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Perth Mint's holdings for investors reach record A$5 billion

Section: Daily Dispatches

Investors Take A$5 billion Shine to Solid Gold Bars

By Brad Thompson
Australian Financial Review, Sydney
Tuesday, March 10, 2020

The Perth Mint is holding a record A$5 billion in precious metals for investors from around the world looking for a safe haven amid sharemarket turmoil.

Although the gold price has slipped back after breaking through $US1,700 an ounce -- and reaching an Australian dollar record of $2,695 an ounce -- on Monday, the mint expects the coronavirus outbreak and geopolitical tensions to keep it at high levels well into the future.

... Dispatch continues below ...


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Price aside, the volume of gold, silver, and platinum the mint has stored for clients has increased by about 20 percent in the past eight months in a sign that investors were spooked even before the virus took hold.

The mint is now holding almost 50 tonnes of fine gold and 1,020 tonnes of fine silver in its vaults on behalf of clients.

Perth Mint chief executive Richard Hayes said the gold price had come off Monday's peaks on the back of profit taking and investors liquidating their positions to cover margin calls on other commodities.

Mr. Hayes said the price movement was reflected in gold mining stocks surging and then losing ground from late on Monday and into Tuesday.

"The markets are highly volatile, so investors are looking to gold as a safe haven asset to protect their wealth," he said.

"We are not in the business of predicting the gold price but what I can say is that the circumstances that we are seeing globally at the moment -- not only with Covid-19 but a range of other issues and geopolitical factors that have been knocked off the front page completely but are still there -- are supportive and positive for the gold price."

Mr. Hayes said North Korea's latest missile launch, the unresolved trade war tensions between China and the United States, and the huge number of refugees trying to enter Europe from Turkey were issues that would compound the virus outbreak.

"Certainly in Europe, and Germany especially, there is always a flight to safe-haven assets, mostly precious metals, in times of perceived turmoil and we are probably going into another one of those at the moment," he said.

The Perth Mint has the biggest network of central bank-grade vaults in the southern hemisphere to hold precious metals.

It has the physical capacity to hold substantially more gold on behalf of clients within the limits of its insurance coverage.

The mint refines about 350 tonnes of gold and about 600 tonnes of silver a year and exports to more than 300 countries.

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