Gold: The thrill is gone, and so is the story
Metal pros expect moderate gains this year, but certainly no renewed rush for this precious metal.
Metal pros expect moderate gains this year, but certainly no renewed gold rush. The 23 traders and pundits polled annually by the London Bullion Market Association came up with an average 2013 gold price of $1,753 an ounce, about 5% higher than current levels. Three analysts identified by Bloomberg as the most accurate on gold in the past were still more conservative, expecting prices between $1,700 and $1,740 an ounce. The LBMA wisemen and women predict gold to be outperformed by all of its lowly precious metal cousins: silver, platinum and palladium.
Worse for gold bugs than petering momentum is the fog that has descended over the traditional, and still constantly repeated, rationale for stocking up on the ancient metal.
Gold is supposed to be the ultimate grumpy person's investment, turned to when the world is going to hell in a handbasket and paper money can no longer be trusted. Despite the rage for exchange-traded products like the SPDR Gold Shares Fund (GLD), 90% of speculative purchases still come in the form of gold bars or coins, stashed in a safe place in case humanity loses faith in more newfangled stores of value, according to Nick Brooks, research director at London-based ETF Securities.
Gold performed according to this script for decades. It soared in the malaise-ridden 1970s, crashed and went moribund in the optimistic '80s and '90s, came roaring back to life after the tech/telecom crash and Sept. 11, 2001. But a funny thing happened to gold prices in 2008: They plummeted like almost every other financial asset in the world. Gold futures dropped 25% between July and October of that fearful year, a similar trajectory to stocks as measured by the S&P 500 ($INX).
Gold rebounded from the crisis earlier and more dramatically than equities, and the world never has a problem explaining rampant success. But since the metal stalled 18 months ago, advocates have been increasingly strained to fit the old justifications for buying to new circumstances. The world has certainly not been short of alarming economic news since mid-2011, nor evidence that its major paper currencies are being "debased," to quote a favorite gold bug term. Plenty of reasons out there to put your remaining savings in metal bars and batten down the hatches.
Yet a helpful chart from ETF securities matching 2011-2012 gold movements to news events shows an erratic pattern. Gold prices sometimes rise when they logically should, as they did after Standard & Poor's downgraded U.S. sovereign credit in September 2011. But sometimes they don't, as when the Federal Reserve announced the "debasing" QE3 (third round quantitative easing) program a year later. Gold fell, as you would expect, after a Greek government bailout deal in March 2012. It also fell, as you would not expect, after the European Central Bank released 489 billion printing-press euros through its Long-Term Refinancing Operation four months earlier.
So all debasements and crises are not created equal as far as gold is concerned. The metal's price shows a more reliable, negative correlation with the value of the dollar, falling as the U.S. currency rises against the euro, and vice versa. But not entirely reliable. The euro has been on a tear lately, gaining 5% against the greenback since mid-November; gold prices have slumped anyway.
The new truth about gold is hiding in plain sight. The time-honored pessimists' choice has become one of more "risk-on" asset in the post-2008 environment. Gold prices have rallied and dipped roughly in lockstep with stocks, as money peeks out from behind the broad skirts of the U.S. Treasury, or skitters back again in apprehension. Again, the last two months have been a notable exception, gold dropping even as the S&P 500 had a 9% runup.
If you want an optimistic bet on today's market, you probably have better options -- starting with platinum, palladium and silver, all of them more beaten down in recent years and more geared to industrial recovery. The LBMA traders' pick for 2013 is silver, slated for a 9% rise over current levels.
Gold could presumably reassert its historic safe-haven role if epic failure by the U.S. Congress overturns the post-2008 order, triggering a default that finally shakes confidence in Treasury bonds and leaves trillions of dollars with nowhere to hide. But in that case the best investment might be canned food and a gun.
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really?? meanwhile in the "of-course-this-prick-would-do-that" files: get a load of this:
Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was indicted Friday on charges that he used his office for personal gain, accepting payoffs, free trips and gratuities from contractors while the city was struggling to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, and takin' 60k worth of bribes here, there, everywhere,
oh my??!!! did George BUsh make him do that!!! I'm sure it's somehow Bush's fault!!! I mean who caused the hurricane called Katrina!! Bush did!! so naturally with all that trauma this bastard prick nagin had no choice but to be a corrupt motherfckr while "his" people that he claimed to "help" and be soooooo concerned for are still treadin' water, that's what you get with democraps!!! filthy, lying corrupt, race baiting hypocritical sons of whores, plain and simple, if there's a black guy in office, corruption GUARANTEED!! I mean they're ENTITLED to white peoples money, taxpayers money, but the WHITE is always implied, truth is truth' nuff said.
wait not just yet, funny how the more osama talks gun control aka 2nd amendment abolition, the more people are racing to the guns stores, buying guns for 2wice what they're worth in some places, keep talkin osama you filthy marxist pig, keep talkin.
Sadly it will never make you wealthy being only a currency and unit of exchange. Why the TV guys love selling it collecting broker fees from suckers.
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The idea of US crude being a shelter from turmoil abroad may not be as far fetched as it seems.
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