Investors are flooding to gold at some of the highest levels since the financial crisis

Investors are flooding into precious metals as fears of a global slowdown grip markets and send people towards so-called “safe haven” assets.

“The Flow Show” — a weekly note from Bank of America Merrill Lynch which tracks the movement of money around global markets — shows that this week, investors poured money into the precious metal markets at some of their highest levels in around six years.

In total, $1.6 billion of money tracked by BAML was spent buying up gold and other precious metals, including silver and platinum. Only one week since 2010, early in 2015, saw higher inflows into precious metals.

Here’s the chart:

Gold’s reputation as an asset people buy in times of trouble is almost legendary, with the precious metal almost always seeing big inflows at times of economic and financial crisis. The fact that buying gold means that investors take control of a physical asset makes it incredibly attractive when markets are volatile and uncertain.

To emphasise the fears wracking the markets, the biggest outflows last week, BAML shows, were from three risky asset areas getting slammed in the current market environment. $6.8 billion flowed away from equities, $2.5 billion moved out of high yield bonds, and $1.1 billion left emerging market government debt.

The high levels of cash flowing into the precious metal markets has sent prices soaring so far in 2016, and they’re now at a one-year peak. Since trading began for the year, gold’s spot price has jumped by more than 16% taking it to its highest level in a year. Silver has also climbed, up 13%, while platinum has gained 7%. Here’s how gold looks in 2016:

BAML’s flow note comes a day after the Daily Telegraph reported that ETF Securities, an index fund provider, saw £239 million flow into gold on February 9, the highest one day inflow since the financial crisis.

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