JP Morgan Reopens Vault on Storage Demand

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"Private investors hold more gold than CBs for first time in modern history."

Mineweb reported some time back that secure storage space for precious metals in some countries, notably Switzerland, was running out and now it appears that the largest U.S. bank by market capitalization, JP Morgan Chase, is having to reopen an old underground gold vault in New York it had closed some 20 years ago. This is very much indicative of the demand amongst individual investors and institutions for physical gold, which requires such storage facilities. The principal holders will be the gold ETFs (JP Morgan stores BlackRock's iShares Gold Trust among others), but individual holdings have also been soaring as trust in paper currencies continues to diminish.

According to a report in the Financial Times, both Deutsche Bank and Barclays Capital are considering building new secure storage vaults in London, while JP Morgan has recently built a new vault in the Far East in Singapore. With a trend towards shipping physical gold toward the locations of the holders, rather than trusting the big banks to hold what they say they are holding in financial centers like New York and London, the building of such secure vaults, particularly in the Far East, is becoming increasingly important to gold investors—and to the banks that can make serious money out of holding precious metals for customers.

As the Financial Times puts it: "The demand for storage comes as investors are buying physical gold rather than investing in precious metals futures or mining equities. Private investors hold about 30,000 tons of gold, according to the consultancy GFMS—more than a sixth of the world's gold and, for the first time in modern history, more than central banks."

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