Gold has long been considered a safe haven during volatile times, especially by “goldbugs” who love the asset for its history and intrinsic value—despite the fact that gold doesn’t offer cash flow or dividends the way stocks do. But while gold prices have always fluctuated wildly, now is a good time to buy it for the long term, contends an article in Barron’s.
Since 1975, gold has returned just 5.6% versus the S&P 500’s 12%, and 8.3% compared to the S&P 500’s 9.7% for the past 20 years. But since October 5th, gold is up 12% and earlier this month gold futures were trading at $2,152 per ounce—a record high. Some strategists believe the gold rally is simply a short-term response to declining bond yields and loosening monetary policy, and the surge will end when those tailwinds die down. But buying gold for the long term can offer opportunities, particularly during times of high inflation or market turmoil. From 1976 to 1980, when crippling inflation caused the S&P 500 to rise only 10.%, gold gained an annualized 56.3%. And from 2001 to 2011, it shot up 20.6% annually versus the S&P 500’s 2.4%, which was decimated by the dot-com burst and the global financial crisis during that period, the article details.
Now there are indications that a similar pattern is playing out; when bond yields rise, for example, gold usually declines, but while that happened early on when the Fed hiked interest rates, gold has since gone up. That reversal “is far from typical behavior and would, thus, seem to be sending an important signal,” Stephanie Pomboy of Macro Mavens wrote, as cited in the article. Pomboy points to the disconnect between gross domestic product and gross domestic income, which rose 3% and fell 0.2% respectively in the 3rd quarter—a dynamic that is rare and that gold’s rise seems to be confirming. And while turbulent conditions can push gold higher, geopolitics can also be a driver; the Israel-Hamas war also seems to be contributing to gold’s recent rally.
Another factor could be the global shift away from the U.S. dollar. That shift won’t happen overnight, but recently countries have begun to commit more to their local currency: in August, for the first time, India purchased oil from the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company using rupees. That kind of de-dollarization could be enough to sustain gold at $2,000 or above. But while global central banks have been buying up record amounts of gold, investors have been slower to jump on the golden bandwagon. Even so, gold could be on track to reach $2400 levels, with some even believing that it could hit $3000 if it closes the year out above $2100, the article concludes.