British investors are rushing to buy gold as increasing uncertainty over the outcome of Brexit boosts market volatility, according to The Royal Mint.
“We have seen a significant increase in demand for gold this month and at the end of last year, a trend which we have no doubt is largely attributed to Brexit turmoil and subsequent market volatility,” Chris Howard, director of precious metals at The Royal Mint, said in a statement on Monday.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May is making a last-ditch attempt to win lawmakers over to her Brexit deal, as the European Union’s own efforts to help her fell short just a day before the UK Parliament vote. Sales of gold spiked the day after May announced in December that she was delaying the vote on the deal she negotiated with the EU, according to The Royal Mint, a state-owned business that’s been producing coins for more than 1,100 years.
Sales revenue so far in January surged 73 per cent from year-earlier period, the Royal Mint said, without giving actual figures. The gold coins and bars produced by the mint are purchased by individual, rather than institutional, investors.
“I fully anticipate further increases in gold demand over the coming months as investor uncertainty grows,” Howard said. “By increasing their exposure to gold and other precious metals, they have the opportunity to offset the risks of market volatility.”
The Royal Mint’s report contrasts with the findings of BullionVault, which last week reported that its gold investor index — reflecting the balance of buyers against sellers — fell in December to the lowest since August 2017. Selling increased as investors took profits after gold gained 5.1 per cent in December to reach a six-month high, the London-based brokerage said.
Sales in the Royal Mint’s bullion business slumped 28 per cent to £227 million (Dh1.07 billion, $292 million) in the year through March 2018.