Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Is Ron Paul Affecting the Price of Gold?

Ron Paul is most likely having an effect on the price of gold.  This doesn't mean that Ron Paul is driving the price up or down by buying or selling.  It means that, because of his message that has reached millions of people, it has probably affected their decision of whether to buy gold, even if it is just a fraction of his supporters.

It is impossible to prove the answer to this question and it is impossible to know exactly how much of an effect that Ron Paul has had on the price of gold.  However, with his warnings about the Federal Reserve and the debt and his discussions about gold, it is hard to imagine that this hasn't had at least some kind of influence on some of his supporters.

If there are a million people who would consider themselves Ron Paul supporters and 10% of these people have bought gold or are considering buying gold because of their recent exposure to Paul's message, then that is potentially 100,000 people who could drive up the price of gold.  This isn't a lot of people, except that buying actual physical gold is a fairly thin market.  It doesn't trade like Google or Apple stock.  On the margin, this could have a slight impact on the price of the metal.

Ron Paul supporters tend to be younger and they tend to have lower incomes (partially because of their age).  Most rich people are not Paul supporters (although they should be).  There are certainly some older people who are Paul supporters, but many of them were already libertarians before 2007 (Paul's first run for president as a Republican).  These people probably already bought gold if they wanted it.

So the demographics of the Paul supporters do not point to a lot of people that would be able to buy several ounces of gold.  Most wouldn't be able to afford one ounce in this economy.  But again, it doesn't take that much to move a market like gold, particularly if people buy the actual metal (instead of an ETF or mutual fund).

There are millions of people who now have a decent understanding of the Federal Reserve.  Five years ago, most of these people couldn't have told you what the Fed was or what it did.  These people understand that the economy is in trouble and they understand that the Fed is going to try to inflate its way out of it.  A good portion of these people may start buying a little gold, if they haven't already.  They may only buy half ounce coins or one-tenth ounce coins.  Perhaps they will buy silver, which is the poor man's gold.  The point is, because there are so many people aware of the Fed and what it does and what the potential harmful effects are, a lot of these people are going to be looking to protect themselves.

If you took all of the gold above the ground and distributed it evenly to every human inhabitant on the earth, everyone would have less than a troy ounce of gold each.  That is not very much gold to go around.  All of that gold above the ground includes the gold used for jewelry.  In addition, a good portion is held by various central banks.  It doesn't leave a lot left for investors.

This indicates that there is a potential for a real spike in the price of gold, particularly if the Fed goes into QE3 (more money creation).  As more people become aware of the situation, the more there will be demand for gold.  Do you at least have your individual share of the world's gold?  It seems expensive now, but it may seem really cheap in five years.

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