Gold and silver coin, bar dealers scramble to meet demand as supply tightens – by Paul Waldie (Globe and Mail – March 26, 2020)

Toilet paper, rice and pasta aren’t the only commodities in high demand these days. Sales of gold bars and coins have been soaring since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus and dealers are struggling to keep up with demand.

While orders pour in, the supply has tightened considerably because of government lockdowns, grounded airlines and decisions by several bar and coin producers to close down for safety reasons.

“I’ve been in this business for 45 years and I’ve never seen this demand,” said Moniruz Zaman, chief executive of Toronto-based Asia Pacific Group Ltd., which operates Bullion Mart, an online retailer of gold and silver coins and bars. “Most people are buying because of the panic over the economic situation.”

In addition to regular clients, Mr. Zaman said he’s been getting calls from homemakers, farmers and students. He added that premiums charged by some suppliers have more than tripled lately.

Investors have been clamouring for precious metals as stock markets roil around the world. The price of gold jumped above US$1,630 an ounce this week in New York and saw its biggest one-day gain in more than a decade on Tuesday. Silver has been trading at near US$14.40 an ounce and also shot up nearly 7 per cent on Tuesday.

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