NEW YORK (The Street) -- Gold prices have shot up nearly 10% so far this year, but it's not too late to join the party, well-known commodity investor Dennis Gartman told The Street.
Investors have been jumping into gold as a safe haven from the wild swings in currency markets. Gartman is buying the precious metal too, not as a long-term investment but as a hedge.
"I think of gold as another currency," the economist and editor of the Gartman Letter said in a phone interview. "I don't see it as the end-all be-all of fiscal stability. It's just another currency."
Quick to make the distinction that he's not a gold bug, Gartman is "quite bullish of gold." He is buying despite recent strength, as insurance against "any country that's doing damage to its own currency," like Japan and the eurozone.
Gartman has no interest in gold in U.S. dollar terms, however. Expected U.S. Federal Reserverate hikes and the slumping euro have boosted the greenback, now at about 1.1567 to the euro, developments that make it a less attractive cross with gold.
Japan's yen is suffering from the effects of Abenomics, the stimulus plan designed to stem 15 years of deflation. The European Central Bank now "has no choice" but to embark on a course of quantitative easing Thursday, though no one knows how large a move the ECB will make, Gartman noted.
That means an increased supply of the currency, "which makes me want to be long of euros," the investor said.
How can investors play the euro/gold and yen/gold crosses like Gartman?
- Buy gold bullion and sell yen or euros in the forex market
- Buy the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) - Get Report gold ETF and sell yen or euros in forex market
- Buy gold in any form (i.e.: GLD, gold futures, bullion or mining equities) and sell euros or yen on the IMM
- Buy gold-yenAdvisorShares Trust (GYEN) or gold-euroAdvisorShares Trust (GEUR) ETFs. These are ETFs based on Gartman's idea of cross-trading currencies and commodities. GEUR allows investors to obtain a similar investment to gold priced in euros.
Any of these plays are equally effective, since by the laws of arbitrage, none can get too far out of line with any other.
Loathe to call these long-term bets, Gartman said they're long-term as long as they work, "and anyone who tells you otherwise is a charlatan."
U.S. gold futures for February delivery were recently at 1,295.30 an ounce, up 1.10 on the COMEX. Spot gold prices are at their highest level since August. In euro terms, spot gold was recently at 1,121.45 an ounce, up 8 cents, or 0.01%.
This rally in gold prices follows a roughly 30% selloff that began in 2013 after U.S. spot gold hit a high above $1,910 in August 2011. Gold's meteoric rise followed massive monetary easing programs in the U.S. and England that stoked inflation fears following the U.S. credit crisis and ensuing bank bailouts to avert a collapse of the financial system.
Now, both gold and the U.S. dollar have surged since the Swiss National Bank abandoned its cap on the franc days before the ECB is expected to announce quantitative easing. The dollar-euro at its strongest in 11 years.