Category Archives: Gold

BullionVault Gold Saving Plan

Hello dear blog readers. It’s been a while since I made a post about gold, but I just recently found out about this exciting news from BullionVault that I had to share. Those of you who are regular readers of my blog know that I’m a big fan of allocated storage/marketplace provider BullionVault. The exciting news is that BullionVault has launched a “gold saving plan,” and it is precisely what it sounds like. With this you can regularly and automatically invest in gold. Here is how BullionVault describes their product offering:

“You can now build up regular savings in gold without needing to place orders yourself or deal directly on BullionVault’s online market.
BullionVault’s new Automatic Gold Investment Plan allows you to buy gold regularly with minimum effort.
Simply enable the new feature in your account settings and arrange for a monthly deposit into your BullionVault account from your bank. Each payment will then be used to buy gold automatically at the price set at the next London Fix, the global benchmark used in the professional wholesale markets.
A dealing charge of 0.8% applies. Your gold will be stored at the usual costs in the Zurich vault. You can stop making deposits or sell your bullion and withdraw your funds at any time, without notice or penalty.”

This is a very neat ability to have and I for one am seriously considering taking advantage of it. Check out BullionVault’s homepage for further details.

Happy investing everyone!

Cheers,

Alan.

Gold is Good Money

ron paul

Last year the Chairman of the Federal Reserve told me that gold is not money, a position which central banks, governments, and mainstream economists have claimed is the consensus for decades.  But lately there have been some high-profile defections from that consensus.  As Forbes recently reported, the president of the Bundesbank (Germany’s central bank) and two highly-respected analysts at Deutsche Bank have praised gold as good money.

Why is gold good money?  Because it possesses all the monetary properties that the market demands: it is divisible, portable, recognizable and, most importantly, scarce – making it a stable store of value. It is all things the market needs good money to be and has been recognized as such throughout history.  Gold rose to nearly $1800 an ounce after the Fed’s most recent round of quantitative easing because the people know that gold is money when fiat money fails.

Central bankers recognize this too, even if they officially deny it.  Some analysts have speculated that the International Monetary Fund’s real clout is due to its large holdings of gold.  And central banks around the world have increased their gold holdings over the last year, especially in emerging market economies trying to protect themselves from the collapse of Western fiat currencies.

Fiat money is not good money because it can be issued without limit and therefore cannot act as a stable store of value. A fiat monetary system gives complete discretion to those who run the printing press, allowing governments to spend money without having to suffer the political consequences of raising taxes.  Fiat money benefits those who create it and receive it first, enriching government and its cronies.  And the negative effects of fiat money are disguised so that people do not realize that money the Fed creates today is the reason for the busts, rising prices and unemployment, and diminished standard of living tomorrow.

This is why it is so important to allow people the freedom to choose stable money.  Earlier this Congress I introduced the Free Competition in Currency Act (H.R. 1098) to permit people to use gold as money again. By eliminating taxes on gold and other precious metals and repealing legal tender laws, people are given the option between using good money or fiat money. If the government persists in debasing the dollar – as money monopolists have always done – then the people would be able to protect themselves by using alternatives such as gold that are both sound and stable.

As the fiat money pyramid crumbles, gold retains its luster.  Rather than being the barbarous relic Keynesians have tried to lead us to believe it is, gold is, as the Bundesbank president put it, “a timeless classic.”  The defamation of gold wrought by central banks and governments is because gold exposes the devaluation of fiat currencies and the flawed policies of government.  Governments hate gold because the people cannot be fooled by it.

Ron Paul

Gold: Not Just for Nutjobs

By: Zoe Tustain, BullionVault

Squirreling away a gold reserve no longer seems nuts…

THERE ARE some who seem to think only western speculators buy gold – either that or paranoid conspiracy theorists preparing for Armageddon.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, China and India alone account for more than half of the world’s gold demand, while central banks – not exactly known for being gung ho – are increasingly using their reserves to buy gold.

