Sales of silver coins by the U.S. Mint are heading for the best start to a year since at least 1986 as prices slumped.
Sales in 2013 have reached 24.03 million ounces, according to data on the mint’s website. That’s the highest for the first six months of a year since records begin. Demand reached a monthly all-time high of 7.5 million ounces in January.
Demand remains at an “unprecedented level,” and sales of gold and silver coins may reach an annual record this year, Richard Peterson, the acting director of the mint, said on June 5. Silver coin sales were suspended in January for more than a week because of a lack of inventory. In April, purchases more than doubled from a year earlier after prices tumbled into a bear market.
Silver futures have declined 28 percent this year in New York, the biggest loss among the 24 commodities tracked by the Standard & Poor’s GSCI Spot Index. The collapse of gold into a bear market, steady consumer prices and mounting concern about the strength of economies has diminished silver’s appeal.