US Mint American Eagle Silver Bullion Coin Purchases Soared To Record High In 2014
The continuing appeal of silver for investors led to record sales of U.S. American Eagle Silver Bullion coins last year, topping the previous milestone established just the previous year.
The U.S. Mint announced that 2014 sales of American Eagle Silver Bullion coins reached 44,006,000 ounces. The robust sales performance was primarily driven by a resurgence of demand in the fourth quarter last year. To that point, December sales of the American Eagles Silver Bullion coins were up 104% year-on-year.
Sales of the American Eagle Silver Bullion one-ounce coin dramatically outpaced those of the one-ounce American Eagle Gold and Platinum coins last year. Moreover, based on 2014 U.S. Mint sales figures and annual average metal prices, Silver Eagles eclipsed Gold Eagles’ sales by 59%.
Introduced in 1986, the 99.9% pure American Eagle Silver Bullion coins have experienced strong demand in recent years, with sales climbing sharply since 2008 and occasionally reaching levels where demand exceeded supply. As a result, the U.S. Mint was forced to stop selling the Eagles on several occasions last year as demand swelled, instituting a policy to allocate available American Eagle Silver Bullion coins to its authorized purchaser distribution network.
Meanwhile, the Royal Canadian Mint (RCM) reported healthy demand for its silver bullion products last year, ending on a high note having sold all 1 million of the Mint’s Bald Eagle coins from its new Canadian Birds of Prey 99.99% pure silver coins series. The RCM said its flagship Silver Maple Leaf Bullion coin continues to generate solid customer interest.
Australia’s Perth Mint reported that while total silver sales were down 13.5% year-on-year, largely due to a sales tax increase in Europe, there was an increase in buying as the price came off through the second half of the year producing 20.8% higher sales over the first half.
Investors’ support for silver was not just limited to bullion coins. Investment in silver-backed Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) grew by 1.1 million ounces by the end of December last year. Although a modest gain of 0.2%, when compared with the 8.8% decline in gold ETFs last year, it is clear that silver ETF’s remain a popular investment vehicle. Early indications for physical bar demand are down in 2014 for both silver and gold, however.
While American investors continue to demonstrate support for silver, demand for the metal also increased through the year in India, where silver imports climbed 13% to an estimated 212 million ounces in 2014, setting a level of imports that surpasses the previous record volume of silver imports posted in 2013, according to analysts at GFMS Thomson Reuters. Silver has benefitted from increased Indian demand due to uncertainty surrounding government import policies impacting the gold market.
Silver has historically been an attractive and affordable precious metal and provides investors an excellent opportunity to diversify their investment portfolio.
The Silver Institute is a nonprofit international industry association headquartered in Washington, D.C. Established in 1971, the Institute’s members include leading silver producers, prominent silver refiners, manufacturers and dealers. The Institute serves as the industry’s voice in increasing public understanding of the many uses and value of silver, and also creates programs across various platforms that benefit the white metal. For more information on the Silver Institute, or silver in general, please visit: www.silverinstitute.org.