Belfast Telegraph

Crisis in Greece sees gold rush for Northern Ireland investors

Greek PM Alexis Tsipra
Greek PM Alexis Tsipra

By John Mulgrew

Northern Ireland investors are turning to buying gold and silver amid chaos in the Greek economy with one dealer witnessing a "doubling" of sales in recent days.

Greece is now teetering on the brink of financial collapse as the nation's banks and stock exchange are closed, after crucial routes to financial support hit a dead end.

And, according to Jon Barker of Gold Coins NI, business has witnessed a spike as markets plummet amid uncertainty over Greece's financial future.

"People have genuine fears about keeping money in the banking system and gold offers a time tested alternative," he said.

European Central Bank (ECB) emergency finance lines were kept open but further credit was refused just a day after bailout extension pleas were rejected by the eurozone.

Many savers found cashpoints empty as they flocked to withdraw money in the hours after the announcement of a snap referendum on austerity proposals put forward by creditors.

Now, Mr Barker has said "people are buying right across the board".

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"I was selling gold at 1am in the morning, and a guy in the Republic wanted to buy £2,000," he said.

"In the last couple of weeks we've probably doubled what we would have had in the Northern Ireland market.

"There has been a notable increase, especially in gold sovereign coins.

"There is a trend, silver buyers tend to be younger, while gold buyers are a bit older - in their forties or fifties, who have genuine concerns.

"History is littered with currency failures. When that happens, it can be very quick and that's the concern. They all start running at the same time."

Gold at close yesterday was $1178.56 to $1178.76 an ounce. That was up 5.5 points, and one of the few markets which witnessed a boost.

And he said there is "no question" sales of gold will continue to skyrocket as Greece's financial future remains uncertain.

"There is no question. I'd be astonished if it didn't," he said.

"Generally anything in gold would be between £500 to £5000, and we've had a couple of bigger ones.

"Gold has stood the test of time, and currency all dies eventually."

The moves by the Greek authorities came after the European Central Bank decided not to extend emergency funding.

And yesterday, the president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, accused the Greek government of "egotism and tactical and populist games" as attempts to find a solution to the euro crisis continued to falter.

Appealing to the Greek people to defy the stance of their government - which he accused of failing to "tell the truth" about the package, Mr Juncker told a press conference: "I say to the Greek people - who I like deeply - one shouldn't commit suicide for fear of dying."

And Greece's Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras blindsided creditors by calling a referendum on the austerity cuts in the aid package proposed by the creditors.

Belfast Telegraph