Demand for gold rocketed in the first half of the year as investors sought sanctuary in the safe haven asset in the face of a “potent combination” of Brexit, the US election and negative interest rates.
Figures from the World Gold Council show that investment demand soared 127% in the six months to the end of June compared to the same period in 2015, the second highest half-year on record.
Appetite for the precious metal was 16% higher than during the financial crisis, and Alistair Hewitt, head of market intelligence at the World Gold Council, told the Press Association: “When a stress event hits, gold typically performs well and investors see its safe haven value.
“Negative interest rates are the primary concern for investors, and Brexit and the US election have also played their part in driving demand.”
Exchange traded funds were the main drivers of investment in gold over the half. The price of gold also continued to climb, rising 25%, its best first half performance since 1980.
The Gold Council’s latest report comes a week after the Bank of England cut interest rates for the first time in more than seven years, to 0.25% from 0.5%.
It said: “Investment was the largest component of gold demand for two consecutive quarters – the first time this has ever happened.
“Negative interest rate policies in Japan and Europe, combined with expectations of a slowdown in the cycle of US rate hikes, underpinned investors’ gold-positive sentiment.
“The US election, the UK referendum on EU membership and possible implications of the Brexit outcome, the increasingly parlous state of Italy’s banking sector; these have proved a potent combination as far as gold investors are concerned.”
The Council’s report showed that overall global gold demand in the second quarter was up 15% to 1,050.2 tonnes.
Mr Hewitt added that in Britain, a combination of ultra-low interest rates, poor returns on savings, the plunge in sterling and Brexit would continue to drive domestic demand.
“The current looser monetary policy phase will continue for many years to come, and the implications of Brexit will play out for a long time.
“There’s not much certainty about – and this will continue to support demand for gold.”
In June, the Royal Mint also said that demand for gold had rocketed, with transactions on the Mint’s trading platform soaring 32% in the month.