NEW YORK (Real Money) -- Is gold finished? I'd say it is about as finished as all of the other times in the last dozen years that it has been finished -- it's just that the obituary has received more notice lately.
Once again I find myself on the defensive about gold, as I have been many times in the last eight years of liking the precious metal.
This time the thinking is that we are in an era of permanently low growth, aided by the potential of a deflationary collapse in Europe.
Sure, that's possible. The difficulty I have in getting negative on that news is that I don't regard gold as a safe haven that goes up only in an inflationary environment. I regard gold as an alternative to the euro, and I see nothing that tells me the euro is suddenly in good standing, other than an intra-morning reversal in that ultimately unworkable currency.
I want you to think, for a moment, what you would do if you were a wealthy Spanish person. You are desperate to preserve your worth. You can't do it by buying euros, that's for certain. Who really wants the U.S. dollar, which gives you no real return, given that you would be buying short-term bills or notes if you were to make that purchase?
I think people forget the incredible affinity for gold among the Spanish. If you go back to the Spanish Civil War, the Republicans, desperate for aid from the Soviet Union, had to part with their prized possession, their huge gold holdings. Some observers at the time actually felt that the Republicans might be willing to go down to defeat rather than surrender their gold.
Believe me, gold is the refuge currency that they will chose. Italy is no different, and remember, while these are not rich countries, they have a lot of rich people.
The Chinese have been buying gold. The Indians are in an internal tussle about taxing gold purchases. But believe me, unless you think Europe is out of the woods, you want to buy gold -- not the stocks but the metal and its ETFs -- into any weakness. Gold is a currency, not just a metal, and when you put it like that, you know that the currency is resting. And nothing more.