders.  The regulators in the West have largely ignored these accusations and have looked the other way when it comes to oversight and creating a fair and legal market place for precious metals.

Financial Fraud in the Gold Market

When it comes to opportunity for fraud, the East is not innocent either.  Last month, police in Central China rounded up 33 people suspected of illegal gold-futures trading.  The case involved 5,000 investors and at least 380 billion Yuan ($59.62 billion) in which the suspects claimed to be agents of overseas companies dealing in London gold with the promise of huge returns.  They promoted investments in Loco London gold and charged exorbitant consulting fees without warning investors of the risks of these transactions or having a signed detailed contract.  This had been going on since October 2008 in a low key operation using private bank accounts, mobile phones and online messaging services.  Several suspects were caught and detained since March 2, 2012 while more arrests are expected to be made across China as the investigation continues.

As observers of the precious metals market, we know that many Eastern central banks are accumulating physical gold.  It is in their best interest to accumulate the physical metal and diversify out of toxic Western paper assets that were sold to them by the western financial puppet masters.   It is obvious that Western cartels like Goldman Sacs and JP Morgan are great at creating and selling financial instruments of mass destruction.

One only has to look at the CDO market or the mortgage backed securities sold in the past decade.  These paper products were backed by mortgages from over inflated real estate bought by people who could not afford to buy property and were thus set up to fail.  Another example is the derivative market which is reportedly over $600T worth of contracts used for “hedging” all the toilet paper assets sold by Western institutions.  This includes derivatives and “insurance” products to protect from default or significant changes in valuation on assets such as government bonds, interest rates & credit default swaps and most other paper assets.  There is no way these contracts are backed by any real asset and when they are called to perform, the system will collapse.  This is most likely why they changed the name and structure of the recent Greek default on bonds; they cannot afford to trigger the derivative time bomb.

Any observer of the financial markets can see that the derivative market is just an insurance scam being sold as a hedging tool for paper products.  They cannot and will not every pay out on derivatives because the cascading effect would bring down the system.  Yet the paper pushers are still selling these “contract assurances” in volumes in order to create a “financial hedge” of the entire system.    When push comes to shove, planners may not let Goldman or JPM collapse because they are TOO connected to fail and they are the ringleaders in pushing paper products for the world to buy in their pump and dump scams.

Masters of Alchemy – Turning Paper in to GOLD

This past week, it was reported that George Soros was unloading investments in major financial stocks and started investing back in gold by way of GLD.  We always question the choice of investment vehicles used by large fund managers.  As a investor in the gold sector, why wouldn’t anyone stick with the physical metal vs. an ETF such as GLD which is supposedly backed by gold?  There have been lots of questions around GLD and its physical holdings, which was primarily sold by JP Morgan, one of the many bullion banks with a questionable short position in the precious metals market (Silver in particular).  If the past decade is any indication of paper manipulation (and they are known to have a track record for selling paper products which turn out to be fraudulent), why would anyone buy an ETF like GLD from these Masters of Financial Alchemy when they have the proven ability to turn paper into gold?

When looking at GLD and the many other “un-backed” gold trading vehicles being sold into the market, these products are very questionable on how much gold they have held on storage or available for delivery.  Even if there was significant amounts of gold, with the lack of good auditing practices, who knows how much is really owned by the fund.  Much of it could be used as collateral, hypothecated, leased out or swapped in contracts by the issuers of these products.  When called to perform and deliver the gold, expect questions of ownership and scandals much like MF Global or PFGBest.  This is the nature of products created by the Wall Street paper pushers; everything should be questioned eventually.  But for now and most of this bull market, GLD will not be questioned or audited.  It will be used as another tool for selling an ETF in a particular asset class, one that will become more and more in demand as the bull market for gold evolves.  This ETF will be used by the likes of all major trading houses, funds, sovereigns and investors because it is a trading vehicle and a proxy for gold, and it could be used for hedging purposes much like the derivative market.

