Gold and Silver Bullion Coins See Sales “Explosion” In UK On “Wave Of Political Turmoil”

Friday, May 19, 2017
By Paul Martin

By: GoldCore
GoldSeek.com
Friday, 19 May 2017

In a warehouse a dozen miles to the northwest of Cardiff, the Royal Mint is running its machines through the night to keep up with demand for one of the big beneficiaries of the last year’s political turmoil – gold and silver bullion.

The 1,100-year-old Mint, based here since the 1960s, is producing 50 percent more gold bullion coins and bars than it was this time last year, director of bullion Chris Howard says, while its sales in January rose by a third.

With growth prospects for its core minting business limited by the advent of the cashless society, the Mint has focused heavily on growing its bullion arm in the last few years.

Its contribution to the overall business’s bottom line has gone from negligible levels in 2012 to more than a quarter in the last year.

“We used to send these out by the box,” head of bullion sales Nick Bowkett says, indicating stacks of silver coins packed for transit in the Mint’s bullion striking room. “Now we ship them out by the pallet.”

Next door, the Mint’s core business — producing commemorative coins and legal tender for 60 different countries — is churning out crates of coinage, including the new 12-sided British pound, due to launch in March.

But it’s the bullion arm that is really ramping up.

While in global terms the Mint is still small — its total gold sales of 237,000 ounces last year were dwarfed by the U.S. Mint’s 1.2 million ounces of gold Eagle and Buffalo coin sales, the Austrian Mint’s 534,000 ounces of gold Philharmonic coin sales, and the Perth Mint’s 520,000 ounces of gold sales — its bullion unit expanded both revenue and profit by two-thirds last year.

It is forecasting similar growth this year, through expansion in its already core U.S. and German markets, and elsewhere.

About 30 percent of its bullion sales – largely Britannia gold coins, but also sovereigns, and bars ranging in size from 1 gram to 1 kilogram – are made through the Mint’s website, while a further 70 percent goes to wholesale clients.

RETAIL GOLD BULLION EXPLOSION

Global retail investment in gold has exploded in the last 15 years. At nearly 1,000 tonnes last year, it was two and a half times the levels seen in 2001.

While a sharp rise in investors selling gold back onto the market after prices surged last year weighed on the net demand figure, gold sales in Europe jumped after the Britain’s Brexit vote and resulting fluctuations in the currency markets.

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