Gold

 

 Of all the precious metals, gold is the most popular as an investment. Investors generally buy gold as a way of diversifying risk, especially through the use of futures contracts and derivatives. Jewellery consistently accounts for over two-thirds of annual gold demand. India is the largest consumer in volume terms, accounting for 27% of demand in 2009, followed by China and the USA.

Bars generally carry lower price premiums than gold bullion coins. However larger bars carry an increased risk of forgery due to their less stringent parameters for appearance. While bullion coins can be easily weighed and measured against known values to confirm their veracity, most bars cannot, and gold buyers often have bars re-assayed. Larger bars also have a greater volume in which to create a partial forgery using a tungsten-filled cavity, which may not be revealed by an assay. Like most commodities, the price of gold is driven by supply and demand including demand for speculation. According to the World Gold Council, annual mine production of gold over the last few years has been close to 2,500 tonnes. About 2,000 tonnes goes into jewelry or industrial/dental production, and around 500 tonnes goes to retail investors and exchange traded gold fund.

The most traditional way of investing in gold is by buying bullion gold bars. In some countries, like Canada, Austria, Liechtenstein and Switzerland, these can easily be bought or sold at the major banks.

Gold coins are a common way of owning gold. Bullion coins are priced according to their fine weight, plus a small premium based on supply and demand (as opposed to numismatic gold coins which are priced mainly by supply and demand based on rarity and condition).

Gold exchange-traded products may include exchange-traded funds (ETFs), exchange-traded notes (ETFs), and closed-end funds (CEFs) which are traded like shares on the major stock exchanges. Gold Exchange-traded products (ETPs) represent an easy way to gain exposure to the gold price, without the inconvenience of storing physical bars. However exchange-traded gold instruments, even those which hold physical gold for the benefit of the investor, carry risks beyond those inherent in the precious metal itself. Typically a small commission is charged for trading in gold ETPs and a small annual storage fee is charged. The annual expenses of the fund such as storage, insurance, and management fees are charged by selling a small amount of gold represented by each certificate, so the amount of gold in each certificate will gradually decline over time.

Exchange-traded funds, or ETFs, are investment companies that are legally classified as open-end companies or unit investment trusts (UITs), but that differ from traditional open-end companies and UITs. ETF shares can be sold in basically two ways. The investors can sell the individual shares to other investors, or they can sell the Creation Units back to the ETF. In addition, ETFs generally redeem Creation Units by giving investors the securities that comprise the portfolio instead of cash. 


 

 

 

 

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