Bluster and luster: Don’t join the gold rush

January 18, 2011  

By Arnab Das with Shelley GoldbergInvestment gurus and lay folk oft urge "Just buy gold!" in today’s unprecedented macro uncertainty. But the turmoil required to send gold prices on another leap skyward is unlikely, even if it is the gold bugs’ central forecast. We agree that gold is a good hedge against fat-tails: severe deflation/financial collapse or high/hyper-inflation. If governments fail to restore animal spirits, deflation might ensue, aggravate debt burdens, precipitate cascading defaults, even a financial collapse, and hence a rush into pure, physical gold. Equally, high inflation could loom if Central Banks monetize too much debt, prompting flight from fiat currencies and financial assets into gold. All major high-income countries are candidates for debt deflation or monetization—the United States, Eurozone United Kingdom and Japan suffer from excessive public and/or private debt. Their failure would affect each and every economy, including emerging markets since they collectively dominate global economic...


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