Today, gold is becoming an ever important asset class in the world. Banks nationwide is offering investors the opportunity to invest in gold, whether it is for capital preservation or capital gain. How well you diversify without investing in gold? This is the question being asked by those already investing in gold, and most of them already making profit out of it. But, is it really so different? Is it really a must have asset class?
History of Gold
Gold has been used for numerous monetary functions long long time ago, especially in China. Ancient people used gold as a form of currency and storage of wealth. By using gold as a medium to which paper currency was pegged, most modern international monetary systems were created since then.
What drives up Gold price?
The modern gold rush scenario happened since 2008 global financial crisis, driven by extremely low deposits rate on cash, very volatile equity markets and surging inflation. Negative real value of money is the key factor why many people rushing to gold since then. And of course, the wealth generated by India and China sparked the demand for gold too. Both Indians and Chinese are buying gold as a status they long-been dreaming of.
More people are flocking to Gold
Because of the bad loss-making experience in equity investments during 2008 financial crisis, investors exited the capital markets and were holding record amounts of cash then. However, the low yields on cash and other safer instruments left investors searching for better yield elsewhere. Low volatility, safe asset class, and storage of wealth naturally makes gold investment popular. This is when "Gold rush" sets in, with or without your attention. Yes, we're in the midst of gold rush currently and could persist for few years more.
Emerging Markets is the main drivers
In 2010, 54% of total global demand for gold were for the purposes of making jewelry. Who are these rich people? Yup, Asians were the regular jewelry supporters. Indian demand alone was responsible for around 1/3 of total global demand. This trend is expected to continue as more Indians make their way into the middle class and have the ability to spend their income on gold jewelry.
Following closely was Chinese, whom is beginning to display a trend that could see it overtake the ultimate title in the near future. Traditionally, Chinese cannot runaway from buying gold during Chinese New Year, marriages, new born or even birthdays. This reasons ensure the sustainability of Chinese demand for gold. In total, 40% of global jewelry demand is contributed by Indians and Chinese.
China is the largest gold producing country?
Despite record high gold prices, total mine production was fairly unchanged and remain below levels seen earlier in the decade. This was due to rising production costs and tighter legislation in certain gold producing countries. The latest was in Peru, where protesters were staging a rally for past few days against environment damaged resulted from gold mining activities there.
South Africa, once the largest gold producing country, was overtaken by China since 2007. Hence, China is going to dominate both demand and supply of gold and is expected to continue its pattern of growth going forward.
US and Western Central Banks are largest gold holders?
To re-balance currency reserves, liquidation of gold by central banks globally was a routine procedure. Despite the fact that most western central banks are, for all effects and purposes, over-allocated to gold, annual sales trends began to gradually slow as the effects of financial crisis is not over yet. Obviously, European Central Banks (ECB), have been very hesitant to sell gold from their external reserves back into the marketplace because they view gold as a currency proxy and a way to diversify their holdings. European, from banks to people, prefer to hold gold rather than currency at risk of continue devaluation.
Meanwhile, Emerging countries with particularly small gold holdings as a percentage of reserves currently are diversifying from US dollars. Instead, emerging economies are regular buyers of gold now. As these economies continue its speed to grow bigger, a paradigm shift appears to be unavoidable.
The above factors explained why gold is a different asset class. We cannot simply read the historical trends and using technical analysis tools to predict the gold price directions. Yet, we invest into gold to protect and create wealth, amid the looming economy crisis.