Coronavirus sparks a rush for gold and safety deposit boxes

Some are concerned that burglaries could increase in the outbreak’s wake

The coronavirus crisis has sparked a rush for gold and safety deposit boxes, according to one Irish business.

Merrion Vaults, which rents out safety deposit boxes in the Republic and UK, and buys gold for clients, is experiencing "unprecedented" demand from businesses and individuals. Co-founder Seamus Fahy noted on Wednesday that gold was trading at more than €1,350 an ounce, a 30 per cent increase over the last two years.

Businesses and people who fear the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic could cost them their savings have turned to the traditional safe haven of gold, Mr Fahy explained. “Gold is as liquid as cash,” he added.

He said worldwide demand had reached the point where it was difficult to source some types of gold bars.


New clients are seeking safety deposit boxes at the head office of Merrion Vaults in Dublin to store cash and valuables as the coronavirus crisis drags on.

Some fear the pandemic’s impact on the banks. Others are worried about security. Mr Fahy said clients have rented boxes as they are concerned that burglaries could increase in the outbreak’s wake.

Also, in recent weeks growing numbers of people with self-administered pensions have sought to move some of their savings into gold. As Covid-19 spread into Europe, pension trustees contacted Merrion Vaults requesting both gold and a place to store it.

While the precious metal is easily traded, many buyers intend holding it. “This is very much a long-term play for them,” Mr Fahy said.

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O'Halloran

Barry O’Halloran covers energy, construction, insolvency, and gaming and betting, among other areas