It’s an honest-to-God doomsday scenario and the ultimate doomsday-prepper market is a mess. As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, investors and bankers are encountering severe shortages of gold bars and coins. Dealers are sold out or closed for the duration.
Credit Suisse Group AG, which has minted its own bars since 1856, told clients this week not to bother asking. In London, bankers are chartering private jets and trying to finagle military cargo planes to get their bullion to New York exchanges.
It’s getting so bad that Wall Street bankers are asking Canada for help. The Royal Canadian Mint has been swamped with requests to ramp up production of gold bars that could be taken down to New York.
With staff reduced at the Royal Canadian Mint because of the virus, the government-owned company is only producing one variation of bullion bars, according to Amanda Bernier, a senior sales manager. She said the mint has received “unprecedented levels of demand,” largely from U.S. banks and brokers.
The price of gold futures rose about 9% to roughly $1,620 a troy ounce this week—that is 31.1034768 grams, per the U.K. Royal Mint—and neared a seven-year high. Only on a handful of occasions since 2000 have gold prices risen more in a single week, including immediately after Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy in September 2008.
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