U.S. Mint Actions Discourage Gold Ownership

Source:

". . .every significant action [the U.S. Mint] has taken since August has either limited gold availability, eliminated gold product options, or increased the cost of acquiring gold."

Over the past several months, the United States Mint has announced a series of actions and policy changes that make it more difficult for the average individual to buy gold. There have always been plausible or semi-plausible explanations, but the consequence of each action has been to limit or discourage gold ownership.

The recent actions of the United States Mint in relation to gold are as follows:
  • August 2008: The U.S. Mint suspends sales of Gold Eagle bullion coins. Sales resume two weeks later on a rationed basis.

  • September 2008: The U.S. Mint suspends sales of Gold Buffalo bullion coins. Sales resume more than one month later, but only to clear remaining inventory.

  • October 6, 2008: The U.S. Mint announces that production will be halted for all but one gold bullion coin option.

  • November 10, 2008: The U.S. Mint announces the discontinuation of numerous gold and platinum numismatic products.

  • November 24, 2008: The U.S. Mint announces the delayed release of all but one 2009 gold bullion coin option.

  • January 6, 2009: The U.S. Mint establishes a new pricing policy for gold and platinum numismatic products.

The series of incremental changes outlined above has resulted in the following situation:
  1. Production was halted for all of the U.S. Mint's fractional gold bullion and 24 karat gold bullion offerings several months ago. There has been no indication when production might resume.

  2. The only 2009 gold bullion coin available from the U.S. Mint is the one ounce American Gold Eagle. Sales of this single bullion coin offering remain subject to rationing.

  3. The U.S. Mint's gold numismatic offerings for 2009 have been significantly reduced from the prior year. The remaining product offerings will be priced at prohibitively high premiums under a newly established pricing policy.
Whether or not it was the U.S. Mint's intention, every significant action they have taken since August has either limited gold availability, eliminated gold product options, or increased the cost of acquiring gold. Has it all just been a consequence of surging global demand for gold, supply chain mismanagement, and bad timing for policy decisions? Or is there something else going on here?

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