Gold Demand at Perth Mint Slumps to Three-Year Low in May

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Gold sales from Australia’s Perth Mint, which refines all the bullion output from the world’s second-biggest producer, tumbled to the lowest in three years, adding to signs of weakening demand as prices drop.

Sales of gold coins and minted bars totaled 21,671 ounces in May, the Perth Mint said on its website on Friday. That’s down from 26,545 ounces in April and the lowest since April 2012, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Silver sales dropped to 337,511 ounces from 472,273 ounces a month earlier.

Gold prices slumped to an 11-week low on Friday as prospects for rising U.S. interest rates and a stronger dollar eroded demand for bullion. This week, investors cut holdings in exchange-traded products backed by the metal to the lowest since 2009 amid surging stock markets in the U.S. and China.

“Interest has slackened, and physical demand has been weak for most part of the year,” Miguel Perez-Santalla, a sales and marketing manager at Heraeus Metals New York LLC, said in a telephone interview. “The interest in safe-haven assets like gold coins is less when optimism about the economy grows.”

Gold for immediate delivery fell 0.4 percent to settle at $1,171.94 an ounce at 4:59 p.m. in New York. Earlier, the price touched $1,162.88, the lowest since March 19, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. The metal posted the third straight weekly decline.

Sales of American Eagle gold coins at the U.S. Mint, the world’s largest, dropped 27 percent in May from April.

“Some investors are still moving their funds to equities,” Phil Streible, a senior market strategist at RJO Futures in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. “Chatter about the Fed raising rates in September is making all types of gold investments less attractive.”

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