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Gold investors head for the exit, despite recent price hikes

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Following news from the World Gold Council that demand for gold has dropped 18% since last year’s high, new research has revealed many investors are taking profits in the precious metal.

According to BullionVault, the number of investors reducing or selling all their gold holdings on its online platform jumped by almost 22% in March, ending the strongest run of positive demand in five years.

Additionally the number of net gold buyers dropped by one-fifth, falling to the lowest level since January 2016, while new interest in the yellow metal was also weak with the fewest new buyers recorded since the price of gold hit a six-year low in December 2015.

As a result the Gold Investor Index – which is a measure of actual trading amongst private gold owners – fell from 54.2 in March to 52.1 in April. A reading of 50 signals an equal number of net buyers with net sellers across the month.

The drop in demand comes despite the fact that, priced in euros, gold bullion has averaged its highest monthly price rise since September. This is thanks largely to a spike in geopolitical risk, with April’s US-Russia stand off in Syria, plus the first round of the French presidential elections.

“Price beats politics in the physical market and private investors chose overall to take profit on gold bullion in April,” says Adrian Ash, head of research at BullionVault.

“They liquidated almost a quarter-tonne on BullionVault as prices spiked mid-month. Net demand then came back as prices retreat after the first-round of France’s presidential election. Amid the volatility in prices, the underlying trend remains positive.”