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Gold and silver investments jump as people hunt for better returns – Royal Mint

More investors are pouring money into gold and silver as people opt for “safe haven” investments to boost their savings amid the cost-of-living crisis, the Royal Mint has said.

The company said investors could be turning to precious metals as an alternative to high-street savings rates and disappointing returns on stocks and shares investments.

It reported a 17% increase in first-time precious metal investors during the first half of 2023 compared to last year.

The volume of investments in gold jumped by a 10th and investments in silver rose by 16% year-on-year over the same period, it revealed.

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The Royal Mint, which is the official maker of British coins in the UK, said that the uplift was distributed across all age groups, indicating that the commodities have mainstream investment appeal.

“As high street savings rates and returns on the stock market remain low the pendulum has swung towards investments with the potential to offer better returns,” said Andrew Dickey, the Royal Mint’s director of precious metals.

“At the Royal Mint, we’ve seen an uplift in gold and silver investments in the first half of the year as investors turn to alternative investments as a means to diversify their portfolio, beat inflation, and generate wealth in the long-term.”

Mr Dickey added that more are investing in gold and precious metals to benefit from the investment’s “safe haven” status.

Over 2022, the volume of gold investments soared by more than a quarter compared to the previous year, the Royal Mint said.

The price of gold has risen by nearly 65% over the past five years.

It comes as households have seen their savings eroded by higher inflation, with living costs like food, petrol and electricity climbing over recent years.

ECONOMY Inflation
(PA Graphics)

Some 58% of UK investors said they currently hold at least one alternative investment in their portfolio, according to a separate survey of more than 2,000 investors undertaken by the Royal Mint.

Alternative investments can include any financial asset that does not fall into traditional stocks, shares and bonds categories, such as precious metals, real estate, and cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.

About 63% of those surveyed who hold alternative investments said they were motivated to invest whilst UK inflation was outstripping high-street bank savings rates.

Nevertheless, competition to attract current account holders has heated up in recent months with some of the UK’s biggest banks introducing more competitive interest rates and offers for customers switching from another bank.

Last week, building society Nationwide launched a linked savings account paying 8% interest – above the UK’s 6.7% Consumer Prices Index (CPI) inflation rate recorded in August.

Meanwhile, NatWest reported that the number of fixed-term accounts opened in the first half of 2023 was around 17 times the total it recorded in the same period in 2019 amid growing appetite for saving.