U.S. Mint Gold-Coin Sales Jump 63% in January; Silver Triples

Jan 31, 2014 7:02 pm ET

Feb. 1 (Bloomberg) -- Sales of gold coins by the U.S. Mint rose 63 percent in January to the highest since April as futures rebounded.

The volume climbed to 91,500 ounces from 56,000 ounces in December, while sales of silver coins almost tripled to 4.78 million ounces, the highest in a year, mint data showed yesterday.

In January, gold futures rose 3.1 percent, snapping a four- month slump, as a rout in emerging-market currencies increased demand for the metal as a haven. Mints from the U.S., the world’s biggest, to Australia boosted sales with Austria’s Muenze Oesterreich AG operation running 24 hours a day to meet a surge in demand.

“Any kind of uncertainty attracts people to gold,” Scott Carter, the chief executive officer of Los Angeles-based Lear Capital, said in a telephone interview. “The long-term buyers accumulate gold every time there is a drop.”

Gold futures for April delivery fell 0.2 percent to $1,239.80 an ounce yesterday on the Comex in New York. On Dec. 31, the price touched a six-month low of $1,181.40, spurring demand for coins, bars and jewelry.

In 2013, the metal tumbled 28 percent, the first annual loss since 2000. A U.S. equity rally to a record and muted inflation eroded the metal’s appeal as an alternative investment.

Sales of gold coins fell 39 percent from a year earlier, and silver dropped 36 percent.

--Editors: Patrick McKiernan, Millie Munshi