If anyone wants to know the reason why PHYS is once again trading at about a 10% premium to NAV all over again (yes mere days after the follow on offering) look no further than the US mint. Reuters reports that "The U.S. mint sold 190,000 1-ounce American Eagle gold coins in May, the largest number since January 1999, and the most in any month so far in 2010, according to a spokesman for the U.S. agency." At least the mint still has gold coins to satisfy record demand. Buyers in Europe unfortunately are not so lucky, which is why in Greece recently an oz of sold for as high as $1,700.
In January 1999, the U.S. mint sold 208,500 gold 1-ounce coins, with only five other months exceeding May's gold coin sales since the program was launched in 1986, the Mint's spokesman told Reuters.
While in 2010 the U.S. Mint has sold only 1-ounce gold coins, in past years it has sold other coin sizes as well.
Comparing only American Eagle gold 1-ounce coins, the biggest monthly sale occurred in October 1986 with 609,500 coins sold, the Mint said.
Many investors, both retail and institutional, have sought gold as a safe-haven asset in times of economic uncertainty. Sales of the American Eagle coins increased by 214 percent in the month over April during a time when concerns about sovereign debt in the euro zone raised fears of a larger macro-economic effect.
The price of gold bullion reached a record high last month at $1,248.95 per ounce.
As the US Treasury will gladly tell you, there are some products for which demand increases proprtionally with price. While Tim Geithner would like you to believe this means Treasuries, gold is rapidly replacing Treasuries in this regard. As to questions about whether gold is in a bubble, we can't claim to know the answer at this point. Please ask us again when gold trades at $5,000.
h/t Rusty Shackleford