Japanese investors are buying gold to store in Switzerland because of negative interest rates and fears the yen might depreciate as the government grapples with the heaviest public debt burden in the developed world, according to BullionVault Ltd, an online trading and storage company.
The number of buyers jumped 62 percent in the first six months from the second half of last year, said Atsuko Sato Whitehouse, head of Japanese markets at the London-based investment service. She did not provide details.
The Bank of Japan has embarked on unprecedented bond buying to bolster the economy, prompting speculation the yen could plunge if stimulus efforts fail.
“Many of our Japanese customers think it’s too risky to hold gold at home and they want to keep them in Switzerland because they are anxious about the future of Japan,” Whitehouse said in an interview.
The country’s growth has stagnated for a decade, defying fiscal and monetary stimulus which has driven up public debt to more than double the value of annual economic output.
Global investors have piled into gold this year as market turbulence and low or negative interest rates increase the appeal of bullion. Prices soared about 30 percent to the highest in more than two years as assets in exchange-traded funds jumped 37 percent to more than 2,000 tonnes. The stampede increased after the UK voted to leave the EU on June 23.
Bullion is probably in the early stages of its next bull run, according to UBS Group AG.
Rather than weakening, the yen has climbed in the past year because investors see it as a haven along with government bonds, silver and gold.
That has meant the price of the metal in yen has dropped 2.5 percent over that time, even as bullion denominated in US dollars has strengthened 17 percent to US$1,357.54 an ounce.
The surging yen has not stopped some commentators from predicting a collapse.
Yukio Noguchi, a university professor and former Japanese Ministry of Finance official whose business books are best sellers, envisages a scenario in which a failure of the country’s economic stimulus could drive the yen to weaken beyond ￥300 per US$1. That compared with about ￥101 yesterday.
The Japanese investors attracted by BullionVault range from wealthy older businessmen who have experience working abroad and want to shelter their assets, to younger people and women seeking a haven because of increasing global economic and political risks, especially after the British vote to leave the EU, Whitehouse said.
BullionVault sees similarities between the behavior of Japanese investors and their overseas peers, Whitehouse said.
Most of its US customers keep bullion abroad because they fret about the risk of confiscation, which happened during the Great Depression in the 1930s. Half of its British clients store their gold overseas, she said.
The company said on its Web site that it is the largest online investment gold service in the world.
‘OUT IN FRONT’: The new investment is part of MediaTek’s bid to expand revenue by 15 percent over the next three years from an estimated US$17 billion this year MediaTek Inc (聯發科) is to continue investing in the development of low-power technologies to maintain its leading position in the industry over the next 10 years, the Hsinchu-based chip designer said yesterday. This year, it would allocate US$3.3 billion to the research and development of technologies related to high-performance computing, low power and advanced chip packaging, MediaTek said. The investment is part of the chip designer’s efforts to enhance its technological capabilities and boost revenue. MediaTek aims to expand revenue by about 15 percent over the next three years from an estimated US$17 billion this year. “We are definitely out in front of
PharmaEssentia Corp (藥華醫藥) shares have jumped 80.56 percent since the company obtained a US polycythemia vera (PV) drug license for its new interferon drug Besremi (ropeginterferon alfa-2b-njft) on Nov. 12. Shares on Friday closed at NT$195 in Taipei trading, up from the stock’s closing price of NT$108 on Nov. 12. PV is a rare, chronic and life-threatening blood cancer linked to a stem cell mutation in the bone marrow that results in an overproduction of blood cells and places sufferers at risk of having a blood clot, stroke or heart attack. PharmaEssentia is preparing to make Besremi available in the US in the
The US$410 DeliSofter pot looks much like the rice cookers ubiquitous in Japanese households and it does prepare rice in 24 minutes. However, this invention of two Panasonic Corp engineers is designed to do more and help people with swallowing difficulties. The two women led the creation of a spin-off company, Gifmo Co, to sell the specialized steam cooker, which they say can turn fried chicken soft enough to be sliced with a potato chip. The machine works by first cutting into food with a series of blades and then subjecting it to extremely high pressure at a temperature of 120°C,
Industrial metals plunged and gold rallied as the emergence of a fast-spreading and highly mutated SARS-CoV-2 strain sparked a sell-off across financial markets. Base metals, including copper and aluminum, fell more than 3 percent in London as investors weighed the risk that the new variant identified in South Africa might spur fresh outbreaks and derail growth in the world’s leading industrial economies. Scientists say it carries a high number of mutations that could make it more effective at evading existing vaccines. The new strain creates fresh risks to the outlook for metals demand, imperiling a recent rebound in prices driven by chronic