Readers of this blog will know that I have a long position still in gold as I expect real assets to come to the fore in the wake of excessive liquidity injection and the upcoming decimation of value in major currencies. There have been two parties who have just come out with bullish calls on gold, namely Citigroup and Marc Faber. While I am certainly not as bullish as Citigroup, which said that $2,000 for gold is possible, I do think $1,250 is probable by end 2009.
The bank [Citigroup] said the damage caused by the financial excesses of the last quarter century was forcing the world’s authorities to take steps that had never been tried before. This gamble was likely to end in one of two extreme ways: with either a resurgence of inflation; or a downward spiral into depression, civil disorder, and possibly wars. Both outcomes will cause a rush for gold.
“They are throwing the kitchen sink at this,” said Tom Fitzpatrick, the bank’s chief technical strategist. "The world is not going back to normal after the magnitude of what they have done. When the dust settles this will either work, and the money they have pushed into the system will feed though into an inflation shock. Or it will not work because too much damage has already been done, and we will see continued financial deterioration, causing further economic deterioration, with the risk of a feedback loop. We don’t think this is the more likely outcome, but as each week and month passes, there is a growing danger of vicious circle as confidence erodes,” he said.
“This will lead to political instability. We are already seeing countries on the periphery of Europe under severe stress. Some leaders are now at record levels of unpopularity. There is a risk of domestic unrest, starting with strikes because people are feeling disenfranchised.”
“What happens if there is a meltdown in a country like Pakistan, which is a nuclear power. People react when they have their backs to the wall. We’re already seeing doubts emerge about the sovereign debts of developed AAA-rated countries, which is not something you can ignore,” he said.
Gold traders are playing close attention to reports from Beijing that the China is thinking of boosting its gold reserves from 600 tonnes to nearer 4,000 tonnes to diversify away from paper currencies. “If true, this is a very material change,” he said.
Celebrated contrarian investment advisor Dr. Marc Faber told Bloomberg television last weekend that he was buying gold exploration stocks as well as gold producers because prices were ridiculously cheap.
Dr. Faber wrote the book Tomorrow’s Gold earlier in this decade and has long been a holder of physical gold as a hedge against inflation and a meltdown in the global financial system. But he has previously not recommended buying exploration stocks, arguing that they could fall in price and that many companies could go out of business.
Given the huge slump in the values of gold exploration stocks over the summer he has, once again, been proven correct. However, the investment guru is now preaching with all the enthusiasm of a convert to the cause. Gold exploration stocks are leveraged to the gold price. Last week Citigroup - which Dr. Faber says should have been left to go bankrupt and not bailed out by the US government in a $306 billion deal last week - said gold may go to $2,000 an ounce in 2009.
Granted the link between the gold price and exploration stocks - remember the latter own the rights to potential future gold field development rights or claims - then such a price hike would mean an even bigger increase in the value of exploration stocks. That these stocks have been beaten down to almost nothing in the recent stock market crash just makes them a better buy. Dr. Faber is the first major commentator to make this call - and it comes against the worst performance in this sector in 40 years.
p/s photos: Kae Chollada