• Introduction – Gold in 2011
• Money Creating Central Banks May Push Gold to New Nominal Record in
• Central Banks Will Continue To Be Net Buyers of Gold
• China Foreign Exchange Diversification Should Support Demand
• PIIGS Lesson: Iceland Shows How Gold Protects From FX Crises
• Currency Wars and Competitive Currency Devaluations
• Falling Confidence in Paper Assets, Bank Deposits May Prompt Physical
• Gold Remains A Historically and Academically Proven Safe Haven
• Conclusion – Gold in 2012
With just a few trading days left in 2011, we can take stock of gold’s
performance vis-à-vis other assets.
Gold is 13.7% higher in USD, 12% higher in GBP and
14.4% higher in EUR. Gains were seen in all fiat currencies and even
stronger performing fiat currencies such as the CNY (yuan)
and JPY (+9% and +8.75% respectively).
G10 and Gold in USD in 2011 (YTD)
Stock markets globally had a torrid year with the
S&P500 down 1.3%, the FTSE down 8% and the CAC and DAX down 19% and 15%
respectively. Asian stock markets also fell with the Nikkei down 17%, the
Hang Seng 20% and the Shanghai SE down 22%.
The MSCI World Index fell 9%.
Thus, gold again acted as a safe haven and protected
and preserved wealth over the long term.
While gold reached record nominal highs at $1,915/oz in August, it is important to continually emphasize
that gold remains well below the real high, adjusted for inflation, in 1980
Gold today at $1,625/oz is
18% below the record nominal high of $1915/oz in
August 2011. More importantly, gold remains 46% below its real high of
Since 2003, we have said that gold would likely reach
the real high from 1980 for a variety of important fundamental reasons
– such as global debt levels, global demographics and geopolitical,
macroeconomic, monetary and systemic risk.
Money Creating Central Banks May Push Gold to New
Nominal Record in 2012
Money Creating (Electronic and Printing) Central Banks
Push Gold to Nominal Records (2008-2011)
Global money supply continued to rise in 2011 and
helped push gold prices to all-time highs on the fear of currency debasement.
If accommodative monetary policies continue as the dominant tool for central
banks, precious metals will almost certainly continue to benefit.
Were this trend to turn, responsible monetary policy
actions could hinder returns. We see no prospect of this in the short term
– and little prospect in the medium term.
Central Banks Will Continue To Be Net Buyers of Gold
Gold Diversifying Central Banks Should Support Demand
Central banks have bought about 30 million ounces of gold since March 2009, about 12% of global demand
on trailing 10-quarter basis. As central banks focus on stimulating
growth, negative real interest rates in
developing nations should continue to push diversification of foreign
exchange reserves, which may encourage bullion purchases.
Central bank gold reserves are likely to return to the
levels seen in the 1970’s and 1980’s due to a significant
reappraisal of monetary risk and a recognition of gold’s increasing
importance as a monetary asset.
China Foreign Exchange Diversification Should Support
China Adds Gold in Diversifying Foreign Holdings
China, one of the largest buyers of U.S. Treasuries,
has publicly said that it intends to continue to diversify its
foreign-exchange holdings. The total volume of China's Treasury holdings
appears to be showing the first yoy declines in 10
years while gold reserves continue to increase by about 30% a year.
Creditor nation central banks gold holdings remain very
small when compared to western debtor nation gold holdings which are
generally well over 50%.
It is important to note that the People’s Bank of
China’s gold reserves (officially at 1,054 tonnes)
remain very small when compared to those of the U.S. (8,133 tonnes) and indebted European nations - such as Italy
with 2,452 tonnes.
China's growing gold reserves are miniscule when
compared with China’s massive foreign exchange reserves of over $3.1
trillion. The People’s Bank of China is almost certainly continuing to
quietly accumulate gold bullion reserves. Common sense alone strongly
suggests that they are.
As was the case previously, the Chinese government will
not announce their gold bullion purchases to the market in order to ensure
they accumulate their gold reserves at more competitive prices. They also do
not wish to create instability or falls in or runs on the dollar and or euro
– thereby devaluing their sizeable reserves.
PIIGS Lesson: Iceland Shows How Gold Protects From FX
Iceland Shows How Forex
Crises Move Gold
The steep declines of Iceland's krona in 2008 and
Argentina's peso in 2002 show how gold can outperform in a depreciating
currency. As the likelihood of default increases, the bulk of the gains in
gold priced in the currency are realized within the first few months.
