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Perth Mint Gold Sales Surge 41% in 2013 on Worst Rout Since 1981

Jan. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Gold sales from Australia’s Perth Mint, which refines most of the bullion from the second-biggest producer, climbed 41 percent last year as bullion capped the worst annual loss in more than three decades.

Sales of gold coins and minted bars totaled 754,635 ounces in 2013 from 533,333 ounces a year earlier, according to data from the mint. Silver coin sales surged 33 percent to about 8.6 million ounces from 6.5 million ounces in 2012, it said.

Gold fell 28 percent last year for the first annual drop since 2000 and biggest loss since 1981 as an improving U.S. economy cut demand. Some investors lost faith in the metal as a store of value as equities rallied and the recovery prompted the U.S. Federal Reserve to pare its bond-buying program. Holdings in the 14 largest gold-backed exchange-traded products tracked by Bloomberg contracted 33 percent in 2013, data show.

Bullion sales expanded 12 percent to 58,944 ounces in December from 52,700 in November and about 51,778 ounces in December 2012, according to data from the mint. Gold sales fell to as low as 30,430 ounces in August and peaked at about 112,575 in April, when bullion slumped 14 percent in two days.

Silver coin sales were 845,941 ounces last month from 807,246 in November and 452,389 a year earlier, it said. The metal tumbled 36 percent last year, the most since 1981.

The U.S. Mint sold 14 percent more American Eagle gold coins last year and sales climbed 17 percent to 56,000 ounces in December from November, according to data on the mint’s website.

To contact the reporter on this story: Phoebe Sedgman in Melbourne at psedgman2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Poole at jpoole4@bloomberg.net

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