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  • Why Gold Is A Bubble 0 comments
    Apr 17, 2013 4:56 AM | about stocks: GLD, GDX

    My opinion is that gold is a bubble. I agree with George Soros in that respect.

    All of its value as insurance is dependent on other investors believing it has value as insurance. If no one believes it has value as insurance, no one owns it.

    There was a misconception that low interest rates and QE would cause inflation that was dramatically in excess of historical inflation levels. That fueled a rise in gold and at that time, it was the right trade to make. It was a trade that felt right and it was right... people were scared of paper currencies and it was appropriate to play on that fear.

    But now, that fear is ending. People are regaining faith in paper currencies.

    One important point is that QE has not fueled fast lending growth. Go to the Federal Reserve's website if you want to see the latest stats on lending growth. It's low. You need lending growth for inflation to occur.

    If lending does pick up, the economy would be picking up and QE would come off the table and interest rates would rise. In that scenario the perceived need to own gold would decline.

    If lending doesn't pick up, inflation stays in check, and people increasingly realize that inflation is in check and gold declines. If nominal GDP growth exceeds lending growth, that's an additional negative for gold.

    In either scenario, gold loses.

    Further smart investors recognize that the bubble-like nature of gold is ending so they are getting out as well, and that is exacerbating the decline.

    Gold has no fundamental value in the sense that it's not a cash producing asset. Businesses and real estate are cash producing assets.

    If the goal is to protect against inflation, equities do that, and because they produce cash, they are much safer investments than gold.

    The only real value gold has is for jewelry and industrial uses. About 50% of above ground gold is owned by investors. That means that investors and not jewelry buyers set the price. Gold may be interesting as an inflation hedge if 95% of above ground gold were in jewelry, but that's not the case. The price of gold is primarily determined by what investors will pay for it. Investors can get in and out of gold in a flash via ETF selling.

    This is why buying gold is ultimately speculation - speculation on how much gold investors will buy in the future together with jewelry and industrial demand (with investor buying being the much more liquid and important component of that).

    Stocks: GLD, GDX
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