* Sentiment index up for 1st time in 3 months-BullionVault
* Private investors waited for price drop to buy gold
* Bullion trading volume rises to highest since Dec 2011
By Frank Tang
NEW YORK, May 7 Physical gold buying among
private investors surged in April as they took advantage of
bargain prices after bullion's historic sell-off, a survey by
BullionVault showed on Tuesday.
BullionVault is an online physical gold and silver market
for more than 47,000 self-directed individual investors, it
The company said its Gold Investor Index rose to 58.6 in
April, its highest level in 16 months. In March, the gauge fell
for a third consecutive month to 53.3.
A number above 50 indicates more buyers than sellers. While
net buying by the firm's mostly buy-and-hold type customers is
seen as bullish, net selling might suggest individual retail
investors are exiting the gold trade.
"The difference between the fast money of speculators and
self-directed investors couldn't be any more obvious," said
Miguel Perez-Santalla, vice president of BullionVault.
"It is apparent that the private investor was waiting for
the right opportunity to get in," he said.
Gold's historic sell-off last month has intensified a
disconnect between funds that sold on dissatisfaction over
bullion's underperformance and individual investors who could
not get enough physical gold coins and bars at bargain prices.
BullionVault said its April gold trading volume, measured by
weight, rose to its highest level since December 2011. In dollar
terms, volume rose 57 percent in April versus March.
The price of bullion fell $225 per ounce between April 12
and 16 after the European Central Bank and the International
Monetary Fund asked Cyprus to sell reserves as part of a bailout
deal and some feared the Fed might withdraw its stimulus.
Since then, strong physical demand around the world has
boosted gold prices and cut that drop by more than half.
Spot gold traded nearly flat at around $1,468 an
ounce on Monday, nearly $150 above a two-year low of $1,321.35
an ounce on April 16.
(Reporting by Frank Tang; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)