Saturday , 21 October 2017


2 Misguided Assertions About Gold – Read On Mr. Buffett!

In which form would you prefer to hold your monetary savings — in the form of money that banks can create in unlimited amounts out of nothing, or in the form of a metal that has been used as money for thousands of years and whose supply never increases by more than 2% from one year to the next? The answer…isn’t necessarily straightforward [as] a lot depends on the policies being implemented at the time by central banks and governments [- but let me try.] Words: 1366

So says Steve Saville (www.TheSpeculativeInvestor.com) in edited excerpts from his original article* which Lorimer Wilson, editor of  www.munKNEE.com (Your Key to Making Money!) and www.FinancialArticleSummariesToday.com (A site for sore eyes and inquisitive minds) has edited ([ ]), abridged (…) and reformatted (some sub-titles and bold/italics emphases) below for the sake of clarity and brevity to ensure a fast and easy read. The article’s views and conclusions are unaltered and no personal comments have been included to maintain the integrity of the original article. Please note that this paragraph must be included in any article re-posting to avoid copyright infringement.

Saville goes on to say, in part:

When reading about the pros and cons of investing in gold we regularly come across two misguided assertions:

First Misguided Assertion: Changes in gold’s price in terms of a currency do little more than offset changes in the currency’s purchasng power. To put it another way, gold’s purchasing power is roughly constant over time, meaning that changes in its price are almost solely due to changes in the purchasing power of the money in which the price is denominated.

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The following monthly chart of the inflation-adjusted (IA) US$ gold price disproves the notion that gold’s purchasing power (pp) is roughly constant over time. In particular, it is clear from this chart that there was a huge increase in gold’s pp during 1971-1980, a huge decrease in gold’s pp during 1980-2001, and another huge increase in gold’s pp during 2001-2011. It’s likely that most of our readers were already aware of these 10-20 year swings in gold’s pp, but what is less widely appreciated is that gold’s pp is in a much longer-term upward trend. This ultra-long-term trend dates back to the severing of the last official link between the US$ and gold in 1971.

The fact is that a [troy] ounce of gold [Read: What Do Gold Measurements “Troy” Ounce and “Karat” Really Mean?] has about eight times more purchasing power today than it did when the final US$-gold link was severed in 1971. Furthermore, even if we make the not-unreasonable assumption that the first major leg of the gold rally of the 1970s was primarily a reaction to the gold price having been pegged at an artificially low level for a couple of decades, we still arrive at the conclusion that gold’s pp is in an ultra-long-term upward trend. The reason is that if we take the top of the 1971-1974 rally as our starting point we find that gold’s pp more than doubled over the intervening period.

 
 

In our opinion, the main reason that gold is in an ultra-long-term upward trend in REAL terms is that the overall cost of monetary inflation (creating money out of nothing) is much greater than the reduction in the purchasing power of money. Monetary inflation can make things look better in the short-term, but it leads to the long-term destruction of wealth. The faster the rate of monetary inflation, the greater the amount of wealth that eventually gets destroyed by misdirected investment.

After the ability of the banking system (the central bank and the commercial banks) to create money out of nothing became unconstrained by gold, the average rate of monetary inflation increased. A long-term effect was slower economic progress (slower rate of improvement in living standards) and heightened desire for more savings in terms of a monetary asset that can’t be depreciated at the will of banks and governments.

Second Misguided Assertion: Owning gold is pointless because gold is a sterile, non-productive asset. This assertion emanates from value investors such as Warren Buffett, [read: Warren Buffett On Why Stocks Are Better Investments Than Gold and Bonds] who like to compare the total market value of the world’s gold with the combined market values of a group of large companies (Wal-Mart, Exxon, Intel, etc.) and pose a question along the lines of: What would you rather own — a big chunk of metal that does nothing except sit in a vault or all of these phenomenal businesses? The question is meaningless, because nobody is ever faced with the choice of owning the world’s gold or owning the 30 best companies in the world.

Most people have a range of investments plus some cash savings. In a world where there was no uncertainty there would be no need to maintain any cash savings, but in the real world there is always uncertainty about the future and therefore the desire — on the part of most people — to hold some cash in reserve. Although gold can be a very good investment at times due to the large swings in its pp discussed above, it is the portion of an investor’s portfolio dedicated to cash that gold bullion is ‘tailor made’ to occupy. [Read: Your Portfolio Isn’t Adequately Diversified Without 7-15% in Precious Metals – Here’s Why] This means that gold isn’t in competition with great companies such as Wal-Mart and Apple, it is in competition with the US$ and the euro and the Yen and the other national currencies.

[Given what has been said above,] the question that some value investors have asked in their efforts to disparage gold ownership should be re-phrased as:

In which form would you prefer to hold your monetary savings — in the form of money that banks can create in unlimited amounts out of nothing, or in the form of a metal that has been used as money for thousands of years and whose supply never increases by more than 2% from one year to the next?

Conclusion

[While] the answer to the above question isn’t necessarily straightforward – a lot depends on the policies being implemented at the time by central banks and governments – the obvious answer [is actually two-fold:] 

  1. over the past several years, from our perspective, it has been “the metal” because central banks and governments have been rapidly inflating the supplies of national currencies and generally getting in the way of real economic progress
  2. as things stand today the obvious answer again, from our perspective, is still “the metal” because the Fed is dominated by bozos who truly believe that the economy can be strengthened by counterfeiting money and because the other major central banks are no better.

*http://www.24hgold.com/english/news-gold-silver-common-misconceptions-about-gold.aspx?article=3798967500G10020&redirect=false&contributor=Steve+Saville&mk=1

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