Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Gold Market Rhyming

With thanks to Peter Schiff for digging out this gem, we should point out the article was from 1976, written just a few days after gold completed its mid-1970s correction from nearly US$200 to US$100 an ounce.
The similarities with today’s mainstream commentary on gold are striking. We obviously don’t know if gold bottomed last week or whether there’s more downside to come. But we do know that gold is a very popular investment to rubbish right now.
Financial journalists, like hedge fund traders, find it easy to go with the momentum. When you don’t understand something, you let the price action do the talking, or the informing. So if gold has declined by nearly 40% over the last two years then it must be a bad investment, right?
So the journalist looks around to find out why gold is in such a rut. He or she gathers all the chestnuts and starts preparing the story: Gold doesn’t pay interest, the US economy is recovering, interest rates are heading higher, stocks offer a better long term return, gold just sits there and does nothing, etc etc.
All these arguments suddenly seem to resonate with people who bought gold simply because it was going up in the first place, without understanding why they actually owned it. Perhaps they owned too much. So they sell in a panic. But someone is on the other side of that transaction, buying as the price gets cheaper.
At some point it reaches a crescendo — the panic selling and the value buying — and the market finds a bottom. We don’t know whether the market has reached a bottom now or not. But we do know that there are many parallels to this gold market and the one in the 1970s.

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