The plot thickens https://www.handelsblatt.com/finanz...html?ticket=ST-69761-62nqbMSgvZlN2vTq4eIb-ap3[Google Translate]The Swiss canton of Ticino has closed all industrial plants that are classified as "not critical" because of the corona virus. This includes three of the largest gold bar manufacturers in the world.According to the Argor-Heraeus company, production at the Mendrisio site will be suspended until early April. Valcambi in neighboring Balerna also wants to stop production by the end of March, as a spokeswoman confirmed. The Pamp refinery in Castel San Pietro is also affected.Estimates based on Swiss customs statistics show that around 70 percent of the gold mined worldwide is processed in Switzerland. Three of the five major Swiss ingot manufacturers are located in Ticino, the Italian-speaking part of Switzerland. Because of its proximity to the Corona crisis areas in Italy, the canton also introduced strict measures in the fight against the virus.As a result, the supply chains of the gold industry are likely to continue to be mixed up. Swiss bar manufacturers had to concede delivery bottlenecks last week because numerous employees live in Italy and cross-border traffic was extremely restricted. In addition, there had been delays in the value transports that German traders supply with gold from Switzerland.Numerous gold traders in Germany were therefore practically sold out last week or asked their customers to wait up to ten days. The premiums for bars and coins, i.e. the surcharge for physical precious metal compared to the world market price, had also increased significantly recently. Giovanni Staunovo, commodity expert at the Swiss bank UBS, expects both to get worse. "The premiums for physical precious metals will continue to rise."Because of the sell-off on the stock market, the demand for physical precious metals is high. Many internet shops were overloaded. Demand is also high internationally: the inflow into gold-backed index funds has recently reached a record level. But bars and coins are in short supply in Germany, Wolfgang Wrzesniok-Roßbach, precious metal expert at Fragold, also expects. "You can't get gold at the moment," he says.High premiumsThis is not only due to the bottlenecks in the Swiss refineries. The Australian coin, the state mint, also announced at the weekend that it would cease production. Wrzesniok-Roßbach assumes that the South African Rand Refinery, manufacturer of the Krugerrand, will also follow the example: "The production stop will then apply almost worldwide."How difficult it is to get gold today can be read on the websites of the major traders. Pro Aurum from Munich informed customers on Monday that the online shop would be closed by Wednesday and that only then would it be possible to deliver a "very limited" range.The reason for this is that the value logistics company Prosegur, which takes over deliveries of goods from 25,000 euros, has stopped deliveries to private individuals until further notice. Degussa Goldhandel also reports on its website that orders over 25,000 euros will no longer be accepted because the value transport to customers is not possible.The chaos in logistics and the bottlenecks have therefore driven up the premium in the few internet shops that can still deliver at all. In some products, these can sometimes reach 30 percent, according to Wrzesniok-Roßbach. He therefore currently advises investors against buying physical precious metals. In view of the premiums, the gold price must rise significantly so that the purchase at the current conditions does not turn out to be a loss. Instead, investors should wait until the situation on the physical precious metals market relaxes.The gold price is likely to rise in the medium term. In addition to the extremely loose central bank policy, the rising government debt also speaks for this. Low interest rates and protection against inflation are the main arguments for buying gold. From Wrzesniok-Roßbach's point of view, however, it is not worth falling into a buying panic when there is a shortage of gold and buying precious metal despite high premiums. As is so often the case on the financial markets, patience should pay off for investors.More: Germans hamster gold and push precious metal traders to their limits.