Monday, December 07, 2009

All About The Right Time Frame

Nicholas Larchi and Minni Munschi at Bloomberg News argues that gold is not a good inflation hedge because in real terms, and compared to other investments, gold is still a lot lower than in 1980.

True, but if you compare the current gold price to its 1999 price of $250, it has been a very good inflation hedge. The current price of $1,143 (when this is written, when you read this post it will probably be slightly lower or higher) represents a 250% real (with the "inflation calculator" used for inflation adjustment) gain. It has also been a good inflation hedge if you compare it to its 1971 price of $35, increasing some 500% in real terms.

Those levels might be said to be extreme lows comparable to the extreme high of 1980, but ff you compare gold to its 1975 prices in the range of $140 to $180 then the current price is 60% to 100% higher in real terms.

On the other hand, if you compare the 1975 level to the depressed 1999 level, it was 43% to 56% lower in real terms in 1999 compared to 1975.

Thus, whether or not gold has been a good investment historically depends on what time frame you use.