The current state of market supply and demand metrics can be seen by examining recent bullion sales data. The U.S. Mint is one of the largest bullion producers in the world and regularly publishes recent sales data. Sales figures from the mint can provide some insights as how to strong or weak recent demand may be. Investors can also examine recent premium levels in order to try to get a sense of market strength or weakness. This article summarizes U.S. Mint December sales data. You can read our article about November sales data here.
American Gold Eagles
To call the American Gold Eagle iconic would be an understatement. These gold coins are highly symbolic of the United States and all that it stands for and are recognized as a reliable store of value anywhere in the world. The one-ounce coin remains highly popular among investors, although the coin is available in other weights as well. Gold Eagles are also available in both bullion and proof versions and make an excellent addition to any portfolio or coin collection.
According to data from the U.S. Mint, the mint sold 3000 of the 1 oz coins in December. This figure represents a very sharp drop-off from the previous month, in which the mint sold 16,000 coins. The steep decline in demand could potentially be due to several factors. Investors may have simply been more focused on end-of-year positioning or other considerations. Higher prices may have also been a major factor in lower sales figures as many investors may prefer to buy on significant price dips as opposed to strength.
American Silver Eagles
The American Silver Eagle is the most popular silver bullion coin in the world. The highly symbolic Silver eagle comes in just the 1-ounce weight and is extremely liquid. Like the Gold Eagles, they are also available to investors in both bullion and proof versions.
According to recent sales data from the U.S. Mint, sales of Silver Eagles totaled 490,000 for December. Like the gold version, these coins saw a significant and sharp decline from the previous month which saw sales of 1,645,000 ounces. The significant decline in month-over-month sales could be attributed to numerous factors. One of the largest factors could be the sudden and sharp rise in prices. After trading for less than $15 per-ounce for much of the month, silver eventually gained momentum and made a rapid push towards the $16 per-ounce level. Investors may simply be waiting for the next dip in order to buy.
The American Gold Buffalo was the first gold coin struck by the mint on 24-karat gold. This symbolic coin was first introduced in 2006 and pays tribute to the mighty American buffalo. The coin is available in both bullion and proof versions and makes and excellent addition to any portfolio or coin collection.
According to data from the U.S. Mint, the mint sold just 1500 coins in December. Like other popular bullion products, the Buffalo saw a sharp decline in sales going into the end of the year. The December sales figure was less than a third of sales figures from the previous month. The sharp drop could be blamed on numerous factors including year-end positioning and higher prices. Investors may sing a different tune as the New Year gets going, however, and recent upside in prices could potentially attract more buying attention.
America the Beautiful 5 Ounce Silver Coins
The America the Beautiful 5 Ounce Silver Coin was first introduced by the mint in 2010. The coin’s design was inspired by changes made to the country’s circulation quarters in the late 20th century. These coins feature various designs and pay tribute to each of the 50 states.
According to sales figures from the U.S. Mint, the mint sold a total of 142,500 total coins for calendar year 2018. The sales figures were broken down as follows:
- Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore - 30,000
- Apostle Islands National Lakeshore - 30,000
- Voyageurs National Park - 30,000
- Cumberland Island National Seashore - 52,500
- Block Island National Wildlife Refuge - 80,000
Gold and Silver Eagle Sales at 11-Year Lows
It is noteworthy that sales of these iconic bullion coins have declined to an 11-year low. The drop-off in sales could have several issues behind it, although a generally strong appetite for risk is likely a primary force. Investors may have simply chosen to stick with higher-yielding asset classes like stocks.
Stocks did come under some significant pressure in recent months, however, and any further weakness could change current market dynamics.
The metals have also had to contend with a stronger dollar. As dollar-denominated assets, gold and silver often exhibit a negative correlation to the dollar. In other words, a stronger dollar oftentimes weighs on these asset prices while a weaker dollar oftentimes gives them a lift.
Like the equity markets, current dynamics that have fueled a rise in the dollar could potentially change as the Fed takes an increasingly dovish stance towards interest rates and as the “sugar-high” effects of tax cuts and government spending wear off.
With 2019 versions being available for shipment soon, now may be the time to lock in prices before they potentially rise from current levels. Pay attention for any significant price dips as well, as bargain hunters could look to jump into the market quickly, potentially putting a strain on supply and/or increasing premiums.