Rand Refinery Ltd., the world’s largest gold-smelting facility, raised production of Krugerrand coins to a 25-year high as Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis boosted investor demand for bullion.
Output last week jumped 50 percent to 30,000 ounces of blank coins for minting by SA Mint, Debra Thomson, Rand Refinery’s treasurer, said by telephone from Johannesburg today. That was the highest weekly production since 1985, she said.
Gold has climbed to an all-time high in dollars this year and also reached records in euros, British pounds and Swiss francs as investors sought an alternative to currencies and equities as a store of value. The euro has slumped 14 percent against the dollar in 2010 on concern that Greece’s fiscal crisis might spread to other European economies. “We’re seeing higher demand for gold because of the sovereign-debt crisis in Europe and the depreciation of the euro,” said Thomson. “People are looking for gold as a safe haven.” Customer demand was strong enough to constitute “panic buying,” Muenze Oesterreich AG, the Austrian mint that makes the best-selling gold coin in Europe and Japan, said on May 12. Bullion is heading for a 10th annual climb in a row.