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This blog discusses The Perth Mint's bullion coins and bars, providing information about our latest designs, mintages, sales volumes and sell outs. On a broader front, we share relevant research and opinions for anyone interested in gold and silver bullion investing.

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The Perth Mint announces early release of iconic Australian Kangaroo silver bullion coin

Topics [ Australian Kangaroo buy silver bullion online buy silver coins ]

We are pleased to announce that the 2020 silver kangaroo bullion coin is available for sale from The Perth Mint today, Friday 20 September. 

While the Australian Kangaroo gold bullion coin has been released annually since 1989, it was not introduced in silver until 2015. In the four years since, The Perth Mint has sold more than 26 million 1oz silver bullion coins worldwide. 

In keeping with tradition, this year’s silver issue depicts a representation of Stuart Devlin’s red kangaroo, a much-admired portrayal created for the Mint by the Queen’s former goldsmith in 1989.
 

The Perth Mint's 2020 Australian Kangaroo 1oz Silver Bullion Coin is now available.

Originally slated for release on 4 November 2019, the 2020 Australian Kangaroo 1oz Silver Bullion Coin has been introduced early due to strong demand for remaining stocks of the 2019 release which are now almost exhausted.

The 2020 Australian Kangaroo gold and platinum bullion range will be available for purchase from the previously-announced release date.


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Who owns the world's gold?

Topics [ gold market gold analysis gold trading gold ]

USD 9.3 trillion: That’s the estimated market value of all the gold ever mined, just over 190,000 tonnes, based on an end of August 2019 gold price of USD 1,528.40 per troy ounce.
(Source: LBMA PM Gold Price

The owners of this gold fall into four broad categories:

Jewellery Buyers - This is the largest category of demand, accounting for almost 50% of gold ownership. Jewellery demand is predominantly driven by rising real incomes in Asia and the Middle East, where gold is seen as a form of wearable wealth.

Central Banks - Central banks own gold as part of their foreign exchange reserves. Collectively, central banks around the world own more than 30,000 tonnes of gold.

Investors - Investors buy gold in physical bar and coin form, as well as through depository services, such as those offered by The Perth Mint, and via Exchange Traded Products. It is estimated that in excess of 40,000 tonnes of gold are held by private investors worldwide.

Industrial Users - Gold is used in a range of industries from medicine and electronics to space technology. Industrial users are estimated to own more than 25,000 tonnes of gold.



Who buys gold now?

The annual GFMS Gold Survey offers a great insight into gold demand trends. In 2018, purchases of gold were as follows:

  • Jewellery demand was 2,129 tonnes
  • Bar and coin demand was 1024 tonnes
  • Central banks made net purchases of 536 tonnes
  • Industrial fabricators purchased 391 tonnes
  • Net flows into gold ETFs totalled 59 tonnes


Demand across the first eight months of 2019 has been driven by central banks, which continue to diversify away from the US dollar. This trend was perhaps best summarised by an August 27 Bloomberg article, Central Banks Just Love Gold and It’s Going to Stay That Way. The article focused on a report by Australian and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ) which estimates net buying of gold by central banks will be more than 650 tonnes this year.

There is also increasing demand for gold ETFs which have built total holdings back towards 2013 levels.



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Why do investors turn to gold in low interest rate environments?

Topics [ gold market buy gold ]

Much of the developed world, including Australia, has experienced low interest rates since 2009 when monetary authorities introduced cuts to stimulate economic growth following the global financial crisis. 

In Australia, interest rates reached a record low this year when the reserve bank reduced its cash rate to just 1.00% in July. 

The decision to leave this rate unchanged in August and September on the back of continued uncertainty about the world economy has suggested interest rates will remain low for the foreseeable future.

Indeed, market predictors expect the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) to cut rates further to just 0.75% before the end of 2019.

What does this mean for investors?

In today’s low interest rate environment one of the most topical issues for many investors is what to do with their cash holdings. 

With 56% of Australian investors holding cash, according to Australian Tax Office data, this issue will have been brought into sharp focus for many. 

Given the latest set of Australian inflation data suggests prices across the nation are rising at 1.60% per annum, much of the money sitting in cash is losing value once real interest rates are considered. 

