Market Recap 4/1/11

Monday began with Five Things to Watch in the Market this Week. 1) Stocks posted huge gains last week as the volatility index dropped. Will this carry into Monday despite continuing geopolitical risks, more radiation concerns out of Japan and new housing data? 2) What will the latest news be out of Japan? 3) The conflict in Libya and President Obama’s explanation of why and how long we will be there. 4) The New York Times attempt to monetize their online content. 5) Will the housing numbers be as bad as expected and will analysts begin to officially call it a double dip?

The stock market did continue to move up throughout the entire week despite a small pull back on Thursday. There was more bad news coming out of Japan as plutonium was found in the soil at a nuclear plant. President Obama spoke, but with little detail. The conflict in Libya is possibly easing…or at least the news coverage is waning.

Whether or not we say the words double-dip as it applies to the housing recovery or lack thereof, more disturbing data was released this week. The S&P Case-Shiller report showed prices in the top 20 US markets dipped another 3.1% in January. For those unfamiliar with this report, please consider that this is a three month running average, so this data includes October and November when interest rates were at historic lows. “Keeping with the trends set in late 2010, January brings us weakening home prices with no real hope in sight for the near future,” says Standard and Poors’ David M. Blitzer. “The housing market recession is not yet over, and none of the statistics are indicating any form of sustained recovery. At most, we have seen all statistics bounce along their troughs; at worst, the feared double-dip recession may be materializing.”

The above report, falling consumer confidence and even oil prices going up could not dampen the appetite for risks, as the stock market continued to rise. The appetite for risks may be growing, but some analysts are sounding an alarm. JP Morgan is loaning AT&T 20 billion dollars to help finance their purchase of T-Mobile. Moody’s is warning that this could be an early warning sign of another credit bubble as this will encourage other banks to assume too much risks in order to capture the lucrative underwriting fees.

The big news on Friday is that the economy added 216,000 jobs and unemployment falls to 8.8%. This report will be viewed as positive for the equity markets and bearish for Gold and Silver. We should keep in mind that we have still recovered only a fraction of the 8 million jobs lost in the recession and many economists say we need 250,000 – 300,000 in job gains each month to have any measurable impact.

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,430.90. The high during the week was on Thursday, March 31st, at $1,440.00, while the low for the week occurred on Monday, March 28th, at $1,410.10. Gold ended the week down $1.70 at $1,429.20. This week, the most popular Gold bullion products were 2011 Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Gold Bars, and 2011 1 oz. Gold Maple Leafs.

Silver:
Spot Silver prices opened this week at $37.42. Silver reached a high of $37.98 on Thursday, March 31st, while this week’s low for Silver occurred on Monday, March 28th, at $36.44. Silver ended the week up $0.49 at $37.91. The most popular Silver products on APMEX.com this week were 2011 Silver American Eagles, 2011 Silver Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 10 oz. APMEX Silver Bars.

Platinum:
Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,750.80 and ended the week up $17.70 at $1,768.50. Popular Platinum products this week included, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Platinum Bars, 1/10 oz. Platinum American Eagles, and 1 oz. Platinum American Eagles.

Palladium:
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $752.00 and ended the week up $23.50 at $775.50. Palladium investors preferred 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs this week at APMEX.com.

Featured Bullion Product:
Each week, APMEX will review a different bullion product for the benefit of our readers. This week, we will review the bullion coins from the Perth Mint.

The Perth Mint is Australia’s oldest currently operating mint. The Perth Mint traces its history to Great Britain’s Royal Mint, which opened the Perth branch of the Royal Mint on June 20, 1899. First established for the purpose of refining Gold and producing British Sovereigns as currency for the British Empire, the Perth Mint remained under British control until 1790. On July 1, 1790, the Perth Mint became a statutory authority of Western Australia. Now, the Perth Mint is owned by the Gold Corporation, a company owned by the Western Australian government. Under the Gold Corporation Act of 1987, the government of Western Australia mandated that the Gold Corporation direct and operate the Perth Mint.

Since its foundation, the Perth Mint has been producing and refining large quantities of Gold and other precious metals. Today, the Perth Mint is still highly involved in the Gold industry and the production of Australian precious metals legal tender. However, the Perth Mint is also involved in manufacturing a wide array of numismatic items for collectors and investors. The coins in the Perth Mint’s numismatic collections feature some of the most dazzling designs in the world. Discover the wonder of Australia with the magnificent Australian Gold and Silver coins produced by the Perth Mint.