Going back to why Soros would invents in such a fund:  Our suspicion is that Soros is reducing exposure in financials because they have structural problems and have many questions surrounding the assets they hold.  While a $50M withdrawal is not much for a fund his size, a purchase of $130M in GLD is significant.  His strategy is probably to take these funds and go long on GLD as a hedging tool for the exposure he still has remaining in financials.  Soros is just being smart and realizing that he must hedge using gold, even if it has to be with GLD.  He knows the paper pushers need GDL as a tool for hedging, so do not expect it to collapse anytime soon.   This means more than likely that the “Masters of Financial Alchemy” such as JPM Morgan and Goldman Sacs will continue to sell paper with promises of gold backing and it will get accepted by the market as “Good as Gold”. We at TDV, however, know better.

At this point, it is a very wise move for anyone who doesn’t have any exposure to gold to start getting exposure immediately.  If you have not taken this necessary step to protect your assets and hedge against any potential financial storm that may be brewing, you are placing yourself and any remaining assets at risk.  Owning the physical is always suggested as a private investor, but if need be look at GLD as a trading and hedging vehicle.

In a strange and ironic way, we need GLD to continue its paper scams as it still legitimizes gold as an investible asset class.  The more GLD grows and continues to gain attention, the stronger and longer this bull market will last in precious metal.   As much as we realize that GLD could be a scam and owning the physical is the prudent thing to do, we cannot discount the need for GLD as a tool for hedging.  There is no way the physical market for gold can absorb demand coming from central banks, pension funds, sovereigns and the general investing public all at the same time.  It would make gold reach sky high prices in very short order which would not be healthy for a strong and long gold bull market.  Unfortunately, we need GLD and more gold ETFs around the world.  There is way too much fiat paper floating around and much more coming, the physical market couldn’t absorb this amount of funny money coming into the physical sector.  As much as I hate to say this, GLD is a necessary evil for the longevity of this bull market.   There is many more reason why we need more gold backed ETFs and products such as GLD mentioned above, however using this ETF as a hedging tool is a very important one.

In the near future we will look at additional reasons for owning gold through the various ETFs as a tool for trading and hedging.  We will also explore the various options available for owning paper or physical gold in the numerous ETFs around the world.  This information will be made available on our blog to everyone interested in evaluating gold specific ETFs. If you enjoyed reading this article and are interested in protecting your wealth with precious metals, you can receive our free blog by visiting TDV Golden Trader.

Buy The SPDR Gold Trust – You Don’t Argue With Paulson and Soros

Despite the correction in gold prices since last summer, investors in gold ETFs have increased their stakes.  Worldwide holdings of gold ETFs are now at a record 2,417 metric tons according to Bloomberg News.

The SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) is the largest gold ETF and has returned a lustrous annual return of 18.4% since the fund’s inception on November 18, 2004.  The GLD currently holds 1,258.15 tonnes (40.45 million ounces) of gold in trust valued at $64.8 billion.  The all time record high holdings of the SPDR Gold Trust was 1,320.47 tonnes on June 29, 2010.

The slight decline from record gold holdings of the GLD do not represent a lessening of gold demand by investors.  Numerous competing gold trusts such as the iShares Gold Trust (IAU) which holds $9.3 billion of gold bullion have simply given investors a wider choice of options and expanded the overall market for gold ETFs.

Word that two of the world’s most successful investors have increased their stakes in the SPDR Gold Trust highlight the fact that the bull market in gold is far from over.   Billionaires John Paulson and George Soros, both long time investors in the GLD , both recently increased their holdings.

Courtesy yahoo finance

While Paulson has increased his massive stake in the GLD over time, Soros attempted to time the market.  In the first quarter of 2011, Soros sold 4.7 million shares of the GLD which brought his holdings down to a token 49,400 shares.  Subsequent to his sale, gold soared about $500 per ounce higher to $1,900 during August 2011.  Short term trading is difficult for anyone, including one of the world’s most successful investors.  Since the fundamental reasons for owning gold have only become more compelling, small investors would be best advised to hold long term instead of trying to trade a temporary price pullback.

