Gold and silver demand hit a four-year high in August as Brexit uncertainty took its toll

Emma Haslett
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Olympic sprinter Usain Bolt biting gold medal
It wasn't just Usain Bolt going for gold in August... (Source: Getty)

Don't buy gold: it turns out everyone else is already all over it, after new figures suggested demand for the yellow metal has reached a four-year high in the aftermath of the Brexit vote.

Figures published by BullionVault today suggested demand for gold from private investors in August was at its strongest since December 2012.

Read more: Can silver prices keep rising?

The company said net purchases of 470kg to its clients' gold holdings to 35.7 tonnes. That amount of gold is worth $1.5bn (£1.1bn), worth more than most of the world's central banks hold.

But August's average monthly price only rose 0.3 per cent in dollar terms, it added - the slowest gain since April. That means while the number of private investors starting or slowing their holding fell six per cent month-on-month, the number of people reducing or selling their entire stash fell just under 50 per cent. Hence the rise in demand.

Meanwhile, silver bullion was equally in demand: although the number of people buying silver fell six per cent, those keen to sell fel 47 per cent.

"Last time net gold investing demand was this strong, prices were retreating hard from the late 2012 rally," enthused Adrian Ash, head of research at BullionVault.

"August 2016 in contrast marked the fourth time running that average monthly gold prices rose against the dollar, a pattern not seen since the metal peaked with the global financial crisis in summer 2011."

It's not just the Brexit vote pushing up gold prices...

Last month the Royal Mint said its bullion trading site had experienced a 250 per cent increase in visitor numbers in the aftermath of the Bank of England's interest rate cut.

“Comparisons of week commencing 1 August with the previous week reveal a 25 per cent increase in transactions, leading to an overall revenue increase of nearly 50 per cent for the Royal Mint’s bullion trading division," said Chris Howard, the Royal Mint's director of bullion.

Lucky Michael Phelps...

Podcast: Is now the time to buy gold?

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