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Perth Mint sales at four-month low as demand for physical gold slumps

(Adds comments, details) By Eileen Soreng July 1 (Reuters) – The Perth Mint’s sales of gold products fell 30% to its lowest in four months in June as the coronavirus crisis weakened demand for jewellery, coins and minted bars, even though investors in international commodity markets sent the gold price higher. Compounding factors such as drop in footfall through jewellery stores in India, China and other markets caused by the coronavirus crisis, the mint has faced criticism over how it sources its metal. Perth Mint said in June it would stop processing metal from artisanal and small-scale miners after allegations it took gold dug in Papua New Guinea using child labour and toxic mercury. The mint said it was confident it acted ethically but was reviewing suppliers. The mint’s sales of gold coins and minted bars in June fell to 44,371 ounces from 63,393 ounces in May, which was itself half the level of April’s sales, it said on Wednesday. “Adding to the sales slump is still lacklustre demand from China and India, as jewellery demand still struggles to bounce anywhere back from pre-pandemic levels,” said Edward Moya, senior market analyst at broker OANDA. Lockdowns to curb the coronavirus outbreak have hammered physical gold demand, although the international gold price has climbed as investors turn to the metal on the paper market as a safe haven. The price was up 3% in June. The Perth Mint, owned by the government of Western Australia state, refines more than 90% of newly mined gold in Australia, one of the world’s top gold producers. Sales of silver coins in June surged nearly 58% to 1,573,752 ounces, up from 997,171 in May and more than triple the amount a year ago. “Silver is in demand for both safe-haven and industrial requirements,” said Stephen Innes, chief market strategist at financial services firm AxiCorp. On the international markets, demand for silver is tracking base industrial commodities like copper “as global industrial engines rev up while catching a tailwind from all the policy stimulus,” he said. The silver price was up 1.6% in June on international markets. Period Gold (oz) Silver (oz) (year-month) 2020-June 44,371 1,573,752 2020-May 63,393 997,171 2020-April 120,504 2,123,121 2020-March 93,775 1,736,409 2020-Feb 22,921 605,634 2020-Jan 48,299 1,450,317 2019-Dec 78,912 1,361,723 2019-Nov 54,261 1,027,695 2019-Oct 32,469 1,394,615 2019-Sept 46,837 1,350,038 2019-Aug 21,766 1,171,233 2019-July 21,518 987,040 2019-June 19,449 344,474 2019-May 10,790 681,582 2019-April 19,991 906,219 2019-March 32,757 935,819 2019-Feb 19,524 584,310 2019-Jan 31,189 828,854 2018-Dec 29,186 692,971 2018-Nov 64,308 876,446 2018-Oct 36,840 1,079,684 2018-Sept 62,552 1,305,600 2018-Aug 38,904 520,245 2018-July 29,921 486,821 2018-June 16,847 229,280 2018-May 14,800 557,120 2018-April 15,161 458,655 2018-March 29,883 975,921 2018-Feb 26,473 992,954 2018-Jan 37,174 1,067,361 2017-Dec 27,009 874,437 2017-Nov 23,901 544,436 2017-Oct 44,618 999,425 2017-Sept 46,415 697,849 2017-Aug 23,130 392,091 2017-July 23,675 1,167,963 2017-June 19,259 1,215,071 2017-May 29,679 826,656 2017-April 10,490 468,977 2017-March 22,232 716,283 2017-Feb 25,257 502,353 2017-Jan 72,745 1,230,867 2016-Dec 63,420 430,009 2016-Nov 54,747 984,622 2016-Oct 79,048 1,084,213 2016-Sept 58,811 1,031,858 2016-Aug 14,684 376,461 2016-July 16,870 693,447 2016-June 31,368 1,220,817 2016-May 21,035 974,865 2016-April 47,542 1,161,766 2016-March 47,948 1,756,238 2016-Feb 37,063 1,049,062 2016-Jan 47,759 1,473,408 (Additional reporting by Swati Verma in Bengaluru; Editing by Pravin Char)

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