CHINA'S central bank, the People's Bank of China, has announced it will mint up to half-a-million additional ounces (15.6 tonnes) of its 2011 commemorative Gold Coins in order to satisfy demand from "precious metal coin collectors".
The PBoC will issue up to 500,000 of the one ounce Panda coins – up from 300,000 announced at the end of last year – and up to 600,000 ounces each of the one half, one quarter and one tenth-ounce Pandas.
The bullion content of the additional Gold Coins would be worth $773 million At Wednesday morning's London Fix price.
The PBoC will also double its maximum issuance of one ounce silver coins, from 3 million to 6 million.
Chinese demand for Gold Coins and bars has risen strongly in the last year. In the first three months of 2011, demand was at 90.9 tonnes, a 123% increase from the same period in 2010, according to figures published by the World Gold Council.
Demand for Gold Coins has been strong in other parts of the world too. As of June 8, the US Mint had sold 540,500 ounces (16.8 tonnes) of the 2011 American Gold Eagle coin, at a markup of $77.40 per ounce. Total demand for Gold Bars and coins in the US was 22.5 tonnes in the first quarter of 2011, a 54% rise on Q1 2010.
Germany too saw a big rise in demand for Gold Coins – up 103% year-on-year in Q1 2011 – while reports have emerged of Greek savers Buying Gold in preparation for a possible banking collapse.
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