Mini Gold Bars Are Causing a Frenzy in South Korea as Buyers Rush to Get Them in Convenience Stores, Vending Machines

By Trisha Andrada

May 08, 2024 07:10 AM EDT

Mini gold bars are selling like hot cakes in South Korea's biggest convenience store chain, CU. Gold bars ranging in weight from 0.1 gram to 1.87 grams have been available at CU stores since April.

The price for a 1.87-gram bar is 225,000 won ($165) and 77,000 won ($56) for a 0.5-gram bar.

An employee displays gold bars at a Korea Gold Exchange shop in Seoul on July 30, 2020. (Photo : JUNG YEON-JE/AFP via Getty Images)

1-Gram Bars Quickly Sold Out in Just 2 Days in South Korea Convenience Store

According to Chosun Biz, the 1-gram bars, which cost 113,000 won ($83), were sold out in two days. These card-type bars, manufactured and certified by the Korea Minting and Security Printing Corporation (KOMSCO), come with birthday greetings, congratulatory messages, and designs for different personality types.

CNBC reported that buyers in their 30s were the most active in purchasing these mini gold bars. They comprised over 41% of the total sales since they were put up for sale. A whopping 35.2% of the sales come from those in their 40s, with 15.6% from those in their 50s. Among the total buyers, 6.8% were in their 20s.

Heng Koon How, head of markets strategy, global economics, and markets research at United Overseas Bank (UOB), told CNBC that gold physical jewelry is a safe haven asset during times of economic instability when the local currency depreciates.

Read Also: Gold Scams on the Rise in China - Thousands Got Duped Into Buying Expensive Fake Jewelry

South Korea's Gold Bars and Coins Demand Rose 27% to 5 Tons in Q1

Other convenience shops are also profiting from the trend. Vending machines in South Korea's GS25 convenience store chain also have little gold wafers.

recent study from the World Gold Council (WGC) said that amid the growing prices of the precious metal, demand for gold bars and coins in South Korea increased 27% year-on-year to five tons in the first quarter of this year, which was the sharpest quarterly increase in gold purchases in the country in more than two years.

Based on the Korea Gold Exchange, CNBC reported that gold prices have soared to a record 456,000 won ($335) per 3.75 grams or 0.13 ounce.

Read More: Gold Rush at Costco: Wells Fargo Estimates Gold Bars Revenue as Much as $200 Million Monthly

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