Mint suspends orders amid rush to buy bullion; One European client purchased 30,000 ounces for $33 million

FEARS of the unknown long-term effects from the global financial crisis have sparked a new gold rush.

With retail and wholesale clients around the world stocking up on the precious metal, the Perth Mint has been forced to suspend orders.

As the World Gold Council reported that the dollar demand for gold reached a quarterly record of $US32 billion ($50.73 billion) in the third quarter, industry insiders said the race to secure physical gold had reached an intensity that had never been witnessed before.

Perth Mint sales and marketing director Ron Currie said the unprecedented demand had forced the Mint to cease orders until January, with staff working seven days a week, 24-hour days, over three shifts to meet orders.

He said Europe was leading the demand, with Russia, Ukraine, Middle East and US all buying — making up 80 per cent of its sales. One European client purchased 30,000 ounces for $33 million.

“We have never seen this before and are working right at capacity. And we are seeing it from clients in the shop buying one ounce, right up to 30,000 ounces from overseas clients,” Mr Currie said.

Read moreMint suspends orders amid rush to buy bullion; One European client purchased 30,000 ounces for $33 million

Financial crisis: demand for gold soars as price tumbles

Investors have rushed to buy gold bars and bought exchange traded funds, worth US$2.8 billion – the biggest inflow on record.

Gold bars - Gold offers safety as the financial crisis rages
Good as gold: investor demand for gold remains high Photo: EDDIE MULHOLLAND

The onset of a global recession and falling stock markets have triggered a stampede for gold – the traditional safe haven during times of uncertainty.

According to the World Gold Council, exchange traded funds are the main beneficiary of the flight to safety. ETFs experienced their strongest quarterly inflow during the third quarter since SPDR®Gold Shares – the first gold ETFs – were launched in November 2004.

But the Council added that bullion dealers around the world reported an unprecedented surge in demand for coins and small bars. It said that there had been reports outright shortages of gold and high premiums over the gold spot price. The US Mint temporarily suspended sales of American Buffalo gold 1 ounce coins after its stocks were depleted, while UK, German and Austrian coin dealers have also reported an enormous increase in demand during the third quarter, it added.

The average gold price edged down slightly between June and September, to $870.88/oz, from $896.11/oz in the previous three months. Gold traded as high as $986/oz on July 15, the day after the US Treasury and Federal Reserve Bank announced plans for a joint bail-out of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, but fell sharply later in the quarter to a low of $740.75/oz on September 11. This proved short lived, however. By the end of the quarter, the gold price had rebounded to $884.50/oz.

Yesterday, gold was trading at $729.20 an ounce after hitting intraday low of $718.20 — its lowest level since September 2007.

Read moreFinancial crisis: demand for gold soars as price tumbles

Austria witnesses new gold rush

There’s a new gold rush.

The financial crisis is prompting people to look for safer forms of investment than stocks and shares.

Both international speculators and ordinary Austrians want to get their hands on gold

The interest in gold coins is so great that many of the world’s major mints are struggling to keep up with demand, including the Austrian Mint, which produces the Vienna Philharmonic – one of the best-selling bullion coins worldwide.

Sales of Vienna Philharmonic gold coins have gone up by more than 230% since last year.

Kerry Tattersall, the director of marketing at the mint, says production has gone into overdrive.

“We are running at present something like three shifts on all of the machines, on the presses, producing both gold and the silver bullion coins.


How gold coins are made

“We’ve actually got delays in delivering orders in silver. With gold, we are just about keeping pace, but it is a bit of a struggle.”

In September alone, the mint sold 100,000 ounces in gold coins – in normal times it would take three to four months to sell that much.

Read moreAustria witnesses new gold rush

Central banks all but stop lending bullion

Central banks have all but stopped lending gold to commercial and investment banks and other participants in the precious metals market, in a move that on Tuesday sent the cost of borrowing bullion for one-month to more than twenty times its usual level.

The one-month gold lease rate rocketed to 2.649 per cent, its highest level since May 2001 and significantly above its five-year average of 0.12 per cent, according to data from the London Bullion Market Association.

Gold lease rates for two, three and six months and for a year also jumped to levels not seen in the last seven years.

Read moreCentral banks all but stop lending bullion

US Mint halts some American Eagle coin production

NEW YORK, Oct 7 (Reuters) – Unprecedented demand for precious metals and volatile markets forced the U.S. Mint to cease production for the half-ounce and quarter-ounce popular American Eagle gold coins for the rest of this year and to supply other bullion coins on an allocation basis.

“Due to the extreme fluctuating market conditions for 2008, as well as current market conditions, gold and silver demand is unprecedented and the demand for platinum is unusually high,” the U.S. Mint said in a Monday memorandum to its authorized coin dealers.

Related article: Financial Crisis: Rush for gold as savers queue for bullion

“The U.S. Mint has worked diligently to attempt to meet demand, however, blank supplies are very limited and it is necessary for the U.S. Mint to focus remaining bullion production primarily on American Eagle Gold One Ounce and Silver One Ounce Coins,” the Mint said.

