ETF gold holdings surge

SPDR Gold Shares, an ETF that owns physical bullion rather than financial derivatives, has become one of the world’s biggest hoards of gold, surpassing even the holdings of some central banks.Investors have scrambled to buy the precious metal and pushed it to record highs. Gold’s price passed $2,000 as it is widely viewed as insurance against accelerating price rises.

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The size of the fund’s holdings — which are held in HSBC’s London vaults — has climbed to 1,258 tons. On Monday and Tuesday alone, it added another 15 tons, roughly five times as much as Michael Caine’s bank robbers lifted in The Italian Job, based on the $4m value of the gold taken in the 1969 film.

The ETF is a partnership between State Street, a big Boston bank, and the World Gold Council, a trade body for the industry. It has posted a 33% return this year, which helped lift its value to more than $80 billion.

The gold rally continued late on Tuesday as the metal’s price passed $2,000 a troy ounce for the first time ever. The size of the fund’s holdings are equal to a quarter of all the gold held at Fort Knox, more than the gold reserves of the Bank of Japan, the Bank of England or the Reserve Bank of India, and not far from China’s 1,948 tons of the precious metal, according to data from the WGC.

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