Real cash rates are calculated by subtracting the official inflation figure from the RBA cash rate. As an example, with the RBA cash rate at 1%, and annual inflation currently at 1.60% per annum, the real cash rate is -0.6%. 

Moreover, the fact that 10 to 15-year Australian government bonds yield between 1.25% and 1.50% suggests this period of low returns on cash or cash-like assets may well continue for another decade or more. 

In such an environment many investors are considering gold as a safe haven thanks to the asset’s historical outperformance when interest rates are low. 

Real cash rates and gold

More than 45 years of market history tells us gold has typically delivered strong returns when real rates have been low. 

In Australia between 1971 and 2018 there have been 27 years when real cash rates were 2% or higher and 21 years when they were 2% or lower. 

The table below highlights the returns on cash and gold, in both nominal and real terms, during these periods. 

Real cash rates between 1971 and 2018




Source: The Perth Mint, Australian Bureau of Statistics 

As can be seen, in environments where the real cash rate was above 2%, gold rose in nominal terms by an average of 4.32%. It therefore underperformed cash, which during these times rose by an average of more than 9%. 

However, in years when the real cash rate was below 2%, the price of gold rose by more than 20% in nominal terms and by almost 14% in real terms. Additionally, it rose during 18 of the 21 years when the real cash rate was below 2%. 

Gold has not only performed strongly in absolute terms when real cash rates have been low, but on a relative basis as well. The yellow metal outperformed both stocks and bonds during the years when real cash rates were below 2%. 

This can be seen in the graph below, which plots the nominal and real returns for Australian stocks, bonds and gold during years when real cash rates were below 2%. 

Australian asset class returns when real rates are below 2%



Source: The Perth Mint, Australian Bureau of Statistics

It should be no surprise that gold would perform so well during periods when real cash rates have been low for two key reasons: 

1. Low or even negative real cash rates are typically only implemented as a form of monetary stimulus when the economy is weak or softening. In such environments it’s natural that investors adopt a more defensive approach by seeking out safe haven assets such as gold. 

2. If the real rates one can earn from cash or short-term bonds are low, or even negative, the opportunity cost of investing in gold is significantly reduced.

It therefore makes sense that historically no other single, easily accessible traditional asset has delivered higher returns than gold in environments where real cash interest rates have been low. 


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The centenary of the first London gold price

Topics [ gold market investment buy gold ]

12 September 2019 marks the centenary of the first gold price, or what is now known as the LBMA Gold Price. To mark this momentous occasion LBMA are planning a series of celebratory events during 2019. This article first appeared in Alchemist magazine as the first of four from Alered Connelly, PR Officer at LBMA, which draw on his academic analysis of the gold price over the last 100 years.

A brief history

On 12 September 1919, the Bank of England made arrangements with NM Rothschild & Sons for the formation of a free gold market and the establishment of a daily gold price. 

The first “fixing” took place at 11am when the price of gold was settled at £4 18 s 9d by the five founding members: NM Rothschild & Sons (chair), Mocatta & Goldsmid, Pixley & Abell, Samuel Montagu & Co. and Sharps Wilkins. The bids were made by telephone for the first few days, but it was then decided to hold a formal meeting at New Court, the London offices of NM Rothschild & Sons. 

The original members of the Fixing were all historically linked with the gold market in London. Mocatta & Goldsmid dated back to the early origins of the market in the late 1600s, when it became silver broker to the Bank of England, at a time when London was usurping Amsterdam as the international centre for the gold market. 

In the late 18th century and early 19th century, Mayer Amschel Rothschild rose to become one of Europe’s most powerful bankers and it was his third son, Nathan Mayer Rothschild, who founded NM Rothschild & Sons in London in 1811. As gold began to pour into London from the gold rushes, first from California and then Australia, Pixley & Abell was set up in 1852, swiftly followed by Samuel Montagu in 1853. 

In the intervening years, mergers have seen Pixley & Abell and Sharps & Wilkins in 1957 form Sharps Pixley, which is still in existence to this day, and Samuel Montagu become part of the private banking service of HSBC. 

As we reflect on the last 100 years of the gold price, we equally look forward to the next 100 years. Today, it continues to be set in London and remains the international benchmark price for the gold market. However, over the years it has evolved and modernised. One of the most significant changes was on 1 April, 1968 when the price changed from sterling to dollars and took place twice a day. 


