U.S. Mint Silver-Coin Sales Surge After Temporary Suspension

The U.S. Mint resumed sales of American Eagle silver coins after being suspended for more than a week because of a lack of inventory.

The Mint sold 1.123 million ounces of the coins yesterday, Michael White, a spokesman in Washington, said in a voice mail left late yesterday in response to questions from Bloomberg News. Before the suspension, sales this month totaled 6.01 million ounces, according to data on the Mint’s website. That compares with 6.107 million ounces in January 2012. White did not respond to e-mails or a voice mail left today.

Silver futures are up 3.2 percent this month in New York, after advancing 8.3 percent in 2012, as central banks from the U.S. to Japan pledged more stimulus measures to boost economic growth. Global holdings of the metal in exchange-traded funds rose to an all-time high of 19,699 metric tons on Jan. 18.

“The demand for precious physical metal is surging as the continued global quantitative easing is leading to currency devaluation,” Jeffrey Sica, who helps oversee more than $1 billion as president of SICA Wealth Management, said in a telephone interview from Morristown, New Jersey. “People are realizing this is one of the best asset-classes to hold.”

On Jan. 17 the Mint said it suspended sales of American Eagle coins after ‘temporarily’ selling out. Sales of American Eagle gold coins so far this month are 84 percent higher than the total for December, according to data from the U.S. Mint, heading for the biggest monthly total since July 2010.

Fed Meeting

The Federal Reserve, starting a two-day meeting today, will continue with its commitment to asset buying until the first quarter of 2014, according to a Bloomberg survey of 44 economists. Bullion retreated to a four-month low on Jan. 4 after minutes of a Fed meeting showed some policy makers favored ending $85 billion in monthly bond purchases this year.

Silver futures for March delivery rose 1.4 percent to $31.20 an ounce at 11:54 a.m. on the Comex in New York, heading for the biggest gain for a most-active contract in two weeks.

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