Alternative Investment News Round-up: Tuesday 23rd August

Investors join athletes in race for gold


Gold has been the flavour of the month this August – and not just because of the Olympics.

While athletes from around the world have been competing for top medals in Rio, investors have also been racing for their own share of the precious metal, driven by the global economic uncertainty that surrounds Brexit and the US interest rate hikes.

With the UK’s recent decision to cut its interest rates to a record low of 0.25 per cent, the Royal Mint has reported a surge in demand for gold. In the last week, the Mint has seen transactions on its bullion website rise 25 per cent, with sales of gold bars and coins jumping 50 per cent.

The World Gold Council has also seen demand hit a record level in the first half of 2016.

How has Brexit impacted the farmland sector?

New research from Savills offers a portrait of the farmland market in the wake of the Brexit result.

Around 123,000 acres were publicly marketed across the UK in the first seven months of 2016, on a par with the same period in 2015. In England, activity dropped 6 per cent, due to uncertainty. In Scotland and Wales, though, activity rose 8 per cent and 35 per cent (from a low base) respectively.

“Most of the questions surrounding Brexit and its impact on the UK remain unanswered and will do for some time, but our analysis to date is beginning to suggest that the impact of changes to trade agreements could be far more significant than changes to the existing agricultural subsidy,” say the advisors.

Savills forecast muted supply for the rest of 2016.

Bitcoin: The next safe haven asset?

With the pound and yuan weakening, could Bitcoin be your new favourite currency?

The digital currency launched several years, prompting talk of whether it could be a safe haven for alternative investors, not to mention the future of financial transactions. Since then, it has had a controversial ride, rising and falling in value, as well as sparking controversy due to countries’ differing reactions towards its rise.

This year, though, Bitcoin has seen its price rise once more, as its position in the market matures and uncertainty increases in the global economy. The currency is now accepted by the likes of Dell and Expedia, while it can even be used for Uber taxi rides in Argentina. Bitcoin prices climbed around 56 per cent in the first half of 2016, according to CoinDesk’s USD Bitcoin Price Index, below the 63.9 per cent recorded in the second half of 2015, but a strong positive growth. More than 450 million BTC were traded between January and July, according to Bitcoinity, with Chinese exchanges OKCoin and Huobi dominating activity.

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