Bullion dealers report record sales as buyers "queue round the block" to purchase the precious metal
11:50AM GMT 11 Feb 2016
BullionByPost, Britain's biggest online gold dealer, said it has already taken record-day sales of £5.6m as traders pile into gold following fears the world is on the brink of another financial crisis.
Rob Halliday-Stein, founder and managing director of the Birmingham-based company, said takings today had already surpassed the firm's previous one-day record of £4.4m in October 2014.
BullionByPost, which takes orders of up to £25,000 on the website but takes higher amounts over the phone, explained it had received a few hundred orders overnight and frantic numbers of phone calls this morning.
"The bullion market has been building with interest since the end of last year but this morning things have gone bananas," said Mr Halliday-Stein. "Some bankers in London are placing unusually large orders for physical gold."
London-based ATS Bullion added it had been inundated with orders for the past week. The firm has sold 4,000 gold bars and coins since February 1, a 40pc rise on the same period a year ago when it sold 1,500.
"It's been crazy - it's been the best week since 2012. We've had people queuing round the block," said Michael Cooper of ATS Bullion, a family run firm that trades online and also from an outlet in the West End.
Gold is currently at its highest level since May, with prices surging 2.2pc this morning to $1,218.17 for an ounce of the precious metal.
Gold producers are among the biggest risers on the FTSE today, with shares in Rangold Resources and Fresnillo up 6.3pc and 6.2pc respectively.
Online gold investment platform BullionVault recorded its busiest-ever trading day on Monday, with investors buying and selling more than a quarter-tonne of gold, worth £7.2m, and more than 5 tonnes of silver, worth £1.7m.
The World Gold Council said this morning that demand for the precious metal grew 4pc in the fourth quarter as central banks bolstered their reserves to diversify away from the dollar.
Russia's central bank stockpiled the most gold last quarter, adding an estimated 60 tonnes to its reserves. The country bought around 200 tonnes of gold last year, 141 tonnes of which is thought to have been snapped up over the summer.
Global stock markets have had a torrid time in recent months. In early trading on Thursday morning, the FTSE 100 sank to a fresh three-year low. RBS warned last month that major stock markets could fall by a fifth this year, and oil may plummet to $16 a barrel. Meanwhile the price of gold, typically seen as a safe haven by investors, has risen 15pc since the beginning of the year.