In fact, the world’s central banks bought more gold in the first half of this year than they did in the whole of 2010, according to figures published by the World Gold Council.

Away from the debt-laden economies of Europe and the US, both advanced and developing nations have added to their official gold bullion reserves:

  • South Korea almost tripled its gold reserves by buying 25 tonnes of gold in the last two months.
  • The Bank of Thailand bought 27 tonnes since March.
  • Mexico bought over $4 billion worth of Gold (about 90 tonnes) in the first quarter of 2011.

And it’s not just central banks. All across the world, private individuals are choosing to store more of their wealth as gold.

Take India. The world’s largest gold market last year spent a staggering 2.5% of its GDP on gold. Four years ago the figure was only 1.5%. The implication is clear – as India’s economy grows, Indians are putting a bigger slice of their income into gold.

In economic terms, Indians’ marginal propensity to buy gold – the share of additional income allocated to the metal – has gone up.

In 2006, Indians on average spent around $1.40 of every extra $100 they earned on gold. By 2010, this had jumped to over $7.

We find the same story in China – source of the world’s second-largest private gold bullion demand.

In 2010, the percentage of GDP spent on gold in China was a mere 0.4%, a figure dwarfed not only by India, but also neighboring Vietnam – where the equivalent of 3.1% of GDP was used to buy gold in 2010.

But if we look at China’s marginal propensity to buy gold we see the same sort of growth.

Four years ago, for every extra $100 of income in China, less than one third of a Dollar went on gold. By last year it had jumped to $1 – lagging behind India, but still a remarkable rate of growth.

Individuals in these emerging powerhouses have increasing confidence in gold and are willing to invest more of their money in it.

“Paper money is increasingly worthless and they are worried about inflation” explains Shi Heqing, an analyst at state-backed metals consultancy Antaike in Beijing.

Hardly surprising – China’s consumer price inflation rose to 6.5% in July – up from 3.3% a year earlier.

But why are people choosing to buy gold? Of all things, why an industrially useless piece of shiny metal?

Because, in a sense, it’s uselessness is what makes it so valuable. Because it has no industrial use – and because, unlike paper money, it cannot be produced from thin air via “quantitative easing” – its stock is stable over time.

Thanks to these properties, gold has proven itself as a store of value over thousands of years. And with returns elsewhere so difficult to attain – thanks to low interest rates and stock market weakness – investors are now more interested in preserving capital than chasing return.

So it is not a random choice that has led so many to buy gold. They’re choosing gold because it works.

They may be squirreling away a winter reserve, but these days, that’s not nuts.

Zoe Tustain

Zoe Tustain is working as a research assistant at BullionVault, the No.1 gold and silver ownership service for private investors.

(c) BullionVault 2011

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.

Gold Value: Where to Now?

bullionvault

Gold value presentation from Paul Tustain of BullionVault

Gold remains materially under-valued, says BullionVault founder and CEO Paul Tustain – even now, after 6 years of almost continuous price rises.

Based on historical data, in fact – plus his expectations of future inflation – Paul Tustain believes the true value of gold is nearer $3,844 per ounce today.

Leading finance columnists have already called his gold value analysis “a bold view…giving more reasons to buy gold.” Paul’s new 5-part presentation shows why. You can download this video here, for free.

Part 1 – Gold fundamentals (17 mins)

Part 2 – Debt and Keynes (17 mins)

Part 3 – Commodities & our standard of living (10 mins)

Part 4 – Western currency devaluation (24 mins)

Part 5 – Valuing gold (23 mins)

Gold, says Paul Tustain, can “rescue your finances when things go badly wrong.” Its value today comes because “our governments have behaved very irresponsibly,” he believes, “and we’re now not so different from the ‘banana republics’ which have lurched from crisis to crisis over the last 100 years.

“I think our future is likely to look a bit like their past.”

Paul Tustain’s gold value of $3,844 is not a prediction of its future price; it is what BullionVault’s analysis says the precious metal is worth today on a risk-adjusted basis, calculated as an actuary would value insurance.

