Precious metals, coins, money, bullion
Description / Application
A precious metal is a rare, naturally occurring metallic chemical element of high economic value. Chemically, the precious metals are less reactive than most elements. They are usually ductile and have a high lustre. Historically, precious metals were important as currency but are now regarded mainly as investment and industrial commodities. Gold, silver, platinum, and palladium each have an ISO 4217 currency code.
The best-known precious metals are the coinage metals gold and silver. While both have industrial uses, they are better known for their uses in art, jewellery and coinage. Other precious metals include the platinum group metals: ruthenium, rhodium, palladium, osmium, iridium, and platinum, of which platinum is the most widely traded.
The demand for precious metals is driven not only by their practical use but also by their role as investments and a store of value. Historically, precious metals have commanded much higher prices than common industrial metals.
A metal is deemed to be precious if it is rare. The discovery of new sources of ore or improvements in mining or refining processes may cause the value of a precious metal to diminish. The status of a “precious” metal can also be determined by high demand or market value. Precious metals in bulk form are known as bullion and are traded on commodity markets. Bullion metals may be cast into ingots or minted into coins. The defining attribute of bullion is that it is valued by its mass and purity rather than by a face value as money.
The level of purity varies from issue to issue. “Three nines” (99.9%) purity is common. Many nations mint bullion coins.
Gold and silver, and sometimes other precious metals, are often seen as hedges against both inflation and economic downturn. Silver coins have become popular with collectors due to their relative affordability, and, unlike most gold and platinum issues which are valued based upon the markets, silver issues are more often valued as collectables, far higher than their actual bullion value.
Bullion is a bulk quantity of precious metal, usually gold or silver, assessed by weight, typically cast as ingots or bars, and sold by major banks and dealers. One also can buy bullion as coins.
Bullion coins are minted from precious metal, usually gold or silver, and bought for investment purposes from major banks, coin dealers, brokerage firms, and precious metal dealers. Their value is based on their gold or silver bullion content. Prices fluctuate daily, depending on the price of gold and silver in the world markets. Perhaps the best-known bullion coins are the American Gold Eagle, the Canadian Maple Leaf, the Australian Gold Nugget, and the South African Krugerrand.
Shipment / Storage / Risk factors
Precious metals must be safely lashed and secured inside dry steel containers. Wherever possible the “newest” container equipment on hand should be used such that any tampering can be readily identified and not confused with wear & tear/corrosion/old repairs to the unit.
The containers must be stowed UNDER DECK on board the vessels in positions where it is IMPOSSIBLE to open the doors. Enter “UND” in RKEM stowage request in GCSS.
When stored at the terminals then stowage should be ‘DOORS AGAINST DOORS’ and preferable in 2nd or 3rd tier (depending of weight).
Eventual transhipment ports as well as discharge ports should be informed of the shipment in order to take necessary security precautions against pilferage as well as necessary security at their premises /while in their custody.
However information regarding such shipments should be on a strictly “need to know” basis only.