After staying up all night in London to watch the EU referendum results, and mourning the outcome, Lauro Franzese decided to make some money.
“I thought I might as well get something out of it,” the 61-year-old army veteran said as he walked the streets of the city’s Hatton Gardens jewelry district. “So I sold gold today — at about 30 percent profit.”
Franzese, who unloaded a ring he had owned for a decade, as well as several coins, took advantage of the biggest-ever one-day gain for gold that is denominated in pounds. As the British currency sank to the lowest level in three decades, gold rose a record 14 percent to ￡966.14 (US$1,322).
In a shop next to the Savoy Hotel, dealers said they had never seen anything like it. Some Londoners were rushing to sell, many more to buy.
“Anybody who’s got a spare pound to put into gold is doing it,” said Michael Cooper, commercial director of ATS Bullion Ltd. “We’re doing 10 times the business we normally do.”
In the fallout from Britain’s decision to leave the EU, the unexpected resignation of the prime minister and uncertainty over the nation’s economic future, investors looked for safety and found it in gold — a precious metal long prized as a universal store of value immune to the whims of political leaders.
The Royal Mint, which makes circulation and collector coins, and specialist online brokers reported surges in new customers. The Mint saw a “significant spike” in buying, with account openings up 200 percent since Thursday.
“We’re going to be inundated,” said Cooper of ATS, which traces its history to the 1600s. “We’re buying pretty much everything we can from the refiners. They’re not going to get enough in to fill all the orders.”
In London’s spot gold market, the biggest in the world, prices jumped as much as 8.1 percent, the most since the height of the global financial crisis in 2008. The metal later pared gains, trading near a two-year high of US$1,316 an ounce.
CoinInvest.com said a record number of UK visitors flooded the Web site at about 5:30am on Friday.
Gold Britannia coins, which bear the image of the armed Roman goddess, and Sovereigns were the best sellers, said Daniel Marburger, a director at the Frankfurt-based retailer.
BullionVault, an online trading and vaulting service, saw its busiest day ever. Customers exchanged ￡25.8 million in metal by 2pm on Friday, more than two weeks worth of average trading last year, according to a statement from Adrian Ash, head of research at the London-based firm.
Some people, like Franzese, took advantage of the jump in prices. Baird & Co, a precious metals dealer in London, transferred staff from other parts of the company to answer phones and meet demand.
“People in Britain who bought in January are now seeing prices ￡200 above where they bought,” said Tony Dobra, an executive director at the firm. “They’re cashing in.”
No such luck for Ruth Smith, a 48-year-old financial services professional.
“The size of my diamond engagement ring has got smaller now thanks to Brexit” and the pound’s sharp decline in value, she said. “I had been waiting for two months to cash in on my investments and replace my current fake ring that cost ￡4 with a proper three-carat ring after the vote — but now all our plans have gone down the drain with the [US] dollar-price effect.”
‘FINGERPRINTING’: The ‘private relay’ feature hides a user’s IP address by rerouting the Web connection through a third party, making it impossible to infer their identity Apple Inc on Monday said a new “private relay” feature designed to obscure a user’s Web browsing behavior from Internet service providers and advertisers would not be available in China for regulatory reasons. The feature was one of a number of privacy protections Apple announced at its annual software developer conference on Monday, the latest in a years-long effort by the company to cut down on the tracking of its users by advertisers and other third parties. Apple’s decision to withhold the feature in China is the latest in a string of compromises the company has made on privacy in a country
PLEDGE: The contract chipmaker said it would issue at least NT$2.5 a share each quarter and no less than NT$10 per share for the whole of this year Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC, 台積電), the world’s biggest contract chipmaker, yesterday raised its proposed cash dividend for last quarter to NT$2.75 per share from NT$2.5 a year earlier, given the company’s increased earnings. That represents a payout ratio of about 51 percent based on its earnings per share of NT$5.39 in the first three months of this year. TSMC said that its board of directors approved the cash dividend distribution yesterday. The Hsinchu-based chipmaker reassured its investors that it intends to maintain a stable and sustainable dividend policy. The company said that it would issue at least NT$2.5 a share
TIMELY RAIN: Before the arrival of the seasonal plum rains late last month, the nation had gone almost a year without significant rainfall in catchment areas Timely plum rains have significantly alleviated a historic water shortage in Taiwan, allowing water restriction measures to be lifted in some areas, while the hardest-hit areas remain on alert, the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MOEA) said yesterday. “Thanks to Tropical Storm Choi-Wan, the sustained plum rains and continued water resource management efforts, the water situation in Taiwan has been greatly alleviated,” Minister of Economic Affairs Wang Mei-hua (王美華) told an online news conference. More than 100mm of rain has fallen in the catchment areas of the reservoirs in Miaoli and Taichung counties over the past few days, Water Resources Agency data
Apple Inc has hired Ulrich Kranz, a former senior executive at BMW AG’s electric vehicle (EV) division, to help lead its own vehicle efforts, people familiar with the situation said. The tech giant hired Kranz in recent weeks, about a month after he stepped down as CEO of Canoo Inc, a developer of self-driving EVs. Before cofounding Canoo, Kranz was senior vice president of the group that developed the i3 and i8 cars at BMW, where he worked for 30 years. Kranz is one of Apple’s most significant automotive hires, a clear sign that the iPhone maker is determined to build a