Gold rush: Sales hit record high as investors seek safety

10 February 2009 / by Rachael Stiles
Record amounts of gold bars and coins are being bought by spooked investors looking for a safe haven to protect them from the credit crisis.

Mints around the world have been announcing strong levels of people investing in gold.

The US Mint sold 92,000 ounces of its American Eagle coin in January, the Financial Times has reported, almost four times the amount it sold in January 2007 and more than it sold in the whole first half of 2007.

Often viewed as a safe haven from the turmoil of the wider stock market, known for its durability during a slowing economy compared to other investments, gold prices and sales have been steadily rising since the credit crisis started.

John Reade, a precious metals strategist at UBS, told the Financial Times that these large purchases of coins "are perhaps the ultimate sign of safe-haven gold buying."

Mr Read estimates that investment demand in gold "could double in 2009 compared to 2007", reporting that purchases of physical gold have jumped in recent months, "as investors' fears about the current economic climate have intensified."

Currently trading at $892 an ounce, gold prices are expected to be pushed above the $1,000 mark, partly as a result of investors hoarding large amounts of gold in vaults, pushing up demand.

Jonathon Spall, director of commodities at Barclays Capital in London, told the Financial Times that so far this year they have seen more new enquiries about investing in gold than during the whole of last year.

Precious metals consultants GFMS, said that this safe haven buying is a long-term investment for most investors who are looking for shelter from the global economic crisis, rather than a quick gain.

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