It is time to make my annual forecasts. I will treat this like a tooth extraction. The swifter it is, the less painful it will be.
I seemed to have unbalanced the universe when I switched from being negative about gold last year to positive. It was then that the market chose to end its 12-year upswing.
1. This year I will forecast a decline in gold’s price. (Wink) Now the market can do what it always does, which is the opposite of what I forecast. But if the precious metal is even one cent cheaper at the end of trading in 2014, I will claim victory.
2. I can’t very well forecast a rise in silver if I forecast a decline in gold because the two metals almost always move in lockstep. So, silver will be down in 2014. Again, I will not get too precise considering how badly such precision burned me in 2013. A one-cent decline will suffice.
3. Silver American Eagle bullion coins set a record sales number in 2013 of over 42 million pieces. I think that figure will stand for a while. Fewer silver American Eagles will be sold in 2014.
4. Ditto for gold American Eagles. Sales will fall from 2013 levels. Considering the amount of money that has been plowed into physical precious metals by coin collectors and investors, and also considering their average age, I expect many will look to sell a little of what they already have to pay for retirement, or lock in previously earned profits.
5. John F. Kennedy half dollar coins will be the popular items from the U.S. Mint this year. We still don’t know what will be offered, but if it is some combination of reverse proofs, proofs and enhanced uncirculated silver and clad coins, collectors will react like they did to the silver American Eagle sets of 2011-2013. My memories of 50 years ago are fresh. How about yours?
6. I expect circulation coin production will continue to rise. Last year the Mint struck 11.9 billion coins for circulation. In 2014 it will produce more. That will be a good indicator of a growing economy.
7. Quarter output has been making a comeback. Almost 1.5 billion were struck last year. I expect the number to increase in 2014 (and perhaps the America the Beautiful designs will become more numerous in change in Iola, Wis., as a result).
8. The American Numismatic Association World’s Fair of Money in August will be judged a success, helped along by many factors, but two official auctions there won’t hurt.
9. Legislation will pass Congress to crack down on Chinese fakes thanks to work done by the Industry Council for Tangible Assets.
10. Platinum Eagle bullion coins are scheduled to return to active production in 2014 after having been suspended during the financial crisis. My forecast is that there will be an initial flurry of excitement, but demand for the one-ounce bullion coin over the course of the year will not exceed the 21,800 sold in 2008.
Now all I have to do is sit back and hope that I can do better than this year’s dismal three out of 10 success record.
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