APMEX offers a diverse selection of Silver numismatic coins manufactured by the Perth Mint. At APMEX, you can find coins from the following Perth Mint collections: Deadly & Dangerous Coins, Australian Sea Life Coins, Extinct Animal Series Coins, Famous Battles in History, and Discover Australia: The Dreaming Series Coins. These coins bring the Australian animal kingdom and historical events to life. Splashed with brilliant colors and stunning designs, the Perth Mint coins belong in your coin collections. To add these high-quality Silver coins to your coin collection today, shop APMEX’s diverse assortment of Silver products available from the world famous Perth Mint.

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Market Recap 4/30/10

The drama in Europe continued this week as the European Union tried to put together a bailout package for Greece. With the country on the brink of default, Germany changed its position multiple times this week, first stating it would not help Greece and then saying it would support the bailout effort. Gold has been a beneficiary of the turmoil in Europe, with investors piling into gold as a safe-haven investment, according to Forbes. Since last Friday, gold has gained more than $30 per ounce despite strength from the U.S. Dollar.

Bloomberg reported that Portugal had its credit rating cut two steps by Standard & Poor’s as contagion from Greece’s debt crisis spreads through the Euro Region. S & P lowered its long-term local and foreign currency ratings to A- from A+, it said in a statement today. “The outlook on Portugal is negative, reflecting the risk of a further downgrade,” S & P said.

In an interview with CNBC, Vice Chairman of Blackstone Advisory Services Byron Wien predicted gold will reach $1,500 an ounce by the end of this year. “Most people’s assets are in financial instruments and gold is an insurance against financials and the erosion of the value of financials, the dollar, and the purchasing power of paper currencies,” he explained.

This week, APMEX announced its 77 Cent Spring Silver Sale. Until Sunday, May 2, 2010, at 11:59 p.m. (CST), jump into Spring and take advantage of spectacular savings on 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 1 oz. Sunshine Mint Silver Rounds at $0.77 per ounce over spot in any quantity!

Gold:
Spot gold prices opened this week at $1,160.40. The high during the week was on Friday, April 30th, at $1,182.30, while the low for the week occurred on Tuesday, April 27th, at $1,146.50. Gold ended the week up $21.90 at $1,182.30. This week, gold investors concentrated their purchases on 2010 Gold Buffalos, Gold American Eagles and South African Krugerrands.

Silver:
Spot silver prices opened this week at $18.36. Silver reached a high of $18.67 on Friday, April 30th, while the low for silver occurred on Wednesday, April 28th, at $17.84. Silver ended the week up $0.31 at $18.67. This week, the most popular silver items included Silver American Eagles, 1 oz. APMEX .999 Fine Silver Rounds and Silver Canadian Maple Leafs.

Platinum:
Spot platinum prices opened this week at $1,750.00 and ended the week down $4.40 at $1,745.60. Platinum American Eagles, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Platinum Bars and 1 oz. Credit Suisse Platinum Bars were popular with platinum investors this week.

Palladium:
Spot palladium prices opened this week at $567.00 and ended the week down $8.20 at $558.80. Popular palladium products this week included 1 oz. .999 Fine Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs.

Featured Bullion Product:
Each week, APMEX features a different bullion product for the benefit of our readers. This week, we are excited to highlight the Gold Australian Series 1 Lunar coins.

This series of Australian legal tender coins was minted at the world-renowned Perth Mint in Perth, Australia. From 1996 through 2007, these incredible coins were minted to celebrate Chinese New Year, which is a large and popular celebration in Australia and around the Pacific Region.

The Australian Lunar coin motif draws its inspiration from the animals featured in China’s ancient Lunar Calendar. Central to this lunar calendar are stories and legends of the 12 lunar animals and their respective characteristics according to Chinese folklore. Each animal is said to have a profound influence over those born under its ‘rule’ in the Chinese Zodiac. Each year, the reverse design of these beautiful coins is changed to match the animal featured for the year in the 12-year cycle of the Chinese Zodiac. The obverse of these coins depicts Queen Elizabeth II.

Each coin contains .9999 pure gold and carries an Australian legal tender face value. The coins have been available in a wide variety of different weights, including 1/20 oz, 1/10 oz, 1/4 oz, 1/2 oz, 1 oz, and larger sizes. These coins are a great way to acquire and invest in precious metals.

