BullionVault’s Gauge of Client Buying Climbs to 12-Month High

BullionVault, an online service for investors to buy and sell physical gold and silver, said its Gold Investor Index climbed to a 12-month high in December.

The gauge rose to 58.3 from 56.5 in November, climbing for a fifth consecutive month, the London-based company said today in an e-mailed report. A reading above 50 means more buyers than sellers. Gold slipped 2.3 percent last month, cutting its annual increase to 7.1 percent, and traded at $1,648.82 an ounce by 8 a.m. in London.

Prices gained for a 12th straight year in 2012, the longest winning streak in at least nine decades, as central banks from the U.S. to China pledged more steps to boost economic growth. Still, last year’s rally was the smallest in four years and the metal slid about 7.9 percent in the past three months. Holdings in gold-backed exchange-traded products are about 0.4 percent below the Dec. 20 record, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

“What we’re seeing on BullionVault is that people are increasingly concerned about high debt levels and loose central bank policy,” Ben Traynor, an economist at BullionVault, said in the report. “These trends could lead to higher inflation down the road. People are buying gold to hedge that risk.”

BullionVault’s customers own more than 1 million ounces of gold, it said. The metal is stored in vaults in London, Zurich and New York, according to its website. About 90 percent of the company’s users live in the U.S., the U.K. or euro area, it said.

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