Following North Korea’s nuclear weapons test Sunday, sales of silver bars soared by 10 times on Monday, according to the Korea Gold Exchange.
Silver bars are in high demand among middle-class investors seeking an affordable alternative to gold bars as a safety haven currency during times of geopolitical uncertainty.
KGE said sales of 1-kilogram gold bars numbered 194 on Monday morning alone, rising sharply from daily sales of 20 on average.
A 1-kilogram silver bar was trading at around 840,000 won ($742), about one-70th the price of a gold bar of the same weight, which amounts to 56 million won.
“At times of geopolitical uncertainty on the Korean Peninsula, gold bar purchases usually rise among men of means, but silver bar sales soared this time, showing how the anxiety has spread to the middle class,” an official from the trader said.
The official added a similar purchase tendency surfaced in April 2013 when the North declared a “state of war” against the South.
KGE also said sales of mini gold bars increased to double of its daily average, as 95 10-gram gold bars and 82 100-gram bars sold Monday morning.