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Market Recap 3/5/10

The U.S. economy shed an additional 36,000 jobs in February. Although fewer jobs were lost than expected, the unemployment rate remained at 9.7%, according to The Wall Street Journal.  An industry report said the U.S. manufacturing sector grew in February but at a slower rate than was expected.

The Commerce Department said on Monday that spending rose 0.5%, increasing for the fourth straight month, reported Reuters. Analysts polled by Reuters had expected consumer spending, which normally accounts for over two-thirds of U.S. economic activity, to increase 0.4% in January. “The message is continuing progress for the economy, if not as fast as hoped,” said Pierre Ellis, a senior economist at Decision Economics in New York.

MSN Money warned this week that the Federal Reserve’s recent increase in the discount rate may mean that higher interest rates are coming. Although the move came sooner than many had expected, it was a step toward more-normal conditions. The Fed stressed that the move doesn’t mean an imminent rise in the more-important federal funds rate. But despite those words, it’s a clear warning from the Fed that near-zero interest rates won’t last forever. This action has led some to speculate that U.S. consumers may begin to feel the pinch of inflation very soon, making precious metals all the more attractive as a hard asset.

Gold:
Spot gold prices opened this week at $1,119.00. The high during the week was on Wednesday, March 3rd, at $1,145.80, while the low for the week occurred on Monday, March 1st, at $1,112.10. Gold ended the week up $17.20 at $1,136.20. This week, Gold American Eagles, Canadian Gold Maple Leafs, and 1 oz. .9999 Pamp Suisse Gold Bars remained popular with investors.

Silver:
Spot silver prices opened this week at $16.62. Silver reached a high of $17.52 on Friday, March 5th, while the low for silver occurred on Tuesday, March 2nd, at $16.42. Silver ended the week up $0.80 at $17.42. This week, the most popular silver items included 1 oz. APMEX .999 Fine Silver Rounds, Silver American Eagles, and 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds.

Platinum:
Spot platinum prices opened this week at $1,540.00 and ended the week up $41.90 at $1,581.90. 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Platinum Bars, Platinum American Eagles, and 1 gram Credit Suisse Platinum Bars were popular with platinum investors this week.

Palladium:
Spot palladium prices opened this week at $433.90 and ended the week up $48.50 at $482.40. Popular palladium products this week included 2009 Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs MS-69 NGC and 1 oz. .999 Fine Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars.

Featured Bullion Product:
Each week, APMEX features a different bullion product for the benefit of our readers. This week’s featured product is the Australian Gold Kangaroo from the Perth Mint.

Founded in 1899, the Perth Mint is a world leader in the innovative design and minting of precious metal products. The Perth Mint introduced the Australian Gold Kangaroo/Nugget series of bullion coins in 1987. From its beginning, this issue of coins had two unique features: these coins featured a ‘two-tone’ frosted design effect, and each coin was sealed in an individual hard plastic case. Issued as Australian legal tender, gold Kangaroos are a favorite with investors worldwide.

At first, the reverse of these coins displayed an Australian gold nugget. Then in 1989, the design was changed to feature a more world-recognized symbol of Australia — the kangaroo. The Australian Kangaroo designs vary every year, making these bullion coins highly sought after as collectibles. Struck from .9999 pure gold, Australian Kangaroos make a great addition to anyone’s bullion position.

APMEX offers Australian Gold Kangaroo/Nugget coins in a variety of sizes, including 1 ounce gold coins and fractional gold coins in 1/2, 1/4, 1/10 and 1/20 ounce weights.

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Weekly Market Recap 09/25/09

The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday it would leave interest rates unchanged for the time being. One might think that this fact would push stocks higher and that a foothold for a recovery is taking place. However, exactly the opposite happened. Savvy investors are now concerned that the Fed has failed to expand its direct purchases of mortgages and government debt, which will likely cause higher long term interest rates. Unemployment still remains high, wage growth has not been seen and consumer spending continues to be weak. These are all signs that the economy still faces many large hurdles before recovery can gain ground.

The most recent G-20 Summit meeting was held this week in Pittsburgh and it focused on how to stabilize economies after the current financial crisis. World leaders agreed that the economy is still too weak to back off policies instituted to protect against an even worse recession. A Harvard economist stated this week that “There’s no question that the most significant vulnerability as we emerge from recession is the soaring government debt and it’s very likely that this will trigger the next crisis as governments have been stretched so wide.” While that situation can provide significant difficulties for the world’s economies, it bodes well for precious metals, as they are considered a safe refuge in uncertain times.

