Shipments of gold from Switzerland to the United States soared last month to their highest seen since May 2020, according to Swiss customs data.

This came at a time when investors were spooked by the Russian invasion of Ukraine and concerns rose over a possible global economic slowdown, and they therefore stocked up on gold bullion.

In addition, exports to Britain from Switzerland – which like the United States is a gold investment and trading centre – also increased in March, whilst gold shipments to the largest consumer markets of China and India declined steeply.

Switzerland is the largest refining and transit centre for gold in the world, Reuters news agency reports, an asset usually viewed as a safe place to store wealth during economic and political turmoil.

In addition, last month exchange traded funds (ETFs) storing gold for investors added 185 tonnes to their stockpile, worth approximately $15 billion. This is the highest since July 2020, according to statistics from the World Gold Council.

As such, robust investor demand drove up gold prices during the first two months of the year. Whereas elevated prices can often deter retail consumers in Asia.

Indeed, exports from Switzerland to mainland China and Hong Kong dropped last month to their lowest in 12 months, whilst shipments to India were at their lowest since May last year. Whereas exports to Britain were at their highest level since June 2021, the Reuters report goes on to say.

On Tuesday, gold was trading around $1,900 an ounce.

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