Peter Brimelow: Veteran gold bug sees price soaring to $3,000

Section:

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
The Telegraph, London
Monday, June 5, 2006

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?
xml=/money/2006/06/05/cnrussia.xml

The world's big money brigade is snapping up gold bullion at eight
times the rate originally thought, according to a report by UBS, the
world's biggest gold trader.

The huge sums entering precious metals below the radar are likely to
help to put a floor under the gold price after the dramatic fall of
$112 an ounce in late May -- the sharpest correction since the bull
market began five years ago.

The Swiss bank said information from its trading floor suggested
that funds and investors were allocating 20 percent of their
commodity portfolios to precious metals.

This is far more than the index tracking funds run by Goldman Sachs,
Dow Jones-AIG, and others, typically taken to be a guide to overall
investment flows.

UBS said these indexes gave a deeply misleading impression,
obscuring a silent shift of funds from oil into gold.

The Goldman Sachs GSCI index, for example, has a gold and silver
weighting of just 2.27 percent, compared to 73 percent for energy.

"If our traders' experience is representative of trends in the wider
market, this has very important implications for metals investment,"
said the bank's gold expert, John Reade.

The UBS gold reports are watched closely by the markets. The Zurich
bank is the world's leading gold trader and manages the biggest
known stash of private client wealth, surpassing $1,000 billion.

The extra volume in gold buying has been channelled through the
London Bullion Market Association, eclipsing the Comex futures
market in New York usually monitored by speculators for clues.

Gold recovered from lows of $618.50 an ounce last week to end at
$637.30 after weak US jobs data renewed fears of a dollar slide.

"The sort of money that is chasing this market higher is not hot
money," Ross Norman, director of the BullionDesk.com.

"It is slow, steady investment by pension funds and long-term
buyers. Anybody who thinks this market is about to head sharply
lower is reading it badly," he said.

Mr. Norman said there was a chronic dearth of new mine supply across
the world due to eco-regulations and a lack of discoveries.

Output in South Africa, the world's biggest supplier, fell to 10.9
percent in the first quarter of 2006 despite high prices. The
country's production has reached its lowest level since 1923. "It's
becoming very hard to get gold out of the ground," he said.

Oil states armed with an estimated current account surplus of $480
billion in 2006 are thought to be feeding the "stealth demand" for
bullion, led by Russia.

President Vladimir Putin, a frequent critic of dollar hegemony, has
ordered the Russian central bank to raise the gold share of foreign
reserves from 5 percent to 10 percent.

Russia's reserves have surged to $237 billion -- the world's fourth
biggest -- after rising 61 percent in 2004 and 40 percent in 2005.
With a current account surplus of 10 percent of GDP, it must sweep
up a big chunk of global gold output just to stop its bullion share
of reserves from falling.

In China, monetary committee member Yu Yongding last week issued the
most explicit call to date for Beijing to diversify its $875 billion
reserves into gold to protect against a tumbling dollar. "We need to
use some of the reserves to buy other assets such as gold and
strategic resources such as oil," he said.

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