Long-Term Expectations for Gold
Putting aside the current issues for the U.S economy and concentrating on the long-term factors affecting the gold price, we can identify several reasons to invest in gold. Gold is well-known for its capability to act as a buffer against deflation and inflation so I won’t be spending too much time on these factors. The more important driver for the gold price in the long-term is the likely devaluation of the U.S Dollar.
As I mentioned in my previous article the Dollar has lost 96% of its value since the abolishment of the Gold Standard and the establishment of the FED. In healthy economic situations gold tends to move inversely to the Dollar and the Dollar has lost 30% of its value since 2001, which explains why the value of gold was going up even before the Credit Crunch. Taking a closer look at the U.S economy, we can see more problems ahead.
Before the Credit Crunch the U.S trade deficit was around $60 billion a month because importing goods, mainly from Asia, was much cheaper than buying the same products from domestic manufacturers. This dragged the Dollar down and pushed to the price of gold up. Now, when people are more aware of the issues weighing on the current monetary system and the quality of Asian products is improving all the time, it is likely that consumers will keep purchasing the cheaper foreign products, even after the recession. This will increase the trade deficit even more and deepen the slide of the Dollar.
The most alarming news for the Dollar is coming from the East since China, the fastest growing economy and the biggest financier of America, is trying to internationalise and stabilise its currency. If China is successful in this, it would not have to hold a huge amount of Dollars as a reserve currency anymore. As the value of the Dollar has been decreasing for such a long time, it is unlikely that any government would be interested in buying trillions of Dollars floating into the markets from China. The only place where the Dollars could go is home to the U.S, and these trillions on top of what the FED has already printed would cause significant inflation pressure just when the economy is starting to stabilise in the future. This leads us back to the basic virtues of gold investments.
The main physical driver for gold is also coming from China as its citizens are getting wealthier and the government is encouraging them to invest in gold. The Chinese government agreed on plans to liberalize its gold markets a few months ago, which will help banks and private investors to buy gold from abroad. Analysts have forecasted that the China’s per capita gold demand could match the numbers from India in the near future, which would mean a 200 tonne increase in physical bullion demand.
Recent turmoil in the global economy has made investors realise the shocking state of the global monetary system and made them more cautious in their investment decisions. Even slightly disappointing news is driving them towards hard assets, such as physical gold. Some speculators are convinced that gold is the next bubble to burst but when looking at the inflation related gold price, we are not even near the 1980s figures when gold was hovering at around $2200 per ounce.
To conclude, we feel that gold has a long way to go before the past price barriers are going to be an issue for future price growth.