Gold rush grips Asia despite near-record prices


Reuters :
Demand for gold in Asia is surging despite prices hovering near the record highs it hit in May, industry officials say, as buyers snap up the metal to hedge against geopolitical and economic uncertainty.
Spot gold is trading a little over $2,300 per ounce, up about 12 percent year-to-date and only about 6 percent shy of the record high it hit last month.
Lower confidence in other investment options, such as real estate and equities, is also a factor behind the demand for gold, analysts say.
“When the macro-economic backdrop returns to normal, when real estate and equities are more interesting, I think that price sensitivity will return,” Ruth Crowell, chief executive of the London Bullion Market Association, told Reuters.
In Japan, there are more gold bulls than bears despite record high prices, according to Bruce Ikemizu, chief director of the Japan Bullion Market Association.
Chinese investors grappling with currency devaluation, a protracted real estate downturn and trade tensions are also finding value in gold, experts said. China’s purchases of gold coins and bars surged 27 percent in the first quarter of this year.