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[SINGAPORE] Gold surged to a two-year high after the UK voted to exit the European Union, causing turmoil across markets and boosting haven demand.
Bullion jumped as much as 8.1 per cent, the most since the height of the global financial crisis in 2008, before paring some of the gain, and futures trading volume was seven times the average for this time of day.
As the pound tumbled against the US dollar, gold priced in sterling rallied as much as 19 per cent and gold mining companies such as Randgold Resources Ltd. advanced.
"The volume we saw last night was unmatched by anything, and we're nowhere near done," said Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at London brokerage TF Global Markets.
"The phone's been off the hook all night. We were around the news wires nonstop."
Some clients were frustrated that they couldn't get orders completed quick enough as trades kept being upended by other large positions coming in, Mr Aslam said, as he stepped out of the office for a coffee after working overnight. He said he's planning to work over the weekend to meet the surge in business.
UK voters backed leaving the EU by 52 per cent to 48 per cent, sending shock waves though markets and prompting Prime Minister David Cameron to resign.
European stocks and US futures slid, the pound plunged by a record and the euro fell by the most since it was introduced in 1999.
Gold for immediate delivery climbed 4.7 per cent to US$1,315.32 an ounce by 9:28 am in London, according to Bloomberg generic pricing. Societe Generale SA said in a note this week that gold could hit US$1,400 in the event of a Brexit.
The metal is up 24 per cent this year as expectations that the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates low weakened the dollar. The US central bank will be even more likely to keep rates on hold following the result of the UK referendum, according to Saxo Bank A/S and ICBC Standard Bank Plc.
European gold dealers saw a rush for physical metal, with CoinInvest.com saying it had a record number of UK customers interested in buying. Daniel Marburger, a director at the Frankfurt-based firm, said Britannia and Sovereign coins from the UK's Royal Mint were the best sellers in the early hours.
ABC Bullion Co, a Sydney-based trader, said new account openings on Friday matched the whole of a normal week.
"There's a lot of fragility out there politically and economically," said Jordan Eliseo, chief economist at ABC Bullion.
"It's a more difficult time for investors and safe-haven assets are the way to go."
GoldCore Ltd, a brokerage in Dublin, experienced record online sales for the time of day and may have to restrict trading to existing clients if demand remains high, director Mark O'Byrne said by e-mail.
Gold mining stocks jumped. Randgold Resources Ltd climbed as much as 29 per cent, the most ever, and was last up 15 per cent. Fresnillo Plc advanced 11 per cent and the two companies were the biggest gainers in the UK's FTSE 100 Index.
For more coverage of the EU referendum, visit bt.sg/BrexiT