There’s a massive new gold rush under way driven by a spiral in the price of the yellow metal that is pushing its price into record territory as speculators move into buy mode.
On Friday the gold price pushed through the $2000 an ounce mark, an all-time record.
In relation to the greenback, it broke through $US1400 an ounce at the same time, territory it hasn’t inhabited since 2013.
Gold is up 20 per cent in Australian dollars since August and about 18 per cent in $US terms. Prices started to take off in December, then really began to spike in June.
It’s not only gold. Silver prices are up 7 per cent over June to $22.06 an ounce and even Bitcoin has nearly doubled to $US9939 since April.
So what’s going on?
There are two things driving gold prices upwards – financial fears and political fears.
“Across the world authorities are turning to easing interest rates,” said Paul Engeman, director of Ainslie Bullion, a trading house.
“That means rates are moving towards negative territory” [where investors get nothing on their deposits or have to pay for banks to keep them].
“When investors are getting nothing for their deposits they look for other possibilities.”
Buying gold bullion does not deliver interest payments but rises in the price deliver good returns. Even though the price fluctuates, gold is considered a safe asset because it never disappears and tends to grow in value when economic times turn bad.
It’s not only individual investors who have bought into the gold rush.
Russia’s central bank has bought six tonnes of gold in recent weeks and 77 tonnes this year, helping put a rocket under demand.
Other central banks have also been buying and that is in response to “the weaponising of the US dollar in terms of tariffs and trade wars with China and other countries”, Mr Engeman said.
The greenback is traditionally a store of value but trade tensions threaten its value and make gold more attractive to big investors, he said.
“Tensions in the Middle East between the US and Iran spur investors to look for safe havens like gold,” said Nicki Hutley, partner with Deloitte Access Economics.
“There are also concerns that the US and Australia are experiencing an equity market bubble.”
As the price rises more buyers are expected to come into the market.
Perth Mint CEO Richard Hayes said “it takes time. After the global financial crisis it took about nine months before people really started buying.”
Join the rush
For people wanting to buy gold there are lots of possibilities.
Perth Mint will sell you gold coins and bars for as little as $50.
If you don’t want to hold the gold yourself, they store it in a vault backed by the WA government for a small fee.
Ainslie Bullion will also sell you gold for as little as $85 a gram online, over the phone or in person at its Brisbane office.
Perth Mint offers an exchange traded fund that gives you a little slice of their gold holdings, which can be bought through stockbrokers.
Saxo Capital Markets offers gold futures, contracts for difference and ETFs for gold, as do a range of other companies.