Gold, Silver Soar in First Half of 2016; US Coin Sales Slow in June

American Eagle gold coins
Precious metals futures are higher on the year to date with gains ranging from 6.3% for palladium to 34.9% for silver. U.S. Mint bullion coins moved slower in June but their year-to-date sales are solidly higher than those from the first half of last year.

Most precious metals advanced on the last trading day in June, padding their gains for the month, second quarter and through the first half of this year.

Gold was the exception on the day, slipping from an almost two-year high, while still scoring sharp monthly and quarterly increases. Gold for August delivery on Thursday declined $6.30, or 0.5%, to settle at $1,320.60 an ounce on the Comex division of the New York Mercantile Exchange.

Gold futures advanced 8.5% in June, 6.9% in the second quarter, and 24.6% in the first half of 2016. On Wednesday, the yellow metal settled at its best level since July 11, 2014.

"We forecast the gold price to increase through 2016 and believe the $1,500/oz mark could be tested by late 2016 or early 2017 as the macro implications of the Brexit vote are clarified, and the Nov. 8 U.S. election weighs on sentiment," Reuters quoted Credit Suisse.

Rising for the seventh time in eight sessions, silver for September delivery tacked on 21.6 cents, or 1.2%, to close at $18.623 an ounce. The settlement is the highest since Sept. 17, 2014 when prices ended at $18.73 an ounce.

"Silver is clearly profiting from two different sides at once just now: from the higher gold price on the one hand, and from firm base metal prices on the other, as silver is used for the most part in industry," wrote analysts led by Carsten Fritsch at Commerzbank, according to MarketWatch. "All the same, silver ETFs have seen only moderate inflows in recent days, unlike their gold counterparts."

Silver futures rallied 16.4% in June, advanced 20.4% in the second quarter, and surged 34.9% through the first half of this year.

In PGM futures on Thursday and for the month:

  • October platinum gained $10.80, or 1.1%, to $1,024.30 an ounce, lifting its June increase to 4.5%.

  • Palladium for September delivery rose $6.80, or 1.2%, to $597.35 an ounce, jumping 9.1% on the month.

Their quarterly gains lassoed in at 4.8% for platinum and 5.9% for palladium. In the January to June period, platinum surged 14.7% and palladium advanced 6.3%.

London Precious Metals Prices

In comparing earlier fixed London bullion prices from Wednesday PM to Thursday PM:

  • Gold shed 75 cents, or less than 0.1%, to $1,320.75 an ounce.
  • Silver added 15 cents, or 0.8%, to $18.36 an ounce.
  • Platinum added $2, or 0.2%, $999 an ounce, and
  • Palladium added $7, or 1.2%, to $589 an ounce.

Like futures, they advanced for the month, the quarter and the year to date. Their monthly increases tallied to 9% for gold, 14.3% for silver, 2.9% for platinum and 9.1% for palladium.

As for the second quarter, they logged increases totaling 6.8% for gold, 19.4% for silver, 2.4% for platinum and 3.5% for palladium.

And finally, for the year so far, their gains total 24.3% for gold, 32.9% for silver, 14.6% for platinum and 7.7% for palladium

US Mint Bullion Coin Sales in 2016

United States Mint bullion sales tend to be more tepid near and around the middle of the year, and they did drop in June from previous month and a year earlier. Still, their sales through the first half of this year are markedly higher than during the first six months of last year. In headline comparisons:

  • American Eagle gold coins reached 73,500 ounces in June, dipping 3.9% from the May total of 76,500 ounces and easing 3.3% from the 76,000 ounces delivered in June of last year. Year to date sales total 501,000 ounces for a 83.5% increase over the 273,000 ounces sold during the first half of 2015.

  • American Buffalo gold coins climbed 14,500 ounces in June, falling 21.6% from May sales of 18,500 ounces and dropping 31% from the 21,000 ounces delivered in June 2015. Sales through the first half of this year at 112,500 ounces are 16.6% higher than the 96,500 ounces sold during the first six months of last year.

  • The U.S. Mint continues to ration weekly sales of American Eagle silver coins. Their sales advanced 2,837,500 for the month, down 36.9% from the prior month’s 4,498,500 coins and off 41.4% from June of last year when they reached 4,840,000 coins. Sales of 2016 American Silver Eagles are now at 26,250,500 coins, which is 20.5% higher than the 21,786,000 coins delivered through the first half of 2015.

  • America the Beautiful Five Ounce Silver Bullion Coins climbed in June by 34,200 coins or 171,000 ounces after rising in May by 11,000 coins or 55,000 ounces.

Below is a sales breakdown of U.S. Mint bullion products with columns listing the number of bullion coins sold during varying periods of time.

US Mint Bullion Sales (# of coins)
Thursday Last Week This Week Apr Sales May Sale June Sales 2016 Sales
$50 American Eagle 1 Oz Gold Coins 3,000 13,500 13,000 93,500 64,500 62,500 406,000
$25 American Eagle 1/2 Oz Gold Coins 0 2,000 0 6,000 7,000 3,000 46,000
$10 American Eagle 1/4 Oz Gold Coins 0 6,000 0 14,000 10,000 10,000 86,000
$5 American Eagle 1/10 Oz Gold Coins 10,000 20,000 15,000 55,000 60,000 70,000 505,000
$50 American Buffalo 1 Oz Gold Coins 1,000 3,000 2,500 19,500 18,500 14,500 112,500
$1 American Eagle 1 Oz Silver Coins 275,000 517,000 938,000 4,072,000 4,498,500 2,837,500 26,250,500
2016 Shawnee 5 Oz Silver Coins 0 0 0 0 0 0 105,000
2016 Cumberland Gap 5 Oz Silver Coins 0 0 0 64,000 11,000 0 75,000
2016 Harpers Ferry 5 Oz Silver Coins 0 0 0 0 0 34,200 34,200


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Seth Riesling

Watch out for the US Mint to announce higher prices for its silver coin products soon. Just in time for the Summertime issue of the Proof & Burnished ASE $1 30th anniversary coins.