Courtesy kitco.com

According to Bloomberg, Paulson and Soros Add Gold As Price Declines Most Since 2008.

Billionaire investors George Soros and John Paulson increased their stakes in the biggest exchange- traded fund backed by gold as prices posted the largest quarterly drop since 2008.

Soros Fund Management more than doubled its investment in the SPDR Gold Trust to 884,400 shares as of June 30, compared with three months earlier, a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing for second-quarter holdings showed yesterday. Paulson & Co. increased its holdings by 26 percent to 21.8 million shares.

Paulson, 56, who became a billionaire in 2007 by betting against the U.S. subprime mortgage market, lost 23 percent in his Gold Fund through July as lower bullion prices and slumping mining stocks contributed to declines.

Still, prices have rallied for 11 consecutive years, gaining more than sevenfold, as investors snapped up the metal after government and central bank stimulus programs boosted speculation that inflation would accelerate. The metal is up 2.4 percent this year.

“People expect prices to rise in the third quarter since historically it has been proved that it’s one of the best periods for gold, and investors who see easing coming in from various central banks are either increasing or holding on to their positions,” Donald Selkin, the New York-based chief market strategist at National Securities Corp., which manages about $3 billion of assets, said by telephone.

Paulson’s increased stake in the GLD should come as no surprise.  In a previous post during July, it was noted that Paulson remained steadfastly bullish on gold with a $4,000 target.

Hong Kong’s Secret $50 Billion Gold Bullion Vault

Bloomberg TV asks Where do you hide $50 billion of gold in Hong Kong?

The location is secret but the reason for building a new massive bullion vault in Hong Kong is not.  According to Bloomberg, the decision by Malca-Amit to build the bullion vault was based on unrelenting physical demand for gold in Asia.  During 2011, gold demand in China increased by 20%.  In addition, customers vaulting their holdings want the gold to be kept close to home.

The new gold bullion vault is designed to hold 1,000 metric tonnes of gold, worth about $51 billion at today’s price.  The vault already holds 2,400 tonnes of gold owned by gold exchange traded funds (ETF).

Beyond its importance as a storage location, the massive amount of gold holdings that the vault will eventually hold signals a fundamental change for the gold market.  The massive holdings of Asian gold will shift price setting action away from the London and the U.S. exchange cartels which dominate and manipulate gold pricing.

John Paulson Remains Bullish On Gold With $4,000 Target

John Paulson, hedge fund titan, seemed invincible in the opening days of 2011.  Based on a huge bearish position in mortgage bonds, Paulson’s hedge funds earned an astonishing $15 billion during 2007.

Paulson’s winning streak continued for three years and by the end of 2010, Paulson’s success had attracted huge amounts of new investor money.   By the end of 2010, the amount of money under management in Paulson’s funds had swelled to  over $32 billion.  During 2010 Paulson personally made $5 billion and had become an investment legend.

No one, least of all John Paulson, could have imagined the disaster that was ready to unfold during 2011.  Paulson’s two largest funds got crushed during 2011 with the Paulson Advantage fund down 36% and the Paulson Advantage Plus fund down a staggering 52%.  Bad bets involving financial stocks and a large investment in Sino-Forest, a Chinese timber company, proved disastrous during 2011.

Although Paulson is well known for his long term bullish bets on gold this did not save him during 2011.  Despite a 10% increase in the price of gold during 2011, Paulson’s positions in gold stocks contributed to his losses  as gold shares dramatically underperformed gold bullion.

In a wide ranging interview with Bloomberg Businessweek, Paulson explained why 2011 turned out to be the year of pain for both himself and fund investors.

The firm had made four major mistakes, according to Paulson, “overweighting long event equity,” underestimating Europe’s debt crisis, overestimating the U.S. economy, and some plain-old terrible stock picking. “Our performance in 2011 was clearly unacceptable,” he wrote. “However, we believe 2011 will be an aberration in our long-term performance.”

