[DEBATE] : Fears for global economy propel gold price
Riaz K. Tayob
riazt at iafrica.com
Sat Sep 22 18:29:15 BST 2007
Fears for global economy propel gold price
Submitted by cpowell on 08:51PM ET Friday, September 21, 2007. Section:
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
The Telegraph, London
Saturday, September 22, 2007
The moment every gold bug has been waiting for finally arrived this week
when "Barbaric Relic" smashed through resistance to close the week at a
27-year high of $737 an ounce on the London PM Fix.
A heady mix of a collapsing dollar, a British banking crisis, and
widespread suspicion that central banks are slackening in the fight
against inflation combined to propel gold above the $730 peak of May 2006.
Analysts say there is now "clear blue sky" until reaching the all-time
record of $850 in December 1980, when speculators drove it up in a
parabolic rally at the end of the great inflation crisis.
Greg Wilkins, chief executive of the world's top producer Barrick Gold,
said the shock half-point rate cut by the US Federal Reserve had been
the trigger for a major breakout.
"I think it's a perfect storm," Wilkins said. "What we have is inflation
plus lower interest rates, and that's not something that we've seen
before. I think that's going to be very bearish for the dollar, which is
conversely good for gold."
Adding to the mood of euphoria, the autumn is typically a season for
gold rallies, and Spain's central bank has at last halted its bullion sales.
Madrid has been a major cap on prices this year, flooding the market
with 150 tonnes. The bank has now cut its total holdings by 46 percent,
leaving the country with wafer-thin foreign reserves.
Experts suspect that Asian central banks may have become buyers. China
has less than 2 percent of its vast $1,340 billion reserves in gold and
has signalled an intent to diversify away from dollars.
President Vladimir Putin has instructed Russia's central bank to raise
the gold share of its huge reserves from around 5 percent to 10 percent.
The Fed's aggressive rate cut at a time when oil is hovering at an
all-time high of $82 a barrel and food prices are rocketing has created
the impression that the US authorities are willing to tolerate higher
inflation rather that allow the credit and housing bubble to deflate fully.
As recently at late July the Fed warned that inflation remained the
"predominant" risk to the economy. Although price rises were tame in
August, there are concerns that the headline CPI rate could jump from
the current 2.4 percent to nearer 3.5 percent. China's inflation jumped
to 6.5 percent in August and price pressures are developing across Asia,
the Middle East, and Eastern Europe.
The Federal Reserve may be right in calculating that the US housing
slump is now so serious that it will slow the economy sharply, dampening
global price pressures over time. But for now a large number of
well-heeled investors are willing to bet otherwise.
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