Silver Coin Purchases Exceeded 2012's Total
Frankfurt (Nov 11) Precious metals remained under pressure in European session on Monday as encouraging US economic data spurred speculations that the Fed might push forward QE tapering. The benchmark Comex gold contract again broke below 1300 and fell to as low as 1280.5, a level not seen since October 17. Silver also weakened to as low as 21.25, seemingly approaching 21. Janet Yellen's, the current vice chairperson of Fed and the likely successor of Ben Bernanke, testimony before the Senate Banking Committee on November 14 is closely watched.
The latest data from the US Mint shows that sales of American Eagle silver bullion coin rose to 39,175,000 in the first 10 months of the year, surpassing the full year sales in 2012 and on the way to reach 2011's sale of 39,868,500. According to Richard Peterson, Deputy Director of the US Mint, the strength in silver was in part for substituting the demand for gold. "While the price of gold continues to trade at levels that puts gold bullion coins out of the reach of many investors, silver remains relatively affordable". Meanwhile, demand for American Eagle Silver Bullion Coin is driven by its "unique backing by the US Government and its beautiful and uniquely American design". Compared with other means of silver exposure, American Eagle Silver Bullion Coins provides a "convenient and relatively cost-effective way "of possessing a physical form of precious metal in portfolios.
Concerning other silver futures, the CFTC announced in September that a 5-year investigation of manipulation of the silver market was closed as it found no basis for the allegation. Dating back to 2008, some investors complained that silver futures prices failed to rise with silver product prices. They suspected that large traders with short positions in the silver market had manipulated the futures prices. Yet, the final report from the CFTC announced that "based upon the law and evidence as they exist at this time, there is not a viable basis to bring an enforcement action with respect to any firm or its employees related to our investigation of silver markets".
Platinum prices were also pressured although as much as 2300 workers at Anglo American Platinum's Dishaba mine have been on a strike, requesting to reinstate a shop steward who was suspended recently.. Amplats is the world's biggest producer of platinum, taking up 38% of world production. Meanwhile, other miners such as Impala Platinum, Anglo American and Lonmin Platinum also failed to reach a wage settlement with the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu), the representative for the majority of workers on the platinum production.