Important information: The value of investments and the income from them, can go down as well as up, so you may get back less than you invest.
In times of crisis or even uncertainty, gold has for centuries, been the ‘go to’ asset for wary investors. Little surprise then that the precious metal has soared in recent months.
At the end of last week the price of gold hit $1,817 an ounce after climbing above $1,800 last week for the first time since 2011. Overall, gold has returned almost 30% over the past 12 months, making it one of the best-performing assets.
Its safe-haven qualities have been renowned for centuries and are what have propelled it so high in the current climate. Given the uncertainty we have seen across the globe since the start of 2020, it is little surprise that investors want a safe place for their money.
Data shows traders poured $40 billion into funds backed by gold in the first half of the year. Investment funds, which provide access to gold and related mining companies, are similarly some of the best-performers of the year so far.
And physical gold has proved increasingly popular as the pandemic has gone on. BullionVault, an online platform for trading physical gold, has seen net demand for gold from its customers buying bullion and coins, hit a record since the start of the pandemic. It is now holding a record 43.6 million tonnes of the yellow metal, worth £2 billion.
And some analysts have even speculated that gold prices could continue to soar. Back in April analysts at the Bank of America gave a prediction that the price could get as high as $3,000 within 18 months. They were not alone. Another suggestion from elsewhere was that we could see gold hit $5,000 an ounce some time in the next five years. Especially as the pandemic and other macroeconomic factors have led to such a high level of government debt around the world. The thinking is that with this likely to devalue the pound, the US dollar and the Euro, the price of gold will be driven only higher still.
The burning question right now though is more likely to be whether gold is now, already, too expensive to buy.
It was George Soros, who, back in 2010, famously dubbed gold “the ultimate bubble”. He argued that gold has very little fundamental value on which its price is based, therefore it can pop far more easily than other assets like company shares, property or oil.
It was also said at a time when the price of gold was soaring – and continued to do so for another 12 months – eventually hitting its all-time high of $1,895. So can it go past that this time around or will it fall again?
You only have to go back to last month, when the world’s economies started to come out of lockdown to see how what goes up, can come down. The price of gold fell 2.4% in the first week of June – still 11% up on the year, but nevertheless trading at around $1,682 an ounce in a shock to those who had bought in thinking the pandemic could only send it higher.
As we have said so many times in the past four months, uncertainty is the only certainty right now and having endless questions about what to invest in, where to invest, even whether to invest are to be expected.