U.S. Gold-Coin Sales This Year Top 2012 as Futures Slump

Sales of American Eagle gold coins by the U.S. Mint this year have surpassed the total for all of 2012 as the futures market, which tumbled into a bear market in April, heads for the first annual decline since 2000.

In 2013, 755,500 ounces of the coins were sold as of today, compared with 753,000 ounces last year, according to data on the mint’s website. In the month of April, sales surged to 209,500 ounces, the most since December 2009, after futures posted the biggest two-day slump in three decades.

Gold prices on the Comex in New York have climbed 11 percent from a 34-month low of $1,179.40 an ounce in June, partly as demand for coins, bar and jewelry increased in Asia. China’s imports of the metal from Hong Kong more than doubled to 826 metric tons in the nine months ended Sept. 30 from a year earlier, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“Demand remains healthy, and there are lot of people out there who want physical gold as hedge against economic uncertainties,” Miguel Perez-Santalla, a vice president at New York-based BullionVault, an online service for buying physical metal, said in a telephone interview

The mint suspended sales of gold coins weighing a 10th of an ounce from April 23 to May 28 because of a lack of inventory.

Gold futures for December delivery declined 0.8 percent to close at $1,313.20 today. They have dropped 22 percent this year. Some investors lost faith in the metal amid a rally to a record in U.S. equities and muted inflation.

Holdings in the SPDR Gold Trust, the biggest exchange-traded product backed by the metal, have dropped 36 percent this year to the lowest since February 2009, data showed today.

Gold futures rose to a record $1,923.70 on Sept. 6, 2011.

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