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U.S. Mint May Sell Palladium Coins to Meet Demand From Investors

Dec. 15 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Mint may produce American Eagle palladium coins if there is sufficient evidence that investors will buy them.

The mint was authorized to produce the 1-ounce coins “if an independent marketing study demonstrates adequate demand to ensure that the coins could be minted and issued at no net cost to taxpayers,” according to the American Eagle Palladium Bullion Coin Act of 2010 that President Barack Obama signed into law yesterday.

Demand for precious-metal coins has soared this year as investors sought a haven from turmoil in global financial markets. The U.S. Mint currently sells 1-ounce American Eagle gold, silver and platinum coins. Last month, the agency sold a record 4,260,000 ounces of silver coins.

The price of palladium, used in jewelry and in automobile pollution-control devices, has gained more than 80 percent this year and touched a nine-year high of $780 an ounce on the New York Mercantile Exchange on Dec. 3.

Coin sales would generate about $500,000 a year in excess of production costs, according to a report by the Congressional Budget Office on Sept. 29.

Palladium futures for March delivery fell $8.70, or 1.1 percent, to $759.50 an ounce at 11:38 a.m. in New York.

To contact the reporter on this story: Pham-Duy Nguyen in Seattle at pnguyen@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steve Stroth at sstroth@bloomberg.net.

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