Negative interest rates, financial turmoil and a weaker dollar are drawing investors back into gold. Can the yellow metal's return to favour last? Joel Flynn reports.
A James Bond nemesis once said he was in love with its colour - and who can blame him? For most of man's history he has obsessed over gold. But now more than ever could be a good time to buy. This is Sharps Pixley - the first high street shop in the UK to sell gold bars. And here bullion business is booming, all thanks to bad news for the rest of us - says owner Ross Norman. SOUNDBITE: Sharps Pixley owner and gold expert, Ross Norman, saying (English): "The market has turned very dramatically in the course of this year - gold is up 15 percent on a year to date basis already, and our parent company, in Germany, who is the largest in continental Europe for selling coins and bars has seen a 35 percent rise in physical business, and I think that reflect ongoing uncertainty, particularly in the euro zone, geopolitical tension in the Middle East and fragility in the banking system." Gold has long been seen as a so-called "safe haven" for investors. Because its value is inherent in its rarity, when riskier assets look like they might lose money, people tend to buy into the gilded metal. Prices are currently at 12 month highs and that's expected to rise. Worries about the global economic environment mean people are piling into gold - which could be set to continue for some time. It's not just investors either that have been buying gold. Central banks have been diversifying their reserves away from the U.S. dollar, and the last few years have seen purchasing the metal at record levels. Of course when it comes to consumers they're usually measuring their buys in grammes, not tonnes. But even for them, gold's allure looks to be shining more brightly than ever.