Central banks are still adding gold bullion to their reserves and the smaller countries are getting into the act big-time.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in the month of March, Iraq’s central bank added 36 tonnes of gold bullion to its reserves—worth about $1.5 billion. This is the first purchase by the central bank since August of 2012, when it bought 23.9 tonnes of gold. (Source: Reuters, March 25, 2014.)
Sure, you could say, “Michael, 36 tonnes of gold bullion is nothing for a central bank.”
I agree. But looking at the bigger picture, it is very significant for a small country like Iraq—a country whose annual gross domestic product (GDP) is smaller than Amazon.com’s sales for 2013—to be getting into gold bullion in a big way. The official announcement from the central bank of Iraq sent the message that it bought the gold bullion to stabilize the country’s currency and add insurance to their reserves.
Since 2009, central banks around the global economy have become net buyers of gold bullion, and I don’t think they will stop anytime soon. The main reason for this is that the central banks see a significant amount of volatility coming to the world of paper currencies—something they hold in their reserves.
Too many major world currencies are in a downtrend. The U.S. dollar has been on a decline since the beginning of 2014. The Canadian dollar is hitting multiyear lows. The Japanese yen has been plummeting.
Where do we go next with gold bullion?
At present, the amount of negativity towards gold bullion is immense. But the fundamentals paint a different picture. Central banks around the world (especially China) continue to be major buyers of gold bullion, as do private individuals. This year, world gold production will decline as gold companies have slashed their exploration budgets and shut down low-grade, cost-ineffective mines.
Looking at the fundamentals, how can I not be bullish on gold bullion?
Irrational, maybe even manipulated, gold prices have resulted in the stocks of many well-managed gold companies selling at prices we have not seen in years. I see the shares of quality gold producers as an opportunity for investors to practice the old adage of “buy low, sell higher later.”