Northern Irish Investors Buying Gold Amidst Fears of Brexit-Induced Crisis
Northern Irish investors are buying gold and lots of it as a safe-haven in the midst of Brexit uncertainty.
Merrion Vaults, a leading Irish supplier of gold and precious metals storage services, said the number of clients from Northern Ireland purchasing and storing gold in the Republic of Ireland has increased by 70% this year.
Seamus Fahy cofounded the Merrion Vaults. He said fears of an economic collapse and rapid depreciation of the sterling in the midst of Brexit has driven the sharp increase in gold investment.
In the five years our vault has been selling and storing gold, we have never seen such a demand as this current rush.”
Fahy said he’s seen a wide range of new clients spanning a broad cross-section of society, from wealthy businesspeople, to middle-class investors, to small businesses, to pension managers, to big corporations.
They believe that, until there is stability in the UK economy, investing in gold is the safest option.”
Fahy said Merrion has also seen an increase in business in its vaults in Glasgow, Newcastle and Liverpool.
Gold has traditionally served as a safe-haven asset, shielding investors from the impacts of financial crises, particularly currency depreciation.
Northern Irish gold investment is part of a larger trend in the UK since the Brexit vote in 2016. There was a major rush into the yellow metal in the UK leading up to and after the Brexit referendum. One gold company CEO reported some people converted as much as 40 to 50% of their net worth into physical gold in the weeks after the UK voted to leave the EU. But the British appetite for gold didn’t wane along with excitement after the vote. In fact, gold sales picked up in the early months of 2018. Sharps Pixley reported a whopping 253% year-on-year increase in physical gold sales in March. Showroom sales that month came in at over $12.7 million compared to $3.6 million during the same period in 2017.
Europeans, in general, have been jittery about Brexit and that has driven safe haven investing in the EU. While gold has flowed out of ETFs based in North America, European funds have seen net inflows of the yellow metal this year.
The Bank of England recently announced a “no-deal” Brexit could precipitate an economic crisis in the UK. It said a disorderly exit next March risks a bigger hit to the UK economy than the global financial crisis a decade ago. But Fahy said the demand for gold shot up well-before the bank’s gloomy warning.
Investors in Europe are also concerned about the debate over Italy’s budget and that country’s refusal to submit to EU. Brussels has rejected the proposed Italian budget because it will not lower Italy’s large public debt as required under EU rules. The EU insists Rome must revise the budget or face a disciplinary procedure that could eventually lead to fines.
While the price of gold in dollars has been rangebound, the price of the yellow metal in sterling has risen 6% over the past six months.
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