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Caution urged over gold rush

Caution urged over gold rush

Category: Investments

Updated: 18/07/2011
First Published: 18/07/2011

MONEYFACTS ARCHIVE
This article was correct at the time of publication. It is now over 6 months old so the content may be out of date.

Investors have been warned of the potential dangers of getting too caught up in the great gold rush that is currently under way.

Stock markets have fallen further today and been volatile for months amidst fears about the debt crisis in Europe.

At the same time, the price of gold has hit a fresh all-time high as investors have piled into the supposed safe haven to escape the market mood swings.

However, an expert commentator has suggested gold might not be the reliable investment that most seem to think it is.

Patrick Connolly, head of communications at AWD Chase de Vere, points out gold can also be volatile, leaving investors open to making or losing a significant amount of money over short periods of time.

From 20 July 1976 to 21 January 1980 the price of gold rose by a staggering 688%, thanks to strong oil prices, high levels of inflation and geopolitical issues.

However, from its peak in 1980 the price of gold fell by 65% in less than 2½ years.

It then took more than 28 years for the 1980 peak to be reached again and investors to get their money back, not even taking into account the effects of inflation.

"While it is very easy to be positive about an asset class that has already performed strongly, it would be a mistake to think that any investment will keep going up indefinitely and when the price of gold does fall it could be far and fast," Connolly adds.

"It is possible that we are now in a 'gold bubble' and those investing face the risk of losing far more on the downside than they could potentially gain on the upside.

"Gold is considered by many to be a safe haven but if you look back you will see that the complete opposite is true."

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