Gold Prices: Industry Overview
The popularity of gold as an investment is largely down to its status as a universal finite currency, which the majority of the world’s central banks hold. It’s this universal appeal that can make gold a solid addition to your investment portfolio, and one that many see as a way to ensure wealth preservation by passing it down through generations.
It should be noted that, while gold has been known to hold its value even in the face of economic downturn, like any investment it can be unpredictable and will always fluctuate in price.
The majority of physical gold is bought and sold in over-the-counter trading (OTC),which means it is bought and sold via a dealer network, rather than a centralized exchange. The price of gold in the UK fluctuates daily, in-line with the exchange rate of the British Pound and Euro – this is known as the gold ‘spot price.’
The London Bullion Market Association (LBMA)
However, the true benchmark of gold and silver pricing is set by the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA) twice daily, usually at 10:30 and 15:00 GBT. The LBMA are an international trade association, who have a global client base which includes private sector investors, most of the gold-holding central banks, as well as mining firms, producers and refiners.
As well as setting the price of gold, the LBMA also set the standard for gold quality (or ‘good delivery’ standard),which includes a minimum purity of 99.5%. The twice daily fixed prices, however, is always based on pure gold.
Buying gold - coins and bars
Physical gold bullion is largely traded in either gold bars or gold coins, with bullion coins usually coming in at a slightly higher price tag. This is due not only to the costs associated with production, but the fact that they are collectible, with coins released to commemorate events such as the turning of the Millennium and the anniversary of The US Mint.
These gold coins are minted in a variety of countries, but most tend to originate in the UK, the US, Canada, Australia, China, and South Africa. The most popular and widely traded coin currency is the British gold sovereign, which also happens to be exempt from capital gains tax in the UK.
Some of the other most famous gold coins include the Gold Eagle (USA), Maple Leaf (Canada), Krugerrands (South Africa), Gold Panda (China) and Vienna Philharmonic (Austria).
In terms of weight, most bullion coins are minted in 1/10oz, 1/4oz, 1/2oz, and 1oz sizes, but are sometimes available in larger 2oz, 10oz, or even 1 kilo sizes. Bullion bars on the other hand are available as parts of an ounce, multiples of one troy ounce, grams, or kilograms, and again as parts or multiples of these units of weight.
Monitoring gold price charts
The StoneX Bullion Gold Price Chart can be used to view the historic price of gold, with the data available to view in four different timeframes; 1 day, 1 month, 1 year, and back to historic gold price charts. You can view the prices either by grams, kilos, or ounces, allowing you to view the price you need in the timeframe of your choice, which is useful in helping you analyse historic data to aid your investment decision.
What can impact the price of gold?
Like most commodities, the price of gold often comes down to supply and demand. And, as it is used today in the manufacturing of electronics and medical devices as well as jewellery and investment, it is a precious metal that is very much in demand. However, the price of gold still fluctuates, and this can be linked to several different factors, including:
Gold does not pay out interest, and so you effectively lose out on interest you could’ve earned had you invested in cash instead – this is known as ‘opportunity cost.’ That said, interest rates and the cost of gold are not always in sync, as while they often rise and fall together, they can also move in opposite directions.
The stock market
The price of gold tends to move in the opposite direction to the stock market, and does so just less than 50% of the time. This is why gold can help in building a more stable investment portfolio that doesn’t rely upon stocks and share alone, as investors can minimise the risk of all their assets rising and falling simultaneously.
The US dollar
The US dollar is often used as a benchmark in quoting natural resources, and gold is no different. While a weak dollar has been known to make the price of gold rise approximately 60% of the time, it does not always work out like this, and in recent years we have seen gold increase in worth alongside the dollar.
How to invest in gold?
While we firmly believe in the strength of gold as part of any asset portfolio, we are aware it is not an investment to be taken lightly. If you would like to discuss the potential of including gold or other precious metals in your investment portfolio, get in touch and we will do our best to answer your questions.