Mints, refiners cut off gold, silver supplies, Irish dealer says

Section:

Gold and Silver Dealer Reports 'Unprecedented' Shortage of Metals

By David Clerkin
The Sunday Business Post, Dublin, Ireland
Sunday, September 28, 2008

http://www.thepost.ie/post/pages/p/story.aspx-qqqt=MARKETS-qqqm=nav-qqqi...

A surge for demand in gold and silver has resulted in an unprecedented shortage of the metals for retail investors in recent days, according to Gold and Silver Investments, a Dublin-based firm that allows retail investors to speculate on movements in the value of precious metals.

Gold and Silver Investments director Mark O'Byrne said the supply of gold and silver available for small retail investors suffered a dramatic deterioration within hours on Friday, as wholesalers reported that government mints and refiners, the primary suppliers of the metals, had stopped offering new supplies.

"It's absolutely unprecedented," said O'Byrne, who said the shortages were likely to drive up the costs of gold and silver in the secondary market.

"This did not happen even in the 1930s and the 1970s, and will result in markedly higher prices in the coming months."

According to O'Byrne, gold and silver were now easily accessible only in the primary market, which consisted of central banks and other major traders of the precious metals.

However, he said that minimum transaction sizes in this market were out of reach for most retail investors -- at approximately $350,000 for gold and $135,000 for silver.

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