A must read paper by Redburn Partners, "Gold War - Gold is money and nothing else", written in November 2007, which due to its extreme prescience on not only the shift of the economy following the bursting of the credit bubble, but being virtually spot on in its prediction on the price of gold, can serve as an sufficiently comprehensive introduction to anyone wishing to get up to speed with the primary forces determining the price of gold and its implications in a fiat-money world (and especially the prevailing current variant in which competitive devaluations galore).
- Gold price will reach at least US$1,500/oz: we are raising our long-term gold price estimate to US$1,500/oz (from US$900/oz) with the possibility of a spike to US$4,000-5,000/oz. We see gold acting as a ‘Giffen good’ for a period – a rising price leading to accelerating demand as its investment profile sees a resurgence.
- Rising gold price is a warning signal: it casts doubt on the US economy. We believe inflation is far higher than reported, money supply growth is running at 14%, debt/GDP is nearly 350% (vs the 270% peak in the Depression) and the ‘fiscal gap’ faced by the Federal Government is US$50-70trn. The Federal Government’s accounts have not been signed off by its auditors for ten years.
- The US faces rapidly rising inflation or deflationary recession: credit cycles (and this one is extreme) always end in a deflationary bust – this is the lesson of the Kondratieff Cycle. The Fed will most likely try to defy economic gravity using increasingly inflationary means. Gold is the only asset to outperform in periods of either uncontrollable inflation or deflation: the US economy is on a knife-edge between the two.
- A “Crack-up Boom”?: should the Fed choose to stave off recession via inflation, the scene could be set for a “Crack-up Boom”. If inflation is perceived to be a deliberate policy, there will be major shift out of financial assets (like cash and bonds) and into “real” assets. Gold will be the asset of choice and gold stocks will experience a bull market. In the report, we highlight Peter Hambro Mining (rated Buy). Natural resources and natural resource stocks will also benefit: the Mining sector as a whole would continue to outperform.
- Lack of transparency: gold is a vital barometer and if the gold market is not free and transparent, it acts against the interests of businesses, investors and the public. IMF accounting regulations continue to obscure the level of gold remaining in central bank vaults. Furthermore, the use of unallocated gold accounts masks the fractional reserve nature of most gold banking/trading and private investment. Holders of “unallocated” gold are simply unsecured creditors with general claims on "pools” of gold. If all those claiming gold ownership demanded physical delivery, we argue the gold price would soar.