(Updating throughout with detail and comment)
NEW YORK, July 7 (Reuters) - The U.S. Mint said on Tuesday it temporarily sold out of its popular 2015 American Eagle silver bullion coins due to a “significant” increase in demand, the latest sign plunging prices have spurred a resurgence of retail buying.
In a statement sent to its biggest U.S. wholesalers, the Mint said its facility in West Point, New York, continues to produce coins and expects to resume sales in about two weeks.
This is the second time the mint has sold out of silver coins in the past nine months - it ran out of 2014-dated American Eagles in November last year.
In 2013, the historic drop in precious metals prices unleashed a surge in global demand for coins, forcing the mint to ration silver coin sales for 18 months.
Dealers attributed the recent rush to purchase silver coins and bars to its low price relative to gold.
The gold-silver ratio was “way out of whack”, said Jon Edelman, owner of Edelman’s Coins in Jenkintown, PA.
“That was a sign that silver was too low and people started buying. People view it as an opportunity in the long run.”
On Tuesday, one ounce of gold would buy as much as 78 ounces of silver, which is historically a very wide spread.
It’s not clear if Tuesday’s rout had spurred a fresh round of spot buying, but demand has been healthy in recent months.
Sharp breaks in gold and silver prices typically boost buying among collectors and other retail investors, whose buying habits are sensitive to price moves.
Due to its greater affordability, silver sales tend to outstrip gold in volume terms and attract a lot more retail buyers.
Last month, coin sales surged to 4.84 million ounces, the highest since January and more than double the 2 million ounces sold a month earlier.
On Tuesday, spot silver prices sank almost 7 percent to $14.65 per ounce, the lowest for the year as the dollar climbed and amid a broader exodus of cash from commodities. (Reporting by Josephine Mason; additional reporting by Marcy Nicholson; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and Christian Plumb)
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