Investors flocked to gold in record numbers in 2023 as global economic turbulence triggered a flight to safety, according to the Royal Mint.
The number of people buying gold and precious metal bars and coins jumped by 7pc year-on-year, surpassing the highs of the 2020 lockdown investing boom.
The British coin maker said this was due to a jump in small-scale retail investors buying “safe haven” assets.
At the same time, The Royal Mint’s total payouts to customers selling back their bullion surged by nearly half after gold prices hit an all-time high last year.
Stuart O’Reilly, an analyst at The Royal Mint, said gold prices could soar to new record levels this year ahead of central bank interest rate cuts, which will reduce the appeal of investments such as bonds, or savings accounts.
Mr O’Reilly said: “The potential for central bank rate cuts in 2024 is boosting the gold and precious metals market, as the prospect of lower rates boosts demand for non-yielding assets.”
Expectations of rate cuts from the Federal Reserve in 2024, alongside the weakening of the US dollar, “could turbocharge gold beyond recent market highs”, Mr O’Reilly said.
A record number of elections around the world in 2024 is likely to bring further geopolitical turbulence, he added.
Geopolitical and economic uncertainty, alongside central bank gold buying, was key in pushing up precious metal prices last year, Mr O’Reilly said.