The West

Savvy buyers snap up gold

The sagging gold price may have caused headaches for mining executives around the world but it has set workers at Perth Mint scrambling to keep up with demand as buyers take advantage of falling prices to top up their holdings.

Perth Mint wholesale manager Neil Vance said yesterday demand for gold and silver coins had risen substantially over the past year as the price fell.

He said the mint had been forced to add extra shifts since April last year when the gold price plunged from about $US1600 an ounce to below $US1400/oz. Demand had remained high through the rest of the year.

"We've been at three shifts on weekdays since April, and around July we had to add Saturday with two shifts," he said.

Figures supplied by the mint show a 54 per cent lift in production of gold in coin in 2013 compared with the previous calendar year, at 545,487oz of gold. Gold in bar form rose 16.5 per cent to 209,148oz and silver coins jumped 32.7 per cent to 8.64 million ounces.

Mr Vance said demand remained strong this year, led by the mint's Chinese Year of the Horse offerings, and the company was confident sales would lift at least 20 per cent in 2013-14.

"There's no doubt that people come back into the market to test that price, when they feel it's bottomed out and people come back in to reinvest," he said.

The Perth Mint releases a limited number of its one ounce Chinese Lunar New Year silver and gold coins - 30,000 gold coins and 300,000 silver coins. Launched in early September, Mr Vance said the limited editions had sold out by mid-November.

The West Australian

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