Theresa May? 1st UK PM Since Wilson to See Gold Prices Drop

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Published : May 24th, 2019
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But just a £2 goodbye to 'strong + stable' from UK gold price...

CAN'T anyone find a good word for Theresa May? asks Adrian Ash at BullionVault.

Well, perhaps the gold price can.

Buying gold is typically used as a hedge or defence against bad things happening. 

So this seems pretty startling given the unanimous view that Theresa ' strong and stable' May has been a terrible PM.

Because if the UK gold price in Pounds per ounce holds where it is over the next 2 weeks, she will have become the first Prime Minister since Harold Wilson to preside over a drop in the gold price in Sterling terms.

Not much of a drop, admittedly. Just £2 per ounce for UK investors in fact. So more a slight pause than a pullback in a relentless long-term uptrend.

Prime Minister Party Date left No.10 Gold price % change
Harold Wilson Lab 19 Jun 70 17.36 37.7
Edward Heath Con 04 Mar 74 72.83 319.5
Harold Wilson Lab 05 Apr 76 67.94 -6.7
James Callaghan Lab 04 May 79 119.75 76.3
Margaret Thatcher Con 28 Nov 90 194.94 62.8
John Major Con 02 May 97 210.49 8.0
Tony Blair Lab 27 Jun 07 321.47 52.7
Gordon Brown Lab 11 May 10 824.07 156.3
David Cameron Con 13 Jul 16 1014.99 23.2
Theresa May Con 07 Jun 19 1013.00 -0.2

Today's flood of farewells ignore it, of course...

...driving the knife in with a smile and gentle hand on the arm.

"Stoical," tweets May's nemesis, Boris ' the Oaf' Johnson...now widely tipped to win the keys to Number 10...after the Prime Minister wept a tear today and said she will quit as Conservative Party leader, and therefore leave Downing Street, on Friday 7 June, 2019.

A "strong and brave speech" says May's predecessor, two-time referendum-winner but one-time loser David ' Oops! I'm outta here' Cameron.

"It's hard not to feel for Theresa May," says Nigel ' ummm, banana' Farage, "but she misjudged the mood of the country."

"A moving speech...deserves our respect and gratitude," tweets Michael ' who needs experts' Gove.

"A sad but necessary day," says fellow 'Brexiteer' and Tory leader wannabee Steve Baker.

"Very dignified," is the best Andrea ' maternal' Leadsom can manage, following her killer resignation from May's Cabinet with the most damning of faint praise for her former leadership competitor:

"She did her utmost."

As for May's opposition Labour opponent, all that Jeremy ' didn't read it, wasn't involved' Corbyn can offer is a dollop of irony, plus a plea to avoid a second referendum:

Theresa May is right to resign. She's now accepted what the country's known for months: she can't govern, and nor can her divided and disintegrating party.

Whoever becomes the new Tory leader must let the people decide our country’s future, through an immediate General Election.

— Jeremy Corbyn (@jeremycorbyn) May 24, 2019

Mere civilians are almost as blunt.

"Good riddance!" spit readers of the heavily right-wing pro-Brexit Mail Online.

"The worst PM ever," agree most of the others, adding that "She betrayed democracy" – a narrative May's successor (and the rest of us) should pray they escape.

Over on the left, "Self serving...crying for herself," spit readers of The Guardian.

And among financial types, "I can't say anything particularly positive about Theresa May's time in charge," agrees John Stepek, editor of the top-selling UK investment magazine MoneyWeek.

Oddly however, the financial markets can.

Alongside that gentle £6 retreat in gold prices – albeit from jumping 22% on the Brexit referendum result, leaping back towards 2011's all-time highs for UK Pound investors – the FTSE All-Share has meantime risen 10.5% since Mrs.May entered Number 10 Downing Street in mid-July 2016.

With dividends included, the UK stock market has in fact returned 22.6% in total.

Less rewarding, Britain's average house price has also risen, up 5.4% even with a £5,000 retreat from last summer's new eye-watering top of £231,000.

Unemployment has meanwhile fallen to 45-year lows. Average earnings have risen 6.4% in total, just about keeping pace with inflation.

But that gold price fact stands out. Because not since the 1974-76 premiership of Labour leader Harold Wilson has a British Prime Minister seen the Pound edge higher against gold bullion before they resign.

Like May's time in office, Wilson's mid-70s' reign is universally viewed as a disaster (a few old school Labourites aside). The fact gold prices slipped either say that view is awry, or he had nothing to do with it. (Or maybe gold just gave him a break after Wilson, during his first term in 10 Downing Street ending 1970, kick-started the end of the Gold Standard and gold's long bull market with his  shock devaluation of Sterling.)

But maybe buying gold won't defend you against the worst fools, knaves and failures of the political world. Maybe the FTSE's decent return counts for more against gold, a result in itself perhaps of the Brexit paralysis in Parliament leaving the rest of us to get on with trying to scratch a living.

Still, let's see how gold prices respond to the UK's next prime minister before we pass judgement. Because longer term, the trend seems pretty relentless.
You can receive your first gram of Gold free by opening an account with Bullion Vault : Click here.
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Adrian Ash is head of research at BullionVault.com, 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.
WebsiteSubscribe to his services
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