The lower metals prices are, predictably, driving increased demand for physical bullion from U.S. retail investors. Bargain hunters, who had less reason to buy during the first half of the year, have come out in force over the past two months.
Perpetually plagued by shoddy production planning, the U.S. Mint announced last week the government agency is temporarily sold out of silver American Eagles and gold Buffaloes . Premiums for those coins moved higher almost immediately, especially on Silver Eagles.
The government-run “enterprise” typically operates with little room for error and does not maintain a large supply of unstruck planchets.
This means it can’t handle moderate to large fluctuations in demand. It’s not unusual for the U.S. Mint to fail in its statutory mandate to produce sufficient coins to meet public demand.