NEW YORK (Commodity Online): At a time when gold prices are showing a downfall, in the US the gold coins business is roaring. Does it have anything to do with the gold scam which rocked the world last month. It seems so.
Gold exchange traded funds (ETFs) and future trading are under the shadow for the past few weeks due to the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission hearing where gold cartels were exposed by some traders.
In fact investors have been short-changed by big cartels during the past many years, especially during the recent boom time in bullion markets. In fact, there is no gold left in this world if all the Gold ETFs ask for physical delivery.
The CFTC hearing confirmed what GATA has been saying all along, that the gold market is being manipulated. The gold cartel has accumulated a huge short position and the huge short positions are 'naked', which means these positions are not hedged. There is 100-times more paper-gold outstanding than physical gold.
So, are buyers shifting to gold coins because they are scared of the fraud in paper gold? Maybe so, because, according to reports, United States Mint gold and silver bullion coins remained surprisingly resilient in March. During the month, the one ounce American Gold Eagle and one ounce American Silver Eagle were available for precious metals investors. It seems, increasingly buyers are shifting to physical gold instead of the paper gold.
Recent reports from other world mints have indicated sharp declines in sales levels for gold bullion coins compared to the prior year. The Austrian Mint reported an 80% drop in sales for all gold coin types for the first two months of the year. The Royal British Mint reported a 50% decline in gold coin production for the first quarter.
By comparison, the US Mint has experienced a much more modest decline in gold bullion sales and an increase in silver bullion sales.
The US Mint sold 102,000 ounces of gold bullion for March 2010. This is up from the prior month when 84,000 ounces were sold, but down from the year ago period when 136,500 ounces were sold. For the first quarter of 2010, the US Mint sold a total of 271,000 ounces of gold. This compares to sales of 342,000 ounces in the first quarter of 2009, measuring a decline of 20.8%.
The US Mint sold 3,381,000 ounces of silver bullion in March 2010. This is up by more than 50% from the prior month when 2,050,000 ounces were sold. It is also up from the year ago period when 3,132,000 ounces were sold. The 2010 first quarter sales total of 9,023,500 ounces represents an increase of 26.1% over the 2009 first quarter sales of 7,157,000.
The United States Mint will issue a new series of coins in 2010 that are composed of silver and depict American National Parks and National Sites.
These coins are not the collector versions of the circulating America the Beautiful Quarters. They are, however, similar in name as they are called America the Beautiful Silver Bullion Coins and they share the same reverse designs.
The bullion coins are huge by historical American coinage standards. They are twice the size of early US silver dollars, like the Morgan and Peace Dollars, and nearly double that of today's American Eagle Silver, which is 1.598 inches in diameter and includes a single ounce of silver.
Meanwhile, in India gold sales have started picking up again as lower prices, a strong currency and a looming wedding season combine to revive demand in the world's largest consumer of the precious metal.
Daily sales have jumped three times since December to around 600 kg-700 kg of gold jewelry in Mumbai.
Sales are expected to rise further as the Indian rupee's value has strengthened to near 18-month highs, making gold imports cheaper. Nearly all of India's annual demand of 700 tonnes is met through imports.