Read moreUS Mint halts some American Eagle coin production

Gold demand soars. Price falls. What’s going wrong?

Physical demand for gold is surging but the price keeps taking serious knocks. What’s happening.

LONDON – Gold market manipulation conspiracy theorists should be having a field day.  The past few weeks have seen solid evidence that physical gold demand from individuals is soaring. We have seen the U.S. Mint having to suspend one ounce Gold Eagle coin sales because of what it terms ‘unprecedented demand’, Indian gold sales have picked up enormously in the past few weeks leading to purchasers having to wait several days for deliveries as the traditional sellers are short of gold, while yesterday we hear that Abu Dhabi, a major trading centre for precious metals, has seen gold sales rise by 300 percent in volume and 250 percent in value in August compared with a year ago.

According to a Reuters report quoting Abu Dhabi Gold and Jewellery Group Chairman Tushar Patni “It was the best month the market has seen in almost 30 years and it compensated for any drops we have seen earlier this year.  We had never expected that if gold fell below $800 an ounce we would see a 300 percent increase in volume and 250 percent in value, especially as many buyers are abroad on holiday.”

Read moreGold demand soars. Price falls. What’s going wrong?

World’s Largest Gold Refiner Runs Out of Krugerrands

Aug. 28 (Bloomberg) — Rand Refinery Ltd., the world’s largest gold refinery, ran out of South African Krugerrands after an “unusually large” order from a buyer in Switzerland.

The order was for 5,000 ounces and it will take until Sept. 3 for inventories to be replenished, said Johan Botha, a spokesman for Rand Refinery in Germiston, east of Johannesburg. He declined to identify the buyer.

Coins and bars of precious metals are attracting investors as a haven against a sliding dollar and conflict between Russia and its neighbor Georgia. The U.S. Mint suspended sales of one- ounce “American Eagle” gold coins, Johnson Matthey Plc stopped taking orders for 100-ounce silver bars at its Salt Lake City refinery and Heraeus Holding GmbH has a delivery waiting list of as long as two weeks for orders of gold bars in Europe.

“A lot of people are worried about the dollar, they’re worried about inflation and now we have geopolitical risk with what’s happening in Russia,” said Mark O’Byrne, managing director of brokerage Gold and Silver Investments Ltd. in Dublin. O’Byrne said his company’s sales are up fourfold this year, heading for a record since its founding in 2003.

Read moreWorld’s Largest Gold Refiner Runs Out of Krugerrands

U.S. Mint resumes gold coin orders on limited basis

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Mint said it must allocate the American Eagle bullion coins among dealers to cope with overwhelming demand as it resumed taking orders for the popular coins on Monday.

“The unprecedented demand for American Eagle gold one-ounce bullion coins necessitates our allocating these coins among the authorized purchasers on a weekly basis until we are able to meet demand,” the U.S. Mint told its authorized American Eagle dealers in a memo dated August 22.

Last week, soaring demand forced the U.S. Mint to suspend temporarily sales of the American Eagles, creating a shortage in the one-ounce version of the coins, which are also available in other weights and denominations.

Read moreU.S. Mint resumes gold coin orders on limited basis

The Big Sting Two

By Bob Chapman

The plan for an economic takedown, the results of rampant market speculations, insiders picking up assets for pennies on the dollar, the coming hyperinflation, the credit crunch, collapse of the dollar carry trade, suppression of metals prices, American meddling in Georgia

Read moreThe Big Sting Two

Wall Street Journal: US Mint Halts Gold-Coin Sales

As gold prices tumbled from their highest level ever, investors and collectors loaded up on one-ounce “American eagle” gold-bullion coins. The buying spree came to an abrupt halt this week after the U.S. Mint stopped selling the coins for the first time since production began 20 years ago.


David Gothard

“Due to the unprecedented demand…our inventories have been depleted,” the Mint — part of the U.S. Treasury Department — told its dealers Friday. “We are therefore temporarily suspending all sales of these coins.”

The move shocked sellers and collectors of the coins, which are the most widely traded in the U.S. Suppliers became angry as they turned away customers. Theories about the decision’s underlying cause ran rampant — from investors in gold futures to Russia’s invasion of Georgia.

“This whole thing started about the time the Ruskies made their move,” a collector noted in an Internet chat room called goldismoney.info. “It may very well be that the USGovt is preparing for the real financial meltdown by hoarding all remaining gold flows.”

The Mint says it simply was wiped out. It has sold 311,000 ounces of the coins this year — about 50% more than in all of 2007. In the first few weeks of August alone, buyers snapped up 63,500 ounces.

“We are working diligently to build up our inventory and hope to resume sales shortly,” the Mint wrote in a memo to dealers.

The United States Mint
The U.S. Mint has stopped selling American eagle gold-bullion coins.

Read moreWall Street Journal: US Mint Halts Gold-Coin Sales