Determining the Value of Gold

by James Turk
Gold Money

London Good Delivery BarsWhen considering whether gold is a value investment, one needs to first recognise that gold does not have a balance sheet, management team, price-earnings ratio or any of the other things one needs to analyse before making an investment. Also, gold does not generate any cash flow, so it does not pay a dividend. We can therefore conclude from these observations that gold is not an investment. Indeed, it is something different, which means that normal investment analytical techniques cannot be used to determine gold’s value.

Value of course arises from an item’s usefulness, and gold is useful because it is money. Though only used as currency these days in a few places like Turkey and Vietnam, gold is still useful in economic calculation, or in other words, measuring the price of goods and services.

For example, when the Maastricht Treaty was signed in February 1992, one barrel of crude oil cost $19.00, €15.95 (Dm 31.30) or 1.67 goldgrams. Now it costs $91.79, €71.27 or 1.61 goldgrams, which makes clear that not only is gold useful in communicating prices, it preserves purchasing power. Gold has been useful in these ways for over 5,000 years, so it is logical to assume that gold will remain useful for the foreseeable future.

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