Saturday, May 09, 2009

The gold bugs are chittering - but don't get over-excited

Jeff Clark at Casey Research (htp: The Mogambo Guru) plays with the numbers to estimate gold's potential.

One stat is created from a comparison of all the world's cash with all the world's gold: "Total central banks reserves (including gold holdings) = $4.8 trillion, divided by 929.6 million ounces total gold reserves held by all official institutions that issue currency = $5,246 gold price." Or about £3,500 per ounce.

HOWEVER: the World Gold Council estimates that all the gold ever mined to the end of 2006 is about 158,000 tonnes, or 5,079.7 million ounces. If we round down to 5 billion ounces (to allow for some permanent loss, but offset to some extent by new mining - esp. in China - since 2006) we get a gold price of $960 per ounce - not far off where we are today. Allow a bit of cash held outside banks, and gold would be worth - what? $1,000? $1,200?

Yes, there may be a spike like in 1980 - and there may not be. But speculation/panic aside, it would seem that, globally, the current gold-to-money ratio is not quite so wrong as might seem at first sight. So the story is not really about gold, but about the weakness of the dollar in a heavily unbalanced US economy. Priced in a different, stronger currency, gold may not zoom to the moon.


dearieme said...

"in a different, stronger currency,...": what do you have in mind? Norwegian, Canadian....?

Sackerson said...

You tell me! Japanese yen?

Paddington said...

How about 1931 DeutscheMarke? At least you can be sure what they are worth.