With 2017 now behind us and the mintage figures available to peruse, it’s a good time to look at just how bad the year has been for the United States and Perth Mints. Throughout the year our tables have been filled with red numbers instead of green, indicating drops in numbers compared to the previous month and to the same month a year before. A quick glance at our table for December sees a lot of green and numbers have indeed risen from both November 2017 and the same month last year. Poor sales through the year meant that the usual supply constraints that hit the US Mint in December haven’t happened. Despite that, it’s too little too late for the year as a whole.
GOLD EAGLE: A year of epic disappointment for the ubiquitous American Gold Eagle. Posting the worst numbers for a decade, the fall from 2016 is quite staggering, dropping from 985k to just 303k ounces. Even the Perth Mint sold more gold, a benchmark it hasn’t achieved before. With sales so low, it’s clear that the market has found gold unattractive compared to the many alternatives – perhaps the recent cryptocurrency excitement dragging them down.
SILVER EAGLE: Nothing highlights the crisis more than the precipitous drop in sales of the Silver Eagle bullion coin. Again, it’s been a decade since numbers were so bad, but it’s a comparison with the last couple of years that is so telling. A drop of 52% from 2016 is a harsh number to accept and a concern that it may represent a new level of sales moving forward. Are the boom times over?
PERTH GOLD: This Australian mint had a better year than the American one, but a drop in sales of almost 30% is nothing to celebrate. At 368k ounces, they’ve attained the dubious honour of lowest sales for five years. Down, but not out.
PERTH SILVER: The first time below 10 million ounces since the launch of the high-volume Kangaroo coin, the drop of 21% is relatively mild in the context of the competition, but a drop regardless.
Can the upturn in December carry through into a general recovery, or is it just a blip in a continued downward trend? Clearly 2017 will go down as a terrible year, but where it goes in 2018 is anyones guess.