The volume climbed to 91,500 ounces from 56,000 ounces in December, while sales of silver coins almost tripled to 4.78 million ounces, the highest in a year, mint data showed yesterday.
In January, gold futures rose 3.1 percent, snapping a four-month slump, as a rout in emerging-market currencies increased demand for the metal as a haven. Mints from the U.S., the world’s biggest, to Australia boosted sales with Austria’s Muenze Oesterreich AG operation running 24 hours a day to meet a surge in demand.
“Any kind of uncertainty attracts people to gold,” Scott Carter, the chief executive officer of Los Angeles-based Lear Capital, said in a telephone interview. “The long-term buyers accumulate gold every time there is a drop.”
Gold futures for April delivery fell 0.2 percent to $1,239.80 an ounce yesterday on the Comex in New York. On Dec. 31, the price touched a six-month low of $1,181.40, spurring demand for coins, bars and jewelry.
In 2013, the metal tumbled 28 percent, the first annual loss since 2000. A U.S. equity rally to a record and muted inflation eroded the metal’s appeal as an alternative investment.
Sales of gold coins fell 39 percent from a year earlier, and silver dropped 36 percent.