It depends. Yes, if what I want is the chance to buy in well below trend and "make a killing"; but perhaps not, even now, if I'm merely seeking something that may protect my savings against inflation.
There are so many ways to define inflation, especially if you are a government incentivised to keep the official figure low. But let's take a look at one monetarist measure, the Mises Institute's "True Money Supply", and compare that to the price of gold since 1971 (the year of the "Nixon shock"):
According to the above, gold is just about on its long-term trend line; not a bargain, but that's not the issue here. However, that trend does include the dramatic spike of 1980, from which peak it took some years to climb down. So let's re-do the line from 1985 onwards:
Seen this way, we're a little above average at the moment, which is perhaps why Marc Faber is hoping for a near-term pullback of $100 - $200; but it's not egregiously high, which doubtless explains why he still sees it as his favourite investment.
Another straw in the wind is a comment by an investment banker on a recent blog-piece of mine entitled "Cash: the investment of the century". "Wolfie" says (Aug. 17):
"I'm currently 100% cash but I think the time has come to break cover and take a 30-40% gold holding. A storm gathers."
I certainly have to take seriously an industry insider who is clearly as bearish and cash-based as myself, but wouldn't you know it, I've been in the USA for the last fortnight and unable to do anything about it up till now.
Perhaps it's "a sign" that I was in NY for Tuesday's 'quake and had to fly out of Newark two days early, just ahead of Hurricane Irene. In any case, I'm now considering following Wolfie's suit sometime soon, even though I don't like the price much. For in the mass of unused money in bank holdings lodged with the Federal Reserve, and also with the more fortunate of transnational corporations who have been fleecing the American consumer for decades and blaming the Chinese who get to see only 15% of the action, lies true storm force potential.
I think we have some time yet before the cloud of cash makes landfall - I've been eyeing 2016 as the approximate end of the real underlying recession - but I shan't delay my preparations quite that long. As the ancient Greek saying goes, there is no borrowing a sword in time of war.
INVESTMENT DISCLOSURE: None. Still in cash (and index-linked National Savings Certificates), and missing all those day-trading opportunities.