NEW YORK The U.S. Mint's sales of American Eagle coins surged in November, with gold nearly tripling month-over-month and silver already reaching a new annual record as bullion prices fell to multi-year lows, data released on Monday showed.
The mint sold 97,000 ounces of American Eagle gold coins in November, up 185 percent from October and 62 percent higher from a year ago, after selling out of most of the 2015-dated coins as falling bullion prices attracted buyers.
Strong demand came as spot gold XAU= prices fell around 7 percent to the lowest in nearly six years. This was the gold market's biggest monthly drop in 2-1/2 years as traders and investors widely anticipated that the U.S. Federal Reserve will raise interest rates at its next meeting in mid-December.
Higher interest rates raise the cost of holding non-yielding gold.
Toward the end of this month, the mint said it had sold out of all remaining 0.1-ounce, 0.25-ounce and 1-ounce American Eagle gold bullion coins dated 2015 and would not be making any more for the calendar year.
Demand for American Eagle silver coins has also been strong, with year-to-date sales already reaching an annual record at 44.67 million ounces, breaking the full-year record of 44 million ounces in 2014.
Sales in November were up 27 percent from October at 4.82 million ounces, an increase of 41 percent from November 2014. This surge in buying came after spot silver prices XAG= fell for five of the past six months to the lowest levels in more than six years in November.
Low prices spurred strong silver coin demand, forcing the U.S. Mint and others around the world to put them on weekly allocations.
The mint said it will not take final orders for 2015 American Eagle silver coins until Dec. 14. This differs from the mint's statement last week when it said it expected the last weekly allocation for 2015 to be on Dec. 14 after it planned to stop making 2015-dated coins after the week of Dec. 7.
(Reporting by Marcy Nicholson; Editing by Alan Crosby)