But while the price of gold has risen, demand for the metal has fallen in many sectors -- such as electronics manufacturing and dentistry -- while its demand as an investment vehicle has risen sharply, according to the World Gold Council, an industry advocacy organization. . .
"People are seeing [the price of gold] in the news and starting to go through their jewelry boxes and bringing in things," said Ed Szymanski, owner of Estate Jewelers in Sylvania. "Before, we just got people coming in to pay their rent or stuff like that. Now we're seeing more affluent people coming in and clearing out their jewelry boxes to cash in on the price."
Paris is in gold (click on image to enlarge). Uh oh. Harrod's is going to sell gold in its London store. China is off-loading gold onto its people. Germany is reported to be in the process of allowing gold to be sold through vending machines:
Jens Willenbockel, an investment banker who saw the machine while passing through the airport, told the Financial Times that he believed there could be a market for the venture.
"Because of the crisis there is a lot of awareness of gold," he said. "It is also a great gift for children – for them getting gold is like a fairytale."
Once gold becomes a gift for kids, it's probably over-owned. And is Paris Hilton more likely to be a contrary indicator or an expert who's ahead of the curve?
The whole gold ETF story could one day be looked at as a scam, just as the Internet bubble was a scam. These ETFs could just be a place for unwanted, over-produced gold to be dumped on the public. Tell me gold's worth $400 an ounce or $4000 an ounce; I can accept a case for each. But I can tell you for certain that the Dow is not worth 40,000, and it's probably worth a tad more than 4000.
From a technical standpoint, even this calendar year gold traded around 800. When a major commodity such as gold has an over 30% year on year surge, that's huge. Can it keep it up? Yes, a la the S&P 500 in the 1995-99 time frame. Will it? I dunno. But at least the S&P pays a dividend; and it was a horrible investment on a longer-term standpoint. Gold costs money to have an ETF hold it.
Fundamentally, neither silver nor platinum are anywhere near their 2008 highs and have only fair long-term charts. Therefore it takes more courage to own them; it takes no courage to hold gold now.
People who have a lot of gold may want to sell some or hedge by selling options. Gold is definitely NOT in a bubble. But it may be ahead of itself.
Copyright (C) Long Lake LLC 2009