The APMEX Surplus Silver Sale was unveiled this week and we received a tremendous response from our customers. APMEX is liquidating one million ounces of silver between now and the end of September. APMEX has drastically reduced the premiums on over 1 million ounces of popular silver products which provides customers with the perfect opportunity to save big dollars while expanding their precious metals positions. Follow the link to view a full list of low premium items during the limited time 1 Million Ounce Surplus Silver Sale.

Gold:

Spot Gold prices opened this week at $1,007.40. The high during the week was on Thursday, September 24th at $1,019.80, while the low for the week was on Friday, September 25th at $984.20. Gold ended the week down $15.00 at $992.40. This week 1 oz. – Random Year Gold American Eagles, 1 oz. – Random Year Gold Krugerrands, and 1 oz. – Random Year Gold Maple Leafs were in very high demand.

Silver:

Spot Silver prices opened this week at $16.95. Silver reached a high of $17.27 on Tuesday, September 22nd, while the low for silver was occurred on Friday, September 25th, at $15.92. Silver ended the week down $0.89 at $16.06. This week 1 oz. – BU Silver American Eagles, 1 oz. – Fine Silver Buffalo Rounds and 5 oz. APMEX Silver Bars sold in very strong quantities.

Platinum:

Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1,342.00, and ended the week down $62.30 at $1,279.70. Many investors continue to be keenly interested in platinum. 1 oz. – Pamp Suisse Platinum Bars, 1 oz. – 2009 Platinum Canadian Maple Leafs and ½ oz. – Platinum American Eagles continue to lead the way as the products of choice with investors.

Palladium:

Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $305.85, and ended the week down $11.85 at $294.00. This week, the most popular of these products were 1oz. – 2009 Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs, 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and 10 oz. – Credit Suisse Palladium Bars.

Numismatics:

After sustaining itself over $1,000.00 for a period of nearly a week, the spot price of Gold has eased off a bit. Because of that fact, demand for gold coins is moving higher! Pre-1933 Gold continues to be a favorite among collectors and investors, as it combines gold value with collector value. $10 Indian Eagles and $10 Liberty Eagles have been becoming a lot more popular since they are more affordable than the $20.00 coin offerings.

The beautifully-designed Mercury Dimes have maintained their popularity especially in collector grades. As is the case with all coins, problem free examples priced at under $1,000.00 are selling strongest, especially the two key dates – the 1916-D and the 1921-D! Mercury Dimes with Fully Split Bands remain a hit with collectors as they continue to buy up any and all that are un-toned and where the split is visible without a magnifying glass.

Classic Silver Commemoratives still remain affordable in as high grade as MS-66! Both White and originally toned examples are selling well with 3rd party graded coins garnering the highest praise and fanfare. Common Commemoratives such as the Booker T. Washington and the Columbian are selling well in circulated grades, as they have a very slight premium of their actual silver content.

Weekly Market Recap 09/11/09

The major stock markets showed mixed trading results during this shortened Labor Day week. Investors restrained their buying on concerns of retreat in the market, after a short rally early in the week. Consumer credit fell $21.6 billion in July to $2.5 trillion, according to a Federal Reserve report released on Tuesday. The drop was more than five times larger than had been forecast and marked the sixth straight month of decline. The global recession has also reduced Americans’ wealth by nearly 22% since the middle of 2007.

The Fed’s Beige Book, an overview of the economy generated by the 12 Federal Reserve banks, showed little or no job growth and increased disappointment in the lack of positive economic news. According to the most recent data on labor turnover, there are 6 unemployed people for every new job opening. Even more lack luster reporting came when the Commerce Department released news that the U.S. trade deficit widened by 16.3% to $32 Billion. This is the biggest percentage increase in the deficit since February 1999. These findings are yet further evidence of the recession not yielding any time soon. Much of this news contributed, in part, to Gold’s climb over the $1,000 per Troy Ounce threshold. If you have not done so already, now is the time to expand your investment portfolio to include precious metals. Visit APMEX.com to see a full list of our precious metal investment opportunities.

Gold:

Spot Gold prices opened this week at $993.70. The high during the week was on Friday, September 11th at $1013.10, while the low for the week was on Thursday, September 10th at $982.80. Gold ended the week with a gain of $13.90 at $1007.60. This week 1 oz. Random Year Gold Krugerrands, 1 oz. Random Year Gold American Eagles and 1 gram APMEX Gold Bars were in very high demand.

