Germans and people visiting German-speaking countries will soon be able to buy solid gold coins at vending machines in airports and railway stations.
"German investors have always preferred to hold a lot of personal wealth in gold, for historical reasons," says Thomas Geissler, who owns the vending machine company.
"Gold is a good thing to have in your pocket in uncertain times," Geissler told The Financial Times.
Geissler hopes to install "Gold To Go" machines in 500 locations in German-speaking countries this year.
Gold prices from the machines — about 30 per cent higher than market prices for the cheapest product — will be updated every few minutes and a camera on each machine monitors transactions for money laundering controls.
When the Financial Times bought the cheapest gold product from one of Geissler’s machines, the machine dispensed an oblong metal box labeled “My Golden Treasure” but no receipt and the wrong change.
Geissler says he hopes to have a more advanced prototype available this month.
Interest in gold has risen during the financial crisis, particularly in Germany, according to the precious metals consultancy GFMS.
Gold is overvalued at its current price according to economist Nouriel Roubini.
"For the next two years, deflationary pressure is going to be dominant, and it is going to become a time bomb down the line if and when we keep monetizing large deficits,” told the Reuters Investment Outlook Summit.
It may be too soon to hedge with gold, Roubini says. "Unless we have high inflation, or...other risks like depression, gold looks toppy."
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