According to Bloomberg, the Islamic Republic’s bar and coin sales tripled to 15.2 tons in the second quarter, the highest in four years, the World Gold Council said Thursday. The country accounted for about three-quarters of Middle Eastern demand for bars and coins in the quarter, up from less than half of the region’s usage in 2017 and just 15 percent in 2016, according to the data.
Iran’s currency, the rial, slumped over the three months, prompting the rush. “Demand will stay strong for the rest of the year, around this level or higher,” said Cagdas Kucukemiroglu, an analyst at research firm Metals Focus. “Coins that were pre-sold by the central bank will continue to be delivered to the market,” though jewelry sales will remain subdued, he said.
“Demand for physical gold is very high and has been as the currency’s been weakening,” said Massoud Gholampour, an analyst at Novin Investment Bank in Tehran. “People want to invest in something that’s safe if they think that a crisis may be on the way.”
“Clearly with a lot of the aggressive rhetoric between the U.S. and Iran, a lot of investors in Iran are looking to protect their wealth through gold,” said Alistair Hewitt, the World Gold Council’s head of market intelligence.