Gold sentiment among Western investors leapt to a new three-and-a-half year high in October.
Led by surging interest from the US ahead of next week's bitter election for the White House, the Bullion Vault Gold Investor index – which measures the balance of private investors starting or growing their gold holdings over those reducing them – jumped to 56.8 last month from September's 55.0 reading.
This beat the post-Brexit peak of 56.0 in August.
The index would read 50.0 if the number of net buyers exactly matched the number of net sellers across the month.
It hit a series peak of 71.7 in September 2011, and bottomed at 50.5 over winter 2014 to 2015.
As the renewed FBI enquiry into democrat Hillary Clinton’s emails chipped away at her lead in the polls, The Pure Gold Company had a record number of enquiries over the weekend and a 36 per cent increase in gold sales since Monday (31 October).
Josh Saul, chief executive of The Pure Gold Company, said many clients were concerned that if Republican candidate Donald Trump wins the election then global stocks and the dollar will suffer and gold could increase significantly.
He said: “But a victory for Clinton could also spell some market uncertainty, and they believe the gold price will be supported even if she is elected.
“The same clients who missed out on buying physical gold before the Brexit result are making sure they don’t miss out again as they hedge against currency fluctuations, equity volatility and bank instability.
“However unlikely it may have seemed that Trump will win, Brexit has set a precedent that the unlikely is possible and we are seeing this reflected in people's motivations for investing in physical gold.”
Adrian Ash, head of research at Bullion Vault, said: “US investors have leapt on the pullback in gold prices to build their holdings ahead of next week's election.
“Just as with Brexit, the wider financial markets look complacent about the result. So for gold prices, the risk of a sharp rise if Trump produces a shock win looks much greater than a drop if Clinton matches expectations.”
October's daily average gold price retreated 4.4 per cent from September against the rising US Dollar, falling to the lowest level since April at $1,266 per ounce.
Darius McDermott, managing director of Chelsea Financial Services, said his business has not seen a rush for gold among clients in the past few weeks, but allocations to gold have increased this year.
But he said there has been a lot of uncertainty and volatility and the gold price was a lot lower in January than it is today.
Mr McDermott said: “We would say that having a small allocation to gold is probably a sensible thing at the moment - but not just because of the US election. We also have an Italian referendum to get through later this year and stock markets are already high and fair value in many cases.