Silver:

Spot Silver prices opened this week at $16.22. Silver reached a high of $17.02 on Friday September 11th, while the low for silver was occurred on Thursday September 10th, at $16.06. Silver ended the week with a gain of $0.61 at $16.83. This week 2009 – 1oz. Silver American Eagles, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and 2009 – 1 oz. Silver Maple Leafs sold in very strong quantities.

Platinum:

Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1260.00, and ended the week up $63.50 at $1323.50. Many investors continue to be keenly interested in platinum. 1 oz. Credit Suisse Platinum Bars, 2009 – 1oz. Platinum Canadian Maple Leafs and 1 oz. Brilliant Uncirculated Platinum American Eagles continue to lead the way as the products of choice with investors.

Palladium:

Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $294.50, and ended the week up with a small gain of $0.90 at $295.40. This week, the most popular of these products were (1 oz.) .999 Fine Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars, 2009 – 1oz. Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs and 10 oz. Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars were highly sought after this week.

Numismatics:

As gold continues to stay above the $1,000.00 per Troy Ounce mark, Pre-1933 US gold has seen a great deal of interest here at APMEX. Everything from $20 Saint-Gaudens to $5 Indian Half Eagles to the $1 Dollar gold pieces has seen an influx in popularity. Everybody is buying up as much gold as they can, and as quickly as they can. But is this the beginning of Gold sustaining itself above the $1,000.00 mark? Is the “wait-and-see” mentality finally shifting to “I’ve waited long enough?”

As has been the trend in recent weeks, with gold as high as it is, silver has also been breaking higher ground in terms of its spot price. Morgan Silver Dollars continue their surge through the marketplace and live up to their reputation as one of the most popular and sought after coins in the hobby. Peace Silver Dollars, though less popular than the Morgan design, have also seen an increase in popularity due in large part to the spike in silver spot prices. Even cull Silver Dollars have been extremely popular as a simple method of holding silver, while Brilliant Uncirculated examples of both designs maintain their prestige. The Carson City coins and all of the key dates still remain at the top of everyone’s list!

Weekly Market Recap 08/28/09

This week there was very tight trading brought on by mixed signals from the major markets and mixed company reports. The combinations of all these factors don’t allow for a firm direction to be determined. The Commerce Department reported that the economy contracted 1% in the second quarter making this the fourth consecutive contraction in the economy. This is the longest economic contraction since quarterly records began in 1947. The U.S. Gross Domestic Product is down 3.9% from the second quarter of 2008 and the government will issue its final revision on second quarter GDP in September. Initial claims for unemployment benefits fell 10,000 to 570,000 in the week ending August 22, the Labor Department reported. The most startling news this week is the number of banks that are at risk according to a government report. Over 400 banks, the highest number reported in 15 years, were placed in the “at risk” category this week. The only time the FDIC has been in the red was during the savings and loan crisis of the early 1990’s. During that crisis the FDIC had to borrow $15 billion from the Treasury to correct the problem. Many market prognosticators are not optimistic!

This week, APMEX offered its customers great deals during the “APMEX-TOP 10” Sale and throughout the weekend you can take advantage of these fantastic buys. 10 of APMEX’s most popular bullion items are being offered at very low premiums but the sale ends on Monday August 31st. Make your hard earned money stretch further and don’t miss this great opportunity to save big $$$ at APMEX today!

Gold:
Spot Gold prices opened this week at $955.00. The high during the week was on Friday, August 28 at $963.40, while the low for the week was on Monday, August 24 at $939.50. Gold ended the week with a gain of $2.00 at $957.00. This week 1 oz. Random Year Gold Krugerrands, 1 oz. Random Year Gold American Eagles and 1 gram APMEX Gold Bars were in very high demand.

Silver:
Spot Silver prices opened this week at $14.20. Silver reached a high of $14.90 on Friday August 28, while the low for silver was occurred on Thursday August 27, at $14.04. Silver ended the week with a gain of $0.63 at $14.83. This week 2009 – 1oz. Silver American Eagles, 1 oz. Silver Buffalo Rounds and CHEAP! Morgan &/or Peace Dollars sold in very strong quantities.

Platinum:
Spot Platinum prices opened this week at $1256.00, and ended the week down $6.20 at $1249.80. Many investors continue to be keenly interested in platinum. 1 oz. Pamp Suisse Platinum Bars, 2009 – 1oz. Platinum Canadian Maple Leafs and 1 oz. Brilliant Uncirculated Platinum American Eagles continue to lead the way as the products of choice with investors.

