Category Archives: US Mint

23/5/17: U.S. Mint Gold Coins Sales 1Q 2017

Updating, with a lag, my data for U.S. Mint sales of gold coins, here is 1Q 2017 in its full glory.

Total sales of U.S. Mint gold coins stood at 221,500 oz in 1Q 2017, down from 363,000 oz in 4Q 2016 and down on 305,500 oz in 1Q 2016. However, 1Q 2017 sales were better than 1Q sales in both 2014 and 2015.

Total number of coins sold by the U.S. Mint stood at 438,000 in 1Q 2017, down on 647,500 in 1Q 2016. In terms of number of coins sold, 1Q 2017 was the slowest of all 1Q periods since 1Q 2012.

Average weight per coin sold was 0.5057 oz/coin, stronger than in 1Q 2016 (0.4718 oz/coin) and stronger than 1Q average coin weight for 2014 and 2015.

Monthly data, plotted alongside historical and period averages shows that more recent months (especially April) posted weak sales performance.

Meanwhile, a look at quarterly aggregates indicates that while 1Q was weaker than 4Q 2016, it is still in line with the generally upward trend that has been present (with some serious volatility) since the end of 2013.

Both, the monthly series and the quarterly aggregates indicate relatively stable and strong negative correlations between the price of gold and the demand for U.S. Mint coinage over the last 6 months within the range of -0.62 and -0.84.

1/12/15: US Mint Gold Coins Sales: November

Following October fall-off, sales of U.S. Mint gold coins rose strongly in November to 135,000 oz by weight (+86.2% y/y) and 237,500 units (+95.5% y/y). These figures include sales of both Eagles and Buffalo coins. Average weight of coin sold also rose strongly to 0.5684 oz compared to 0.4709 oz in October and close to 0.5967 oz/coin in November 2014.

As noted in my note covering October sals, October decline was a correction reflective of volatile demand and also significant uplift in sales in previous months. As chart above shows, sales by weight are now well above period average and above peak period average. In 11 months of 2014, US Mint sold 679,500 oz of gold coins; over the same period of 2015 sales totalled 1,020,000 oz. November 2015 also marked 20th consecutive month of gold sales/price correlations (12mo running) being negative, suggesting strong and entrenched demand from buyers pursuing long hold strategy and taking advantage of improving cost of holding gold. 

7/11/15: U.S. Mint Sales of Gold Coins: October

Total sales of U.S. Mint gold coins came in at 44,500 oz per 94,500 coins sold (including both Eagles and Buffalos). This marked a significant decline in sales y/y, with volume by weight down 49.7% y/y and the number of units sold down 33.7%. Average weight of coin sold was down 24.2% y/y to 0.4709 oz per coin.

As chart above indicates, October fall-off in demand came after the end of 3Q that saw total volume of coding gold sold by the U.S. Mint rising incredible 234% y/y (compared to 3Q 2014) by weight and 305% y/y in terms of number of units sold. 

At a total of 471,000 oz sold over 934,500 units in 3Q 2015, last quarter was the best one since 2Q 2010 in terms of volume by weight sales and the best in history of the series (from 1Q 2006) in terms of number of coins sold.

Not surprisingly, scale fall off in demand in October can be explained by the moderation in demand back to cyclical normal. As shown in the chart above, overall October sales figures came in below the period average for May 2013 through present. However, stripping out three main outlier peaks in demand, the average comes to 49,978 oz - closer to the October reading of 44,500 oz. In historical comparatives, demand for gold coins in October was 38th lowest by total weight and 56th lowest by coins counts for any month from January 2006 though present.

Another point worth making is seasonality. Over 2006-present horizon, October saw significant decline sin demand for gold coins in seven out of 10 years, with insignificant changes m/m recorded in one month. In other words, October tends to be a more bearish month of U.S. Mint coins sales.

Final point worth making is that correlation between demand for U.S. Mint coins (by total oz weight) continued to show negative 12 months correlation with gold price. In October, this correlation stood at -0.58, slightly less in absolute value than in September (-0.59) and below -0.72 correlation in October 2014. Overall, negative correlation remained in every month from April 2014 on, suggesting stable demand interest from investors on foot of gold price declines.

5/5/15: US Mint Gold Coins Sales: April 2015

April sales of U.S. Mint gold coins came in at 39,500 oz, down 29.5% y/y. Over the first 4 months of 2015, total sales of U.S. Mint gold coins (by volume) is down 8.9% y/y. In terms of number of coins sold, April sales stood at 71,500 units, down 39.7% y/y and the first four months of 2015 cumulative sales are down 9.1% y/y. Meanwhile, average volume of coin sold in April stood at 0.552 oz per coin against 0.473 oz/coin a year ago. Still, average weight of coin sold in the first 4 months of 2015 is down 1.4% y/y.

As the chart above shows, current reading is well below the post-crisis period average of 58,542 oz and only marginally above the pre-crisis average of 38,016 oz. Historical average is 79,825 oz, and current reading is statistically below the historical average.

12 months dynamic correlation between prices and volume of U.S. Mint gold coins sales has remained negative in April, albeit at -0.08 not statistically significant. This means that over the last 12 months - from April 2014 through April 2015, investors and savers tended to purchase more U.S. Mint coins gold against falling prices, and less against rising prices. Historically, average 12mo correlation between gold prices and coins demand is -0.03.

Overall, the trend toward lower post-crisis sales for the U.S. Mint gold coins compared to the crisis period sales has been in place now since start of H2 2013 and remains in place. However, the trend is still to the upside compared to the pre-crisis period. Data from Q3 2014 on suggests some renewed weakening in demand trend, but confirming this will require more months coming in at below the post-crisis average reading. 

The reason for being cautious about calling the short-term trend change in Q4 2014 is that data for Gold Eagles sales (we have many more years worth of these sales) suggests a different signal to total U.S. Mint gold coins sales. Specifically, as can be seen in the chart below, there is actually some potential positive growth trend emerging in the Eagles sales data for Q2 2014-present.