Gold and the Direction of Travel

By: Adrian Ash | Mon, Mar 4, 2013
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Yes, the real rate of interest matters to gold. But not as much as its direction...

Wall Street and the City are coming to decide that gold is a sell. Because interest rates, they reason, are set to rise sooner than they used to imagine.

This professional money is only half-wrong. Central banks aren't about to hike the returns on cash savings, which have been a wasting asset pretty much non-stop since 2007.

But when the central banks do move to defend the real value of cash by hiking rates - or stop beating up short-term rates so badly that longer-term rates start to rise - gold is likely to suffer. Just so long as those hikes actually outpace inflation. Because it's the direction of travel which matters, not any particular level.

Rates Up, Gold Down

See the two fake-outs above? The first, in the mid-1970s, saw gold prices halve in just 18 months, even though the real rate of interest stayed below zero for much of that time.

And once the direction of travel in real interest rates turned around again, gold prices began the second leg of their 1970s' bull market, rising 8-fold between the end of 1976 and the start of 1980.

The second feint came in early 2009, when T-bond yields held steady but inflation went negative on the official CPI index at least. The gold market didn't buy for one second the idea that real rates would stay positive. The Fed wouldn't allow it, gold buyers reasoned (whether they knew it or not). Which now looks a smart call.

Since then, the very worst real rates were offered in September 2011, right when the Dollar gold price hit its current peak of $1920 per ounce. Since then real rates have crept higher. No, today's mere 0.4% might not sound like much. But it's been enough to flatline the gold bull.

Do you think the Fed will now allow or reverse these above-zero debt costs for the US Treasury?

 


 

Adrian Ash

Author: Adrian Ash

Adrian Ash
BullionVault.com

Formerly City correspondent for The Daily Reckoning in London and head of editorial at the UK's leading financial advisory for private investors, Adrian Ash is the head of research at BullionVault, where you can buy gold today vaulted in Zurich on $3 spreads and 0.8% dealing fees.

About BullionVault

BullionVault is the secure, low-cost gold and silver exchange for private investors. It enables you to buy and sell professional-grade bullion at live prices online, storing your physical property in market-accredited, non-bank vaults in London, New York and Zurich.

By February 2011, less than six years after launch, more than 21,000 people from 97 countries used BullionVault, owning well over 21 tonnes of physical gold (US$940m) and 140 tonnes of physical silver (US$129m) as their outright property. There is no minimum investment and users can deal as little as one gram at a time. Each user's unique holding is proven, each day, by the public reconciliation of client property with formal bullion-market bar lists.

BullionVault is a full member of professional trade body the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA). Its innovative online platform was recognized in 2009 by the UK's prestigious Queen's Awards for Enterprise. In June 2010, the gold industry's key market-development body the World Gold Council (www.gold.org) joined with the internet and technology fund Augmentum Capital, which is backed by the London listed Rothschild Investment Trust (RIT Capital Partners), in making an $18.8 million (£12.5m) investment in the business.

For more information, visit http://www.bullionvault.com

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Please Note: This article is to inform your thinking, not lead it. Only you can decide the best place for your money, and any decision you make will put your money at risk. Information or data included here may have already been overtaken by events - and must be verified elsewhere - should you choose to act on it.

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