A landmark increase in Japan’s sales tax has led to a rush for small gold bars as retail investors pile into the precious metal to avoid next week’s rate rise.
Tanaka Kikinzoku Jewelry, a precious metals specialist, reported that sales of gold ingots across seven of its shops are up more than 500 per cent this month, as customers rush to take advantage of the current 5 per cent rate of consumption tax before it rises to 8 per cent on 1 April.
At the company’s flagship store in Ginza on Thursday, people queued for up to three hours to buy 500g bars worth about Y2.3m ($22,500). March has been the busiest month in Tanaka’s 120-year history.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has embarked on a series of radical reforms dubbed Abenomics in an attempt to weaken the yen and boost the ailing Japanese economy, prompting investors to buy gold as a hedge against the spectre of higher inflation.
Investors are being drawn to the metal not just because of higher taxes, said Itsuo Toshima, an adviser to pension funds.“Slowly and steadily, people are preparing for the worst, which is the failure of Abenomics.” >> Read More