Breaking news (six days after the fact)
The last week brought some of the most powerful evidence yet that the gold bull market is nowhere near over.
It goes back to "gold awareness" — a phenomenon I've mused over on occasion since last fall. "Gold awareness" remains low. People aren't lining up around street corners to sell their gold jewelry or coins. But a few might consider selling based on TV commercials the likes of which we haven't seen in 30 years. Still, things are at a very early stage.
My latest evidence? The U.S. Mint announced last Friday that it was temporarily suspending sales of one-ounce Gold Eagle coins. Last Friday. The news didn't make it into establishment media until… yesterday.
"Due to the unprecedented demand for American Eagle gold one-ounce bullion coins, our inventories have been depleted. We are therefore temporarily suspending all sales of these coins," the U.S. Mint told authorized coin dealers in a memorandum dated on Friday.
Michael White, a U.S. Mint spokesman, said that only the one-ounce 22-karat American Eagle coins are sold out, but the half-ounce, quarter-ounce, and 1-10th ounce coins as well as the less popular 24-karat American Buffalo coins are still available.
"We are working diligently to build up our inventory and hope to resume sales shortly," the Mint said.
Coin dealers from the United States to Canada reported a surge in buying of bullion coins and other gold products since prices plummeted from highs last month. The buying spree contributed to supply fears and helped boost gold prices sharply on Thursday.
Rand LeShay, senior vice president of Los Angeles-based A-Mark Precious Metals, an authorized purchaser for the U.S. Mint, said that there was a big spike in demand for gold and silver coins and ingots after a recent price tumble.
He said that A-Mark currently has no one-ounce American Eagle gold coins for its customers.
"Until the U.S. Mint can supply us with more coins, we won't be able to supply any to our customers," LeShay said.
My point is this: If gold were near a 1980-like top, this news would have been picked up in establishment media immediately. As it is, gold remains a fringe phenomenon. The top will come when CNBC starts pimping junior exploration companies with nothing but "moose pasture" the same way it pimped dot-coms with no earnings a few years ago. We're nowhere near that. So what are you waiting for?