Gold’s value is open to debate, of course. So you can challenge and judge what you think gold is worth for yourself, using the Gold Value Calculator which Paul created for his research.

Download the Gold Value Calculator used in Part 5.

Please Note: This presentation 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.

BullionVault Gold Holdings Break $1 Billion – Up 49% On The Year!

bullionvault banner

Hello fellow gold bugs. I’ve got some gold related news to share with you. Gold holdings at my favorite online gold dealer BullionVault are now valued at over $1 billion, up 49% from a year earlier, the company said. The steep increase is a reflection of “continued demand” for gold as a store of wealth, BullionVault said.

“Despite a recent dip in prices below their all time high of $1,430 a troy ounce in early December, our $1 billion milestone indicates that demand for the traditional inflation hedge remains strong due to the ongoing threat of currency devaluation,” said Adrian Ash, head of research at BullionVault.

By volume, BullionVault customers now own more than 22 metric tons of physical gold, the equivalent to total gold holdings in Morocco and 4.5 tons more than in Sri Lanka. The dealer’s silver holdings now stand at more than 150 tons. BullionVault has over 21,000 customers in 97 countries, with an average holding of $48,000.

Good to see more people doing the smart thing and protecting their hard earned wealth by buying gold.

By the way, I syndicate all of Adrian Ash’s articles over at my finance blog, so if you’re intersted stop by.

Cheers,

Alan

Why is Gold so Strong?

gold bar

Gold is a highly coveted commodity, but is the causal factor for the strength of the value of gold as simple as it being in high demand? The reason gold is so strong is a combination of factors including its popularity, its stability and its uselessness for anything much more than adornments.

The demand for gold is due to many factors and can be attributed to the fact that the demand for gold is not easily satisfied, giving it value because it is unattainable and rare. Gold is also unique in the fact that even after someone has obtained it, they still want more, with each acquisition being just as valuable. This is known as marginal utility, and this is a trait which gold shares with money – even though you have money you always want more, but you have to work hard to obtain it.

The marginal utility of gold has been high throughout history and most of the 155,000 tonnes which have been mined are still in existence. Despite this, we still mine for gold and extract what we can, making it the most hoarded commodity in the world. Silver was coveted alongside gold for some time, until it was discovered that this metal had industrial uses in photography and electronics for example. Similarly platinum has a price which is much greater than gold, but is not hoarded either, instead being used in industry, primarily in vehicle engines.

However, gold does not have a use which is sufficient enough to encourage us to part with it as an asset. Gold is also easily used as a currency because it is denser than most other metals, is immutable and does not corrode and this allows money exchangers to easily verify the authenticity. Gold is also the most malleable and ductile metal in existence which makes it easily divisible and has historically made gold a preferred metal for coins which cannot be counterfeited.

The Supply of Gold

The rules of supply and demand have proven that when there is an imbalance between supply and demand, prices adjust to correct it. This means that if demand exceeds supply, the price of a commodity will increase to a point where demand reduces due to affordability restrictions, or supply increases to take advantage of the demand.

This balance between supply and demand is always changing and so prices are always adjusting to compensate however, an imbalance has existing in the gold industry for some time because commercial demand is much greater than worldwide production. If this situation were facing any other commodity the prices of that commodity would soar. However, since gold is not consumed – but hoarded – this is not the case. Of the amount of above ground stock of gold, around 120,000 tonnes is available to source at any time. Plus, these stocks are increasing at a relatively rapid rate of around 1.7% each year with the largest annual increase in the last 50 years being 2.1% and the smallest of 1.4% and with advances in technology, the average growth rate of 1.7% per year is expected to continue.

Gold in Demand

Gold is in demand because of its safety as an investment with turbulent financial markets around the world. It is central banks, mutual fund managers, residents from developing countries and refugees of war who have been fleeing a panicked market in pursuit of gold investments. Therefore while gold is essentially useless because you can’t fuel your car with it or take it to the supermarket, this inanimate rock is seen as a safe haven for investments.

