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Here we go with my 2017 forecasts

ClassOf630207It is time to stick my neck out and put my forecasts for 2017 in print. I put them all in a talk I gave Jan. 5 at the Florida United Numismatists Convention in Fort Lauderdale. I have not taken advantage of the days since to alter them.

1. As in recent years, I will start with the price of gold. I foresee an increase from the 2016 closing price of $1,150. I stuck my neck out at FUN and said it would be at least $1,265 an ounce. I say stuck my neck out because gold could rise in 2017 anywhere from $1 to $114 and it still would not be at $1,265.

2. Silver will rise also. I put a number on this, $17.57, up from the 2016 close of $15.936.

3. Silver American Eagle sales numbers are going to bounce back strongly to 50 million from 37,701,500 in 2016.

4. Gold American Eagle sales numbers are going to go up too. Sales in 2016 were 985,000 ounces. In 2017 sales will crack one million ounces, but my crystal ball is cloudy as to by how much.

5. I particularly stressed this one at FUN. I believe the Morgan silver dollar is going to make a comeback. The market has not yet returned to its peak of 1989. I think by the end of 2017, the trend will become obvious that new life is infusing the venerable silver dollar series.

6. With a new administration, there will be a new Mint director who will actually have the title of Mint director. This chair has formally been vacant since the 2010 departure of Ed Moy. Who it might be I can’t say. That darn foggy crystal ball.

7. The American Numismatic Association will bid President Jeff Garrett a fond farewell after a smooth two-year administration. This is significant because ANA seems to lurch into crisis every few years. 2017 will not be one of those crisis years.

8. Clad proof set sales will continue their decline. The trend has been unfavorable in recent years. 2017 will continue the sales drops.

9. The market would like to see an American half-ounce silver bullion coin. I believe the United States Mint in its efforts at renewal will strike a half-ounce silver bullion coin. Congress will have to authorize it, but I think it will.

10. The government will sell shares in the Federal Reserve as it once did in the Bank of the United States, or as was the case for the Bank of England before 1946.

In recent years, the Fed has turned over to the U.S. Treasury nearly $100 billion in annual profit. If this profit is capitalized at 20 times earnings, that means the Fed is worth a cool $2 trillion. By selling just under half so as to keep control, the federal government could garner nearly $1 trillion.

Few would quibble that the government needs money. This is one way to raise it without borrowing. The odds of this happening are not great, but we have recently finished a year where many unlikely possibilities became reality. Nothing will focus government minds like the need to raise large sums of cash.

Those are my 10 forecasts. If you care to comment, send me an email message at david.harper@fwmedia.com.

This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.

 

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