Palladium:
Spot Palladium prices opened this week at $286.90, and ended the week with a gain of $7.70 at $294.60. This week, the most popular of these products are 1 oz. – .999 Fine Pamp Suisse Palladium Bars and 2009 – 1oz. Palladium Canadian Maple Leafs were highly sought after this week.

Numismatics:
The Carson City Mint in Carson City, Nevada, was officially approved to begin minting coins by the United States government on March 3, 1863. Due to the large number of silver mines all across the Nevada Territory, the local mine owners petitioned Congress to establish a mint in the area. Previously, all of the silver that was extracted from the area mines had to be shipped across the rugged Sierra Nevada Mountains to the branch mint in San Francisco. During that dangerous trip, the silver was extremely susceptible to theft. So, the Carson City Mint officially opened its doors on December 13, 1869 and the first coin to debut was the 1870-CC Liberty Seated Dollar. However, by the 1890’s certain Acts of Congress, outright coin thefts, and numerous political factors led the Mint Director to close the doors of that facility on June 1, 1893, thus forever sealing the legacy of the Carson City Mint. APMEX sells a wide variety of coins from the Carson City Mint that bear the coveted “CC” mintmark. Although Carson City minted many different denominations of coins, the most famous ones are part of the well-known Morgan Silver Dollar series. We carry Carson City Morgan Silver Dollars in three different presentations – uncertified coins, certified coins, and in GSA holders! In any presentation, these coins are sure to please!

Early American Copper coins such as Half Cents, Large Cents, Indian Head Cents and Lincoln Cents continue to lead the market charge in 2009. Copper has certainly made its voice heard and many of our customers have listened. Late date Large Cents are particularly selling well along with nearly every date of Half Cent ever produced. 1909, the transitional year from the Indian Head cent coins to the Lincoln cent coins, is more popular than ever with all six examples from that year selling particularly well. Even the 1908-S Indian Head Cent is extremely active in the marketplace. But as usual, key date coins and problem free examples of both series, are the coins that make a lasting impression with collectors.

Mint Suspends Orders Amid Rush To Buy Bullion

At APMEX, we have a great selection of Perth Mint items in stock and ready to ship:

Get your Perth Mint Silver while others around the world have to wait!

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.

Robert Jaggard, manager of bullion and rare coins dealer Jaggards, said business had picked up strongly and he expected it to increase further.

“All around the world there has been a heavy run on physical gold and there is a shortage of supply,” he said.

Mr Jaggard, who has been dealing in gold for 40 years and is an agent for the Perth Mint, said some clients were buying up to $1million worth of gold, paying a premium above the spot price.

Late yesterday afternoon, spot gold in Sydney was trading at $US747.30 an ounce, up $US8.15 on Thursday’s local close.

“Professional business people who have previously bought small amounts now want more gold because they are suffering in other markets,” Mr Jaggard said.

At a conference this week in Munich, delegates were lined up 30-deep to purchase physical gold. And reports out of the Middle East suggested that there had been unprecedented gold buying in Saudi Arabia during the first half of November, with an estimated $US3.5 billion purchased in recent weeks.

The World Gold Council, releasing its global demand trends yesterday, said identifiable investment demand, which incorporates demand for gold through exchange-traded funds and bars and coins, was the biggest contributor to overall demand during the quarter. It was up to $US10.7 billion, double last year’s levels.

The figures showed retail investment demand rose 121 per cent to 232 tonnes in the third quarter, with strong bar and coin buying reported in Swiss, German and US markets.

The quarter also witnessed widespread reports of gold shortages among bullion dealers across the globe, as investors searched for a haven. Overall, quarter three saw Europe reach an all-time record 51 tonnes of bar and coin buying. France became a net investor in gold for the first time since the early 1980s.

World Gold Council chief executive James Burton said gold’s universal role as a store of value had shone through during the quarter, helping attract investors and consumers to all forms of gold ownership.

“The rise in demand for gold bars and coins has been impressive,” he said.

Demand in India, the largest market for gold, recovered during the third quarter, encouraged by lower gold prices, a good monsoon and the onset of the festive season. At 250 tonnes, total consumer demand was 31 per cent higher than the same period last year. In value terms, demand hit the record quarterly sum of $US5 billion.

View the original posting at The Australian.