More recently in 2015 responsibility for the administration and governance of the price was transferred to an independent administrator, ICE Benchmark Administration who have also established an external oversight committee to assist them in ensuring the effective governance of what is a transparent, trusted and tradable process. 

The auction provides the opportunity to buy or sell precious metals via a transparent electronic platform. Everyone can see the same, publicly available information at the same time - providing a level playing field to all participants. The administrator monitors the benchmark settings before during and after the process to ensure its integrity. 

The tradable reference price is used by miners, refiners, central banks, investors, traders and fabricators around the globe. The auction is centrally cleared which allows a broad range of firms to become Direct Participants. Currently there are now 13 direct participants rather than just the original five, including Chinese banks. 




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Mouse leads the pack in new Australian Lunar Bullion Series III

The Perth Mint is proud to launch its third Australian Lunar Bullion Coin Series with the release of superbly crafted precious metal coins honouring the first animal in the Chinese zodiac, the mouse. Available from today, this prestigious series incorporates a new initiative with the release of the first ever platinum lunar coin.

Dating back to 1995, the Australian Lunar Bullion Coin Series was the first major coin program to celebrate the ancient Chinese lunar calendar. Mimicked many times, it retains its reputation as the highest quality lunar coin offering in the world.

This is reflected in the success of the Australian Lunar Bullion Series II, which sold out each of its 1oz gold and silver denominations. Available each year in limited mintages, this achievement represented a total of 3.6 million ounces of pure silver and 360,000oz of pure gold acquired by investors between 2008 and 2019.

With the program’s enduring popularity this feat is expected to be repeated with the release of 2020 Year of the Mouse 1oz gold, silver and now, for the first time, platinum lunar bullion coins.



The 2020-dated coins feature naturalistic portrayals of mice foraging among stalks of wheat on the gold and platinum coins, and on husks of corn on the silver coins. Both charming designs incorporate the Chinese character for ‘mouse’ in a contemporary style.

Also available in several alternative weights, the Australian Lunar Bullion Coin Series III delivers an expanding range of options for the modern investor while upholding its reputation for unsurpassed quality, outstanding value and complete assurance.

Buyers of 2020 Year of the Mouse 1oz bullion coins are urged to act quickly to secure the limited releases of 30,000 gold, 300,000 silver and just 5,000 platinum.



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2020 Australian Bullion Coin Program goes from strength to strength with new designs and special releases

Topics [ Australian Kangaroo Year of the Mouse gold coins Australian Lunar Australian Koala silver coins Australian Kookaburra ]

A world leader in precious metals for investors, The Perth Mint is delighted to unveil the 2020 designs for Australia’s renowned bullion coin program.

Offering striking new interpretations of our iconic native animals for the Australian Kookaburra, Australian Kangaroo and Australian Koala coin series, the 2020 program also introduces the first design in the much-anticipated 12-year Australian Lunar Series III.


Meticulously crafted to the highest bullion finish available, the Australian Bullion Coin Program is struck from 99.99% pure gold, 99.99% pure silver and 99.95% pure platinum in the trusted form of government-authorised Australian legal tender.


Australian Lunar Gold, Silver and Platinum Bullion Coin Series

Introducing the first platinum Lunar release

Dating back to 1995 when The Perth Mint released the world’s first major coin series featuring the 12 animals in the Chinese lunar calendar, the Australian Lunar Bullion Coin Series III commences with releases celebrating the Year of the Mouse. As well as our customary gold and silver versions, the new series includes the very first Lunar coins made from platinum.

Why the mouse?




In Chinese mythology, 12 animals raced each other across a fast-flowing river to win favour from the Jade Emperor. The shrewd mouse hitched a ride on the ox, leaping from its back to win the contest. For this it was rewarded as guardian of the first year in the ancient lunar calendar.

The 2020 coins feature naturalistic portrayals of mice foraging among stalks of wheat on the gold and platinum coins, and on husks of corn on the silver coins. Both highly appealing designs incorporate the Chinese character for ‘mouse’ in a contemporary style.

