Is the glass half full or half empty?
How many times have you seen that question?
It is always asked because there are many times when it sums up the situation.
Take sales of silver bullion American Eagles.
They closed out July at 2,320,000.
This is a relative whisker away from equaling the 2,455,000 sold in May, the month of second highest demand this year.
Had the July number been higher, it would have been easy to say demand has turned higher after sliding for much of 2017.
That is the half full information.
The half empty side of things requires that I point out that sales so far in August are just 110,000 coins.
This number seems to indicate the possibility of total sales below the April monthly low point of 835,000.
This figure is partly accounted for by a quirk in the calendar.
The last day of July was the 31st, Monday of last week.
This has the effect of putting much of last week’s sales into the July month.
That means the July figure might be considered a bit stronger than reality.
What is not in doubt is that in the first six months, only 14,553,500 silver Eagles have been sold.
At this pace, 2017 sales would fall below 30 million to 29,107,000.
Such an outcome would be the lowest level of sales since 2009, when 28,766,500 were sold.
It would be a decline of 38 percent from the record year of 2015 when 47 million went to eager buyers.
What would an eight-year low signal?
In the short term, nothing good can come of it.
Buzz blogger Dave Harper won the Numismatic Literary Guild Award for Best Blog for the third time in 2017 . He is editor of the weekly newspaper "Numismatic News."
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