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Gold rush provides a profits bonanza for pawnbrokers.

THE owner of the country's biggest pawnbroker said the recent gold price boom helped send half-year profits surging.

H&T group, which trades as H&T Pawnbrokers and was established in 1897, posted a 42.3% jump in pre-tax profits to PS3.7m for the first six months of the year as it saw the price of gold leap by almost 8%.

Demand for gold has been sent rocketing worldwide as investors look for safe haven assets amid uncertainty created by the Brexit vote as well the US election and negative interest rates in many countries.

The collapse in the value of the pound after the UK's decision to quit the EU has pushed gold prices even higher, with figures recently revealing the price of the yellow metal has soared 45% so far this year in sterling terms.

H&T said if the gold rush continues over the rest of the year, its second-half profits will also be given a boost.

The leap in first-half profit came as the firm delivered an 85% profits rise in its personal loan arm and saw robust trading in its foreign exchange service and "we buy anything" buyback offering.

H&T said the rising gold price was helping the group to weather tough market conditions - with pawnbrokers hit in recent years by intense competition and as gold jewellery has fallen out of favour.

Chief executive John Nichols said: "This is a promising start to the year in the face of challenging trading conditions."

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Aug 17, 2016
Words:249
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