Investors seeking a haven from the economic turmoil created by the coronavirus pandemic are snapping up platinum coins engraved with African wildlife.

Over 2 000 coins featuring an elephant sold out to U.S. and Asian investors after being minted in March, according to Prestige Bullion.

Image: SA Mint

More will be produced once South Africa’s virus lockdown is lifted, said Richard Collocott, managing director of the Johannesburg-based company. Additional coins showing the rest of the so-called Big Five animals – lion, rhinoceros, leopard and buffalo – will be minted at six-month intervals.

“The platinum bullion coin has performed strongly with good levels of interest from customers, especially in the U.S. and Asia,” Collocott said. “The demand remains high and we expect to take orders once production resumes.”

Prestige Bullion, jointly owned by the South African Reserve Bank and Rand Refinery, is targeting a 20% share of the 100 000-ounce global market for platinum coins. The premium that coin purchasers typically pay above spot prices has widened as demand surged in March and April amid constrained supplies and market turmoil caused by the pandemic, according to Trevor Raymond, director of research at the World Platinum Investment Council.

“The low platinum price in March was a buying opportunity, but the concerns regarding global risk and the huge negative fiscal impact of the Covid-19 pandemic are likely to continue the demand for precious metals, including platinum,” Raymond said.

Spot platinum has rebounded to about $857 an ounce, after dropping to $591.20 on March 19.

Johannesburg-based Mining Weekly first reported on the story.

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P.