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US and UK Cut Back Selling of Gold
US Mint suspends Buffalo gold coins after depletion

Reuters
September 25, 2008

The U.S Mint said Thursday it was temporarily suspending sales of American Buffalo 24-karat gold one-ounce bullion coins because strong demand depleted its inventory.

“Demand has exceeded supply for American Buffalo 24-karat gold one-ounce bullion coins, and our inventories have been depleted. We are, therefore, temporarily suspending sales of these coins,” the Mint said in a memorandum to authorized American Buffalo dealers.

The Mint also told dealers that it would work to build up its inventory to resume sales shortly.

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ECB Cuts Gold Sales

FT
September 29, 2008

European central banks have cut their sales of gold to the lowest level in almost a decade, reversing the practice of recent years when hefty sales helped depress prices.

Institutions bound by the Central Bank Gold Agreement – the banks of the eurozone plus Sweden and Switzerland – sold about 343 tonnes of gold in the year that expired on Friday, the lowest amount since the first CBGA was signed in 1999.

This compares with 475.8 tonnes in the year to the end of September 2007. Under the agreement, the banks are allowed to sell up to 500 tonnes of gold each year.

The European trend is part of a global movement of reduced central bank selling and increased investor buying that is helping to underpin high prices at a time of turmoil in financial markets.

GFMS, the precious metals consultancy, estimates global central banks will sell 269 tonnes of bullion in 2008, the lowest since 1995.

Much of the selling by European banks took place between October and December last year.

As central banks sell less, investors are rushing into bullion-backed exchange traded funds to such an extent that some analysts refer to the ETFs as the “people’s central bank” because they are now bigger than most countries’ official reserves.

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Rich investors are snapping up gold bars

FT
September 30, 2008

Investors in gold are demanding “unprecedented” amounts of bullion bars and coins and moving them into their own vaults as fears about the health of the global financial system deepen.

Industry executives and bankers at the London Bullion Market Association annual meeting said the extent of the move into physical gold was unseen and driven by the very rich.

“There is an enormous pick-up in investment demand. I have never seen a market like this in my 33-year career,” said Jeremy Charles, chairman of the LBMA. “The gold refineries cannot produce enough bars.”

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Gold and silver dealer reports an ‘unprecedented’ shortage of metals

The Post
September 28, 2008

A surge for demand in gold and silver has resulted in an unprecedented shortage of the metals for retail investors in recent days, according to Gold and Silver Investments, a Dublin-based firm that allows retail investors to speculate on movements in the value of precious metals.

Gold and Silver Investments director Mark O’Byrne said the supply of gold and silver available for small retail investors suffered a dramatic deterioration within hours on Friday, as wholesalers reported that government mints and refiners, the primary suppliers of the metals, had stopped offering new supplies.

‘‘It’s absolutely unprecedented,” said O’Byrne, who said the shortages were likely to drive up the costs of gold and silver in the secondary market.

‘‘This did not happen even in the 1930s and the 1970s, and will result in markedly higher prices in the coming months.”

According to O’Byrne, gold and silver were now only easily accessible in the primary market, which consisted of central banks and other major traders of the precious metals.

However, he said that minimum transaction sizes in this market were out of reach for most retail investors – at approximately $350,000 for gold and $135,000 for silver.

Analyst: Dollar May Sink, So Look to $1,500 Gold
http://www.cnbc.com/id/26970932

Central banks favor gold as crisis unfolds
http://www.reut..02?virtualBrandChannel=10338&pageNumber=2

CFTC Relents and Probes Silver Market
http://endthefed.blogspot.com/2008/09..rket.html