Investors buy gold by the ton

It reads like the beginning of a supervillian plot to take over the world.

The world’s wealthiest people have responded to economic worries by buying bars of gold, sometimes by the ton, and moving assets out of the financial system, bankers catering to the very rich said on Monday.

Because the moon laser can only be powered by solid gold!

Seriously though, fears of a double-dip downturn had boosted the appetite for physical bullion as well as mining company shares and exchange-traded funds, UBS executive Josef Stadler told the Reuters Global Private Banking Summit.

“They don’t only buy ETFs or futures, they buy physical gold,” said Stadler, who runs the Swiss bank’s services for clients with assets of at least $50 million to invest.

UBS is recommending top-tier clients hold 7-10 percent of their assets in precious metals like gold, which is on course for its tenth consecutive yearly gain and traded at around $1,317 an ounce on Monday, near the record level reached last week.

In a sign of the uncertain times, some clients go further.

“We had a clear example of a couple buying over a ton of gold … and carrying it to another place,” Stadler said. At today’s prices, that shipment would be worth about $42 million.

Julius Baer’s chief investment officer for Asia is also recommending that wealthy investors park some of their assets in gold as a defensive stance following a string of lackluster U.S. data and amid concerns about currency weakness.

“I see gold as an insurance,” Van Anantha-Nageswaran said. “I recommend 10 percent as minimum in portfolios and anything more than that to be used for trading purposes, to respond to short-term over-bought or over-sold signals.”

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Posted on October 4, 2010, in Newspaper & Journal Articles and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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