At the beginning of the 21st century gold was seen as a relic, and the gold price was just under $300 an ounce. Since then a change has developed in the gold and silver markets where demand is coming from the jewellery market, and from rural and agricultural demand from India, while in the developed world gold was bought as a supplementary asset and often played a complimentary role in jewellery alongside precious stones.

Despite the agricultural sector in India being relatively poor, 70% of the demand for gold came from this area to fulfil the cheaper side of the jewellery market and as financial security for newlyweds. Since food prices were not increasing, there was more income available to buy gold and in this instance the higher prices did not decrease demand.

In western economies gold made the transition from a cheap component of jewellery to an investment as it was turned into small bars and coins. The demand for gold had become a desire for wealth and a way to protect investments from the unstable money systems. Many institutions have also found they inadvertently invested in gold with the introduction of the gold Exchange Traded Funds which sold shares in gold mining companies to those forbidden from physically owning gold. The holdings of these trust funds places them as the fifth largest gold owners including central banks.

For central banks the pressure from politicians and bankers for a paper only currency with no holdings in gold has seen gold sold off, and sidelined as a form of money, which in turn increases the supply of gold. However, in 2007 the finance industry realised that gold was useful in counteracting the swings in the value of the dollar and Germany was the first nation to refrain from other European countries selling their gold. European banks eventually stopped selling entirely while at the same time China and Russia began buying gold assets at a rate to rival the central bank.

Gold is now recognised as a vital asset to have in reserve and higher gold prices have actually lead to higher demand and more buying. Gold prices, and silver, rise in relation to global financial uncertainty and as a result more and more investors are looking to gold, often for the first time. These investors are not seeking out gold to make a profit but to instead preserve the wealth they have in a safe asset.

The Strength of Gold in the Current Market

The value of gold is currently experiencing record highs of 1400.00 and silver is trading at a 30 year high of 27.50 and although the American dollar is strengthening, financial markets are finally taking notice of the situations in Europe. Germany is expecting bonds holders to carry some if not all of the burden from this point and while that is the intention of bond market, investors are distancing themselves from the debt surrounding a lot of Europe.

Where there is no EU baking, investors in Greece, Ireland and Spain feel they are not being adequately compensated for the risk they are taking with these debts and the spread between Irish bonds and the German bonds which are the benchmark is 550bp which is a new record. This now means it is cheaper to insure Iraqi debt than debt for Ireland.

However, the issue is greater than just the un-saleability of Irish bonds because just as the euro dropped four figures, gold surged ahead, being valued at more than EUR1000 which is almost on par with the all time high of EUR1051.40 which was reached at the height of the Greek financial crisis. The President of the World Bank Robert Zoellick has pointed out that gold needs to be once again used as an international reference point for inflation, deflation and future currency values, and that those countries with gold stores can benefit from these strong prices.

The Strength of Gold in the Future

While it is possible to estimate where the above ground stock levels of gold will be in the future in relation to demand from the fashion and jewellery industry, with more gold being held for monetary purposes its future value can be harder to ascertain. Gold investors will determine the value of their stores based on economic, political and personal factors to help them decide when to sell, and others looking to invest in gold for monetary reasons will use the same factors in their decision.

With such a range of variables dictating the price of gold, and factors which can be as fickle as an emotional urge or a political decision the future gold price is also measured against the US dollar, which is constantly changing, making the future value of gold hard to pin down. The value of the US dollar is dictated by changes in quantity and quality, however, it s true value is linked to the financial and political system which can be just as unpredictable.

If the future value of gold were to be considered for investment purposes, investors should be aware of the risks of short term commodities trading. The success of trading in commodities is dependent on knowing and understanding what others will be doing in the short term and a seemingly good investment can sell at a low.

Instead, investors in gold markets should not be doing so in search of a profit, but instead as a way to add security and stability to their investments when currencies are fluctuating and debt levels are uncertain and rising and a gold bar will be as solid in 20 years as it is right now.

Alban

Alban is a personal finance writer at Home Loan Finder, a home loan comparison website.