Trump victory spurs physical gold buying in Europe

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - Spot gold prices surged nearly 5 percent with Donald Trump’s surprise U.S. presidential election win spurring purchases of physical gold

Gold bars are seen at the Austrian Gold and Silver Separating Plant 'Oegussa' in Vienna, Austria, March 18, 2016. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

The flurry of buying on physical markets mostly took place in Europe, after Trump’s victory was declared, when the price of spot gold surged by nearly 5 percent to a six-week high of $1,337.40 an ounce.

Gold gave up gains during U.S. trading and turned slightly negative, as the dollar moved higher and Wall Street stocks rose sharply. [MKTS/GLOB]

“Overnight, there has been a tremendous increase in our sales,” said Oliver Heuschuch, head of trading for Degussa’s gold business, one of the biggest German physical dealers. “It’s nearly treble the size of regular business.”

Ahead of the election, analysts widely expected that a Trump victory would cause gold prices to rally as investors sought refuge in perceived safe-haven assets such as gold.

Demand for physical gold and silver in the United States rose in the weeks prior to the vote, but in contrast to Europe there was little sign of buying in the United States on Wednesday.

“Today’s figures are already some of the best on record, even surpassing our performance following the Brexit vote,” said Chris Howard, director of bullion at the United Kingdom’s Royal Mint, about Signature Gold sales that involve customers buying gold that is stored at the mint.

The Pure Gold Company in London said its sales spiked 42 percent early on Wednesday versus the prior day.

“People are concerned about what the result will mean for international politics,” said Josh Saul, chief executive of the Pure Gold Company.

Chinese investors piled into physically backed gold exchange-traded funds, with volume in the HuaAn ETF as high as 1.5 billion yuan ($221.55 million), fund manager Richard Xu said.

“We expect demand for physical gold to go up as people will be going for safe haven buying,” said Ronald Leung, chief dealer at Lee Cheong Gold Dealers in Hong Kong.

“If the renminbi continues to depreciate, of course demand for gold will be there.”

Most of the U.S. coin dealers contacted by Reuters said that, even as bullion prices fell, they had not yet seen much buying interest.

After a quiet start to the morning at New York-based Manfra, Tordella & Brookes, the lower gold price started to attract buying.

“The price drop turned the day around and it has been very busy,” said Roy Friedman, president of Manfra, Tordella & Brookes.

Sales were quiet at the U.S. Mint, which sells only to authorized purchasers, with just three placing orders for bullion gold and silver coins by early afternoon, a spokesman said.

Additional reporting by Jan Harvey in London, Sethuraman N R in Bengaluru, and Manolo Serapio Jr. in Manila; Editing by Simon Webb and Lisa Shumaker