Sales of mini gold bars in South Korea have surged last week as investors have flocked to safe heaven assets amid escalating military tensions on the Korean peninsula following the exchange of heightened threats and combative rhetoric between the United States and North Korea.
According to Korea Gold Exchange on Sunday, mini gold bars weighing 100 grams have been sold about 250 units a day since 9 August, five times higher than average daily sales before the geopolitical tensions rose. Daily sales of 10-gram mini gold bar also jumped to about 100 units from 20 units.
Mini gold bars are one of preferred assets by investors in time of heightened risk of war or other military actions as they are light enough to carry around and cheaper than 1-kilogram gold bar worth 54 million won ($47,480) that is usually more sought after during ordinary days. At Korea Gold Exchange, 10-gram mini gold bar is traded at around 550,000 won apiece and 100-gram mini gold bar at around 5.4 million won.
Amid the keener risk aversion, foreign investors frantically dumped Korean shares last week, leading the Korean composite stock price index to lose more than 3 percent throughout last week. On Friday alone, offshore investors net sold 648.9 billion won ($569.3 million) worth Korean stocks. The dollar-won exchange rate also turned volatile with the won ending at 1,143.5 won on Friday after falling 1.6 percent over the previous four days.
By Chung Ji-sung
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