By Henry Sanderson, Neil Hume and David Sheppard
As the UK voted to leave the EU, the only people celebrating more than Brexit politicians were a clutch of small brokerages that benefit when the world get’s a little more volatile: bullion dealers that offer gold coins and bars to retail investors.
From London’s Harrods department store in Knightsbridge, to online precious metals dealers, many reported record volumes and demand on Friday. Sharps Pixley, which has a store in Mayfair, said online sales had drained its stocks of larger bullion bars, leading it to call on emergency reserves in Germany.
The retail demand is an indication of the desire for a safe haven investment in the wake of a Brexit vote, which sent gold to a two-year high above $1,350 a troy ounce and sterling to its lowest level against the dollar in 30 years.
The UK’s Royal Mint says it has seen increased demand for precious metals, especially Sovereign and Britannia bullion coins and gold bars, since the start of the year. On Friday the number of visitors to its online platform rose 550 per cent compared with the day before.
But once the headlines sink in, analysts are questioning whether gold will be able to make further gains, having already risen by almost a quarter this year in dollar terms and by a third in sterling. For all the volatility a Brexit vote could trigger, gold faces its own headwinds.