Bulk-buy retailer Costco starts selling GOLD worth up to £24,500 in its supermarkets – but shoppers are warned to be wary because of violent price fluctuations
- Bulk-buy specialist Costco is now offering bars of gold for up to £24,500 a time
- Experts warned people could be getting a poor deal after swings in gold market
- The price of gold has risen 28 per cent in past 12 months, but it’s a volatile market
It’s not an item likely to be on the weekly shopping lists of many households – but one supermarket giant has started selling gold bullion alongside its everyday groceries.
Bulk-buy specialist Costco, more normally known for its ‘pile-’em-high, sell-’em-cheap’ philosophy, is now offering bars of the precious metal for up to £24,500 a time.
But experts last night warned shoppers they could be getting a poor deal, particularly after violent swings in the gold market this year.
Bulk-buy specialist Costco, more normally known for its ‘pile-’em-high, sell-’em-cheap’ philosophy, is now offering bars of gold for up to £24,500 a time (file photo)
While the company’s mark-up on gold is up to seven per cent on the market rate, it is also selling silver bars at a whopping 28 per cent premium.
Many investors have been turning to what they see as the security of gold this year, amid huge uncertainties in the world economy caused by Covid-19, international tensions and political discord in America.
But while the price of gold has risen by 28 per cent in the past 12 months to almost $1,900 (£1,469) an ounce, it is a volatile market, declining by more than six per cent in the past two months alone.
Professor Trevor Williams, an economist at St Mary’s University, London, warned: ‘Gold is an investment product and people should be wary about buying it. Some say it holds its value, but that is not true – it can move up and down quite markedly.’
On September 24, Costco’s 100g bar was on sale for £4,939.99, when the market price for that much gold was £4,619.70 – equal to a seven per cent mark-up in store.
It also had a 50g bar of gold that day for £2,442.99 (six per cent higher than market rates) and a 500g bar at £24,549.99 (6.5 per cent).
On September 24, Costco’s 100g bar was on sale for £4,939.99, when the market price for that much gold was £4,619.70 – equal to a seven per cent mark-up in store (file photo)
A 1kg silver bar cost £711.99 at a time when that much of the metal traded at £554.90 – meaning that the mark-up was a hefty 28.3 per cent.
Gold is normally bought direct from the Royal Mint or from bullion traders, rather than loaded into a supermarket trolley with multipacks of toilet rolls.
Other investors might use funds that track the market price, or buy a share of a bullion bar, which is then kept in storage.
Some market-watchers believe the price of gold will resume its upward climb later this year as governments will need to print more money to prop up their economies.
Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at trading firm CMC Markets UK, said: ‘I think that by the end of 2021 the price of gold could well be more than 30 per cent higher than it is today.’
Watchdogs at the Financial Conduct Authority have previously warned of the danger in investing in unregulated assets such as physical gold, as there is very little protection if something goes wrong.
Costco declined to comment last night.