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Markets

Perth Mint's August gold sales triple as virus fears boost appeal

  • Gold sales jump three-fold from last year
  • Silver sales ease, but still up year-on-year.
01 Sep 2020

Gold sales from Australia's Perth Mint rose threefold year on year in August, the refiner said on Tuesday, hitting a four-month high as consumers bought bullion as a hedge against the economic hit from the coronavirus pandemic.

Sales of gold coins and minted bars rose about 20% from July to 67,462 ounces from 56,104 in July and from 21,766 in August 2019. Year-to-date sales are up around 40%.

"We've seen safe-haven (gold) purchases pick up strongly in recent months," said Cameron Alexander, an analyst at Refinitiv-owned metals consultancy GFMS. Both investment and retail buying - including from "mum and dad" investors - had increased, he said.

COVID-19 fatalities have been relatively low in Australia, but it recorded nearly 26,000 infections as of Aug. 30 and restrictions to slow its spread have hit the economy.

Perth Mint is owned by the government of Western Australia and refines more than 90% of newly mined gold in the country, one of the world's top producers.

It said demand for silver was also robust and stretching its production capacity.

"Since March, our coin manufacturing facility has been operating multiple shifts up to six days a week, striking a record 100,000 coins a day some days to meet demand," the mint said in an emailed response.

In August, sales of silver coins dipped to 1,431,036 ounces from 1,567,900 ounces in July but were up 22.2% year on year.

Global benchmark spot gold prices soared to a record high last month but corrected soon after, closing August marginally lower after four straight monthly gains. Silver gained nearly 16% last month.

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