European investors snapped up gold bars and coins at a rapid pace in the second quarter as turmoil in Greece threatened to push the country out of the eurozone.

The World Gold Council (WGC) said demand in Europe for the precious metal rose sharply in the three months to June compared with the same quarter last year amid rapid buying of bullion, even as global demand fell by 12pc to a six-year low of 915 tonnes.

The increase in Europe was led by Germany, where sales of bars and coins rose 24pc to 24.1 tonnes in the second quarter. Demand in Austria and Switzerland also rose sharply, according to the WGC’s quarterly trends report.

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“Fears of a potential Greek exit from the eurozone saw retail investment in gold reach 47 tonnes, a rise of 19pc compared to last year,” the report said.

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