Tuesday, August 31, 2010

FT on the "true value of gold"

Well I'm a bit skeptical that any modern news outlet will accurately pinpoint the true value of gold, but let's give the Financial Times points for trying in this latest piece (hat tip: James Rickards):

"The Baird & Co warehouse sits in a dreary business park, half a mile east of London’s City airport. A black Mercedes and a blue Jaguar near the entrance are the sole touch of glamour. Step inside, and men in overalls are fashioning medallions, bars and rings from molten gold, purified in vats next door.

From an office upstairs, Tony Baird, the company’s managing director, and a former coin dealer, presides over the hubbub. “Gold is stable,” he says. “It’s the value of money that goes up and down.” Baird & Co sells gold to everyone from pension funds to jewellers, and as the MD says: “Our machines can’t work fast enough these days...”

Gold is still hot with investors, especially with leading hedge funds who have entered the trade in recent years, and with more conservative and libertarian-minded individual investors who seek a refuge from the uncertainties of our current government and the eroding paper money system.

As the FT notes in this piece, the leading mints and gold refineries are struggling to keep up with booming demand worldwide. And it's no mystery why, when you acknowledge the fact that many sovereign nations face grave financial problems and deficits that may lead to further "debt monetization", aka inflation via the running of electronic printing presses.

Ron Paul speaks to the problems of fiat money systems in the FT's article.

"...In his book
Gold, Peace and Prosperity, Paul decries the end of the gold standard – the practice of backing currencies with a fixed weighting in the metal, which took many forms through history. President Nixon brought an end to the gold standard in 1971, as part of his attempt to overcome the strain of funding the Vietnam war and the US’s mounting trade deficit. Paul thinks the system of fiat money facilitates “governments’ attempts to inflate, control the economy, run up deficits and fight senseless wars”. He worries, too, that both the supply of paper money and government debt levels are spiralling out of control.

“My beef is with the paper money,” he says. “All the problems we’re having today were destined to happen. Gold plays an important role in the monetary system because it restrains government spending.” Without it, Paul argues, central banks have the power to print money without pausing to consider the consequences, and more impetus to spend it."

Check out the full piece for more on gold from private banker Adam Fleming and Jim Rickards, who is quoted on the issues of GATA, gold short positions by the bullion banks, and rumored gold sales from LTCM in 1998.