February 2012 Update of Gold and the Economy

Gold has been quite strong lately.  As of this writing, it is close to $1,750 per ounce.  It had a big down day yesterday and then gained most of it back today.  I am quite bullish on the yellow metal right now, both in the short term and in the longer term.

My short-term bullishness for gold is tempered by the economic outlook.  If the economic outlook remains relatively good, or at least stable, as compared to the last few years, then I think gold will do quite well.  The one scenario I can see where gold would tumble is if the economy slips into another deep recession.  If that happens, then stocks will do horrible and gold will also probably do horrible, although probably not as bad as stocks.  Bonds would be the place to be if that happens, despite the already low interest rates.

I have been saying for the last several months that we might be in the midst of a mini boom cycle.  The Fed pumped in a lot of new money with QE1 and QE2.  Although most of this new money is being held by the banks as excess reserves, it can and will have its effects.  Perhaps it is starting to leak out into the economy.  Some of it may be going in to stocks and some in to gold.  While the government's measure of price inflation is still relatively low, I can personally attest that food prices at the grocery store are going up at a decent clip.  The one sector that continues to go down in price (besides electronics, which is due to technology) is housing.

If you are waiting for another dip in the gold price to buy some, I wouldn't wait any longer.  While there is certainly a threat of a deep recession and a strengthening dollar in the short run, that is not where I would put my money right now.  If your portfolio is low in its percentage of gold and other precious metals, then I would not wait.  I recommend a minimum of 15% in gold and gold related investments, just to protect yourself.  You should probably be higher than that though.  If you have about 20% in gold investments and another 5% in silver, platinum, and oil, then that should be a good hedge against inflation and uncertainty.

While I don't like making predictions, I am going out on a limb on this one.  I think gold is likely to go over $2,000 per ounce in 2012, unless we have a deep recession.