Trends in metal prices for Olympic medals

February 07, 2014

The 2014 Winter Olympic Games take place in Sochi, Russia, February 6–23. The Games feature events in 15 winter sports. The winner of each event receives a gold medal, and the second- and third-place finishers receive silver and bronze medals. Gold medals are not pure gold (they are mostly silver), and silver medals are not pure silver, either. Bronze is mostly copper. This edition of The Editor’s Desk looks at trends in gold, silver, and copper prices.

Annual percent change in Producer Price Indexes for gold, silver, and copper, 2008–2013
Annual percent change in Producer Price Indexes for gold, silver, and copper, 1998–2013
YearGold oresSilverware and hollowware, precious solid or clad metalCopper ores

1998

-10.81.2-30.5

1999

-4.90.8-7.0

2000

-1.72.324.7

2001

-3.30.8-7.9

2002

13.51.0-2.1

2003

16.60.512.6

2004

12.70.867.5

2005

8.41.834.3

2006

34.55.979.8

2007

14.218.110.6

2008

2.64.60.0

2009

12.8-1.7-27.6

2010

27.4-0.942.1

2011

32.817.913.6

2012

5.54.9-9.7

2013 (p)

-14.6-0.4-7.3
Footnotes:

(p) = preliminary

Producer prices for gold ores fell 14.6 percent in 2013. That was the first year that producer prices for gold ores had fallen since 2001. Producer prices for gold ores rose 5.5 percent in 2012, following gains of 32.8 percent in 2011 and 27.4 percent in 2010.

Prices for silver changed little in 2013, following gains of 4.9 percent in 2012 and 17.9 percent in 2011.

Prices for copper ores fell 7.3 percent in 2013, following an even larger decline of 9.7 percent in 2012. Copper prices increased by 13.6 percent in 2011 and by 42.1 percent in 2010.

These data are from the BLS Producer Price Indexes program and are not seasonally adjusted. Producer prices for silver refer to prices received by producers in the manufacturing industry called "silverware and hollowware, precious solid or clad metal." This industry includes the manufacture of eating utensils, sugar bowls, creamers, platters, butter plates, and other table-related items that are silver, silver-clad, or pewter. This price index is not strictly comparable to those for gold ores and copper ores, which are mined commodities rather than manufactured products. A Producer Price Index for silver ores is not available because there is not enough U.S. production of silver ore to support the calculation of an index.

SUGGESTED CITATION

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, The Editor's Desk, Trends in metal prices for Olympic medals on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2014/ted_20140207.htm (visited April 18, 2014).

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