I took heat in other threads for maintaining that gold was more currency than commodity; you can always sell it and use it, in effect, as a currency. Thus, as true commodities like oil and copper deflate, gold goes up during times of economic uncertainty. No, you can’t buy a candy bar with it, but gold is always, always the safe haven during a crisis, and if this isn’t a crisis…. I think this theory holds water.
Meanwhile the dollar is doing great, for now. That’s not due to any great faith in the US economy, rather to the awfulness of other currencies (have you checked the Euro lately?). When the auto industry goes belly-up in April, the dollar will crash, hard.
Investors have taken to terming the flight from risky assets into gold a new currency trade. The ongoing concern about the enormous task of getting the world’s banks on track — bedeviling investors across the globe — has produced a safe-haven trade into the likes of Treasurys and the dollar. However, the dollar’s success is, in some ways, a mirage, improving only because other major world currencies have been dreadful.
The dollar has strengthened in the last couple of months, along with gold, which is an odd occurrence, and speaks to the dearth of worthy investments around the world. But the shift to gold has picked up as “everyone is trying to devalue their own currency against everyone else,” says Sean Peche, manager at BlueAlpha Investment Advisory Limited in London.
Gold is nearing its highs from last summer.
That explains the dollar’s strength of late, one founded on risk aversion. Since the beginning of the year, the dollar has gained 9.5% against the euro and 2.3% against the pound, while gold, in dollar terms, is up 9.4%. The yellow metal closed up $25.50 to $967 an ounce Tuesday, highest since July 17, 2008. “Gold is telling you the dollar’s rally is not going to continue,” says Lance Lewis, fund manager at Lewis Capital Partners.
Please fasten your seatbelts. Gold is going to $2,000. I know, I have no idea what I’m talking about, as my earlier posts indicate. It was 880 when I last posted about it two weeks ago; now it’s near 1,000.
Dali is like heaven. It wasn’t on our agenda, we sort of stumbled here, and don’t want to leave. Onto Chongqing tonight.
Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.