Jump to content
House Price Crash Forum
Sign in to follow this  
Peter Hun

America Should Open Its Vaults And Sell Gold

Recommended Posts

America should open its vaults and sell gold

By Edwin Truman

Published: October 12 2010 14:01 | Last updated: October 12 2010 14:01

Gold is back in the news. Its price is soaring in what some analysts say is a reflection of a weak economy and a lack of confidence in government policies. Naturally, investors are looking at a new sure thing in the expectation that prices will continue upward. My advice to the US government, however, is that this may be the best time – to sell. Doing so would help President Barack Obama and Congress reduce indebtedness, at little cost.

It is an article of faith in bullion markets that the US will be the last country to dispose of its gold stock. For 30 years it has had a no-net-sales policy for reasons ranging from resistance by US gold-producing interests to concerns about the international monetary system. That assumption may remain plausible. Yet the administration has an obligation to re-examine its policy.

The market price of gold has risen for more than a decade propelled by low interest rates, the hype of the bullion dealers (holding large inventories) and no doubt the normal amount of fraud and misinformation accompanying asset price bubbles. The Financial Times has reported that the precious metals industry expects the price to increase by a further 11 per cent over the next year.

Meanwhile, the US Treasury holds 261.5m fine troy ounces of gold. The government has been sitting on that gold since the Great Depression, receiving no return. At the current market price of $1,300 per ounce, the US gold stock is worth $340bn. The Treasury secretary, with the approval of the president, has the power to sell (and buy) gold on terms that the secretary considers most beneficial to the public interest. Revenues from sales must be used to reduce the national debt.

If the US were to sell its entire gold stock at the current market price, it would reduce the gross government debt by 2¼ per cent of gross domestic product. Based on the average interest cost from 2005 to 2008, this reduction in debt would trim the budget deficit by $15bn annually. Thus, the Obama administration would be doing something about the US fiscal debt and deficit without reducing near-term support for the ailing economy.

This proposal has several other benefits. First, the US would be obeying the maxim to buy low and sell high. Second, it would be performing a socially useful function. Demand for gold exceeds normal production, driving up the price. To the extent that the gold craze is being fed by concern (rational or irrational) about government policies, public welfare would be enhanced by giving citizens something tangible to hang around their necks or place in safe deposit boxes. Third, if the price is a bubble, as seems likely, the sooner it is burst the better for the average investor.

Some people point to possible costs. Aside from political pressures from those who want to protect the value of their holdings, above or below ground, two principal arguments are made against US gold sales. The first is that such sales would disrupt the market. But the US government can be cautious in its sales, avoiding disruption of gold sales programmes of other countries, as it has in the past. There is little risk. In recent years, sales under the Central Bank Gold Agreement have dwindled, and some other central banks are buying gold. (The US is not a party to the agreement.) Also the International Monetary Fund has completed more than three-quarters of its own planned sales of 403.3 metric tons.

Another counter argument is that the US should hold on to its stock in anticipation of the return to a monetary system based on gold by itself or with other nations. Returning to the gold standard would reinstate a system that has not existed for a century, however. It is not going to happen. The gold standard was associated with unstable prices, wages, output and employment. The current official discussions of the reform of the international monetary system do not include any advocates of a return to gold, and the IMF articles of agreement prohibit doing so. The sooner thoughts of a return to the gold standard are laid to rest, the better. A related argument for retention of the US gold stock is as a “rainy day” precaution. But after the recent economic and financial crisis and with the prospect of further misery for several more years, how much more rain must pour before the US acts?

The writer is a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/2bbd4dbe-d5fe-11df-94dc-00144feabdc0.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

America should open its vaults and sell gold

By Edwin Truman

Published: October 12 2010 14:01 | Last updated: October 12 2010 14:01

...

Meanwhile, the US Treasury holds 261.5m fine troy ounces of gold. The government has been sitting on that gold since the Great Depression, receiving no return. At the current market price of $1,300 per ounce, the US gold stock is worth $340bn. The Treasury secretary, with the approval of the president, has the power to sell (and buy) gold on terms that the secretary considers most beneficial to the public interest. Revenues from sales must be used to reduce the national debt.

...

If the US were to sell its entire gold stock at the current market price, it would reduce the gross government debt by 2¼ per cent of gross domestic product. Based on the average interest cost from 2005 to 2008, this reduction in debt would trim the budget deficit by $15bn annually. Thus, the Obama administration would be doing something about the US fiscal debt and deficit without reducing near-term support for the ailing economy.

Let's ignore conspiracy theories that the gold has gone or it's just plated tungsten etc. Assume that the USA has all 261.5m ounces of gold and offers them for sale with the intention of raising $15bn annually.

That would be insane. The American people should revolt at this prospect. In the long run, the dollar looks doomed. China could easily buy everything in Fort Knox at that price leaving America nothing if their currency implodes. I don't think this will happen.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Just found this on wikipedia:

It has been estimated that all the gold mined by the end of 2009 totaled 165,000 tonnes.[2] At a price of US$1000/oz., exceeded in 2008 and 2009, one tonne of gold has a value of approximately US$32.15 million. The total value of all gold ever mined would exceed US$5 trillion at that valuation.

:ph34r:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • 189 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

    1. 1. Including the effects Brexit, where do you think average UK house prices will be relative to now in June 2020?


      • down 5% +
      • down 2.5%
      • Even
      • up 2.5%
      • up 5%



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.