Mainstream finance gets it wrong on gold

When rising prices are described as 'a bullish sign' you know there's something wrong with the coverage of an investment. Adrian Ash looks at mainstream misconceptions about gold.

Spot gold hit $669.50 per ounce in Europe on Tuesday. In the futures market, the April contract rose to $673.

Cue this nugget of wisdom from Reuters:

'Gold was also rising in other currencies, usually seen as a bullish sign.'

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Now hold that thought for a moment. For it's not just newswire hacks tripping over the idea of ex-Dollar gold prices and making fools of themselves today. Professional investors, paid to forecast the market, are happy to show this same glib idiocy, too.

'Gold in Japanese Yen and Euro terms are leading/confirming the onset of potentially more substantial upside,' said a technical analyst at Barclays Capital in London in a note earlier.

Good work, Sherlock! Gold has been rising against all major currencies since Jan. 4. But you'd never know it relying on Wall Street, the City or the mainstream media for your news.

Priced in Euros, gold broke back above €500 at the end of last month. Against the Canadian Dollar, gold is now trading at its highest level since mid-May '06. Versus the Australian Dollar, gold has reached its highest level since June 16, trading above A$863 per ounce earlier today.

And against the Japanese Yen, gold overnight in Asia touched a fresh 23-year high at more than 81,500 per ounce.

But our man at Barclays, a technical analyst no less, now reckons the ex-Dollar gold price 'confirms' what could 'potentially' be more 'upside' the gold price!

Rising prices are a bullish sign, in other words. Which is about as empty an analysis as the City of London will ever give you.

'At Royal Bank of Canada, we trade gold bullion off our foreign exchange desks rather than our commodity desks,' says Anthony S. Fell, chairman of RBC Capital Markets, 'because that's what it is a global currency, the only one that is freely tradable and unencumbered by vast quantities of sovereign debt and prior obligations.

'It is also the one investment and long-term store of value that cannot be adversely impacted by corrupt corporate management or incompetent politicians,' he adds 'each of which is in ample supply on a global basis.'

In short, says Fell, 'don't measure the Dollar against the Euro, or the Euro against the Yen, but measure all paper currencies against gold, because that's the ultimate test.'

Not that Reuters or Barclays Capital can grasp this idea. The Dollar-price of gold is all that matters there. And cast as nothing but the anti-Dollar, gold is just one little challenge to Dollar hegemony no better or worse than the Euro, for instance. Cast as just another function of Dollar strength or weakness, gold is ultimately subordinate to the greenback and always will be, according to the mainstream finance industry's logic.

'The Dollar [today] posted losses against major rivals,' says another newswire, 'thereby increasing demand for gold.' If only it were that simple!

South Africa is pumping 25% more Rand into the world than there were a year ago...Indian Rupees are swelling at a rate of more than 19% annually...and the supply of Sterling rose 12.8% in December. Incredibly, that rate of growth was a 15-month low for the British currency!

In the Eurozone, meantime now responsible for more cash by number and value than the United States broad money supply rose 9.7% at the end of 2006 from Dec. 2005, up from an 8.5% annualised rate in Nov. So whatever the US Dollar might do and no matter what the missing M3 data would tell us about the US money supply if Washington still published them the increased demand for gold is a global phenomenon driven by a global flood of money and credit.

Yen, Euros, Sterling or Yuan...who cares? Gold is much more than just the anti-Dollar. And the opposite of all currency risk is fast gaining new friends today.

Adrian Ash is head of research at, the fastest growing gold bullion service online. Formerly head of editorial at Fleet Street Publications Ltd the UK's leading publishers of investment advice for private investors he is also City correspondent for The Daily Reckoning in London, and a regular contributor to MoneyWeek magazine.

Adrian has written all things gold related from if it’s worth buying, what the real price of gold should be and what’s the point of gold for MoneyWeek. He has also written for other leading money titles on his gold expertise including Business Insider, Forbes, City A.M, Yahoo Finance and What Investment Magazine. Now Adrian is head of the research desk at BullionVault, a physical market for gold and silver for private investors online.