As Covid-19 disrupts the global economy, people are snapping up small gold bars and coins, confirming once again the yellow metal’s safe haven reputation during times of uncertainty. The price of gold hit a seven-year high of more than $1,700 per troy ounce on March 9, as a result of the deepening economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
“People want to buy, not to sell, gold,” Mark O’Byrne, the founder of GoldCore, a dealer based in Dublin, told Bloomberg. “We have a buyers’ waiting list and we emailed our clients seeing who wished to sell their gold. At this time there are roughly only one or two sellers for every 99 buyers.”
According to Markus Krall, chief executive of German precious-metal retailer Degussa, premiums in the retail market “have exploded.” The average price of products in shops is somewhere between 10 percent and 15 percent over spot prices, Krall explained, adding that he’s never seen that before. Demand has also hit the highest level he has ever experienced.
United Overseas Bank (UOB) reported that this past week, the market has encountered a “massive short squeeze for physical gold” as the epidemic reduced air transport and shut down bullion trading centers and refineries.
“This pushed futures price for gold to a significant premium against spot price. The net result for this is also a wider bid-offer spread for gold amidst signs of limited liquidity,” said UOB’s Head of Markets Strategy Heng Koon.
He added that after a temporary drop below $1,500 an ounce, gold has rebounded and is ready for a major rally.
Spot gold was trading 0.3 percent lower on Thursday at $1,586.24 per ounce, after rising 1.2 percent on Wednesday. US gold futures rose 0.6 percent, to $1,600.20 per ounce.