(AP) Abu Dhabi's top hotel is upping the ante in the race for Gulf glitz: adding a gold-dispensing machine.There's a lot more to this FT article, about India, global demand etc. All the "analysis" provided by the journalist is wrong and upside down, showing a lack of understanding of economics and supply and demand curves and markets, but for contrarians, it's worth reading as it confirms the top is not far away.
The ATM-style kiosk in the Emirates Palace monitors the daily gold price and offers small bars up to 10 grams or coins with customized designs.
It's the idea of a German entrepreneur, Thomas Geissler, who began testing the cash-for-gold machines in his native country in 2009. The Abu Dhabi debut on Wednesday is billed as the first international foray for Geissler's "Gold to Go" brand.
Geissler says he picked Abu Dhabi because of its high-rolling atmosphere and the region's traditional ties to gold in commerce.
The unveiling was timed well. Gold hit a record high Wednesday of more than $1,245 an ounce.
(FT) Germans lead gold rush frenzy
At the Rand refinery in South Africa, the phone has not stopped ringing this week.
Panicking German dealers and banks have been desperate to get their hands on krugerrands, the world's most popular gold coin.
"We have some extraordinary sales to German customers," says Deborah Thomson, the Rand treasurer. The refinery, which usually sells 2,000 coins to each customer at a time, says that last week it received an order from one German bank for 30,000 coins. Another bank requested 15,000 coins.
Frank Ziegler, head of precious metals at BayernLB, one of Germany's largest wholesale suppliers of gold, says: "People are buying krugerrands like crazy."
Although coins account for a small part of the market, they are one of the best indicators of investor sentiment towards the precious metal. And right now gold is in massive demand from investors who see it as the ultimate safe haven at a time of market turmoil and as one of the best hedges against a possible resurgence of inflation.
Other important factors are supporting prices: institutional investors are pouring billions into bullion-backed exchange traded funds; central banks have reversed 20 years of selling gold (and some, including the Chinese central bank, are buying it); and mine gold supply growth has stagnated.
But there is no indication that Germans are ready to stop buying. Panicked by the possible inflationary implications of this week's €750bn eurozone bail-out, they have been snapping up gold coins and small bars at a faster rate than in the aftermath of the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy.