The price of gold is on the rise, gaining around 10% in the past two months, and almost 30% since early 2016. At around $1,330 an ounce, it is not far off hitting a four-year high against the dollar. Being priced in a weak dollar helps, but the key driver for the increase is the inflation scare, which has reminded investors that an ounce of gold has maintained its purchasing power for thousands of years.
Gold's "great virtue is its ability to hold its value", says John Authers in the Financial Times, but its renewed lustre isn't merely about inflation jitters. It also reflects "a lack of fear of the Fed [Federal Reserve]". Gold has no yield, so if interest rates rise rapidly it becomes less appealing than bonds or cash, while inflation would be squeezed out of the system. Gold's latest upswing, then, suggests that people don't think the US's central bank will move quickly enough to nip inflation in the bud.
Given central banks' lousy record recent history shows they are always caught on the hop this seems to be a very reasonable bet. There are also plenty of potential geopolitical flashpoints that could boost demand for the traditional safe haven, while rising wealth in emerging markets should prop up the long-term jewellery demand. Gold has further to go.
Andrew is the editor of MoneyWeek magazine. He grew up in Vienna and studied at the University of St Andrews, where he gained a first-class MA in geography & international relations.
After graduating he began to contribute to the foreign page of The Week and soon afterwards joined MoneyWeek at its inception in October 2000. He helped Merryn Somerset Webb establish it as Britain’s best-selling financial magazine, contributing to every section of the publication and specialising in macroeconomics and stockmarkets, before going part-time.
His freelance projects have included a 2009 relaunch of The Pharma Letter, where he covered corporate news and political developments in the German pharmaceuticals market for two years, and a multiyear stint as deputy editor of the Barclays account at Redwood, a marketing agency.
Andrew has been editing MoneyWeek since 2018, and continues to specialise in investment and news in German-speaking countries owing to his fluent command of the language.
December 2023 NS&I Premium Bond winners - check now to see what you’ve won
If you hold money in NS&I Premium Bonds, you can check from today (2 December) to see if you have won in the December prize draw. Here’s how to check.
By Vaishali Varu Published
OpenAI – corporate drama unleashed
OpenAI, the firm behind ChatGPT, was in uproar as its boss was booted out, briefly snapped up by Microsoft and then brought back again.
By Dr Matthew Partridge Published