Even more striking, an overwhelming surge in the demand for gold has forced several Internet sites and gold vendors to temporarily shut down their sales operations.
“I’ve never seen anything like this. We’re basically sold out until the end of the year,” said Robert Hartmann, co-founder of ProAurum, a gold vendor based in Munich.
Despite the shortages, about 200 customers line up at his counter every day, he said, asking for coins and bars, not certificates. According to his estimates, “only about 5 percent of German investors” are interested in converting a small part of their savings to gold, “but it’s enough to put suppliers under strain.”
Mr. Heinz, the financial adviser, started diversifying his investments in the run-up to the 1992 recession. He has bought land and gradually built up a stock of gold, which he buys in small units, suitable as emergency payment, and keeps in a safe at a specialized company.
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