NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- I have consistently advised investors to gain exposure to gold through the use of various ETF products. With economic turmoil still raging across many regions of the globe, prices have risen to staggering all-time highs, making for an attractive destination for frightful investors.With discussions heating up this week in light of the G20's meeting, the prospects for the yellow metal and the funds designed to track it appear promising. IAU) and SPDR Gold Shares ( GLD) track their own respective stockpiles of physical gold held in vaults around the world. These funds are designed to rise and fall with the changes in the prices of the actual metal. In the event that central banks around the world agree to adapt a gold standard, they will have to increase their stockpiles of the metal. This uptick in demand would, in turn, drive prices higher, benefiting IAU, GLD and other products boasting exposure to physical gold bars and coins. If a gold standard is implemented and central bank demand for gold takes off, companies such as Barrick Gold ( ABX), Gold Fields ( GFI) and Goldcorp ( GG) which are responsible for unearthing the commodity will see a lift as well, benefiting from rising prices. A number of ETFs dedicate their portfolios to companies in this market space. The two most popular products which investors will want to keep an eye on will be the Market Vectors Gold Miners ETF ( GDX) and Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF ( GDXJ).
Investors can also use mutual fund products such as the Toqueville Gold Fund ( TGLDX) and the Fidelity Select Gold Fund ( FSAGX) to access the gold industry. While, like GDX and GDXJ, these funds are heavily dedicated to miners, in both cases a certain percentage of their assets are dedicated to physical bullion. Although both miner and bullion-linked products will benefit in the event that central banks return to a gold standard, physically-based products will likely be the most stable options. Due to their exposure to equities, the stock market will be a major influence on the performance of funds such as TGLDX and GDX. Despite their exposure to gold, in the event that the markets see a dive, these funds would still be in for a rocky ride. Whether or not a return to the gold standard is brought up this week when the G20 meets, it will be interesting to pay attention to how the inevitable currency-related conversation plays out. Written by Don Dion in Williamstown, Mass.
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