For nearly 5,000 years gold has been one of the world’s most precious commodities and also one of the rarest. For example, if all the gold that had ever been mined was gathered in one place it would fill less than 4 Olympic-sized pools or form a cube of just 20 metres square.
It was the Ancient Egyptians who first discovered that it was a substance that was malleable enough to be formed into beautiful jewellery and rare enough to be valuable too but it wasn’t until around 560BC that it was first used as a currency which could be standardised in value and provide an easy way to pay for services and goods.
In 1792 the US Government introduced The Bimetallic Standard which decreed that all currency should be backed by either gold or silver. The aim of this was to be able to control inflation – the probable consequence if money could simply be printed without an equivalent amount of a precious metal to support it.
However, gradually, their commitment to this principle was eroded and in 1972 the so-called Gold Standard was abandoned and has never been re-introduced.
Why invest in gold?
So that, very briefly, is the history of gold as a commodity and one which is just as relevant today as even the quickest examination of the Dubai gold rate will demonstrate. But why, if it’s no longer linked so directly to currencies, is it so important? Ironically, the answer is precisely because it is independent of the world’s currencies, as well as the fact that it is a commodity that, once mined, is never used up or disappears.
To examine the first point, it’s great strength is its ability to preserve wealth whereas inflation in currencies erodes it. So say, for example, that ten years ago you bought $100 worth of gold. Today that $100 would be worth a great deal less in real terms while the gold would still hold the same value, and possibly an even greater one. Plus, because the amount of gold is finite it is not affected by the laws of supply and demand in quite the same way as other commodities such as oil and gas are.
The options available
So, for anyone looking for a relatively safe haven for their money and as part of a diversified portfolio it would certainly be an investment well worth looking into. There are numerous ways doing this with the most obvious being to buy gold coins or jewellery and owning the physical substance. Alternatively, speculating on it as a commodity is another, more abstract, way but one which still attracts many people.
Looking further ahead
Looking to the future, there is one more important fact to consider. At times of great economic uncertainty or upheaval gold has traditionally held its value or, in the aftermath of the UK’s Brexit vote and President Trump’s election, seen it rise to a four-year high.
So, in a world today where the uncertainty seems to be the usual default position the signs are very positive that this is one commodity that’s never going to go out of fashion.