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Gold demand jumps to 10-month high

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Demand for physical gold jumped to a 10-month high in April as bond prices and global stock markets fell on interest rate hike forecasts.

Investors bought almost a quarter of a tonne of gold last month (net of selling at 236kg) – the most since June last year, according to platform BullionVault.

The platform said this, taken with March’s small net buying, means the last two months have now reversed 52% of the New Year 2022’s half-tonne outflow.

This takes holdings up to 47.2 tonnes in vaults across London, New York, Singapore, Toronto and Zurich – worth £2.3bn.

Adrian Ash, director of research at BullionVault, said: “Devaluation continues to drive investors to diversify with gold as inflation hits currencies, bonds and equities.

“Central banks lag so far behind inflation that real returns from cash and bonds remain more deeply negative than during the 1970s, and that’s boosting demand for gold as a rare, tangible store of value.”

However, Ash said the number of people buying gold eased back in April, dropping 25.3% from March’s count, when Russia’s invasion of Ukraine spurred the fastest monthly jump in the number of gold buyers since the Covid pandemic began two years ago.

Meanwhile the number of gold sellers fell 46.4% to the fewest since January.

Overall, this activity led the Gold Investor Index – measures private investor sentiment in physical bullion – to rise 0.3 points to 54.2, matching its highest level of the last seven months.

But the strong US dollar has pushed gold prices lower from March’s near-record monthly average, down 0.7% to $1,934 per ounce.

However, for both Euro and UK investors, gold prices rose over 1.2%, setting a new euro record at €1,790 and averaging £1,496.50 for UK investors. This is just £3.50 below August 2020’s sterling record.

Ash added: “Rising interest rates naturally present a headwind for gold prices, because the precious metal pays no income. But dollar strength ahead of this week’s widely expected half-point hike from the US Fed is masking gold’s resilience.

“While European stock markets have lost 10% so far this year, gold has gained 10% in both euro and sterling terms. On a population-weighted basis, central-bank policy rates across the G7 economies now lag inflation by an average of 6.3 percentage points. Gold prices have risen 7.2% so far in 2022.”

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