Nervous investors fill Swiss safes with cash, gold

Wednesday, June 27, 2012
By Paul Martin

By Catherine Bosley
Reuters.com

ZURICH, June 25 (Reuters) – Investors trying to protect their wealth from global economic uncertainty have been stashing bank notes, gold bars and other valuables in Swiss banks, fuelling demand for safe deposit boxes.

The euro zone debt crisis and fear that loose policy by central banks will stoke inflation have sent investors in search of extra security. New deals to prevent secret bank accounts in Switzerland being used for evading taxes may also be contributing to the trend.

Some banks in Switzerland, known for its financial stability, say they have even run out of space.

“We are experiencing a rise in demand for safety deposit boxes. This rise can’t really be quantified, however. In many branches the safe deposit boxes are fully rented,” said Albert Steck, spokesman at Migros Bank, a cooperative bank which serves retail clients.

Zuercher Kantonalbank (ZKB) said requests for space in safes has climbed this year, as the euro zone debt crisis deepened and the outlook for the global economy worsened.

“Since the start of the year demand for safe deposit boxes has risen in the low single digits,” said spokesman Igor Moser.

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