With the economy struggling to emerge from recession, financial markets still in turmoil, and worries increasing about inflation, investors are turning to physical gold (bullion).
They are buying the bullion in the form of small bars and coins, The Wall Street Journal reports. These purchases come amid continued concern about the health of the global financial system.
Gold is traditionally viewed as a safe haven investment in times of financial crisis.
Bullion buying by individuals rose almost 100 percent, to 862 metric tons, last year, when fears were rabid about a possible collapse of the global financial system.
Purchases are less frenetic now, but still strong. They totaled 130 metric tons in the first quarter, up 50 percent from this decade’s average. And experts anticipate bountiful sales through year-end.
“When you’re in uncharted economic waters, people buy gold,” Shawn Price, manager of the Touchstone Large Cap Growth fund, tells The Journal.
Investment demand has made up for industrial and jewelry purchases, which have suffered from the recession. That demand has kept the gold price above $900 an ounce, though it has dropped about 10 percent from its February high.
Not everyone has turned into a gold bug. “Unless you like paying high prices for non-interest bearing assets, it’s not something to think about,” David Gilmore, a partner at consulting firm Foreign Exchange Analytics, tells Moneynews.
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