Investors line-up to buy gold bars the size of credit cards

Private investors in Switzerland, Austria and Germany are lining up to buy gold bars the size of a credit card that can easily be broken into one gram pieces and used as payment in an emergency.

An employee shows a gold Combibar in Switzerland. Credit: Reuters

Now Swiss refinery Valcambi, a unit of US mining giant Newmont, wants to bring its "CombiBar" to market in the United States and build up its sales presence India - the world's largest consumer of gold where the precious metal has long served as a parallel currency.

A one gram piece of gold from a Combibar, Credit: Reuters

Investors worried that inflation and financial market turmoil will wipe out the value of their cash have poured money into gold over the past decade. Prices have gained almost 500 percent since 2001.