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Gold trading dazzles as stock market loses sheen

(Korea Exchange)
(Korea Exchange)

In contrast with the slump in major global stock markets amid the continuing spread of the new coronavirus, gold trading in South Korea has posted stellar returns this year, local experts said Sunday.

According to data compiled by Daishin Securities, gold has recorded the highest investment earnings rate so far this year.

The price of a gold bar at the Korea Gold Exchange -- a private gold exchange here -- stood at 64,010 won ($53.80) per gram as of Friday, surging 13.21 percent from the end of last year. The wholesale price of pure gold per gram marked some 68,100 won on the same day, up 11.82 percent in the cited period.

The accumulative transactions of gold during the first two months of this year marked 27,243, up 192 percent on-year, according to the operator.

The outstanding performance of gold came as angst over the new coronavirus pushed investors out of the volatile stock market to safer assets.

From Dec. 31 to March 6, the benchmark Kospi crashed 7.16 percent to fall below the 2,050-point mark. Kodex 200 -- the country’s first domestic exchange-traded fund, plummeted 6.22 percent. The price-earnings ratio of local equity funds with net asset worth over 1 billion won also plunged, marking a 6.61 percent fall in the given period.

The US stock market also struggled with the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P slipping 9.37 percent and 8 percent, respectively, from the beginning of this year.

Market experts forecast that investors will likely prolong their strong appetite for low-risk assets, gold in particular, which will possibly lead to further price hikes.

“Facing the possibility of future developments on the global virus pandemic, (investors’) fears have proliferated in capital markets,” said Hwang Byung-jin, an analyst at NH Investment & Securities.

“As bond yields continue to remain low amid low interest rates, gold has stood out as a less risky asset.”

By Jie Ye-eun (yeeun@heraldcorp.com)
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