Concern for the coronavirus pandemic led investors to go on a gold-buying binge during the first quarter of the year. 

According to a report by Forbes, gold purchases generated a record-breaking $23 billion in exchange-traded funds (ETFs) holding the precious metal, including the well-known SPDR Gold Shares. 

Investor purchases added 298 metric tons of gold to ETF holdings globally through the first three months of the year. As the report states, no previous financial quarter in history has witnessed as much cash flow into bullion ETFs. 

The report highlights gold’s performance through the end of March, despite most financial sectors undergoing severe losses in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Prices for SPRDR Gold Shares were up 8.6% on the year as of Wednesday, compared to the S&P 500 losing 17.7% over the same period. 

Axel Merk, founder of Merk Investments which runs the VanEck Merk Gold Trust ETF, said the price is likely to go higher,

I think gold is going to go higher. Historically, in times of crisis people like to have gold.

He added the market is creating a premium for solid gold coins due to the number of mints being closed by the coronavirus. 

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