RELEASE DATE: 9 September 2019

Gold Coins: 10oz, 2oz, 1oz, 1/2oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz, 1/20oz

Mintages: unlimited except for 30,000 1oz coins

Platinum coin: 1oz only

Mintage: 5,000

Silver coins: 10 kilo, 1 kilo, 5oz, 2oz, 1oz, 1/2oz

Mintages: unlimited except for 100 10 kilo and 300,000 1oz coins


Australian Kookaburra Silver Bullion Coin Series

Unique anniversary obverse

A long-standing favourite among silver coin investors worldwide, the Australian Kookaburra is 30 years old in 2020. To commemorate its landmark release, each coin features a special obverse bearing a representation of Stuart Devlin’s depiction of a kookaburra on a tree stump surrounded by native foliage as it appeared on the 1990 Australian Kookaburra Silver Bullion Coin, and a miniature representation of Jody Clark’s effigy of the Queen.

Quintessentially Australian




The kookaburra is a large, quintessentially Australian bird celebrated in literature and the arts. Famed for its loud cackling ‘laugh’, the iconic native is often referred to as the ‘bushman’s clock’ because of its habit of calling at dawn and dusk.

The 2020 reverse portrays a Kookaburra sitting on a corrugated rooftop with a stylised sunrise in the background. The design also includes the inscription 30TH ANNIVERSARY.

RELEASE DATE: 1 October 2019

Silver coins: 1 kilo, 10oz, 1oz

Mintages: unlimited except for 500,000 1oz coins


Australian Kangaroo Gold, Silver and Platinum Bullion Coin Series

Australia’s classic bullion coins

Australia’s first and most prestigious international gold bullion coin offering was introduced by The Perth Mint in 1986. Synonymous with the nation’s pre-eminent position as a gold producer, refiner and crafter of trusted bullion products, it quickly evolved into the definitive Australian Kangaroo, one of the world’s most respected investment releases. Today it’s also offered in pure platinum and pure silver, providing investors with access to a trio of classic investment metals.

Epitomising the outback




This year’s small gold coins portray two kangaroos amid a stand of xanthorrhoeas – known more simply as grass trees. Through its archetypal combination of native flora and fauna, the design epitomises the remote beauty and fascination of the Australian outback. The larger gold coin together with platinum and silver issues depicts a representation of Stuart Devlin’s red kangaroo, a much-admired portrayal created for the Mint by the Queen’s former goldsmith in 1989.

RELEASE DATE: 4 November 2019, except 1oz Silver Bullion Coin which will be released on 20 September

Gold coin: 1 kilo, 1oz, 1/2oz, 1/4oz, 1/10oz

Mintages: unlimited except 100,000 1/2oz, 150,000 1/4oz, 200,000 1/10oz coins

Platinum coin: 1oz only

Mintage: unlimited

Silver coin: 1oz only

Mintage: unlimited


Australian Koala Silver Bullion Coin Series

Success based on enduring affection

Widespread recognition of the koala as a symbolic member of Australia’s unique marsupial family prompted the launch of the Australian Koala Silver Bullion Coin Series in 2007, since when it has proved popular worldwide. From a land often associated with threatening fauna, the koala is a more docile, not to say cute, animal that spends large amounts of time sleeping in trees and eating leaves from its preferred species of eucalyptus tree.

Maintaining high design standards




In a simple yet highly effective artistic impression, the 2020 coins portray a koala in a characteristic position up a tree branch.

RELEASE DATE: 6 January 2020

Silver coins: 1 kilo, 1oz

Mintage: 1 kilo mint-to-order, 300,000 1oz


How to Buy

The following options exist for buyers of the 2020 Australian Bullion Coin Program:

1. Bullion Trading Room

Buy and pick up in-store from the Bullion Trading Room, 310 Hay Street, East Perth, seven days a week between 9am and 5pm (AWST).

2. Bullion Sales Website

Register at perthmintbullion.com to order online from the comfort and convenience of your own home between 8.30am and 5pm (AWST).

3. Telephone the Bullion Call Centre

Order through a Customer Services Officer on 1300 201 112 or +61 8 9421 7218 between Monday and Friday between 8.30am and 5pm (AWST).

4. Contact an Authorised Distributor

Contact your local authorised Perth Mint distributor in Australia/New Zealand, Asia, United States, Canada or Europe.



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