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Why precious metals like gold are popular for investors

Clearly you’ve heard about the current economic climate, with banks failing or losing their credit ratings, big countries on the verge of going bankrupt, masses of government debt, etc. You’ve definitely heard it all. As a result, investors have become incredibly worried about what the world economy will look like over the next 5 years.

Consequently, it’s no surprise that there’s been an big increase with investing in valuable metals, such as silver, gold, palladium, and platinum. But why are investors so interested in metals? What is it about these metals that attract so much interest?

If you think about it, 99.9% of all investments are based on some concept, rather than an actual object. e.g. company shares don’t actually exist (not even on paper these days), they’re just a culmination of the perception of that company and how well they are doing. So the intrinsic share value is not based on anything physical. It’s not to say that shares are worthless, quite the contrary, just that they’re not a physical object.

Therefore the point is that investors like to think of their investments as something tangible. Metals are physical objects, and actually exist in the real world. Property exists in the real world, but decreasing house prices mean that investors are not investing in property anymore. Additionally, property is not a liquid asset, simply meaning it takes a long time to sell a property. Comparatively, selling metal is very easy and can be done within minutes.

A combination of metal being a real-world object, and being very easy to sell, precious metals such as gold are very attractive investment assets. If you think about it, gold has always been a desirable and attractive possession throughout the ages. However, there’s another fact that completes the reasoning why gold in particular has become so popular in the last 12 months. Gold is a scarce resource, and it’s increasingly tough to find. Gold isn’t really being mined anymore, it’s being chemically extracted. Therefore the gold we have now is pretty much all that we will have. Gold has always been a finite resource.

So why is gold so popular right now? It’s easy to sell, it’s easy to buy, it’s generally held it’s value over the years. Gold is being seen as a currency-neutral form of investment where its value is not subject to the media-induced hype facing our economies at the moment. If you can keep your gold secure, it’s definitely a safe place for your money at the moment.

This is a guest article by Mike Stirling who researches the precious metal markets, particularly the currently-increasing scrap gold prices.

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January 12, 2012 um 10:43 am
Investment,Personal Finance
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