Flood of Gold Enters New York to Meet Demand

A massive wave of gold bar imports is entering precious metals vaults in the New York City region to meet heavy demand amid coronavirus worries.

“The flows into New York are unprecedented,” said Allan Finn, global commodities director at the logistics and vaulting firm Malca-Amit.

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About 550 tons of gold, worth $30 billion, have been added to COMEX-designated warehouses since late March, the largest inflow in history. As of June 1, COMEX depositories were bursting with 867 tons of gold.

The influx comes after a shortage of gold bars in March nearly caused the COMEX commodities exchange, home to precious metals futures trading, to be unable to meet contracts for gold delivery.

In March alone, U.S. gold imports amounted to a record $3 billion, according to U.S. Census Bureau data, much of it from Switzerland, even as Swiss gold refineries were shuttered that month due to a coronavirus lockdown.

The massive precious metals importation effort has taken place amid COVID-19 restrictions, including limited airline flights and social distancing, making it difficult to transport gold. It’s an unprecedented movement of gold, says Brink’s Ltd. Managing Director Mark Woolley. “The amount of metal that we’ve successfully moved into New York is pretty significant,” Woolley told a webinar hosted by the London Bullion Market Association. “It’s probably not far off the total amount of metal that’s been mined in this period.”

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