Is It Worth Adding Gold to Your Portfolio in 2022?

Is It Worth Adding Gold to Your Portfolio in 2022?

 

Gold prices declined in 2021 and the prospects for 2022 are not impressive as well. However, the yellow metal’s strategic relevance remains high.

Last month, the World Gold Council published two interesting reports about gold. The first one is the latest edition of Gold Demand Trends, which summarizes the entire last year. Gold supply decreased 1%, while gold demand rose 10% in 2021. Despite these trends, the price of gold declined by around 4%, which – for me – undermines the validity of the data presented by the WGC.

I mean here that the relevance of some categories of gold demand (jewelry demand, technological demand, the central bank’s purchases) for the price formation is somewhat limited. The most important driver for gold prices is investment demand. Unsurprisingly, this category plunged 43% in 2021, driven by large ETF outlfows.

According to the report, “gold drew direction chiefly from inflation and interest rate expectations in 2021,” although it seems that rising rates outweighed inflationary concerns. As the chart below shows, the interest rates increased significantly last year. For example, 10-year Treasury yields rose 60 basis points. As a result, the opportunity costs for holding gold moved up, triggering an outflow of gold holdings from the ETF.

Is It Worth Adding Gold to Your Portfolio in 2022? - 1

As the rise in interest rates is likely to continue in 2022 because of the hawkish stance of the Fed, gold investment may struggle this year as well. The end of quantitative easing and the start of quantitative tightening may add to the downward pressure on gold prices.

However, there are some bullish caveats here. First, gold has remained resilient in January, despite the hawkish FOMC meeting. Second, the Fed’s tightening cycle could be detrimental to the US stock market and the overall, highly indebted economy, which could be supportive of gold prices. Third, as the report points out, “gold has historically outperformed in the months following the onset of a US Fed tightening cycle”.

The second publication released by the WGC last month was “The Relevance of Gold as a Strategic Asset 2022”. The main thesis of the report is that gold is a strategic asset, complementary to equities and bonds, that enhances investment portfolios’ performance. This is because gold is “a store of wealth and a hedge against systemic risk, currency depreciation, and inflation.” It is also “highly liquid, no one’s liability, carries no credit risk, and is scarce, historically preserving its value over time.”

Gold is believed to be a great source of return, as its price has increased by an average of nearly 11% per year since 1971, according to the WGC. Gold can also provide liquidity, as the gold market is highly liquid. As the report points out, “physical gold holdings by investors and central banks are worth approximately $4.9 trillion, with an additional $1.2 trillion in open interest through derivatives traded on exchanges or the over-the-counter (OTC) market.”

Last but not least, gold is an excellent portfolio diversifier, as it is negatively correlated with risk assets, and – importantly – this negative correlation increases as these assets sell off. Hence, adding gold to a portfolio could diversify it, improving its risk-adjusted return, and also provide liquidity to meet liabilities in times of market stress. The WGC’s analysis suggests that investors should consider adding between 4% and 15% of gold to the portfolio, but personally, I would cap this share at 10%.

 

Implications for Gold

What do the recent WGC reports imply for the gold market? Well, one thing is that adding some gold to the investment portfolio would probably be a smart move. After all, gold serves the role of both a safe-haven asset and an insurance against tail risks. It’s nice to be insured. However, investing in gold is something different, as gold may be either in a bullish or bearish trend.

You should never confuse these two motives behind owning gold! Sometimes it’s good to own gold for both insurance and investment reasons, but not always. When it comes to 2022, investment demand for gold may continue to be under downward pressure amid rising interest rates. However, there are also some bullish forces at work, which could intensify later this year.

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Arkadiusz Sieron, PhD
Sunshine Profits: Effective Investment through Diligence & Care

Arkadiusz Sieron

Arkadiusz Sieron

Hi, my name is Arkadiusz Sieroń. Call me a liar, but I am writing about the precious metals thanks to Arthur Laffer, Alan Greenspan, John Keynes and Fredrich Hayek. Really! Would you like to know how these economists, some of whom have been dead for a long time, triggered my adventure with gold? When I was in high school, I took part in the Entrepreneurship Olympic, one of the biggest thematic competitions for pupils from secondary schools. During my preparations, I studied an academic textbook, in which I came across a Laffer curve. Eureka! If the tax revenues are the same at low and high tax rates, the government should lower them! I did not win the competition, but I achieved much more. I decided to become an economist! And I loved the idea of small government and economic freedom since that very moment. After graduating from high school, I moved to the capital. I was very excited, as I started to study economics at the best economics university in the country. However, the professors disappointed me very quickly. Why? They all were statists, supporting extensive government intervention and fiat currencies. Gold? It is a barbarous relic! Have you not read Lord Keynes? I was very depressed. I even considered giving up my studies in economics and enrolling in the Philosophy Faculty! You can see now that I was really desperate. When I was contemplating nothingness and vanity of vanities, a few of my classmates lent me a handful of fascinating books, such as Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman. I also discovered the publications of the Austrian economists who supported the idea of the gold standard. It sounded crazy in the 21th century, but it was inspiring. I rediscovered the sense of studying economics. I continued my studies and one day I read these words: “Gold and economic freedom are inseparable”. Try guess who wrote them. Don’t give up, try once again. Don’t know? Alan Greenspan. Shocking, right? This is a quote from his “Gold and Economic Freedom”, an article published in 1966. Several years before he became the Fed Chair, and several more before the real estate bubble, that he helped to pump, up burst. Quite ironic, don’t you think? Both his essay and the Great Recession (and the accompanying bull market) motivated me to study investment portfolio management and the precious metals. I became a certified Investment Adviser very soon and I started to work for the biggest pension fund in the country. My corporate career seemed to be very promising. However, I quickly discovered that the company invested most of the participants’ funds into Treasuries or shares of the big state companies. And they didn’t even want to hear about investing in precious metals. I quit. I found a shelter at the university, as a Ph.D. candidate and – after a defense of my thesis about certain negative consequences of inflation (i.e. the Cantillon effect) – as an Assistant Professor. I was finally free to study economics, freedom, and gold. The more I read about gold, the more I was terrified. Most of the so-called experts who write about the precious metals, don’t have any idea about the subject they discuss. They treat gold as a mere commodity. Or they claim that gold is either worthless as it does not bring any yield or that its price should always rise. I was really let down by the state of understanding of the gold market among the analysts and investors. But I could not do too much. Until the sun shined down on me. I got a job offer at Sunshine Profits. I didn’t hesitate a second and accepted it, although many professors discouraged me: “You are a scholar, focus on science and do not write silly newsletters about bullion" -they advised me. But I did not listen to them, as they clearly didn’t understand the nature of gold. It is not a barbarous relic, it is the longest used money in history, and a clinking witness of human civilization. Gold is the asset, which used to serve as the safe- haven and portfolio diversifier for investors from the entire world for years. I wanted to study its properties and to share with my knowledge with people who do not have time for that. I wanted to help investors to better understand fundamentals of the gold market and improve their investment decisions. I’m happy that I can do that at Sunshine Profits. I’m really proud to be a member of our team and provide investors with high quality investment analyses about the gold market.