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

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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 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.