The people of the so called “PIIGS” -
Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain – are all at risk of
currency devaluations. Some estimate the risk as high, others low but
investors and savers in these countries should protect themselves by having
an allocation to gold that will protect them from “bank holidays”
and currency devaluations.
Currency Wars and Competitive Currency Devaluations
it is not just the “PIIGS” who are at risk. The risk in periphery
European nations will likely be of a sharp overnight or weekend devaluation
(or a series of such devaluations) and reversion to their national
currencies. However all nations, PIIGS and non PIIGS alike, are at risk of
currency devaluations and currency wars.
Currency wars and the debasement of currencies for
competitive advantage poses real risks to the long term stability and
prosperity of all democracies in the world and to the finances and savings of
people in all countries.
Falling Confidence in Paper Assets, Bank Deposits May
Prompt Physical Deliveries
Falling Faith in Currency May Spur Gold Deliveries
(Charts Courtesy of Bloomberg Industries)
Current market turmoil is likely to continue and may
even deepen. The prospect of sovereign defaults is real which could see confidence
in paper assets, particularly sovereign debt, further erode. Contagion means
that even AAA rated debt is no longer risk free.
Institutions and high net worth and retail clients
taking physical delivery of gold given a decline in confidence would put
pressure on exchanges to deliver because the amount of metal represented in
open interest is nearly six times (5.8) the amount of metal in inventory.
Gold Remains An Historically and Academically Proven
for continually emphasizing how gold is a historically and academically
proven safe haven.
We feel it is very important that investors and savers
understand this and are frustrated by the continuing significant degree of
ignorance regarding the gold market and gold’s role as a diversification,
a store of wealth and a wealth preservation asset.
Some of the media and some experts continue to focus
solely on gold’s price and not its value as a diversification for
portfolios. Many economists and other experts have been suggesting that gold
is a bubble for a number of years and suggested that again at the beginning
of 2011 and again recently.
The facts, the data and the charts strongly suggest
that this is not the case. In August, we presented
‘Is Gold a Bubble? 14 Charts, the Facts and
the Data Suggest Not’. Many of the charts were long term
in nature (2000-2011 and 1970-2011) and remain important today.
Whether gold is a bubble or not is not the fundamental
question. What is far more important is that there is now a large body of
academic and independent research showing gold is a safe haven asset.
Numerous academic studies have proved gold’s
importance in investment and pension portfolios – for both enhancing
returns but more importantly reducing risk.
The importance of owning gold in a properly diversified
portfolio has been shown in studies and academic papers by Mercer Consulting,
Bruno and Chincarini, Scherer, Baur
and McDermott, Lucey, Ciner
and Gurdgiev and by the asset allocation
An academic paper, ‘Hedges and Safe Havens – An Examination of
Stocks, Bonds, Oil, Gold and the Dollar' by Dr Constantin Gurdgiev and Dr Brian Lucey and
was presented in November at a conference hosted by the Bank for
International Settlements, the ECB and the World Bank.
This excellent research paper clearly shows gold's
importance to a diversified portfolio due to gold's "unique properties
as simultaneously a hedge instrument and a safe haven."
Oxford Economics research on gold in
July 2011, showed how gold is a good hedge against inflation as well as
Only last week, more excellent independent research was released
confirming gold's unique role as a diversifier and foundation asset in the
portfolios of investors, especially at a time of heightened currency,
investment and systemic risk.
The independent research once again confirms the
importance of gold as a portfolio diversifier to investors and as a store of
Conclusion – Gold in 2012
market participants and non gold and silver experts
tend to focus on the daily fluctuations and “noise” of the market
and not see the “big picture” major change in the fundamental
supply and demand situation in the gold and silver bullion markets –
particularly due to investment and central bank demand from China, the rest
of an increasingly wealthy Asia and creditor nation central banks.
Support for the price of gold should come from the
rising global money supply coupled with increasing investor and central bank
purchases which have been driven by falling real interest rates and concerns
about the euro, the dollar and other fiat currencies as stores of value.
Tighter monetary policies, as seen in the late
1970’s, would likely help alleviate fears of further currency
debasement but it is extremely unlikely that this will be seen in 2012.
Indeed, ultra loose monetary policies, debt
monetization, competitive currency devaluations and global currency wars look
set to continue – if not intensify.
Gold will likely reward investors internationally in
2012 as it did in 2011 and will again be an essential diversification for
anyone wishing to protect and grow wealth in what will be a very volatile
2012 and in the coming volatile years.
Wishing you and yours a Happy Christmas and a
prosperous and healthy 2012!