Precious metals firm turns Florida aviation hangar into silver mint in bet on US market

LONDON (Reuters) – Precious metals company MKS PAMP Group, which owns refineries in Switzerland and India, has repurposed an aviation hangar in Florida, taken on lease, for a silver mint in a bet on strong North American investment demand, it said on Thursday.

The move by the group, which also owns a precious metals trading arm, a bullion distributor and an online retailer, follows the last year’s dramatic shift in the global investment market for silver bars and coins which saw a slump in Germany and India, but remained relatively resilient in the United States.

“Sales of PAMP minted products have remained strong compared to other (brands’) products … in the U.S. and the Middle East regions,” the family-owned group told Reuters.

The Florida facility is able to produce over 20 million troy ounces of products – such as 1-ounce silver rounds and 10-ounce bars – a year, MKS PAMP Group said in a statement. The rounds are privately minted, coin-shaped pieces of silver.

Silver is both an investment asset and an industrial metal.

While spot prices are up 27% so far in 2024 after touching an 11-year high on May 20 – amid a rally in gold and copper markets, global physical investment in silver bars and coins, which accounts for one fifth of total demand for the metal, is expected to fall further after a 28% slump in 2023.

In this category, sales in major market, Germany collapsed by 73% in 2023 after the country raised the Value Added Tax for some silver products, while the Indian market recorded a loss of 38%, according to consultancy Metals Focus.

Demand in the U.S. also fell – by 13%, but remained historically high.

“Despite seeing a year-on-year fall, the U.S. still offered a crucial outlet for some mints and refiners looking for a home for their investment products that normally would have been bought in Germany,” Metals Focus said in a research, prepared for the Silver Institute, in April.

(Reporting by Polina Devitt; editing by David Evans)

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