The Fire Fueling Gold

By Frank Holmes
CEO and Chief Investment Officer
U.S. Global Investors

Gold took quite a beating in September, bucking its seasonal average monthly return of 2.3 percent. The political battle between President Barack Obama and Congress, China's Golden Week, and India's gold import restrictions likely weighed on the metal. pic1

September's correction only adds to the negative sentiment toward the precious metal. The assumption from many market pundits is that gold is no longer attractive as an investment. With rising rates and continuing low inflation, U.S. investors believe they have a solid case for selling their holdings.

However, this could be a premature assessment, causing these bears to potentially lose out on a lucrative position.

Allow me to use an ice cube to explain.

One of the strongest drivers of the Fear Trade is real interest rates. Whenever a country has negative-to-low real rates of return, which means the inflationary rate (CPI) is greater than the current interest rate, gold tends to rise in that country's currency.

Our model tells us that the tipping point for gold is when real interest rates go above the 2-percent mark.

Consider the ice cube, which shows how new equilibriums can have significant effects. At 31 degrees, H2O is a solid chunk, but when the temperature increases, the mass slowly begins to turn into a liquid. Above 32 degrees, ice changes form from solid to liquid, but it's still made of hydrogen and oxygen.

Because money is like water, when many other economic dynamics, such as population growth, urbanization rates and changes in government policies, reach their tipping point, the velocity of money tends to be altered.

As global investors, we watch for changes in these trends to know how to invest in commodities and markets, find new opportunities and adjust for risk.