THE AGE – Gold maintains its lustre

FOR gold bulls, it has been a stampede now well into its 11th year.

Each day for more than a week, the gold price has hit another record high on an apparently unrelenting rush towards the $US2000-an-ounce mark.

The soaring price of the yellow metal has been a magnet for investors seeking a sanctuary from wild swings in other markets, such as shares and even the Australian dollar.

Real estate, long the first love of many Australian investors, has lost much of its allure as prices stagnate or slide in many capital cities. But for Michael Salib, there has never been a better time to trade gold during his 10 years in the business. ”Customers can see there is massive uncertainty in the marketplace at the moment,” said Mr Salib, whose Cash for Gold Australia operates in Melbourne and Brisbane. ”Gold for them is the safest thing they can purchase because it’s a physical metal they can actually store.”

Mr Salib said wealthier clients were switching money out of self-managed super funds to invest as much as $100,000 in gold.

Older people were more likely to be selling their jewellery these days while younger investors bought bullion as an investment in uncertain times, he said.

Despite regular fears that the gold bubble is about to pop, the precious metal has delivered investors strong and, lately, accelerating returns for a decade.

Gold last turned in a negative year in 2000 in US-dollar terms, when it closed out the year at $US272.25 an ounce. Yesterday in offshore trade the metal hit $US1913.50, closed in Australian trade at $US1892.45 then slipped a little in Europe last night.
That’s more than a third higher than at the start of the year, and compares with a loss of about 13 per cent for the S&P/ASX 200 Index and about a 2 per cent gain for the Australian dollar.