UPDATE 2-U.S. Mint American Eagle gold coin sales rise sharply in May

 (Adds analyst comment, market details)
    By Renita D. Young
    NEW YORK, May 31 (Reuters) - Sales of American Eagle gold
coins in May increased by 433 percent from April, and were the
highest May sales since 2015, U.S. data showed on Thursday.
    U.S. Mint sales of American Eagle gold coins totaled 24,000
ounces in May, up from 4,500 ounces in April, the data showed.
May figures were the highest since 2015, when 21,500 ounces of
American Eagle gold coins were sold by the U.S. Mint.
    Geopolitical jitters from concerns of a planned, then
canceled, then revived United States-North Korean summit to seal
a denuclearization deal likely drove investors to purchase gold
coins in May, said Walter Pehowich, executive vice president of
investment services at Dillon Gage Metals.
    Additionally, spot gold        prices saw a brief rise
during the last few days of the month as a political crisis in
Italy provoked heavy selling on European financial markets.
    Gold is seen as a safe haven in times of political
    However, spot gold prices were headed for a May close about
1.3 percent lower than April.
    "Even though the (U.S.) Mint sold more gold coins this
month, the low demand is keeping the premiums low, between 1 and
1-1/2 percent," Pehowich said, muting further gains.
    U.S. Mint May American Eagle gold coin sales were up 54.8
percent from the same month last year, when the U.S. Mint sold
15,500 ounces of gold coins.
    May sales of U.S. Mint American Eagle silver coins fell 58.5
percent from April to 380,000 ounces, the lowest May since 2005,
the data showed.
    Spot silver prices        rose 0.26 percent in May, the
first monthly increase since January.
    "One of the reasons why silver prices aren't going anywhere,
is because there's an abundance of silver in the market right
now," Pehowich said.
    The silver coin sales were down about 85 percent from the
year prior, when the U.S. Mint sold nearly 2.5 million ounces of
American Eagle silver coins.
    U.S. Mint American Eagle platinum coin sales totaled 10,000
ounces in May, compared with none in April. The U.S. Mint last 
sold platinum coins in February, when it posted 20,000 ounces.

 (Reporting by Renita D. Young
Editing by Leslie Adler and Chris Reese)