Despite the huge losses of 2011, Bloomberg notes that Paulson still registered gains of $22.6 billion for investors over the lifetime of his funds, the third best in the hedge fund industry.

Paulson told Bloomberg that he considers 2011 an “aberration” and expects his long term strategies, including his large bet on the gold market to rack up large gains going forward.  During an interview in October 2010 at the University Club in New York, Paulson predicted that the price of gold would hit $4,000 per ounce.

Paulson explained his view on gold during the Bloomberg Businessweek interview as follows:

“We view gold as a currency, not a commodity,” Paulson says. “Its importance as a currency will continue to increase as the major central banks around the world continue to print money.” He adds that as the market keeps shuddering, demand for gold will stay high, and soon enough all of his depressed gold holdings should shoot up. He also thinks that anyone in Greece, Italy, and France should pull all their money out of the banking system and purchase gold bars before the Continent collapses.

Although Paulson remains committed to gold long term, he did substantially reduce his holdings in the SPDR Gold Shares ETF (GLD) during 2011.  At March 31, 2011, Paulson’s funds held 31.5 million shares of GLD valued at $4.4 billion but by the end of 2011, the position had declined to 17.3 million shares valued at $2.85 billion.   In Paulson’s latest Form 13-F filing with the SEC at March 31, 2012, Paulson’s position in the GLD remained unchanged from 2011 year end holdings.

GLD - courtesy yahoo finance

In hindsight, Paulson should have gone “all in” on gold during 2011 as he did with his bearish mortgage bets in 2007.  Gold closed at $1388.50 on the first day of trading in 2011 and closed the year at $1,531.  Had Paulson been 100% in gold bullion or the GLD during 2011 his portfolios would have increased in value by about 10.3%.

2011 Gold - courtesy kitco.com

Gold and Silver Bullion Coin Sales Rise In March

Production figures from the U.S. Mint for March show a sharp increase in the sale of both gold and silver bullion coins from the previous month.

Total sales of the American Gold Eagle bullion coins increased in March to 62,500 ounces, up from 21,000 ounces in February.  Total sales of the American Silver Eagle bullion coins totaled 2,542,000 ounces in March, up from 1,490,000 ounces in February.  Sales of both bullion coins for the first quarter of 2012, however, declined from the prior year.

Sales of the American Gold Eagle bullion coins totaled 210,500 ounces for the first quarter of 2012, down 29.7% from the 299,500 ounces sold in the first quarter of 2011.  Total sales of the American Silver Eagle bullion coins amounted to 10,139,000 ounces during the first quarter of 2012, down by 18.4% from the 12,429,000 ounces sold in the prior year’s first quarter.

The all time record year for sales of the American Gold Eagle bullion coins occurred in 2009 with 1,435,000 ounces sold.  The all time high record for sales of the American Silver Eagle bullion coins was in 2011 when a total of 39,868,500 one ounce coins were sold.

Gold Bullion U.S. Mint Sales By Year
Year Total Ounces Sold
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 210,500
Total 7,460,000
Note: 2012 totals through March 31, 2012

The amount of physical gold bullion purchased purchased from the U.S. Mint over the past 12 years remains relatively small compared to the amount of gold invested in the two largest gold trust ETFs.  The SPDR Gold Shares ETF (GLD) is the world’s largest physically backed gold exchange traded ETF fund with current holdings of 41.4 million ounces of gold.  The iShares Gold Trust ETF (IAU) currently holds 6.2 million ounces of gold.

The total sales of gold and silver bullion coins detailed above do not include U.S. Mint gold and silver numismatic coin sales which are directly sold to the public.  American Gold and Silver Eagle bullion coins are only sold to a network of authorized purchasers  who in turn resell the coins to secondary retailers and the public.  The U.S. Mint decided that using  Authorized Purchasers to sell gold and silver bullion coins to the public was the most efficient means of selling the coins to the public at competitive prices.

Shown below are the U.S. Mint sales figures for the American Silver Eagle bullion coins since 2000.  Sales totals for 2012 are through March 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 10,139,000
TOTAL 208,539,500