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Gold bars are pictured on April 6, 2009 at a plant of gold refiner and bar manufacturer Argor-Heraeus SA in Mendrisio, southern Switzerland. At current market prices, a 100g bar is worth approximately 3,100 US dollars (2,361 euros). While the world grapples with the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression of the 1930s, demand for the firm’s watch and jewellery components business has slumped as Swiss and Italian watchmakers trim production. Meanwhile, investors are hoarding gold bars — an age-old insurance in times of war or calamities — sending demand for the group’s bullion production soaring. To cope with the new balance of demand, Argor is shifting manpower from its semi-finished products division to gold production and is running day and night. With orders for gold bars piling up, delivery times now stretch to two months instead of 10 days. AFP PHOTO / Sebastian Derungs (Photo credit should read SEBASTIAN DERUNGS/AFP/Getty Images)

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