Amid a world of negative interest rates and slow growth, investors have stepped up demand for gold in record-breaking fashion.
Gold demand surged 21 percent in the first quarter of 2016, which is the fastest pace on record, according to a World Gold Council report released Thursday, which said the rise came even as central bank buying dipped and demand for jewelry slowed as well.
Even though inflation — considered a cornerstone to gold's popularity — remained in check throughout much of the developed world, global uncertainty fueled investor desire for the yellow metal. The price of gold is up more than 20 percent year to date and rose nearly 16 percent in the first quarter alone. It was the strongest price performance in nearly three decades.
Council officials attributed the rise to three principal factors: negative interest rates instituted by central banks in Japan and Europe (and talk that the Fed also was discussing negative rates); Chinese currency devaluation; and the likelihood that the the trajectory of interest rate hikes in the U.S. will be slower than initially expected.