The West Point Mint is continuing to build up its inventory of 2013
American Eagle tenth-ounce gold bullion coins to meet public demand so
that a sales suspension to authorized purchasers implemented April 22
can be lifted.
Tom Jurkowsky, director of the U.S. Mint’s Office of Public
Affairs, said April 30 the suspension was still in effect and would
remain so until inventories are sufficiently replenished.
The volatility in the price of silver has also pushed demand for
silver American Eagles to record levels.
Popular size with public
The American Eagle tenth-ounce gold bullion coin is the second
most popular gold bullion coin among the four sizes, exceeded only by
the 1-ounce size, according to U.S. Mint officials.
The United States Mint still has adequate supplies of the 1-ounce,
half-ounce and quarter-ounce .9167 fine gold American Eagles and 2013
American Buffalo .9999 fine gold 1-ounce gold $50 coins to meet
Jurkowsky said global demand for gold and silver has stretched
Mint production, which is limited by the number of blanks it can secure.
Year-to-date demand alone for the tenth-ounce gold American Eagles
is up 118 percent, with overall market demand for all four sizes of
American Eagle gold bullion coins up more than 100 percent, compared
to the same time last year, according to U.S. Mint officials.
During the first four months of 2013, gold American Eagle sales to
authorized purchasers totaled 502,000 ounces compared with 230,500
ounces for the same period in 2012.
Demand for the tenth-ounce gold American Eagle in 2013 before the
April 22 sales suspension reached 300,000 coins. Sales of tenth-ounce
American Eagles for all of 2012 totaled 315,000 coins.
Demand for American Buffalo gold bullion coins through the first
four months of calendar year 2013 reached 132,000 ounces — the total
for all of 2012.
American Eagle silver bullion coin sales are up 57 percent during
the first four months of 2013, reaching 18,310,000 coins, compared
with 11,659,000 coins over the same period in 2012. The sale of
7,498,000 silver American Eagles in January 2013 broke the previous
monthly sales record of 6,107,000 coins set in January 2012.
Should the U.S. Mint continue sales at the current monthly average
of 4,577,500 coins, 2013 totals would reach 54,930,000 — toppling the
2011 record sales total of 39,868,000 coins.
The U.S. Mint is continuing to do everything possible to find
additional suppliers; it currently has three suppliers for American
Eagle silver bullion coin blanks.
“The United States Mint acknowledges that its suppliers of
precious metals are doing their best to meet our demands for blanks,”
according to Jurkowsky. “However, the Mint understands the challenges
that these suppliers face in meeting not just the Mint’s demand, but
the global demand.”
Jurkowsky said the skyrocketing demand for all silver bullion
coins has placed a significant strain on planchet suppliers, including
those that supply the U.S. Mint.
In January, the U.S. Mint was forced to put sales of American
Eagle silver bullion coins on an allocation basis to its authorized
purchasers. Sales remain allocated.
Jurkowsky said that after peaking in 2011, demand in 2012 for
silver American Eagles fell by more than 22 percent from the first
half of the year — only to surge again in the last quarter of the
year. January 2013 demand was up almost 23 percent from January 2012,
“This volatility makes forecasting extremely difficult as demand
is driven by external factors beyond the Mint’s control,” Jurkowsky said.
“The situation at our suppliers is understandable. The investment
required to establish additional capacity requires careful financial
analysis, and the demand from global mints did not exist throughout
the early part of the last decade. The United States Mint has worked
diligently over the last five years to grow our supply of silver
blanks,” he said.
Jurkowsky added, “Overall, we attempt to manage our supplies in a
manner that ensures we have a sufficient number of coins to meet the
weekly demand of our authorized purchasers.
“When that demand exceeds our ability to acquire a sufficient
number of blanks, we then go on allocation until our inventories can
be rebuilt again and the supply of blanks increased so that time spent
on allocation is minimized,” Jurkowsky said. ■