In a year that's been a roller coaster ride of volatile gold and silver prices, the volume of bullion sales from the U.S. Mint have been uneven throughout 2016—at least in comparison to the record-setting totals from the previous three years. Yet the fourth quarter is shaping up to be a strong one for sales of U.S. gold coins.
Q4 Sales Rebound
After sales from the U.S. Mint were on a tear to begin the year, high precious metal prices depressed bullion purchases this fall. Whether this was merely due to the coins being more expensive or if investors were diverting their money to collectible coins instead still has yet to be determined.
October and November, however, were both strong months in terms of demand for physical gold. Between the two months, over 27.5% of the annual production of Gold Eagles year-to-date was purchased.
November was actually the best month for gold bullion coin sales since July of 2015, with 147,500 total troy ounces of American Gold Eagle coins sold. This also ranks as the fourth-best monthly sales total since the beginning of 2013 (47 months). The surge in gold coin purchases also puts the mint within striking distance of achieving 1 million oz of Gold Eagles sold this year if December has even a modest showing.
In addition to the Gold Eagle, the mint also tracks its sales of Gold Buffalo 1 oz gold coins. These popular coins are actually struck from .9999 fine gold (99.99% pure), whereas Gold Eagles use the more durable .917 fine (22-karat) fineness standard. The combined sales figures for both series are shown in the chart below.
Silver Eagles Slump
So far this year, the Gold Eagle's silver counterpart, the American Silver Eagle, have somewhat disappointed in their total sales. Barring some December miracle, the series will not achieve its fourth consecutive annual production record. Year-to-date, 37.7 million of the one-ounce coins have been sold. This is nearly 10 million off of last year's record pace. Again, sharply higher silver prices likely led to some reduction in demand.
The Silver Eagle's beauty and reliability attracts both domestic investors as well as buyers overseas. Demand for these silver coins is generally expected to rebound next year.
The opinions and forecasts herein are provided solely for informational purposes, and should not be used or construed as an offer, solicitation, or recommendation to buy or sell any product.