(回答先: FT紙 「金はバブル相場の初期に突入」 By Mark Williams 投稿者 びぼ 日時 2010 年 10 月 18 日 20:39:25)
"Gold bullion – coming soon to a vending machine near you"
By Kate Connolly in Berlin, Thu 21 October 2010
Apart from the gold-plated exterior – and the fact that they are bulletproof – they seem much like any other vending machine. But instead of condoms or chocolate bars, a network of "gold-to-go" machines dispenses 24-carat bullion in a smart presentation box.
Originally designed as a marketing device for an online gold trading business, the machines have become such a success that their inventor plans to build a global network, installing them everywhere from fitness centres to cruise ships.
Thomas Geissler, the German businessman behind the machines, said their unexpected success was the result of a recent rush on gold, which has seen its price rise from $250 an ounce in 1999 and $800 dollars last summer to around $1,350 (£850) an ounce today.
"Ordinary people are starting to see its real value," he said .
Since the first was installed in May, in the lobby of Dubai's Burj Khalifa hotel, 20 gold-to-go machines have been installed across Europe. Germany already has eight, with a ninth due to open at a luxury shopping centre in Berlin today. Next month the first machines will open in the United States, in Las Vegas and Boca Raton, Florida.
Geissler is also meeting representatives of Harrods to discuss launching the first UK machine in the next few months. He plans to have launched 45 worldwide by the end of the year.
"Our customers are those who are catching on to the idea that gold is a safe haven at a time of financial instability," he said. Those who say it is just a bubble, he insists, tend to be those who have not invested in it.
"We notice the sales peak whenever there are signs that the markets are wobbling. When the Greek crisis was revealed in its entirety, our sales went up 10-fold. With the current troubles in currency markets, gold becomes even more attractive."
He said it was no accident that the machines have taken off so well in Germany: "Just look at history," he said. "Germans are still traumatised by the hyperinflation of the 1930s, when people walked around with wheelbarrows full of notes, while Americans are still traumatised about the depression."
He said most vending-machine customers were women, who tended to buy in smaller amounts, while the larger pieces — it is possible to buy up to 250 grams for around €8,000 — are bought by "well-off men, of on average 55 years of age".
The machines are monitored from Geissler's company headquarters in Reutlingen, Germany, and the price of the gold is updated every 10 minutes, according to the market price. The company claims its gold is cheaper than that available from the banks, largely because its overheads are lower, and that unlike at a bank, where customers have to wait several days for their purchases, the machine gold is available immediately.