By Larry Light
The metal's price is volatile and it doesn't have a good long-term track record.
Frightened investors are piling into gold, as always happens in times of distress. Britain’s vote to exit the European Union prompted the biggest surge for the metal since the 2008 financial crisis, with the price up almost 5% Friday. But as stock markets fall, is buying gold a smart move, especially now?
While gold is nowhere near its recent peak—hit five years ago—you still are buying high. Certainly, gold could still go up more, yet history suggests its lofty altitude is temporary.
Since ancient times, gold has been the standard measure of value. But its importance has justifiably waned in recent decades. President Richard Nixon severed the last link between the dollar and gold in 1971, when he eliminated the currency’s convertibility into the yellow metal. Money now moves at near light speed over digital networks, so the thinking goes that it makes little sense to bind the dollar to a 25-pound bullion bar in a vault.
“Gold has delivered what it promised: doing well in adverse times,” Dominic Schnider, head of commodities at UBS Group’s wealth management unit told Bloomberg News. “The question is, is there a long-lasting effect?”
Investing in gold has a couple of problems: