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Does It Make Sense to Hold Gold if the Dollar Does Not Collapse?

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Yes, if you consider that we are in a bull market and there are no clear indications that it will end any time soon.

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If the widely discussed collapse of the dollar never materializes, in spite of the current debt levels, can it still be a good idea to hold on to gold? It can, particularly if you consider that we are in a bull market and there are no clear indications that it will end any time soon. What's more, we haven't seen a pronounced phase of exponential growth in prices, nor have we experienced the craze of the third stage of the bull market when everybody and their brother would jump at the opportunity to buy precious metals. We provide some comparisons in the chart below.



The yellow line represents the price of a troy ounce of gold between 1980 and 2012. The solid red line is the price of gold during the 1980 top ($850) corrected for the official US inflation numbers and the dashed red line is the same price corrected for inflation numbers as they would have been calculated prior to a change in the methodology of inflation calculation (accidentally, this change coincides with the 1980 top). In other words, the solid red line shows you how expensive gold would have to be to buy you the same things it bought in 1980 if you followed official data. The dashed line shows you how expensive gold would have to be if you took into account unofficial data.

As of the end of November 2012, according to official US Bureau of Labor Statistics, gold would have had to trade at $2,527.24 to match the 1980 top. It traded at $1,719.00, which could imply that if the top were to be seen in the nearest future (very unlikely), gold could shoot up by 47.0%.

Taking a look at the unofficial data, gold would have to appreciate to $9,548.34 to be able to buy you the same amount of goods it did in 1980. Compared to the price of $$1,719.00 (end of November 2012), this would mean an appreciation of 455.5% (!). The target of $10,000 without the collapse of the dollar seems far-fetched, but even if the unofficial numbers exaggerate the inflation, and the latter has been so far somewhere between the official and unofficial numbers, this would mean a possible price for gold beyond $2,500.

If the bull market continues throughout the next years and plays out similarly as the previous one without the collapse of the dollar, we see the gold-going-to-$2,500 scenario as a worst case one and the gold-going-to-$10,000 as a possibility. $2,500 might be a worst-case scenario because:
  • The longer it takes for the bull market to end, the higher the nominal target will be (because of the inflation).
  • The bull market of 1980 was limited to the U.S. and Western Europe. Right now, there is a much broader audience to participate in the bull market. For instance, countries from Central and Eastern Europe, as well as China and India.
  • Technological advances have made the information flow considerably easier than in 1980. It is easier now to enter the market quickly. To reverse one's position is just a matter of seconds or minutes rather than hours, which suggests that the volatility and price moves in the end phase of the bull market, may be substantial.
In short, if the 1980 top is anything to go by, then even if there's no dollar collapse ahead of us, it still may be a good idea to be invested in precious metals.

Thank you for reading. Have a great and profitable week!

For the full version of this essay and more, visit Sunshine Profits' website.

Twitter: @SunshineProfits
No positions in stocks mentioned.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.

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