300,000 fewer pieces hallmarked in year-on-year comparison.
The Assay Office has released hallmarking figures for February 2011, showing an evident dip in the number of items being hallmarked across the four precious metals.
Figures dropped across the baord, with lower qualities of silver, palladium and platinum showing a small rise in the number of items being hallmarked.
Overall gold hallmarking figures fell by 31.7 percent, silver hallmarking figures fell by 30 percent, while platinum and palladium figures dropped by 14.7 and 1.3 percent respectively.
Officially 337,334 fewer items were hallmarked during February 2011 compared to February last year. 2010 saw 1,112,205 items hallmarked.
The Assay Office said February’s hallmarking figures further confirmed that January’s unexpected increase in volume was a result of disruption caused by the snow in December, which had created a backlog.
After a 16.7 percent overall increase in January, February’s volumes plummeted by 30 percent against last year. Despite the drop, silver hallmarking still represented 56 percent of volume.
The Assay Office stated "This decline is undoubtedly a result of precious metal prices continuing to climb sharply and consumer and retailer confidence being eroded by economic uncertainty and rising fuel and food prices."
The facts and figures
22ct gold 916 – fell by 22.5 percent
18ct gold 750 – fell by 27.1 percent
14ct gold 585 – fell by 4.3 percent
9ct gold 375 – fell by 34.8 percent
Britannia silver 958 – fell by 14.2 percent
Sterling silver 925 – fell by 30.4 percent
800 parts silver – rose by 266.7 percent
999 parts platinum – fell by 74.1 percent
950 parts platinum – fell by 14.7 percent
900 parts platinum – fell by 68.4 percent
850 parts platinum – rose by 100 percent
999 parts palladium – fell by 88.9 percent
950 parts palladium – fell by 2.0 percent
500 parts palladium – rose by 100 percent