Inflation will restore gold’s shine

Gold remains up by 53% since August 2018 but is now trading 11% short of its peak this summer. But if you hold gold, hang on to it.

Is the gold rally over? Gold hit a four-month low around $1,807 an ounce this week. The yellow metal remains up by 53% since August 2018 but is now trading 11% short of its peak this summer. The picture is similar in sterling terms, with gold 13% off its August high on around £1,352/oz. Gold is seen as a traditional safe haven. With positive vaccine news stoking optimism about 2021 investors are now keen to get exposure to the recovery rather than parking their wealth in an asset that pays no interest. 

Gold has not behaved much like a safe-haven this year, says Will Horner in The Wall Street Journal. “Rather than moving in the opposite direction to stocks” it has often rallied and fallen together with them. The reason seems to be central bank stimulus. When new money hits the market investors buy stocks to enjoy the resulting asset price inflation, while buying gold as protection in case everything goes horribly wrong. A “6,000-year history as a store of value” makes the metal the ultimate hedge for those concerned about inflation.

Goldman Sachs says it sees the risk of inflation as “greater than at any other time since the 1970s”, notes Henry Sanderson in the Financial Times. For those still concerned that a global recovery will leave gold behind, precious metals bulls are moving into silver and platinum, which have industrial uses and could stand to gain even if gold lags.

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