In the modern era, gold ownership has increased despite its extraordinary volatility. There are very
long term but hardly imposing correlations between the price of gold, accumulated inflation, the
trend of financial liquidity and the all-in costs of producing an ounce of gold. The latter has risen
sharply over the years as it has become more difficult to find rich seams that are easy to extract.
As an asset class in the modern era, gold most often comes into favor as an inflation hedge play,
and its price can languish during extended periods of low inflation.
Gold has been advancing in volatile fashion since early 2016 on expectations of faster economic
growth an accompanying cyclical acceleration of inflation. The global economy has been doing better, but the underlying progress of inflation has been subdued as large excess inventories have
had to be whittled down to size. Factory operating rates have been stable but suppressed
so that a range of materials prices have not been swept upward in a fashion typical of a faster pace
of economic growth.
The US dollar has been weak this year as skepticism developed that low inflation would restrain
the Fed from raising short rates. Gold has reacted positively to the weaker dollar, perhaps on the
premise that dollar weakness is a harbinger of future inflation. Gold Price (Weekly).
If the economy continues to progress and there is a quickening of business inventory accumulation,
inflation should mover higher on a cyclical basis and gold holders may profit more over time so
long as investors dot not quickly decide that the Fed will notstand by and tolerate more than a very
mild lifting of the inflation rate.
Longer term, we may need confirmation that the global economy is transitioning away from being
deflation prone back to being inflation prone before gold becomes a sturdier holding. in the mean-
time do not loose sight of the fact that equities players may continue to prefer to rotate into gold
when the stock market gets shaky.
- Peter Richardson
- Retired chief investment officer and former NYSE firm partner with 50 plus years experience in field as analyst / economist, portfolio manager / trader, and CIO who has superb track record with multi $billion equities and fixed income portfolios. Advanced degrees, CFA. Having done much professional writing as a young guy, I now have a cryptic style. 40 years down on and around The Street confirms: CAVEAT EMPTOR IN SPADES !!!