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In an enlightening session on Gold at the Moneylife Foundation Knowledge Centre today, Debashis Basu, editor and publisher of Moneylife used decades of data to expose many myths about gold that are (freely available and strongly propagated on the Internet) and strongly held by both retail and institutional investors. He also suggested what should be the correct approach to gold buying
On occasions such as Akshaya Tritiya and Dhanteras, which are considered as auspicious days for buying gold, the demand for gold as investment and jewellery goes up. In India, gold is bought for various occasions. The demand peaks around the festive and the wedding seasons. But should gold be a significant part of your investment? In nominal terms the price of gold has more than tripled in the last 20 years, despite the recent crash, this makes it a very attractive asset class—with the benefit of hindsight. But what we do really know of gold prices? In a special seminar on investing in gold conducted by Moneylife Foundation, Debashis Basu, Moneylife Foundation trustee and editor of Moneylife magazine, explained the various myths about gold as an investment and what really drives the price of gold. Similar to the seminars exclusively on gold in the past, this one too received a huge participation of Moneylife Foundation members.
Mr Basu gave the participants a brief of the history of gold. Gold may go back to a thousand of years, but it’s only in the recent century where its fondness as investment has grown. Mr Basu explained why gold is such a unique commodity and then further explained how gold was used as money. On going into history Mr Basu showed that crashes such as the recent one is inherent with all market-linked products and since gold is one, nobody should be surprised. Many investors just look back 10-15 years, but to get the true sense of an asset one needs to go deeper into history. Mr Basu took the participants through the gold bubble and bust of the 1980s. Many buy gold because they consider gold as a safe haven or an inflation hedge. But these are all myths as they are not supported by long term historical facts. Through the help of graphs and charts, Mr Basu addressed five different myths regarding the precious metal.
If you are interested in reading more on the myths about gold, go ahead and read our Cover Story: Gold Turns Cold
Finally, he explained the six main factors that drive gold demand and how little we know about them. Unlike other assets there is no way to value gold. There are many complex and global factors that affect the price of gold, he explained. Not even institutional investors keep a regular track of them or have a model to use them to arrive at a fair value of gold.
The presentation was followed by an interactive session where the participants put forth their queries on gold.