The Wall Street Journal is reporting that increased sales of gold and silver coins could be an early indication of a rally in precious metal prices and therefore perhaps a sign of individual investors being ahead of the market professionals.
This is backed up by Nick Moore, head of commodity strategy at the Royal Bank of Scotland, who said “People have a general feeling of being caught out, and I would expect to see a lot more interest from the professional end of the market as a result.”
They cite figures from the U.S Mint, whose sales in January of their gold American Eagles coins reached 114,500 troy ounces, the highest volume in a year. Sales of their silver American Eagles coins this month have also been the highest for the same period. These coins are the highest selling minted bullion coins in the world and so are generally seen as a pointer towards wider coin demand.
The Perth Mint of Australia, a major global supplier of gold and silver coins, has in recent weeks reported especially strong demand, with gold sales up around 80% compared to a year ago and silver sales doubling. Indeed, their 1oz bullion issues of the 2012 Year of the Dragon Lunar gold and silver coins have already sold out, despite mintages of 30,000 and 300,000 respectively.
This apparent heightened new-year demand for gold and silver coins appears to already be contributing to a rise in the price of the precious metals, with the spot price of gold having gained about 11% since the start of the year and silver up 21% on December’s lowest price. Certainly, if this trend continues, it can only signal a strong future in the precious metal markets.