Silver-coin sales from Australia’s Perth Mint, which was founded in 1899 and processes all of the country’s bullion, have surged to a record as buyers seek to protect their wealth with the metal known as poor man’s gold.
The mint sold 10.7 million 1-ounce silver coins since July 1 last year, according to Sales and Marketing Director Ron Currie. That’s 66 percent higher than the previous full fiscal year and about 10-fold more than five years earlier. Sales of 1- ounce gold coins will be close to a record, he said.
The soaring demand adds to signs investors are stepping up precious-metal purchases as Europe’s governments tackle a sovereign-debt crisis and central banks led by the U.S. Federal Reserve print cash to stimulate their economies, potentially devaluing paper currencies. Silver, the second-best performing commodity over the past year, rallied to a record in April.
“Silver’s still booming and it’s been going strongly for a year,” Currie said in interview yesterday from the mint in Western Australia’s capital. “A lot of the buying is by people new to the market,” with European and U.S. investors the most active international purchasers of the mint’s products, he said.
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