Alternative Investment News Round-up: Friday 22nd January

Gold shines at start of 2016

Gold is shining at the start of the new year, as its rising price and global uncertainty encourage Chinese investment,

The precious metal has always been a popular choice among investors seeking a safe haven from the financial markets. Indeed, the first signs of China’s economic slowdown last year prompted Chinese demand to rise by one-fifth to 201 tonnes in 2015. That interest has continued this year, Roland Wang, Managing Director of the World Gold Council, tells Reuters: “We have seen quite solid (investment) demand for this past one-and-a-half months. We have to see gold maintain the rally for quite a period of time. That will determine further purchases by investors.”

Alternatives enjoy “record breaking” year

2015 was a “record breaking” year for alternative assets within the property market, according to JLL.

The firm’s latest report reveals that over £15 billion was transacted over the course of 2015 in alternative property assets, with student housing, care homes and leased hotels all highlighted mature sectors, thanks to their market transparency and client understanding.

“The impact of major demographic changes, increasing mobility, rapid urbanisation and changing technology… have led to the emergence of alternative assets underpinned by strong property funadementals across sectors that are maturing and delivering sustainable income returns,” reads JLL’s report.

Self-storage, in particular, is forecast to enjoy a strong 2016, with deals to total more than £250 million across the coming 12 months for the first time.

Non-farmers make up 1 in 4 UK sales

Non-farmers are now responsible for one in four rural land sales in the UK, according to new research from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors.

25 per cent of rural land sles over the past six months have been to enterpreneurs starting up cottage industries or other non-farmers. Property developers, however, only accounted for 1 per cent of land sales, down 2 per cent, with sales to individual farmers down from 62 per cent to 57 per cent.

The trend is strongest in South East England where non-farmers accounted for 1 in 3 sales.

Barclays exits precious metals sector

Barclays is exiting the precious metals sector, according to Platts.

Anonymous sources reportedly revealed at the end of January that the bank would be closing some of its investment banking operations to concentrate on a core market of Europe and the US.

Europe and America demand for precious metals to rise

Demand from Europe and the Americas for precious metals is predicted to climb in the coming years.

New research predicts that the market will grow 4 per cent CAGR between 2015 and 2019, as sales climb for gold, silver, palladium and platinum. Gold has had a rocky period in recent months and years, as its appeal as a safe haven has been buffeted by global financial uncertainty and political turmoil, as well as improving economic conditions in the US and a strengthening dollar.

Platinum, however, remains in strong demand, due to its use in the industrial sector. Indeed, platinum is now forecast to be the major driver of growth in the precious metals market.

While India has historically been associated with the precious metal sector, though, particuarly gold, both Europe and the Americas are expected to overtake and dominate the market by 2020.

Farmland values decline in England

Farmland values in England fell for the first time in four years in the final quarter of 2015, according to Knight Frnak.

Agricultural land prices have been enjoying something of a boom in recent years, due to the finite supply of stock. But in the last 12 months, that boom has begun to slow down, with the average value per hectare reaching a record high in the third quarter of 2015 of £20,524 – but only 0.5 per cent higher than the previous quarter. In the final three months of the year, prices actually declined by 1.7 per cent, Knight Frank’s latest figures reveal, down 3 per cent year-on-year. Values ended the year at £8,165 per acre.

Photo: Digital Currency