TOKYO: The retail price of physical gold in Japan climbed to its highest in nearly 40 years on Thursday (Sep 5), a surge accentuated by fluctuations in the value of the yen but mirroring a global hunt for the safe-haven precious metal amid worries that the US-China trade row could further depress the global economy.
Japan's biggest gold retailer Tanaka Kikinzoku said the retail price of refined gold, revised once a day in yen, stood at 5,325 yen (US$49.99) per gramme on Thursday, not including consumption tax, up 0.7 per cent from Wednesday.
That was the highest since Feb 14, 1980 - a year when the US President was Jimmy Carter and Honda Motor Co said it would build Japan's first US car assembly plant in Ohio.
Trading has become so brisk, according to the retailer, that customers now need to be patient in concluding transactions.
"Demand for gold transactions has picked up since mid-August," said Tanaka Kikinzoku spokeswoman Rie Kato. "Retail customers, whether buyers or sellers, now need to wait for two-three hours to get their deals done."
The sharp gain comes in line with a rally in global gold prices.
International benchmark spot gold prices jumped to a fresh six-year high, or highest since April 2013, on Wednesday due to jitters about the state of the global economy. They have risen more than 20 per cent so far this year though they fell on Thursday to US$1,545.00 an ounce.
Tokyo Commodity Exchange (TOCOM) gold futures have also been surging since August. The benchmark contract for August 2020 delivery touched an intra-day record high of 5,285 yen per gramme on Thursday.
"The reason why Japan's gold prices hit an about...