Feb. 3 (Bloomberg) -- Australia’s Perth Mint, which refines most of the bullion from the world’s second-biggest producer, joined the U.S. in reporting gold demand climbed in January as prices capped the first monthly advance in five.
Sales of coins and minted bars increased 10 percent to 64,818 ounces last month from 58,944 ounces in December, the mint said on its website today. The mint sold 912,388 ounces of silver compared with 845,941 ounces in December, it said.
Bullion advanced 3.2 percent in January, the first monthly gain since August, as increased physical demand in Asia helped gold rebound from a six-month low of $1,182.52 an ounce on Dec. 31. Prices last year capped the biggest annual decline since 1981. Sales of gold coins by the U.S. Mint climbed 63 percent in January to the highest since April, when bullion tumbled into a bear market, according to mint data.
Gold for immediate delivery traded little changed at $1,245.15 an ounce at 1:13 p.m. in Singapore.
The U.S. Mint sold 91,500 ounces of American Eagle gold coins in January from 56,000 ounces in December, data from the mint show. Austria’s Muenze Oesterreich AG operation hired extra employees and is running 24 hours a day to meet a surge in demand, it said last month. China probably topped India as the world’s top gold buyer last year as demand reached a record, the World Gold Council estimates.
Gold sales from the Perth Mint jumped 41 percent to 754,635 ounces last year, it said Jan. 2. Demand may further increase this year, sales and marketing director Ron Currie said Jan. 20.
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