"Things are looking up for the economy and, as a result, down for gold," says Nathaniel Popper at The New York Times. The value of our safe and shiny investment has slipped 17 percent since 2011, after 12 straight years of growth. "It is a remarkable turnabout for an investment that many have long regarded as one of the safest of all," Popper says.
When investors are worried about the value of U.S. currency, the safety of securities investments, and the overall health of the U.S. economy, they often trade in their cash for gold. So in the frightening wake of the financial collapse, shell-shocked investors flocked to bullion. Between 2009 and 2010, $5 billion flowed into gold-focused mutual funds.
But now, with the economy recovering slowly but surely, gold's attractiveness is fading — and fast. The precious metal's price has dropped 5.8 percent this year. On Wednesday, the value of an ounce of gold dropped another $28, bringing it to $1,558.
On the same day, Goldman Sachs cut its 2013 price forecast for the second time in six weeks — to $1,545 an ounce from $1,610 — and predicted that average prices would tumble even more in 2014, adjusting the forecast to $1,350 from $1,490. Société Générale in France released a similar message last week, claiming that the gold price is in bubble territory.
The Goldman analyst said in a report:
Given gold's recent lackluster price action and our economists' expectation that the acceleration in U.S. growth later this year to above-trend pace will support U.S. real rates, we are lowering our USD-denominated gold price forecast once again...While there are risks for modest near-term upside to gold prices should U.S. growth continue to slow down, we see risks to current prices as increasingly skewed to the downside as we move through 2013. In fact, should our expectation for lower gold prices continue to prove correct, the fall in prices could end up being faster and larger than our forecast. [Goldman Sachs, via ValueWalk]
So the good news: Gold is plummeting because the economy is recovering. And there's another silver lining, too: While those who invested in 2011 are losing, those who bought gold back in the late 90's are killing it. Even with the recent decline, gold is up 515 percent from 1999.
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Dick Cheney's America is an ugly place
- The Hobbit: A disappointing set of movies, but a worthy set of prequels
- America is building a Sunni army in Iraq to take on the Islamic State
- How to make the ultimate grilled cheese
- The age of miracles is over — even for the religious
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- The liberation of Barack Obama
- Diagnosing the Home Alone burglars' injuries: A professional weighs in
Subscribe to the Week