I did better with my annual forecasts for 2016 than I did for the year before. But I feel worse. I relapsed into getting gold and silver wrong again.
Whereas in 2015 I had a 50-50 result, my forecasts for 2016 improved by one, so I had 60-40, or six out of 10 correct.
Let’s look at the specifics. Last year I took the Federal Reserve board at its word that it would hike interest rates four times in 2016. I thought that would be bad for gold and silver.
In the event, the Fed only raised rates once, very late in the year, and that caused bullion to party in the first half.
1. I predicted gold would be down in 2016. It closed 2015 at $1,060.30 a troy ounce. It ended 2016 at $1,150. That is up by $89.70, or 8.5 percent. I was wrong.
2. Silver ,I thought would decline from its 2015 close of $13.775. It went up by $2.161, or 15.7 percent. Wrong again.
In 2016 it paid to be a bullion owner, though from the early July highs where silver was over $20 and gold was nearing $1,400, some gains were given back.
3. Because I thought buyers would be bargain-hunting cheap silver, I forecast that the U.S. Mint would sell more silver American Eagles. I forecast that the 2015 total of 47 million would be improved to 50 million. It wasn’t. Sales dropped 9,298,500, or 19.8 percent. The Mint sold just 37,701,500 in 2016. Another miss.
4. I thought gold Eagle sales would rise. They did. Sales went from 801,500 ]ounces to 985,000 ounces in their four different sizes. That is a gain of 183,500 ounces, or 22.9 percent. Here I was right.
5. I forecast one-ounce bullion platinum American Eagle sales in 2016 to be less than the 16,900 of 2014. I was wrong. Sales were 20,000.
6. I said sales of the three 2016 gold Centennial coins, the Mercury dime, Standing Liberty quarter and Walking Liberty half dollar would be a smash hit. I count this as a win. The gold Mercury sold out. The other two are still on sale, but sales numbers are impressive.
7. I forecast that the Senate would not confirm Rhett Jeppson as Mint director. I was correct. He was not confirmed.
8. I forecast that the Mark Twain commemorative coins would not sell out. I was right. It is simply unfortunate that collectors were using their money for the gold Centennial coins rather than the well designed Twain coins. They might have done better in another year.
9. I made the same no sellout forecast for the National Park Service commemoratives. These coins did not reach the maximum numbers possible either.
10. I forecast a continuing sales decline in the annual clad proof set. Sales of the 2015 stood at 619,948 when I wrote my forecast last year. I thought the 2016 number would be lower. It was. It stands at 570,209. The 2016 sales number will continue rising as it is still on sale. The 2015 was sold also all through 2016. It’s current sales number is 661,864.
So that’s the good, the bad and the ugly. Hardly better than flipping a coin. Next week I make my 2017 predictions.
This article was originally printed in Numismatic News. >> Subscribe today.
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